Chan is one, not two…balance in training, Kyudo

20 05 2009


I saw this phrase, Chan is one -Not two, posted by an elder Chan brother, it was concerning our connection to the Universe and each other. Fundamentally we are one, like leafs on a tree. This however has many implications on many levels. I have spoken in the past on my “by Sea” blog about the connection of Sailing with Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Zen, Kyudo. I have also blogged on the sameness of Tai Chi , Kyudo, Kung Fu, Chan ( Zen), that is a given with the other statement about Sailing. If two things are alike with something, they have to be alike with each other. LZ brought up the other night how “Ki” is such an important part of Japanese “Arts” Kyudo, Tea, Calligraphy, Kendo, Karate and even to a higher level in China, Acupuncture, Dim Mak, etc. This Chi ( Ki) is also a key element in forms of Yoga, some more than others.

All of these forms of “Art” study, practice involve activating Ki, moving Ki, developing Ki. In Tai Chi it is moving Chi through the body, to help the inner organs, or for defense. In forms of external Kung Fu it is to make the defense and attacks stronger and the body more resilient to attacks. In Yoga it is activating the organs to function better, and in the case of Kundalini to gave enlightenment. In Acupuncture it is Chi for healing, in Chan it is for health, spiritual awareness, compassion, mental enhancement, karmic resolution, enlightenment. In Kyudo it is for guiding the arrow, and discovering your true nature, very much like sitting Zen ( Without the arrow part).

All these are separate practices, on the outside, with the same core, the common denominator, Ki ( Chi)… Like people… Chan is one, not two…

balanceRecently my Kyudo Onii-san asked after I gave a small demo on Tai Chi/Kali/Mantis asked  if  some of my drills that could be done for Kyudo to enhance the experience/training. Of course I replied. This is one of the things that I thought was lacking in the Kyudo training from the beginning of my journey and said so in an earlier blog. Back when I set out to re- connect Spiritually with the lack of Spiritual training in Kung Fu practice which I found in Kyudo in doing Zazen. I also found the lack the connecting link from Spiritual to Physical to Mental. Meaning, when we do Kyudo  we do Zazen then we go from that direct to shooting. There is no Ki movement, activation, there is no physical warmup one just goes from one realm to another but still suppose to hold on to one, calm center( spirit) , while bring the other part ( the body) into play. Even though there isreally minimal physical movement when shooting. One stands firm, square, and the arms, chest, shoulders do most of the work. However there is the inner workings of the back, abdomen, legs, Ki. The inner workings are there, but for the most part unseen. In order to make small movements , to understand small movements , to control small movements one must be able to feel, do, sense small movements. Another Onii-san said something to the effect of it is easy to cover up the mistakes of shooting by power or using technique to hide the errors. Hmmm not quite right on my quote but, what I heard was, referenced back to Tai Chi training for me. In doing external Kung fu, it is easy to cover one’s mistakes in body position and technique with speed and power. When doing Tai Chi, because of the slowness of form all your errors, and lack of balance is exposed. To control big movements you need to control small movements.

Let’s look at the Yin/Yang symbol. It does not just jump from Yin to Yang. There are elements of both in each but when making the transition from one state to another and holding on to it’s core, it is a smooth transition.  When we do Chan meditation, we do some transition motion Chan drills to prepare the body for the the stillness of mediation. When we do , Kung Fu or Tai Chi there is Chi Kung/meditation ( stillness drils) to prepare the body for the movement of  motion Chan ( Kung Fu/Tai Chi). I recently saw an ad for Shambala Times, I believe it was, in next month article they speak with doing Yoga to prepare the body for Zazen…Chan is one, Not Two .

This is what I”m talking about, there should be some type of transcendental drills for Kyudo, to go from Sitting stillness , active core, to Active body, Still core. Something to link, unite the mind, body and spirit, something to get the Ki moving. In my opinion, it would help the Kyudo archer center better, connect sooner to his inner core, and extend that to the Yumi, Ya, Target…Chan is one, not two.

So is the purpose of Kyudo just to hit the target, they say NO!. Just like Sisuk says if you just want to get in shape go to a gym, do not take Kung Fu. Kung Fu is learning an Art, a tradition, a way of life.  If you just want to hit the target do western Archery. Is not the purpose of Kyudo, as it stands today,  to find our inner self, the self that is connected to everything, that inner dignity that is part of the wholeness of the Tao. Part of that wholeness is balance of training. The body is part of that medium for painting with the Art of Kyudo. It should not be overlooked, or thought of as separate. We shoot with the Mind, Body and Spirit, they blend to make the shot… Chan (it’s expression in Kyudo) is One, Not Two




6 responses

20 05 2009
Rick Matz

Good post. I tend to point out that yin and yang aren’t two thing; but rather one thing.

20 05 2009


22 05 2009

I wish I could be a student of yours in the martial arts. I know I would learn so much. That distance thing though.

22 05 2009

Thanks E, however I am just a child learning to walk alone. There are real masters out there.


25 05 2009
Dianna Harris

You are way too modest. I thought about you during my meditation today and how deep your thoughts are. I am such a simple person. I need you to take me on as a student so you can break it down for me.

I bow in reverence to the master.

25 05 2009

Shucks, now you got me to blush 😉

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