updated Jan 14, 2022
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." You can read more about the Shibata lineage here.

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:

We have three videos:

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 or/and the 2020 one on YouTube.

And here are three articles:

Miyako Kyudojo Events

both Regular Practice and Beginning Instruction                  at  Miyako Kyudojo  of  Washington, DC  area
                                                                                                          12:00-2:00 two Sundays every month

You are encouraged to come observe our practices -- or start instruction -- anytime.

We'll be practicing two times a month, in Vivi Spicer's back yard.

For directions to her house, email Vivi Spicer, -- or call Vivi at (h) 301-588-8396

Our practices are always outside, so here's our weather policy. And here's the hourly weather forecast for Vivi's house. For other info, you can visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. 

Practice  Schedule:

We practice twice a month in Vivi's back yard. For directions to her house, email Vivi Spicer, -- or call Vivi at (h) 301-588-8396

Practice is outdoors, so if the weather's bad, we usually cancel without making any last-minute update to this page. So it's best to check the hourly weather forecast for Vivi's house. And here's our weather policy. Even though it's Vivi's back yard, it's still outside, so 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 more helpful details.

  • Jan 16:  -- CANCELLED --
    because of a "feels-like" temperature of 22 degrees --
    which is below our "feels like" cutoff of 42 degrees.
    (Here's our weather policy.)
    For answers to any questions, though, you can email Vivi Spicer,
    -- or call her at (h) 301-588-8396, (c) 301-580-3060

  • Jan 23:  -- 12:00 to 2:00 -- in Vivi's back yard
    Practice at Vivi's is outdoors, so be sure to check the weather for Silver Spring, zip 20910.  
    Here's our weather policy.
    For directions to her house, email Vivi Spicer,
    -- or call her at (h) 301-588-8396

  • More Practice Dates:
    FEB 6 and 20
    MAR 6 and 20


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

Weekend Programs & Other  Events

There are no programs this Winter.
The following programs from last August are just examples
of what can happen when the weather gets warmer.

Beginners Kyudo program

August 20 - 22, 2021
led by Grace DiNapoli and Tom Kyle

at Karmê Chöling
Shambhala Meditation Center
369 Patneaude Lane
Barnet, VT 05821

Click here for Details

Solo Kyudo Retreats

Here is a unique opportunity to deepen your personal practice on your schedule
by creating your own self-guided kyudo retreat at Karmê Chöling .
Ideal for intermediate or advanced kyudo practitioners with an established ongoing kyudo practice.

Click here for Details and Instructions for Scheduling

Intermediate/Advanced Kyudo Intensive
led by Grace DiNapoli and Tom Kyle

August 4 - 8, 2021
Open to everyone who has taken their "First Shot."

at Zen Mountain Monastery
Mount Tremper, NY

Click here for Details -- Note: the ZMM page loads slowly.
It uses a red bar graph to show progress while it loads.
Once it's done loading, the site needs you to move
your mouse over the blank page for it to show you
the page contents.


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 Vivi Spicer (h) 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 website comments, improvements, criticisms to Webmaster Wannabe