Kyudo: The Way of the Bow

19 July 2017 - 26 July 2017
Kanjuro Shibata Sensei XXI



Discover the Art of Kyudo!

Centuries ago in Japan, archery was regarded as the highest discipline of the Samurai warrior. Then, as the bow lost its significance as a weapon of war, and under the influence of Buddhism, Shinto, Daoism and Confucianism, Japanese archery evolved into Kyudo, the "Way of the Bow", a powerful and highly refined contemplative practice.

This practice is now taught by Kanjuro Shibata Sensei, kyudo master and the XXIst heir to the title of onyumishi, the emperors bowmaker. Kanjuro Shibata XXI Sensei is the leader of the international Zenko school, founded by his father, Shibata XX Sendai Sensei. Dechen Chöling is part of Zenko’s European branche Oko.

In the tradition of the Heki Ryu Bishu Chikurin-ha school, Kyudo is not a competitive sport and marksmanship is regarded as relatively unimportant. According to Shibata XX Sendai Sensei, the ultimate goal of Kyudo is to polish the mind.

The practice of Kyudo is deceptively simple. Students receive instruction in the basic form, "sishido", or seven coordinations. After the initial training, practice begins by shooting at a straw target only a yumi’s length away. When a degree of proficiency is attained, the practice expands to include ”hitote” or long distance shooting at 28 meters.

Working with the precision of the form, a natural process gradually unfolds through which the practitioner has the opportunity to see the mind more clearly. The target becomes a mirror which reflects the qualities of heart and mind at the moment of the arrow's release. This distinguishes Kyudo from archery where simply hitting the target is the goal. Kyudo is "standing meditation" and a true contemplative art. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the renowned Tibetan meditation master close friend of Shibata Sendai Sensei, said, "Through Kyudo one can learn to live beyond hope and fear".

One is not polishing one's shooting style or technique, but the mind. The dignity of shooting is the important point. This is how Kyudo differs from the common approach to archery. In Kyudo there is no hope. Hope is not the point. The point is that through long and genuine practice your natural dignity as a human being comes out. This natural dignity is already in you, but it is covered up by a lot of obstacles. When they are cleared away, your natural dignity is allowed to shine forth.
- Shibata Sendai Sensei.

The Kyudo path is one of self-discovery and ultimately, self-realization. Although the path may be long, there are vast rewards along the way. It all begins with the first shot.

Open to all

This programme is open to both beginners and advanced students. Men and women of all ages are able to practice Kyudo. Physical strength is not a factor. Children can begin from eight years of age on.

This program is taught in English. Translation into French or other languages are available at no extra costs. Please give us notice of your request as early as possible, so that we can provide translation service.


All equipment will be provided. With the help of Oko kyudojo, Dechen Chöling has recently constructed an elegant “azuchi”, a traditional Japanese structure in which the targets are placed, and a new ‘shayo’, the shooting platform.

Clothing: Kyudo traditionally is practiced in ceremonial “gi”: a white kimono jacket and black hakama trousers or skirt. Students who do not have this, are advised to practice in a white shirt, and black or dark-coloured trousers or (long) skirt.


Arrival day is Wesnesday July 19. You're invited to come from 4 pm in order to register and settle in your tent. Dinner is served at 6.45 pm. Orientation talk at 8 pm.
The program ends on Tuesday July 25 in the evening (11 pm). On departure day (July 26), you may leave anytime (no program). You're welcome to stay for lunch.



For Zenko and Oko members, there is a discount of 50 € on the program price below.



After the retirement of Shibata Sendai XX in October 2011, his adopted son, Shibata Kanjuro XXI, aka Nobuhiro Shibata, was recognized as the 21st in the Shibata Lineage and assumed the duties of Imperial Bowmaker to the Emperor of Japan. Now the official head of Zenko International, the multi-national organization of Shibata-style Kyudo. Sensei lives in Kyoto, Japan where he has operated a yumi or bowmaking workshop for more than two decades.






Price of your stay

Standard610 euro
Discounted458 euro

Standard price: global tarif including the program fee, full board comprising standard accommodation (Dechen Chöling tent) and organic meals. Room tax non included: (0,20 € per night and per person).

Discounted price: 25% reduction on the standard price for people with monthly net income below 1200 €. Room tax non included: (0,20 € per night and per person).

Other services

  • You may select a single or double room during online registration (if available, we’ll confirm by mail after registration).
  • Shuttle transport or taxi (all year round) and child care options (July/August) are available.
  • The insurance covering you during your stay (third party liability) is included in the yearly required membership fee for the Association Shambhala Europe (15 €).

We would like finances not to be a barrier to your participation. If needed, Dechen Chöling can propose several financial assistance options (monthly payment, scholarship…).
Do not hesitate to contact us: