Our travellers had come to seek out the Seikyu Kai archers, who live in Toronto and strive to perfect their form at Japanese archery. The friends quickly passed through the colourful festivities to find the bright but serene dojo, with shining floors and glass walls. A welcoming student bade them enter and showed them a man, stooping over his equipment, who would answer their queries.
Chris came to them after the kyudoka made a recitation of their philosophy, and he narrated the action of the dojo, as a special ceremony was being practised that day. He told them of the way of the bow, explained much so that they could appreciate the beauty and discipline of kyudo.
A small woman named Tane came to the group after some time, holding her bow and arrows. She sent Chris on his way, to take his turn at practising, while she carried on the story by showing and telling us about the equipment she held, the materials from which they were made and how the pieces show the skill and experience of the user. The glove to which the arrows are nocked, the bow - longer by far than any longbow - were unlike any seen by Tara, a student of Olympic-style archery.
Now, Chris had noted that Tara used Olympic-style archery and sent Min to meet the friends. Min has practised both disciplines, indeed from Joan MacDonald herself and these sensei, the top kyudo practitioners in this land foreign to them. He told them of the differences between the two, the challenge of practising two arts so similar and the wisdom of laying one aside until being satisfied with one's achievement in the other.
The friends left the dojo with more knowledge than they could hope to hold onto but they felt much richer for having seen the practice of kyudo and warmed by the welcome they had received.
They traipsed into the festival and spent their day happily ever after amid toys, flowers and delicious morsels.
Visit Seikyu Kai's site: http://toronto.kyudo.ca/
The photo here is courtesy of Peter Lam, a photographer I met at their class. Here's a site I'm passing along on his behalf: www.torontofencing.com