Archery, fencing, spear fighting, all of the martial arts, tea ceremony, flower arranging...in all of these, correct breathing, correct balance, and correct stillness help to remake the individual. The basic aim is always the same: by tirelessly practicing a given skill, the student finally sheds the ego with its fears, worldly ambitions, and reliance on objective scrutiny - sheds it so completely that he becomes the instrument of a deeper power, from which mastery falls instinctively, without further effort on his part, like a ripe fruit.
I didn't want a guru or a kung fu master or a spiritual director. I didn't want to become a sorcerer or learn the zen of archery or meditate or align my chakras or uncover mast incarnations...I was after something else entirely, but it wasn't in the Yellow Pages or anywhere else that I could discover.
Boredom is that awful state of inaction when the very medicine ― that is, activity ― which could solve it, is seen as odious. Archery? It is too cold, and besides, the butts need re-covering; the rats have been at the straw. Music? To hear it is tedious; to compose it, too taxing. And so on. Of all the afflictions, boredom is ultimately the most unmanning. Eventually, it transforms you into a great nothing who does nothing ― a cousin to sloth and a brother to melancholy.
If asked to sketch a picture of the typical archer I would be hard put. They seem to come in all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds. Inwardly they seem to have in common a love for the outdoors, a reverence for wildlife, and a close tie with history. There is nothing they seem to enjoy more than telling tall tales around a campfire or talking about archery to others. It would be difficult to find a more interesting group of people.
Famous archer, Howard Hill won all of the 267 archery contests he entered. He could hit a bullseye at 50 feet, then split first arrow with the second. Would it be possible for you to shoot better than him? YES, if he were blindfolded! How can you hit a target you can't see? Even worse, how can you hit a target you don't even have!? You need to have GOALS in your life!
All my playmates were black. I lived in a little community called Archery (ph) in a rural area. And I didn't have any white neighbors at all. So all my kids with whom I fought and wrestled and went fishing and worked in the field and so forth were African-Americans. And that was my life. So when I got to be school age, we had to separate during the daytime, but I always felt like I was in an alien environment when I was in Plains, Georgia with white kids. I was eager to get back where I belonged with... Read more »