The distance Kyudo (Japanese) archers shoot is 28 metres. That's right: almost twice as far as a standard Olympic-style tournament. Why so 'up-close-and-personal', then?
This was what I saw when I went to the Japanese Cultural Centre around Don Mills. The kyudo dojo: impressively big. Probably even most of their 28 metres. Instead of of taking advantage of that, they divided the space like a rorschach. Target blocks lined 2 opposing walls, and I presumed they'd stand back to back and each line of people would use half of the room. Nope. Not even.
I should say, I was fairly relieved. We spectators were seated at a right angle to the targets with no barrier besides tape on the floor and rules.
When they took their positions right up at the targets, there were these obvious advantages:
- They weren't going to hit us.
- They really couldn't miss.
- It makes for a better photograph.
This place is remarkably close to the E.T. Seton archery range, too - where there are targets set up at 30 metres. So, come on. What's the deal?
I asked around and the basic idea seems to be this:
Don't think of them as targets. Think of them as arrow stoppers.
(Mostly. We saw one that went right through the block to the other side.) If you don't have 28 m and you want to practise exactly the form you would if you did, you block the arrow's path.
That's lateral thinking for ya, eh? It makes me think of all sorts of wonderful puzzles. Sid Shady in MindTrap. Those physics ones that always involve 2 goblets, a dollar bill and an ice cube. Bravo!
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