Why does/ did Samurai training begin with the bow?

closeup photo of black hilt and brown sword

The ancient Japanese art of Kyudo, otherwise known as Japanese archery, is a very good way to train your brain. Any teacher of Kyudo would tell you that you focus on form, rather than the target, and that’s how you do a good job. But one practical part of Kyudo that I never realized until a teacher told me was that it was always the first step in Samurai training.

The reason for this is, if you have a bow and your enemies are coming at you, you can get them before they get close to you. Hand to hand or sword to sword combat was only a last resort. As is still the case, the wisest swordsman (used to include all sexes) is the one who never draws their sword, but I don’t think they had this tactic in mind.

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