Dragons Lair Martial Arts school of Japanese Martial Arts


Kyu-Jutsu is the Japanese form of archery, it is the technique of fighting with the bow. It has been around for many centuries and at one point in history it was the primary weapon of the samurai class of Japan. It was used in battles amongst the various clans in feudal Japan.

The bow has a long history with uses for war, hunting, ceremonial, and court games. The Japanese yumi bow is over two metres in length and is asymmetrical (the grip is located below the centre). The yumi bow was made primarily with bamboo and wood. The same techniques are used today to construct the yumi bows that were used centuries ago in Japan. The string on the bow can be made from a natural fibre e.g. hemp, or a synthetic fibre. The arrows, known as ya in Japanese are very long compared to arrows from western archery.  The use of different arrow heads depended on the style, whether it was for competition shooting, ceremonial reasons, hunting, and war in Japan during the 15th to 17th centuries. At the Dragons Lair Kyujutsu club the arrow heads used are metal bullet point heads. The archers fire at a target known as a mato which come in a range of sizes and are made up of straw. After training all equipment must be checked, cleaned, repaired (if needed), and stored properly for use in the next session.

At the Dragons Lair the Kyujutsu archers are trained to fire at the different points located on a target (mato), and the use of formation firing allows students to understand and practice the drills used by the military archers in Japan. The archers also train to fire from a number of positions including standing, kneeling, and firing from behind cover. Fast paced movement is an integral part of training. The use of Japanese commands throughout the class gives the students a greater knowledge of the terminology associated with Kyujutsu.

Throughout the Kyujutsu journey the students are graded and attend seminars with trained instructors from other clubs in Europe. The Dragons Lair Kyujutsu club is the only recognised Kyujutsu School within Ireland with fully qualified instructors. 

Class timetable

See the timetable page for details of our classes.

Classes are held on Saturdays at the Dragons Lair at 12pm (noon) until 1.30pm, all are welcome.


Equipment Used

The bow

  • Yumi – Bow
  • String –Tsuru
  • Ha – Distance between bow and string
  • Nigiri – Bow grip

The arrow

  • Hazu – Nock
  • Ha – Feather
  • Ne – Arrow head

Common Phrases:

  • Heisoku dachi – Feet close together
  • Sonkyo – Kneeling position on one knee
  • Mokuso – Meditation
  • Sabaki – Turn to Kamiza
  • Kamiza rei – Bow to kamiza for 3 seconds
  • Kamiza – Seat of the spirits/gods
  • Ni ashi – Kneeling on both knees
  • Kara ya – No arrows left
  • Utte/utte desu – Shoot
  • Nuki dashite kudasai – Get the arrows
  • Yumi wo hiite desu – String up/unstring the bow