Home > 一語一得 / One Story, One Lesson

土、水、木、火、金 -Do, Sui, Moku, Ka, Kin- / The five elements in Kyudo.-Eearth, Water, Wood, Fire, Metal-

It is well-known that above the sumo arena, tassels hung from the roof in the four corners are colored: blue, red, white and black. In the past, there were four pillars. They represented in order: east, south, west, and north. During our training in Kyudo, when we recite the "Shaho-kun", it is similar to what is written in the Four Scrolls of the Chikurin. The shooting form in Kyudo is based on the Gorin-kudaki (Five-Ring Stupa): earth, water, wood, fire, and metal.

Beginning with "the body of earth with the color of yellow; the square positioned in the center", the center body represents Yugamae and Dozukuri forming the square in the center. Next are "body of water with the color of black; the circle positioned to the north", "body of wood with the color of blue; the rectangle positioned to the east" and "body of fire with the color of red; the triangle positioned to the south". And finally reaching the fifth stupa is the "golden body with the color of white; the half-moon positioned to west".

In honor of Junsei Yoshimi while looking at the Four Scrolls of the Chikurin transmitted to the Kishu by Naozo Santo, it is written "We must keep in mind and remember well the strength of the right hand and the feeling of a soft release. Strength forged from training should be enough to break even steel; with the profound significance of a serene, explosive, firm, strong release. During this stage of training, the head of the household has stated that the highest level of the shooting form is like that of the morning storm and the foliage of red-autumn leaves."

Not just limited to Kyudo, the use of colors such as yellow representing the center with blue, red, white and black have been expressed throughout history such as the Gods of the Four Directions, or the Four Symbols: the Azure Dragon of the East (青龍- Seiryu), the Vermillion Bird of the South (朱雀- Suzaku), the White Tiger of the West (白虎- Byakko), and the Black Turtle of the North (玄武- Genbu). It is said that these four benevolent beings reside in the "capital of tranquility and peace" known as Heian-kyo (平安京) or modern-day Kyoto. Our bodies are also expressed by the five elements and directions. To the east is our liver and eyes. To the south is our heart and tongue. To the west is our lung and nose. To the north is our kidney and ear. And to the center is our spleen and mouth. When you start to explore the antiquity, things start to become more fascinating.

The Stages of Shooting ; Shahou-Hassetsu