updated April 16, 2014
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, "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?


Photo ©Martine Bouman, 
Barako KyudojoNetherlands
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, Kobun Chino, Roshi (1938-2002). Now, since October 2013, the 21st Kanjuro Shibata continues in the leadership of Zenko International, and 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 a full list, see the  Zenko International site (for Kyudo in North America) and the Oko Kyudokai site (Kyudo in Europe).

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

Open Your Heart With Kyudo!

The practice of Kyudo is deceptively simple. Beginners can receive instruction in the basic form in four or five 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:

Click here for Miyako  Kyudo join 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. Stay tuned with Lotus Garden for the next Kyudo program, to be held later this year.)

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 Communtiy 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 actually check how it looks. 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.

March - April  Practice  Schedule:

This time of year, temperature can be an issue, but we still have some good practice days, hopefully increasing in number this month. Practice continues with Ken in "the field" (a community archery range), and once a month in Vivi's backyard.

If the forecast for the field is borderline, Ken will often just go to the field and check how it looks. But if you're coming from afar or taking public transportation, etc. -- You'll want to be more conservative than that. Both venues (Vivi's and the field) are outdoors, so if the weather's bad, we cancel without notice. Here's our weather policy.

Note that sometimes there's a strange combination of snow on the field, but the temperature is mild -- especially in March. When this happens, the parking lot is usually clear, so we can get in and out without getting stuck. With snow on the ground, we always seem to have the place to ourselves. The ground can be soggy, so please do use appropriate footwear.

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

  • March 2  -- Practice in the FIELD is CANCELLED, -- BUT . . .
    We will be doing a demonstration at the Shambhala Meditation Center in DC, around 8:00 am. You are of course invited to come watch. We will be doing a more ceremonial style to help the Center celebrate its lunar new year.

  • March 9 and 16  -- 11:00 to 1:00 it'll be back again  in the Field with Ken Rawie,
    weather permitting.  Here's our weather policy.

  • March 23 -- 11:00 to 1:00 -- in Vivi's back yard
    Our monthly practice at Vivi's is no longer up in the air. Sendai's wife will probably come to teach in May or June. Stay tuned.
    But for practice at Vivi's March 23, 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.

  • March 30 and April 6  -- 11:00 to 1:00 it'll be in the Field with Ken Rawie,  
    permitting.  Here's our weather policy.

  • April 13 -- 11:00 to 1:00 -- in Vivi's back yard again
    (Ken will be in Boulder, CO for the program led by Kanjuro Shibata XXI, Sensei.)
    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 20 and 27  -- 11:00 to 1:00 it'll be  in the Field with Ken Rawie,  
    permitting.  Here's our weather policy.


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

Other  Events


Kanjuro Shibata XXI, Sensei

April 11-13, 2014

Sensei will be in Boulder, Colorado for a Kyudo weekend
at Zenko Kyudojo. He invites students to come,
participate and enjoy practice together.

Zenko Kyudojo is located at 4220 19th Street in Boulder, Colorado.


June 19 - 22, 2014

Kyudo Practice Weekend, for Intermediates,
Hosted and taught by students of Shibata Sensei, at
Karmê Chöling Shambhala Meditation Center, Barnet, Vermont

June 21 - 22
First Shot Program

For other possible events, see ZenkoKyudojo.org,
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 two other, even cooler Kyudo sites:

Zenko Kyudojo, Shibata Sensei's organization

It has lots of pictures, a list of other practice locations for Kyudo, and great info about programs in other regions of the United States and Canada. 

There's also the Oko Kyudokai site for Kyudo in Europe.


Please direct all comments, improvements, criticisms to Webmaster Wannabe