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about Kyudo

弓道 (Kyūdō) is the Japanese martial art of archery, characterised by the distinctive asymmetrical longbow.


Historically, there is evidence of the use of bows towards the final years of the Paleolithic Period (10,000BC) in Middle East and Asia. In Japan, artifacts have been discovered that could be considered the Stone Age predecessor of the yumi (bow), and other types of bows were discovered from the Yayoi Period (300BC - AD300).

Kyudo is based on Kyujutsu ("art of archery") practiced by the samurai class of feudal Japan, though Kyudo has a longer history as a ceremonial tradition than as a weapon of war. The name was officially changed from Kyujutsu to Kyudo in 1919 for educational purposes and was systematised, integrating various forms of shooting that had been used up until then.

Kyudo groups and organisations existed from the Meiji (1868-1912) to the pre-war Showa era (1926-1945). However, martial arts were banned by the occupation forces after World War II. It wasn't until 1949 that the All Nippon Kyudo Federation (ANKF) was successfully formed, and subsequently published "The Kyudo Manual" in 1953, which set forth the modern standards of form, etiquette, and shooting procedure.

Based in Japan, the International Kyudo Federation (IKYF) was formed in 2006, which runs international seminars and gradings, and maintains standards for official member national bodies and affiliates around the world. Australia is now officially a member country affiliated with the IKYF as of December 2023.



  • "Kyudo: The Essence and Practice of Japanese Archery" by Hideharu Onuma, with Dan & Jackie DeProspero

The spirit OF KYUDO

The goal of Kyudo, per All Nippon Kyūdō Federation (ANKF), is the state of shin-zen-bi (真善美), or "truth-goodness-beauty". Read here for more.

Both technique and etiquette provide an inseparable unity to the shooting that is the truth of Kyudo. Etiquette without technique cannot truly be called shooting, while technique without etiquette was not the path of Kyudo. Read here for more.

The purpose of present day Kyudo is to enjoy and to enrich our daily life. Kyudo is not like any other sport - the opponent is a target, and not another. The result is judged not only by whether you hit or miss, but how the shooting was carried out. If the shooting was done correctly, this will lead to an accurate hit. Reflection and self-improvement is part of the discipline, and also some of the reasons why Kyudo is appreciated by many.

"Kyudo is considered a sport in some respects. You have opponents to compete with, but not to fight against. There is victory and defeat, but competing is not the point. Any opponent must be respected. If you lose your calm by being preoccupied with the competition, you have abused the spirit of Kyudo. There must always be a clear distinction here. A practitioner who does not get carried away in competitions usually shows good sportsmanship."


Kyudo is guided by the Raiki Shagi, which explains the rules for the conduct of the shooting ceremony and the proper attitude archers should have towards their practice, and the Shaho Kun, which explains the fundamentals of the shooting technique.







The shooting, with the round of moving forward or backward can never be without courtesy and propriety (Rei).

After having acquired the right inner intention and correctness in the outward appearance, the bow and arrow can be handled resolutely.

To shoot in this way is to perform the shooting with success, and through this shooting virtue will be evident.


Kyudo is the way of perfect virtue. In the shooting, one must search for rightness in oneself. With the rightness of self, shooting can be realized.


At the time when shooting fails, there should be no resentment towards those who win. On the contrary, this is an occasion to search for oneself.




The way is not with the bow, but with the bone, which is of the greatest importance in shooting.

Placing Spirit (Kokoro) in the center of the whole body, with two-thirds of the Yunde (left arm) push the string, and with one-third of the Mete (right arm) pull the bow. Spirit settled, this becomes harmonious unity.

From the center line of the chest, divide the left and right equally into release.

It is written, that the collision of iron and stone will release sudden sparks; and thus there is the golden body, shining white, and the half moon positioned in the west.

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