Kyudo, or Japanese archery, combines martial arts with the manners of evolved society. This naturally involves an enormous amount of control. In fact, the aim isn’t even always to hit the target. Shishou Rick Beal, a practitioner of the archery art, explains: “Japanese archery, or kyudo, as it is called in Japan, is often called Zen archery. I am a Zen monk. Kyudo for me is a form of Zen. Kyudo has always had a spiritual element, but this is more closely associated with the indigenous beliefs of Japan than with the imported practice of Zen. All that said, the Japanese also think it strange that we make all these distinctions, and usually just tell us to practice.” Inextricably linked with ceremony and ritual, the long bows of the Zen archer can be seen at the Los Angeles Nanka Kyudo Kai Zen Archery dojo, in still contemplation and an economy of movement rather than aggression that is ultimately, fundamentally misdirected. Zen archery strives to attain a certain perfection of form — and of self. The peacefulness of the ritual, the inner calm that radiates outward with the arrow and the reverberation of the bowstring are some of the purest things that exist in man’s nature, and the natural world beyond it. 595 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena.
—David Cotner

LA Weekly