Thursday, June 28, 2012

Teachings of Awa Kenzo (1880 - 1939)

Awa Kenzo was a Japanese Archery Master. Below are some of his teachings which might be helpful in darts;

- Everyone tries to shoot naturally, but nearly all practioners have some kind of strategy, some kind of shallow, artificial, calculating technical trick that they rely on when they shoot. Technical tricks ultimately lead nowhere. Shoot without shooting.

- Each shot shows what you have suffered through, what you have practiced.

- If you are upset or nervous, that is proof you lack something. Do not be sad or gloomy-foster virtue, feel compassion, and you can save even devils.

- Human beings always cling to things. Practice begins when you stop clinging.

- If you look at the target as your enemy you will never make progress. The target is a reference point, not your opponent.

- Our Way is ultimately a solitary pursuit. It is based  on establishing your true self, and only you can do that. You must break out of your shell on your own. We are looking to Shoot straight,  free of distraction.

- If you want to win practice virtue. If you win with virtue, your opponent buries himself. That is the true victory. Trying to win relying on technique is a great mistake. If you want to emerge victorius, penetrate the mysteries of Shooting. Give up dissapation, forge your spirit, overcome sloth and pride. In Shooting respect and being high- minded are the keys.

These teachings and others come from  the book Zen Bow, Zen Arrow. The life and teachings of Awa Kenzo written by John Stevens. I got this book from Amazon and found it an interesting read.

Another good read if you like this sort of thing is Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigal which is the story of how Herrigal went to Japan to teach at a Japanese University between the wars and learnt archery from Awa Kenzo.

Kenzo taught archery as a martial art and competed with success at tournaments throughout Japan. At about the age of 41 he seemed to have a revelation and began the doctrine of the "Shooting Way" and taught  his students shooting without shooting.

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