Kyudo : a Martial Art


After the introduction of firearms in Japan (end of 16th century) the Japanese bow (yumi) stopped to be used as fighting weapon. Nevertheless, it stayed a training tool for the warriors, physically and spiritually, as well as as a tool for shintoist priest for various ceremonies.

Essentials of Kyudo

Near 1950, some well known Kyudo masters built the Kyudo manual, a Kyudo reference, which lists the essential parts of the practice:

  • Feeling the bow power, which must be adapted to the kyudoka physical capabilities,
  • Respect of the body lines, to show the correct posture,
  • Control of the breath,
  • Control of the gaze,
  • Spirit stability and heart honesty.


Apart from hitting the target, the shooting must be nice and true: Shin, Zen, Bi, the three words of Kyudo practice, means truth, goodness and beauty. Spectators can identify a true shooting, one that reach the objectives. Sometimes it is the origin of a vocation for new comers to start or for kyudoka to continue their practice.


  • A bow (yumi), bamboo made (or carbon or glass fiber). The bow length is close to 230cm and the handgrip is at 1/3 of the bow. The asymetrical form is special to Japanese bows.
  • Arrows (ya) are bamboo made (or aluminum or carbon) with a size depending of the kyudoka. Roughly 105cm for a 180cm kyudoka, but mainly depending on arm length.
  • The glove (gake), deerskin made, with a nock to hold the string when opening the bow.

Dojo Practice at the Kyudo Kai

Learning of the Kyudo basis is done under the direction of Charles-Antoine Masset, Renshi 5th dan every
- Saturday, from 12:30 to 14.30

Team shooting is done under the responsibility of highest ranked kyudoka present at the dojo every saturday afternoon, from 14:30

Type of shooting

Usual shooting is on a paper target (mato) placed at 28 meters from the shooter. Sometimes, we also practise long distance (60m, enteki) shooting, and we can also practise short distance shooting (3m) on a straw target (makiwara)

More information ?

The best is to go to the Dojo, stade des Cherpines à Plan-les-Ouates on saturday morning or afternoon, or go to your favorite bookstore and find one of the rare book on the subject, or surf on the web and find ... our web site. But the only way to [try to] understand Kyudo is to practise for your life.