Kyuudou, as a sport, is a rather peculiar one. It doesn’t really strive for perfect accuracy and precision (unlike its western counterpart, archery). Instead, it is intensely focused on being able to maintain a perfect form, going through a set of 8 steps (called the hassetsu) while maintaining a very rigid posture. The “sport” of Kyuudou has a huge emphasis on self-discipline, but it does not have an end goal like “getting the highest score” or “being the most accurate”. Or at least, that’s my impression of Kyuudou after doing it for the past few months.
The basic tenet of Kyuudou seems to be “self-improvement”, where you pretty much must discipline yourself to follow those 8 steps that are so vital to Kyuudou. And with no real end goal (like a score, etc), the only real motivation for improvement is your own desire to do so. That, in itself, is a rather refreshing difference from most sports that I do play (basketball, skiing, snowboarding, etc). There’s no real standard you need to compare yourself, you don’t need to get particularly skilled or accurate, you simply need a desire to improve your Kyuudou abilities in a way you see fit. While the hassetsu is quite regimented and strict, at the same time it’s rather freeing due to how you can define your own vision of what you want Kyuudou to be.
With that being said, I don’t find Kyuudou particularly fun or exuberating. Rather, it gives me time to simply focus on something other than the chaos of real life and student assignments, and that shift in focus is a blessing during times of stress. You sort of just forget about the ongoing world around you, and focus on the target in front of your face. You temporarily forget about that paper due in a week, or a test the next day, or ongoing drama amongst your friends, etc. All that matters is that target, and whether you can hit it. Yea, I did talk about how, unlike archery, there aren’t really any defined set goals in Kyuudou. But mine is being able to hit the target where I want it to, so in a sense, my goals in Kyuudou align with what an archery practitioner may strive for. With enough practice, will I ever reach my goal? Who knows, but if I ever do, I know that it was a goal I set for myself.
Nice picture! That’s interesting that the focus is more on the perfection of the movements than the scoring. It seems more like a performing arts in that respect than a sport. Have you done Archery before? Do you plan on continuing this CIP next semester?
The picture is from a beautifully animated movie called Five Centimeters Per Second (秒速5 CM）. While it’s focus certainly isn’t Kyuudou, it’s an amazing movie. You should totally check it out. As for why I included the picture, well, the post would have looked really dull otherwise (seriously, KCJS should require posts to have at least one picture. It would look so much nicer if they did.)
As for Archery, nope, I’ve never touched anything remotely similar to a bow and arrow (except from when I made one of out sticks and string when I was in elementary school… >_>). Maybe the bows and arrows I’ve used in video games count…? Lol.
Anyways, joking aside, I’m contemplating about continuing Kyuudou next semester or not. Honestly speaking, Kyuudou is a sport (or as you call it, a performing art) that is very focused on the actual practice. It’s fairly difficult to socialize with Japanese people due to Kyuudou’s oft serious atmosphere, even more so when you consider how most Kyuudou practitioners at the Dojo are older-aged members of society. Keigo is not my strong point, and I don’t think it will be anytime soon.
That sounds so zen. I’ve always wanted to try archery or kyuudou but I think I just want to learn how to shoot a bow so I could feel like Rambo for that brief moment before my arrow goes exactly where it wasn’t supposed to. You do skiing and snowboarding? Is that even possible? It’s always seemed like one or the other to me. You said you were thinking about switching CIPs next semester right? What were thinking about doing? Aikido’s fun.
Lol, you should totally try shooting a bow sometime then. Though, if you want to go American-style, you could go shooting with a gun instead (at a target range, of course ^_^; ).
And yes, I do skiing and snowboarding. Snowboarding is way more fun than skiing, but both are still a blast. Sure heck beats the sledding that kids normally do (snow tube down a hill. Pff, weak~ =P )
As for swapping CIPs next semester, your Aikido post got me sort of interested (though I don’t want to pay for a dogi, lol). I was actually thinking I could take up multiple CIPs, perhaps a cooking CIP and a more physical (e.g. aikido) CIP.