History

From 1991 to 2016

2016 marks Kyudo Quebec's 25th Anniversary

While Kyudo Quebec is the corporate name, the dojo is actually called Suiko. The name originated during a program in Montreal led by Shibata Sensei XX. Delighted by the constant presence of water around the island city, he named the dojo Suiko (water tiger) replacing Enko (tiger's beauty and elegance) a name he had previously chosen.

School and Style

The Kyudo style practiced at Suiko stems from the traditional school of Heki Bishu Chikurin-ha. Based on the concept of meditation in action it is different from a sport, based on performance and competition. See also the Kyudo tab.

Origins of the Chikurin Style

In Japan's feudal period, the bow was the Samurai class weapon of choice. The different combat styles were not yet standardized at that time, and in the middle of the 15th century a warrior named Heki Danjo Masatsugu (1443-1502) who had won fame at the battles of Kyoto, developed a method that would radically transform Japanese archery. It is said that he handed down his technique to the Yoshida family. The Yoshida-ryu was then divided and passed down to two separate successors. As we know, legends are also passed down, leading us to conflicting versions as to the origins of schools and styles.

Therefore, we should also highlight Heki Yazaemon Noritsugu (1394-1427) as founder of the Heki tradition and the Chikurin style. The Heki Chikurin school then split into several branches, one of them being the Kanjuro Shibata line dating back to the 15th century.

Bishu is the region of Japan connected with the Heki Bishu Chikurin-ha style that we practice at Kyudo Quebec's Suiko Kyudojo.

The gradual introduction of firearms in the 16th century led to the decline of the bow used in combat. And, under the influence of Zen Buddhism, Kyujutsu (the technique of the bow) became Kyudo (the way of the bow). From a weapon of war the bow then became a tool used in self-growth, and the dojo a place to meet oneself, the true target found within.

After the end of World War II, the Japanese Kyudo Federation's goal was to standardize the teachings of the different Kyudo schools. However, the Heki Bishu Chikurin-ha school is not part of the Federation. Kanjuro Shibata XX (1921-2013) never wanted his students to be part of any classification system.

Chikurin in the West

Kyudo is very popular in Japan. In some schools, it is often practiced as a sport, the importance being placed on hitting the target. Shibata Sensei XX disagreed; he considered Kyudo a way to help polish one's mind, the importance being placed on shooting with dignity.

In 1980 Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoché (1939-1987) invited Kanjuro Shibata XX to the United States in order to teach Kyudo to the members of the Shambhala community. They founded Ryuko Kyudojo together in Boulder, Colorado and it also became the location of Sensei's residence.

Within the next few years, Shibata Sensei helped set up 25 dojos in the US, Canada and Europe. He gave each new dojo a tiger name such as Seiko, Toko, Enko, Suiko, Kinko, Kanko, Koko, Reiko, Monko etc. Overseeing all the Tiger dojos was Ryuko Kyudojo (dragon tiger) which became known as Zenko International in 2005.

Kyudo in Montreal In the early 1990’s, a few people living in Montreal and the surrounding areas wished to practice Kyudo. They traveled to Vermont in September 1991 and attended a Kyudo Intensive Program led by Shibata Sensei XX at Karmê Chöling’s Seiko Kyudojo. They were introduced to the basic Kyudo form and did their first shot. In October of the same year, Guy Hince, Gilbert St-Laurent and two others 2 founded Kyudo Quebec, Their mission statement was to promote Kyudo in Quebec and to encourage its practice in its traditional form.

Training Programs

Every program is a special opportunity to learn, whether it is a Beginner’s introduction program, an Intensive led by Sensei or a guest Chief-Instructor, or an Instructor’s program. Each one also offers a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and methods with members of other dojos in Canada, the US and Europe.

In 1992, Kyudo Quebec organized two Beginner’s introduction programs in Montreal, then a third one in 1993, headed by Shibata Sensei XX. Another beginner’s program, headed by Sensei, took place in May 1994.

In 1994, Kyudo Quebec’s president, Guy Hince, left Montreal and settled in Saskatoon. Following his departure, Marcel Charron and Jean-Pierre Poggi took charge of the dojo. Twenty two years later, those two chief-instructors are still at the center of Suiko Kyudojo. Helped by other instructors and active members, they ensure the dojo’s outreach and carry out its proper functioning.

In June 1996, the Montreal dojo helped organize the Kanko Kyudojo program in Ottawa. Since 1998, the Kyudo Quebec Intensive Programs have been held at the Villa St-Martin. Shibata Sensei XX has headed the 1998, 2000 and 2002 Programs. Since 2004, all of Suiko’s Kyudo Intensive Programs have been led by Don Symanski, Chief-Instructor for North America, one of Shibata Sensei’s first students and a maker of Japanese traditional bows himself. See also the Teaching tab.

Weekly practice

Regular weekly practice starts after a beginner's introduction to the Kyudo basics. Students repeat the same movements, week after week, the form's seven coordinations, Shichido, and later move on to Hitote, Tsukubai and Reisha, standing or kneeling, alone or synchronized with others. The dojo is open every Monday evening, allowing all students to practice assiduously, observe, receive technical advice, self-correct and... eventually polish their mind.

Dojo locations

In the beginning, Kyudo Quebec's practice location was the Watanabe dojo on StZotique St. in Montreal. From September 1994 to 1996, a second dojo was also available in Mont-St-Hilaire. Then, from 1995 to 2001, the dojo settled in the Montreal Shambhala Center on Ste-Catherine St. As members grew in numbers, Kyudo Quebec had to look for a larger space. It then moved to the Centre JeanPierre Perreault on Sherbrooke St. where it stayed until 2006. From 2006 to 2008 it settled in the Centre St-Barthélémy on Des Érables St. It has since moved back to 2022 Sherbrooke St. - the location now known as Circuit-Est - and has remained there to this day in 2016.

Starting usually in May - weather permitting - outdoor practices are available, featuring long distance shooting. Kyudo Demonstrations Starting in 1993, Kyudo Quebec has undertaken a series of Kyudo demonstrations across Quebec in order to let the public know about Kyudo. Some demonstrations are requested at private gatherings while others take place at special events.

Public Kyudo demonstrations remain an effective promotional activity. In 1993 and 1994 demonstrations were presented at the Sport and Recreational Show at the Olympic Stadium and in 1996 at the Budo Show in Verdun, along other Martial Arts demonstrations. Locations and events featuring Japanese culture were also considered an excellent opportunity for Kyudo demonstrations and during the summer months of 1993 and 1994, they took place each Sunday at the Botanical Garden's Japanese pavilion. And later, they were held at the Canadian History Museum in Hull, the Japanese Festival in Chicoutimi in 2003, Place Desjardins during the Asia-Pacific week and at Maisonneuve Park, among others. Kyudo Quebec regularly presents demonstrations at the Montreal Matsuri - Japanese festival - held yearly in August.

Demonstrations always trigger questions from attendees. In some cases they lead to television coverage, radio programs and Magazine articles. Such as:

Radio-Canada, Second regard.

Radio-Quebec, Le club des 100 watts (in a section featuring ethnic groups' traditional values), June 1994.

CBC, Busy Bodies, October 1994.

The Globe and Mail, Zen Archery, Susan Pinker, May 2nd, 2002.

Le Guide Ressource, Kyudo: la méditation par le tir à l'arc, Sophie Legault, Février 2004.

Kyudo demonstrations are also part of formal occasions such as those that were offered for Sensei and his guests and are still offered at Program closings and New Year celebrations in the dojo.

And, of course, there are the regular demonstrations performed at the dojo during information sessions in front of invited guests who have expressed an interest in Kyudo. Information sessions are held at the dojo on Monday evenings, four times a year.

Emblem and Logo

In September 1997, Suiko adopted as its emblem a now famous image showing a traditionally clad archer, bow fully drawn, poised to release his arrow. This superb pen and ink is an original artwork, a Sumi-e created for Kyudo Quebec by Dao Han Yu, a Canadian artist.

Then, in 2011, for its 20th Anniversary, Kyudo Quebec created its logo showing the Enzo circle - merging emptiness and form - crossed by two arrows in opposite directions, referring to the circular nature of Kyudo practice during which, symbolically, the archer aiming at a target ends up touching himself.

The illustration and the logo are found on Kyudo Quebec's website and pamphlets. Two calligraphies also appear, The Way of the Bow and Suiko Kyudojo, the latter created by Kanjuro Shibata XX.

Values

All Japanese Masters, regardless of their style, share the same core values in Kyudo: Shin (serenity and truth), Zen (goodness and courtesy), Bi (beauty and dignity). Besides those qualities that he embodied, Kanjuro Shibata XX also promoted three heartfelt values: Chi (wisdom) listening without judgement, Jin (kindness) helping others, yu (bravery) persevering relentlessly in spite of resistance and opposition.

The Montreal dojo is a secular and open dojo where no sign of political, religious or sectarian affiliation is allowed and all manner of discrimination banned. The fundamental values of Kyudo Quebec are simplicity, helping one another,and respect: respect of customs, respect of people and their personal journey, respect of discipline and of teachings, and respect of equipment and of the space used for practice. Suiko Kyudojo ceased being part of Zenko International in 2009. And during that same year Kyudo Quebec set down the rules and regulations for the proper functioning of the dojo. It also defined its core values and its mission which also included promoting the teachings received from Kanjuro Shibata XX as it continues to be passed on by Don Symanski and by the dojo instructors.

List of Instructors From 1991 to 2015

Guy Hince

Marcel Charron

Jean-Pierre Poggi

Carmen Frenette

Albert Simon

Arlette Nadon

Nicole Bouchard

Patrick Le Duc

Michèle Turcotte

Michel Régnier

Michael Otabe

Benoît Newberry

In 2016

Marcel Charron

Jean-Pierre Poggi

Albert Simon

Michael Otabe

Benoît Newberry

Monique Lebire

Marc Pape 

   © Kyudo Québec Inc. 2011