Recent Archives Userinfo FriendsTagsTo-Do List
 真
 善
 美
 弓
 道
It has been a while since I last posted here. So sorry for my negligence. I came across something which may be of casual interest to the community. Yes, I swear that this post eventually has to do with Kyudo.

I was reading the other day a fascinating book on the interpretation of Fairy Tails by the Jungian Psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz (personal hero of mine). She was talking about a motif in a fairy tale where a girl, to prove herself worthy for marriage, jumps through a hoop. Dr. von Franz was speaking of the circle (in this case a golden hoop) as one of the symbols of the Self and the relevance of aiming for the centre, when I came upon this passage:

"Though it seems rather remote, a connection can also be made with the Zen Buddhist art of archery, where the idea is to aim at the center, not in the extraverted way that Westerners would do it, by physical skill and conscious concentration, but by a form of deep meditation by which the archer puts himself inwardly into his own center (what we* would call the Self), from whence, naturally, he can hit the outer target. Thus, in their highest performances, with their eyes shut and without aiming, Zen Buddhist archers can effortlessly hit the target. The whole practice is meant as a technical help to find the way to dwell in one's own inner center without being diverted by thoughts and ambitions and ego impulses."

-Marie-Louise von Franz, The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. copyright 1996, page 92

*= In this case "we" refers to Jungian Analysts

Just thought that some of you might find this passage of interest.
 真
 善
 美
 弓
 道
I have often found that my skills improve greatly, if only for a brief time, when I turn inward. Concentrating less on the target and making the process of drawing and releasing a moving meditation.

I was shooting English longbow in a St. George's charge a couple years ago. I couldn't clearly see the target at 100 or 80 yards and the shooting angle needed prevented sighting. So I concentrated on the process; raise the bow, draw, breath, release. After the first round to get a feel for the distance, I shot all morning in practice hitting the target 95% of the time. In the actual competation in the afternoon I was the only one to score at those ranges. The targets were moved 20 yards closer with each round. At 60, 40, and 20 yards, I lost it. I could now clearly see the target and aim. I began to concentrate on hitting the target and scoring. It was quite embarrassing every time I missed which seemed to be 95%.

Since then I've stopped using the concentric ring targets fo practice. Instead I draw the Chinese character for center on a sheet of paper and tack it to the bale. A reminder of where I really need to be.