Another way to aim a traditional bow

From: (George Ryals IV)
Subject: AIMING WITH THE SPIRIT, Another way to aim a traditional bow
Date: 3 Sep 1995 02:03:56 GMT

I was scanning a book called "Kyudo The essence and practice of Japanese 
Archery". In it I found this story of a student and his master. The 
student learned the secret of aiming with the spirit. I thought you 
traditional shooters would love it. This method can also benifit aided 
sighting if applied correctly.

A man who wished to study the way of the bow traveled to a 
distant village to meet a great Kyudo master who lived there. When he 
reached the masters house he asked to be accepted as a student.
"I can teach you nothing," said the master, "unless you can see properly."
"but sensei, my eyes are fine," replied the man.

"If that is so, then I assume you can see the spider climbing along 
the garden fence," the master replied.

"Of course," said the man, "I can see iit quite clearly."

"Tell me then," asked the master, "how clear are the spots on its body?"

"spots," the man asked incredulously. "From this distance I cannot see any spots."

"Then come back when you can," said the master.

The man was dissapointed. He was anxious to begin his study of 
Kyudo, but he new the master would never teach him unless he did what he 
was told. Reluctantly, He returned home. There, he took a small fly, tied 
it to a thread, hung it in his window. Day after day he stared at the fly 
in an attempt to make it larger. He tried everything. he stared at the 
fly with his eyes wide open. He teied squinting,or closing one eye. At 
one point he looking at the fly with his eyes crossed. But nothing 
worked. The fly always seemed like the tiny black speck that it was when 
he first hung it in the window. Finally he gave up an went to the master 
for help. 

"The secret," said the master . "is not to look at the object with your 
eyes, but to see it with your 'mind's eye.'"

The man did not really understand what the master meant by this, 
but he went home and tried to do what he was told. At first, everything 
was the same as before. Gradually, however, he began to see the fly in 
more and more detail. It actually seemed to be growing larger. 
Eventually, he was able to to make out the wings, the eyes, even the hair 
on its body. It was almost as if the fly were right in front of him.
When the man was sure of his ability he went to see the master again.

"I can count the spots on the spider's body," said the man.

The master nodded his approval, then handed the man a bow and set 
of arrows. He pointed to a distant plum tree and told the man to shoot 
the lowest hanging fruit.

"I have never shot a bow before. I'll never be able to hit the fruit," said the man.

"you have learned all that is neccessary," replied the master. 
"use you sprit and you will not fail."

The man drew the bow, then waited calmly for thr plum to grow 
larger. When the plum appeared to have closed the distance and to be 
touching the tip of his arrow, he let the arrow fly. A moment later he 
watched in amazement as the arrow pierced the plum right through the 
center. He shot again and again, each time with the same result. 

I hope you guys liked it. When I read it I couldn't wait to show it to 

Good Shooting 
George Ryals IV


From: (John Kelly )
Subject: Re: AIMING WITH THE SPIRIT, Another way to aim a traditional bow
Date: 4 Sep 1995 01:37:08 GMT

In <42b2ec$> (George Ryals IV) writes: 


Great stuff George. Thanks! I think it might be an interesting
exercise...have you applied it to your own archery?

John Kelly


From: (John Rayment)
Subject: Re: AIMING WITH THE SPIRIT, Another way to aim a traditional bow
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 1995 07:57:32 GMT

> On 3 Sep 1995, AZDav wrote:
> +=E8
> > Sorry, it didn't register with me.
> > A lot of Zen training is empty because technique is often not understood.
> > Technique, or rather accurate technique, is a tremendous shortcut to
> > mastery of virtually any sport.
> >=20
> > Then you can forget it, but not before.

I'd agree, up to a point, but there's clearly more here.  I guess we've
all seen the absolute novice archer, with zero technique, but bags of
faith ("spirit"?), who manages to group in the gold every time, not
realizing how much they're annoying all those experienced archers...  :-)

I've seen this happen a couple of times in our club; youngsters shooting
totally naturally, appalling technique (and different every shot!),
cheerfully banging 'em into the middle.  Two or three sessions later they
have an off day, and start thinking about what they're doing, and how to
improve it, or someone gives them some "good advice", and all of a sudden
they can't hit a thing.
Then, only good technique can save them...

It has always seemed to me (and experience of archery has only
strengthened this) that the human body, and the subconscious is capable of
a great deal on its own, if only we'd keep out of its way, and let it get
on with the job.