updated April 5, 2017
Instructors Training, Barnet VT
Photo by Marie-Antoinette Crivelli

Meditation Archery 

at Miyako Kyudojo 

of  Washington, DC 

Click the Fan for
Local Events

What Is Kyudo?

Kyudo is traditional Japanese archery -- the "zen art of archery." In this case, however, "zen" doesn't mean the Zen school of Buddhism, but rather "meditation." For hundreds of years in Japan, Kyudo has been considered the highest form of samurai training. Deeply rooted in a warrior tradition based on principles of harmony, dignity, and genuineness, Kyudo is not a sport. At Miyako Kyudojo, it's "standing meditation."

Starting with the precision of the movements, working with the body's energy in the draw, and peaking with the power of the arrow's release, a process unfolds: Hesitation, fear, and other conflicting emotions subside, allowing serenity and strength to co-exist. The practitioner has the opportunity to see his or her mind, pure and spacious. This experience then continues into everyday life. To practice Kyudo in this way, one must have a good teacher -- a master.

Who is our teacher?

Kanjuro Shibata XXI

Kanjuro Shibata, Sensei is such a teacher. Since the early 16th century the Shibata family has maintained an unbroken lineage of master archers and bow makers for the shoguns and warrior families of Japan. In 1877 the 18th Kanjuro Shibata received appointment to the post of official Bow Maker and Archer to the Emperor. Since then, the 19th, 20th, and 21st Shibata lineage holders have continued to make bows for dignitaries, official functions and for the practice of Kyudo. The 20th Kanjuro Shibata was recognized as a "National Living Treasure of Japan."

In 1980 the 20th Kanjuro Shibata (1921-2013) established his first kyudojo in the west, in Boulder, Colorado (USA), at the invitation of the Tibetan meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Together, they founded Zenko International with the vision of propagating a culture of enlightened warriorship. They were aided by Sensei's long-time student, Zen master Kobun Chino, Roshi (1938-2002). Now, since October 2013, the 21st Kanjuro Shibata continues in the leadership of Zenko International, and of this style of Kyudo, the Bishu Chikurin-ha branch of the Heki-ryu school.

Since 1980 Zenko has expanded to over 30 locations in North America and Europe. For more practice locations, see the Zenko International site. For more about lineage, see the Boulder, CO site.

                 Some quotes from Kanjuro Shibata XX:

Kyudo is meditation. The main point of kyudo practice is to polish your heart, deeply.

Trying to master hitting the target is the way of desire. Not helpful. That’s a road for people who want to defeat their perceived enemies.

When someone hits the target, you can sometimes see happiness. In kyudo, you cut this happiness. That’s merely the enjoyment of ego. Whether you hit the target or not, whether you have a beautiful form or not, this is not the true measure of your practice.

In kendo, karate, judo, all these forms of fighting training, victory comes from cutting someone else. Kyudo is completely different. You cut yourself, your own ego.

Busily running around in little circles, this is not kyudo. Come to a stop. Enter a big circle. [i.e., Wa, harmony, is not a little circle. It is] Mushin, empty heart. This is kyudo. This is high quality practice.

In this way, we can begin to create a peaceful world. We can make a big international WA, a circle of peace the whole world over. That is victory!

-- Kanjuro Shibata XX

Kanjuro Shibata XX


Photo ©Martine Bouman, 
Barako KyudojoNetherlands

Open Your Heart With Kyudo!

The practice of Kyudo is deceptively simple. Beginners can receive instruction in the basic form in three or four classes, but the real value of "Mind Kyudo" comes from regular practice. Neither age, sex, nor physical strength have any significance, so anyone can do it. For information about our practice times, where we are, costs, and how to start, read our Frequently Asked Questions.    Come join us!

More Resources:

Here are two videos: The first one is "Master Archer," produced by National Geographic in 1987, of our root sensei, Kanjuro Shibata XX (1921 - 2013). The second video is one made 22 years later, of Sensei XX in 2009 at Dechen Chöling, the Shambhala land center in France. (This second video is on Facebook, so you'll probably have to log in after clicking the link.) In any case, we recommend you watch the "Master Archer" video first (it's only 11 minutes on YouTube), and after that, the 18-minute 2009 video on Facebook.

And here is a presentation of  teachings from Shibata Kanjuro Sensei XX. The title of the page is "Ten Years, One Step"-- meaning we can't just use our Western linear thinking to learn Kyudo in one weekend. What we are doing here is cultivating our hearts.  

Click here for Miyako  Kyudojo in the Washington Post (March 2002)  

Stand-up Sit-down Zen! - an interview from the Lotus Garden Buddhist Retreat Center in Stanley, Virginia, June 2006. (Miyako has been teaching Kyudo there every year since then, except 2013.)

People who are students of Shambhala Buddhism might find interesting an article written by Carolyn Kanjuro, the wife of Sensei XX: Kyudo Is Not a Shambhala Art, in the Shambhala Times Community Magazine, May 9, 2012.

Miyako Kyudojo Events

Regular Practice and Beginning Instruction                  at  Miyako Kyudojo  of  Washington, DC  area
You are encouraged to come observe our practices.                  Every Sunday 11:00-1:00

For directions to "the Field," our usual practice location --Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page, which gives directions and other helpful details. About once a month we also practice in the back yard of one of our members, Vivi Spicer. See below for a schedule of practice locations. You can also get on our email list for announcements as the schedule changes. Contact info for Ken or Vivi is at the bottom of this page.

Our practices are always outside. If the weather forecast is borderline, Ken will often go to the site and check how it actually is. But if you're coming from afar or taking public transportation, etc. -- you'll want to be more conservative than that. Here's our weather policy.

April Practice  Schedule:

We've had some cold weather in March, and it's amazing that the cherry blossoms came back -- or maybe new ones came out. We've missed some Sunday practices last month because the windchill dipped below 40, or it rained. But now the weather people are saying that "old man winter" has made his last stand and we're going to have spring -- finally.

Practice for April will be a little different from usual, because we had no practices at Vivi's house last month. So this month, we'll have two Sundays in Vivi's back yard, and three with Ken in the field.

Both venues (Vivi's and the field) are outdoors, so if the weather's bad, we usually cancel without notice. So here's our weather policy. If the forecast for the field is borderline, Ken will often just go to the field and see how it looks. -- For example,  sometimes the windchill is a few degrees below the cut-off of 40, but if the sun is shining the day might be fine. So Ken will go to the field anyway, to have a look. Of course, if you're coming from afar or taking public transportation, etc. -- You'll want to be more conservative than that. Be sure to wear appropriate protection, bring water, hat, and so forth. Sometimes the ground can be soggy, so please do use appropriate footwear. And, of course, dress in layers etc.

Our Frequently Asked Questions page gives directions to the field and other helpful details.

  • April 2: -- 11:00 to 1:00 -- in Vivi's back yard
    Practice at Vivi's is outdoors, so be sure to check the weather for Silver Spring, zip 20910.  
    We use the same weather policy at Vivi's as we do with the field.
    For directions, check with Vivi Spicer (301) 588-8396.

  • April 9 & 16 (Palm Sunday and Easter) -- 11:00 to 1:00 -- will be with Ken  in the Field,
    and it'll be the usual practice, weather permitting.  Here's our weather policy.

  • April 23: -- 11:00 to 1:00 -- in Vivi's back yard
    Practice at Vivi's is outdoors, so be sure to check the weather for Silver Spring, zip 20910.  
    We use the same weather policy at Vivi's as we do with the field.
    For directions, check with Vivi Spicer (301) 588-8396.

  • April 30:  -- 11:00 to 1:00  -- will be with Ken  in the Field,
    and it'll be the usual practice, weather permitting.  Here's our weather policy.

  • May:  -- Will likely be the usual schedule, having
    three Sundays with Ken in the field,
    and one Sunday in Vivi's back yard.


--As always, stay tuned to the hourly weather. Here's our weather policy.

Other  Events

Kyudo "First Shot" Program – for Beginners

Fri, Jun 30, 2017 1:30pm to Sun, Jul 2, 2017 3:00pm
with Lucy Halverson
at Karme Choling retreat center in Barnet, VT
Click here for Details and Registration

Kyudo Assembly with Kanjuro Shibata XXI

Wed, Jul 5, 2017 1:30pm to Sun, Jul 9, 2017 3:30pm
at Karme Choling retreat center in Barnet, VT
(prerequisite: you must have taken your "first shot")
Click here for Details and Registration

Kyudo Intensive with Kanjuro Shibata Sensei

Wednesday, September 27-October 1 2017
at Bodhi Manda Zen Center, 1 Bodhi Drive, Jemez Springs, NM 87025

The program will include sitting meditation, work practice, lots of kyudo practice, evening talks and discussions.
After a long day, the hot springs are available for relaxation. Beginners are also welcome.

Click here for Details and Registration

For other possible events, see Zenko Kyudojo in Boulder, CO
-- Or Zenko International.
For European events, see the Oko Kyudojo site.

-- And then check the websites at the event locations for the latest information.
Schedules are subject to change. Check with host location before making travel plans.

Questions?  Talk to Ken Rawie (301) 649-4990 or Vivi Spicer (301) 588-8396 .



Here's three other, even cooler Kyudo sites:

Zenko International has a list of Kyudo practice locations, events, etc.

Zenko Kyudojo in Boulder, CO  has lots of pictures, and great info about Kyudo

The Oko Kyudokai site has all kinds of info for Kyudo in Europe.


Please direct all comments, improvements, criticisms to Webmaster Wannabe