Kyūjutsu translates as "the skill of the bow", and Kyūdō is "way of the bow". In a word: archery.
Historic Kyūjutsu (OOC)
In kyūdō, like all archery, the purpose is to hit the target. Kyūdō however is practiced in many different schools, some of which decend from military shooting and others that descend from ceremonial shooting. Therefore, the emphasis is different. Some put emphasis on esthetics and others to efficiency. It is so, that to hit is to be done with a correct technique. Or in inverse to shoot correctly will result inevitably in hit. For this a phrase seisha hitchu, "true shooting, certain hitting", is used.
Kyūdō practice as all budō includes the idea of moral and spiritual development. Today many archers practice kyūdō as a sport, with marksmanship being paramount. However, the goal most devotees of kyūdō seek is seisha seichu, "correct shooting is correct hitting". In kyūdō the unique action of expansion (nobiai) that results in a natural release, is strived for. When the technique of the shooting is correct the result will be for the arrow to arrive in the target. To give oneself completely to the shooting is the spiritual goal, acchieved by perfection of both the spirit and shooting technique leading to munen muso, "no thoughts, no illusions". This however is not Zen, although Japanese bow can be used in Zen-practice or kyūdō practiced by a Zen-master. In this respect, many kyūdō practitioners believe that competition, examination, and any opportunity that places the archer in this uncompromising situation is important, while other practitioners will avoid competitions or examinations of any kind.
In kyudō there are three kinds of practice (geiko):
mitori geiko - receiving with the eyes the style and technique of an advanced archer;
kufu geiko - learning and keeping in mind the details of the technique and spiritual effort to realize it; and
kazu geiko - repetition through which the technique is personified in one's own shooting.
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