The Princess and the Golden Fan.
About eighteen months ago, a few martial arts students from Budokan Academy in Canning Vale decided to extend their training to the study of traditional Japanese Archery – Kyudo.
We made some targets, purchased bows, arrows and gloves on line from Japan and commenced training. We are still the only Kyudo club in WA. Being unable to take gradings in Australia, we decided to attend the Fourth Asia-Oceania Kyudo Seminar in Nagoya, Japan. Five of us travelled at the end of March and attended a training seminar in Izumi, prior to going to the Asia-Oceania Seminar in Nagoya. This seminar was attended by 160 practitioners from all over the region – Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, Malaysia, South Africa etc.
The seminar culminated with gradings. All of us from Perth were successful, with one - Ramon Lawrence - passing Nidan (2nd dan) and the rest of us passing Shodan (1st dan).
The day after the seminar completed, we attended a shooting competition at Meiji Mura. If we had known that we were competing we would no doubt have drunk less the evening before at the end of seminar celebration. We competed in a very old dojo that has not been used for fifty years. The Guest of Honour was Princess Takamado from the Japanese Royal Family.
Approximately 120-140 competitors from the region participated. Everyone fired two arrows – each competing in taihai of three kyudoka , with a prize being awarded for putting both arrows into the target. I was number 67 in the listing and was the first to strike the target with both arrows. My first shot struck the target above and to the left of the bullseye. I then had to wait until the other two competitors fired. I remained focussed and when I fired my second arrow, I knew immediately that the shot was good. The arrow struck just above the bullseye. I was awarded a boxed fan, it was an amazing moment as I think that only five competitors achieved both hits.
We all hope to be able to travel to Japan again next year.