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審 固 -Shin Ko- / Be resolute in searching for the truth.

“Anytime when a person shoots the yumi; he must never forget two principles from long ago“ is a verse from the Kyudo Kyoka (教歌 – poems). The two principles are within the Raiki-Shagi (Record of Etiquette – Truth of Shooting) and is the word Shinko (審固) made up of two characters Shin(審) and Ko(固). It is used in the verse “the bow and arrow can be handled resolutely (審固)”※.

Looking at the Shakei (射経 – Scriptures of Shooting) from China, it raises the essential elements within the Shaho (Principles of Shooting) and states “Tosho※ once wrote that the important elements of the Shaho are Shin (審), Ko (固), Man (満), 分(Bu) – Search resolutely for the truth and in fullness there will be separation.”

According to the Jito (字統), a Kanji Dictionary compiled by Shizuka Shirakawa (published by Heibonsha Ltd.), Shin (審) consists of two parts, Ben (宀) and Ban (番). (宀) symbolizes the mausoleum of our ancestors and (番) symbolizes the ascertained sacrifice to our ancestors that needs to be thorough and complete. If we look closer look at the meaning of Shin (審), it means to thoroughly search for the truth.

From the moment we hold the yumi and ya in our hands until we reach Kai; we need to always be mentally searching for the truth. We can come to understand a verse from the Kyudo Kyoka that says “if we do not pull to our fullest or are not mentally prepared, then any arrow that we release will not hit the target.” We should not be shooting with the attitude of “one shot of 100 shots”, but rather “100 shots of one shot”. This is exactly what Shin (審) is about. If we forget the concept of Shin (審) and don’t search for the truth, then it is difficult to imagine that any amount of practice will produce any great results. That would be unthinkable.

The character Ko (固) also consists of two parts, the characters Ko (古) and Koku (口). The character for Ko (古) is formed by a vessel used for blessings represented by the character Kuchi (口) with the character Kan or Hoko (干) representing a spear on top of it. It is then surrounded by the character Koku (口) to form the character Ko (固) . Its meaning is to firmly defend what is sacred. In this case, it does not mean firm in the physical sense.

When we hold the yumi and ya and deal with all the complications we face, remember to use Shin (審) and be resolute. At any moment, we should never forget this.

※The original Japanese for “the bow and arrow can be handled resolutely” is 「弓矢を持ること審固にして (Yumi-Ya wo toru-koto shinko ni shite」.

※Tosho (鄧鐘) known as Deng Zhong in Chinese was a military general during the Three Kingdoms Period of China.