Friday, 14 June 2013

2013 Ottawa Kyudo Workshop

Kyudo, the Japanese art of archery, is a martial art that uniquely balances both cultural and spiritual training, with the technical aspects of a martial based discipline. Since the Kyudo Association of Canada's (KAC) inception in 2010, the Vancouver and Toronto clubs have worked tirelessly to develop their students and make an impact on the world stage. With over 20 delegates at the International Kyudo Federation's (IKYF) America Seminar each of the last two years, and another large group expected this year in South Carolina, the potential for Kyudo to grow in Canada is starting to be realized.

It was an exceptionally pleasant Sunday afternoon on June 9, 2013, as the KAC hosted their first introductory workshop and demonstration in the city of Ottawa. Held at the Japan Karate Association’s (JKA) beautifully-detailed private dojo in the heart of our nation's capital, participants of the workshop were ushered onto floor promptly at 1pm and regaled with an hour-and-a-half of history, culture, and martial philosophy.
The session began with an overview of Kyudo as a Japanese martial art. Topics in the slideshow included:

  • The history of Kyudo and modern influences
  • The different styles of Kyudo
  • Organizations and Globalization
  • Equipment and Uniforms
  • How to make Kyudo a part of your life

Subsequent feedback was largely positive, as a survey revealed over 3/4 of the participants had interest in learning more about the history and martial theory.
Patrick Suen – 2 dan
Up next was a special demonstration of “Hitotsu Mato (Makiwara in this case) Sharei”, a single target ceremonial shoot. Everyone present (including the organizers) was in for a treat; as the two highest ranked Kyudo practitioners in Canada would be performing this routine together for the very first time. KAC’s only shogo (teacher title) holder, Mie Takahashi (Renshi 5 dan) was joined by KAC president, Motomasa Mori (4 dan) for this special two-person sharei. They did not disappoint, as the level of physical and mental focus was breathtaking.

Mie Takahashi – Renshi 5 dan
Motomasa Mori – 4 dan
Following the demonstration, participants were encouraged to ask questions and discuss their impression of Kyudo. Several audience members talked about the similarities they see within other practices; as Zen, meditation, firearm training, and cultural rituals were brought up. Current students were asked their opinions of the most difficult and most rewarding aspects of the training, with passionate responses from KAC Toronto volunteers Hanna Ikeda-Suen (2 dan) and Cathy Tang (mudan) rounding out the day.

There are many organizations and individuals that need to be recognized for the successful hosting and promotion of this event: 

·      Ottawa Japan Karate Association for allowing us to hold this ground-breaking event in their dojo;

·      Tateyama Iaido and Jodo club for donating their regular class time and space;

·      Ottawa JET Alumni Association for promoting this event through an article in their May newsletter;

   Hanna Ikeda-Suen – 2 dan & Cathy Tang - Mudan
·      The following organizations also need to be thanked for advertising the workshop through their classes, building, social media and word of mouth. Attendance from each of these groups also showed a diversity of interests and backgrounds.
o    Ottawa Japanese Language School (OJLS)
o    Ottawa Japanese Community Association & Cultural Centre (OJCA/OJCC)
o    Embassy of Japan
o    Ottawa Sogetsu Ikebana School
o    Ottawa Kendo Club (Takahashi Dojo)
o    Ottawa Aikikai

The KAC and Seikyu Kai (Toronto JCCC Kyudo Club) look forward to growing our relationship with each of these clubs and centres to promote and spread Japanese Culture and Arts in the future.

Photographs courtesy of Stan Vardomiskiy, Tateyama Dojo

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