Our dojo holds instruction in the gymnasium
of the Pasadena Japanese
Cultural Institute, which is located at 595 Lincoln Avenue,
Pasadena, California. The Institute is on the west side of the street,
one half-block south of Orange Grove Boulevard and directly opposite
the Lincoln Avenue post office. A map is available here.
Visitors or new students are always welcome.
When asked what specific style he teaches, our sensei has been
known simply to reply, "Kyudo." Although two styles are
practiced at our dojo, we believe as our sensei does that they are
both paths to the same goal—again, as our sensei says, "Kyudo
Most students practice the "Federation" style, so called
because it is overseen and regulated by the All
Nippon Kyudo Federation. The Federation is the sole body that
assigns rankings; sufficiently advanced students can be awarded
"dan" ranks equivalent to the "black belts"
awarded in other martial arts. Periodically, the Federation holds
seminars (both in the U.S. and Japan) at which tests are held and
the ranks awarded; tests for ranks above go-dan (5th level)
are only held in Japan.
Other students practice muyo
shingetsu ryu, a much older and more "internal"
style than the official Federation style, and we are one of the
few dojos country to practice this style. There are no rankings
in this style, and with the exception of some ceremonial forms,
practice is entirely individual.
Classes at the dojo are held every Saturday evening except for
major holidays. At the dojo, we practice with makiwara
(practice targets, positioned only a bow's length away from the
archer). Students who wish to work on distance or target shooting
meet at the Rancho
Park Archery Range on Sunday mornings from 8:30AM to 10:30AM.
For Saturday evening practice: At 5:00, we meet at the dojo to
clean and prepare the space. This serves many purposes: obviously,
it cleans the space, and doing this enables us to contribute actively
to the upkeep of the Cultural Institute's shared space; but it is
also a symbolic purification, both of the dojo and ourselves.
At approximately 6:15, we convene for sitting and walking mediation.
Then, shooting practice begins; usually, concentrating on the group
form of the Federation style. At 8:00, we break for a time of community,
sharing tea and announcements; then we return to practice, usually
concentrating on individual work. We conclude at 9:30, closing with
a short meditation; then all share in the task of putting away the
Instruction runs throughout the evening. The instructors will sometimes
assist students as they shoot, or take individuals or small groups
aside and discuss specific points. Much instruction is simply by
observation: watching others shoot, and especially watching the
instructors shoot. A time-honored kyudo tradition is that students
"borrow" instruction, paying close attention whenever
an instructor assists another student.
To join the dojo, every student must join the PJCI, at an annual
fee of $25. There is no fixed monthly fee for the dojo; each student
is simply asked to contribute what he or she can. We are a 501c(3)
organization, and all donations to the dojo are tax-deductible.
The kyudo uniform is a white keiko-gi, a hakama
(black for men, black or navy blue for women), an obi (the
color and pattern of which is entirely the student's choice), and
white tabi. Federation students who have attained a high
enough ranking may wear a kimono. We can help you order
these garments, or you can obtain them from online sources (when
ordering online, be sure that you ascertain whether the vendor is
using American or Japanese sizes).
Please be advised that there are differences between the gi
and the hakama for kyudo and for other sports such as naginata
or kendo, and not all martial-arts-equipment purveyors are aware
of these differences. While any white keiko-gi and hakama
are acceptable wear for practice in our dojo (and students who have
not yet obtained their uniforms are still welcome to practice with
us), those who wish to take a Federation ranking test are very strongly
advised to wear only the appropriate uniform for such events.
The dojo provides bows, arrows, gloves, and other such items for
student use; students need not purchase any of these items (which
can be quite expensive) until they feel that the time is right to
do so. Rick-shish recommends
that when a student joins the dojo, he should try to contribute
$25 every month to a savings account; when it is the appropriate
time for the student to purchase equipment, there will be enough
saved to pay for it.