WHAT WE ARE AND WHY
Our archery classes combine both philosophy and practical training. We teach children, teenagers and adults.
The first lesson alone gives tangible results in terms of concentration and determination - everyone can see it by the arrows shot neatly into the target. Recommended duration of the focus and determination training class to is two hours. During the first hour, the mind strives to adapt, learn and unwind; during the second hour it is fully at your and your goal's disposal. After two months of training, we can observe good results in shooting accuracy and - what's more important - the student has gained tranquillity and positive attitude not focusing on mistakes, forgiving mistakes unconditionally, forgiving in every case. The mind is capable of staying focused and determined which that is important especially today when there are so many things that can distract us - technologies, bright advertisements, noises etc.
Archery can turn into determination and focus practice if the teenager or adult marks off the intended path of their development. During the class, we create suitable environment for this to happen using a slow warm-up and breathing exercises that generate a feeling of inner peace and harmony. Afterwards, shooting a bow and hitting the target is a joy that strengthens one's self-discovery, one's perfection.
Archery is definitely not a method to release one's anger, it never should become something like that. Shooting a bow is a form of an active meditation during which one discovers the inner source of peace and harmony - although this may seem completely opposite to precision competition. Precise shooting is still an objective and that should happen with learning to maintain peace, balance and joy, but shooting precision is no longer the main goal. As soon as the person starts shooting arrows peacefully, calmly, enjoying the process and having a feeling of gratification, the person frees themselves from social influence; one no longer has to hit the target being tied to the expectations of other people. A person starts to do something just because it makes their spirit happy, they do it with joy. With time, it allows people to become free from the influence of the society, their psyche gains balance, they start doing jobs they love, jobs that make them happy and content. Each shot is like focusing on the exit from the maze of one's mind.
This method starts working in the instant a person makes the decision to begin training. During the first class, they learn the basics of the focusing method and we spend most of the time going through archery safety rules. We intensively teach the basics of the use of the tool (in this case: bow) in the first three to five classes. The teacher makes observations of how much and to what extent the person has learnt the usage of the tool, it is marked also in the student's journal at the end of each practice. (It's not obligatory, but we advise having a journal.) When the student has mastered archery basics, we start working with their chosen goals at the same time training their focus. From the fifth class onwards, the teacher instructs the person to focus on the conscious moments of joy as the arrow hits the target.
Archery is a practical way to create deep inner peace. Today, people often talk about joy, we know that joy is something we should look for, but there are very few practical activities that allow us to experience it.
Practicing archery - especially at the beginning - every arrow that occasionally hits the target creates joy in us and our reaction shows it.
The joy starts to accumulate and multiplies. Each arrow that hits the target becomes a conscious reflex of creating joy.
Regular archery practice enhance our inner dialogue. There are days when everything goes smoothly as well as days when it doesn't. The positive sum of these days allow us to overcome the feeling of helplessness and setbacks.
Gradually, we gain more determination and the precise arrows allow us to feel as winners and increase our self-esteem. The winner is not the one whose arrows have hit the target most precisely in comparison to the companion's arrows. The winner is the one who has overcome their doubt, illusions, weakness, conceit - the wish to show-off - and other destructive traits of the mind. In real life too this reflex starts to attract joy and positive emotions in our daily family or work activities as well as in our achievements. Subtly, the mind becomes positive, progress-oriented. This way, a person learns the nature of their own mind and acquires techniques to manage it. Enthusiasm and joy of regular archery practice allows to overcome the heaviness, vulnerability and helplessness of one's mind. It gives valuable experience in terms of how an activity can shape the person; and it brings out the sum of positive experiences.
Meaning of Symbols
We use only traditional, light-weight wooden bows meant for short distances. These bows allow the archer to slowly enjoy every shot. Training focus we use the following tools with very important symbolic meaning.
The bow symbolizes the inner life energy given to each of us by God. Our responsibility is to skilfully create this energy, to create our own life
The arrow is our intention ultimately reaching the target. Joy, Freedom and Peace all result from reaching the goal.
God has given us this bow - life energy - and, ethically applied, our intentions like arrows reach their targets. We feel that we have realized our potential, we feel successful, we are skilful creators of our own life.
In the instant when the bow is pulled back, the person focuses, even stops breathing... This is one of the most important moments for the focus training: you make the decision, take the responsibility and release the arrow. Basically this is the most wonderous moment of creation; we train to take responsibility of reaching the goals we have chosen in our life. This is the most important thing that requires training and that is often disregarded: how to make a fast decision, to choose, to shoot the arrow. The focus training is the centrepiece of our method and we train it since the very first archery lesson. At first, it's done unconsciously, even lightmindedly, as if just learning to shoot a bow. But actually, every time shooting an arrow, we train ourselves to make the decision to create.
As soon as the arrow is released and a moment later it has reached the goal, we experience joy (the joy of creation). Sometimes it is not even important how precisely the arrow has hit, because we feel joy both unconsciously and consciously of the wonder of the creation itself.
When all the arrows have reached the target, we go to fetch them. This is the moment to draw conclusions, analyse and to mark - only for oneself - the results of the focus training. There is no "good" or "bad", we don't search for the guilty one, we tame our mind. Our observations allow us to choose when to continue and when to say "enough". These practical results teach us about the nature of our mind; we decide for ourselves when to start the practice, when to stop or when to rest. In this process, we join inspiration and our mind with physical abilities and manifestation.
We become independent, self-sufficient, we have joined our physical and mental abilities.