Noah Bell: Kyūdo Lessons

A picture of me about to fire an arrow

For my CIP this semester, I had the opportunity to learn Kyūdo under Furuya Sensei at the Kyoto Budo center. For about 2 hours each week, we worked hard to learn the forms and etiquettes of Japanese traditional archery. Our lessons were conducted entirely in Japanese.

The experience was quite challenging at times, but super rewarding since you could see steady progress each week. On top of that, Furuya Sensei was super kind and had a good sense of humor. He was hard to understand at times, but he knew we were trying our best and would show how proud he was of our effort which made me feel super happy and grateful.

If you’re looking to learn Kyūdo, my advice would be to let yourself make mistakes because you are going to make a lot of them. There are so many practices that everyone around you will already know, so don’t feel embarrassed if you mess up or get corrected as it’s all part of the learning experience. Also, I would say to try not to worry too much about your success in hitting the target. KyÅ«do, like many Japanese traditional arts, is about form above all else. If you get the forms correct, accuracy will follow, not the other way around.