If you do kyudo or tried it in IBU or wherever in Japan and want to practice in Europe here is a map of the dojos in Europe.
As a rule of thumb, Eastern Europe and the German and Italian speaking parts are usually Heki dojos, Western Europe is usually ANKF shomen dojos. Of course with exceptions and with some other ryus present in some countries.
But usually all dojos are welcoming towards all kinds of kyudoka.
After 3 years I managed to go to a kyudo training in Brussels!
You might wonder what took me so long… Well, as always, it is complicated. But the two main reasons are time and money. Let me explain 🙂
Time – In my first year I spent most of my time with my masters degree and getting used to this country. Exploring Leuven, the small student city I am living in at the moment. Also there was an issue of not having any equipment in country. In the second year this changed, I managed to move my kyudo stuff to Belgium but still lacked the time for it because I was finishing up my masters here. Also for time, it has to be noted that the closest dojo is in Brussels which is an average 40 min trip from here plus the time from the train station to the dojo and all these times two ended up somewhere like a 5-6 hour program. That was a bit too long plus quite expensive.
Money – And this is where the money part comes in. A Sunday kyudo traning costs around 10€ just for the commuting. Plus dojo fees will make it considerably higher. And as a student, having barely enough income for self support this was sadly out of the question.
And the third one, which was kind of my mistake is that I got so used to communicate in email that I did not try to just go and show up say a year ago. The exact same way I showed up this week.
Showing up was a very good decision 🙂 It is a shomen dojo, which is why I tried to get in touch with them in email first. But they had no problem having a shamen shooter visiting or even joining the dojo. Which gives me hope that all kyudokas regardless the ryuha can work together in Europe in the future.
They are a very good and nice dojo. Relaxed atmosphere, very good sensei, senpai and dojomates. Some theory was mixed in to the practice when a question came up. Sensei is always going around and seeing your problems and correcting, helping.
I got my bit rusty kyudo in some shape with his help. Always a little advice, always a little change. Not a lot, and not at the same time. So you can build it in, progress and learn from it.
Altogether it was a very good experience and I am sad that I only made it to Brussels now, just a little before leaving Belgium. I hope to go some more time before departure and maybe after Japan too.