Kyudo in Kenya

archery A good hour outside of Nairobi is a large, protected woodland, not far from the Aberdares. At its edge, there is a tourist area with various activities: zip-lining, mountain biking, horse riding, hiking and archery. I opted for the latter, wanting to see how far I get with my visual handicap. In Japan, there is a Zen tradition called Kyudo archery. The archers understand the actions required to shoot an arrow more like meditation and hit the bullseye, without looking.

So I received a bow in my left hand because as a right-handed person I needed the right hand to stretch the bow. Only, my right eye, which was intended for targeting, is much weaker than the left one. After a few tries, we reversed the setup, also to avoid the instructor having to keep looking for my arrows in the bushes behind the target disc. The improvement was clearly visible. Tightening with the "weak" hand was relatively easy, I could apply some Tai Chi principles. Next, I tried to work with the Kyudo thing - without ever having really studied it. The Kyudo archers fix the target only briefly at the beginning and then concentrate entirely on the movement sequences. The right time to let go of the arrow comes by itself, out of inner emptiness. My attempts to do so were not conclusive, but the idea is worth pursuing on another occasion.