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The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery / Martial Arts?


Omnipotence personified
15 Mar 2003
This is a fantastic piece covering Zen and Japanese archery (kyudo) for those vaugly familiar with the concepts. It also has a little history of kyudo for any one into martial arts. I'm not all the way through it yet, but I likes what I sees (so far). It appeared in the 2001 Japanese Journal of Religious Studies.

I am sure most everyone has heard of, or even read, "Zen in the Art of Archery" by Eugen Herrigel. It was a book that came out in 1948 and joined the ranks of things inspiring interest in all things eastern. It was translated also into Japanese and rejoined the popular lexicon on must-reads for the Kyudo student. Heck, one of my old teachers even gave me the book as a parting gift when I moved dojo's in Japan.

This article goes a ways towards looking at the historical links between kyudo and zen, Herrigel's personal experience, and hints at the changes ideas and concepts are subject to when interpreted for other audiences (and in this case what happens when the interpreted ideas are reintroduced back into their home environment).


Like I said, I haven't made it all the way through, but I hope some one else will start reading too and we can have a little discussion, maybe also with people who have experience with mental approaches to other martial arts can chime in.

Enjoy - M
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