山伏

closeup photo of black hilt and brown sword

キウイ

Why does/ did Samurai training begin with the bow?

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.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.


I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.


On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.


Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.


Tim.

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All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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