4. The Target

The target is the objective to be reached.

It was chosen by the archer and though it is a long way off, we cannot blame it when we fail to hit it. In this lies the beauty of the way of the bow: you can never excuse yourself by saying that your opponent was stronger than you.

You were the one who chose the target and you are responsible for it.

The target can be larger, smaller, to the right or the left, but you always have to stand before it, respect it and bring it closer mentally. Only when it is at the very end of your arrow should you release the bow-string.

If you view the target as the enemy, you might well hit the target, but you will not improve anything inside yourself. You will go through life trying only to place an arrow in the centre of a piece of paper or wood, which is absolutely pointless. And when you are with other people, you will spend your time complaining that you never do anything interesting.

That is why you must choose your target, do your best to hit it, and always regard it with respect and dignity; you need to know what it means and how much effort, training and intuition was required on your part.

When you look at the target, do not concentrate on that alone, but on everything going on around it, because the arrow, when it is shot, will encounter factors you failed to take into account, like wind, weight, distance.

You must understand the target. You need to be constantly asking yourself: ‘If I am the target, where am I? How would it like to be hit, so as to give the archer the honour he deserves?’

The target only exists if the archer exists.What justifies its existence is the desire of the archer to hit it, otherwise it would be a mere inanimate object, an insignificant piece of paper or wood.

Just as the arrow seeks the target, so the target also seeks the arrow, because it is the arrow that gives meaning to its existence; it is no longer just a piece of paper; for an archer, it is the centre of the world.