The Length of the Bow. — The length of the bow varies according to the different periods, bnt it is now categorically fixed at 7 shaku and 3 sūn.
English foot = 1 shaku, ·0036.
1 sūn = 1/10 of 1 shaku.
The Strength of the Bow. — There is no exact way to show the strength of the bow by means of figures. In the ancient days the strength of the bow was estimated by stating the number of average powerful men who were required to string the bow. Thus a bow which necessitated three men to be stringed was said to have had the strength of three men.
In the present day the strength is stated by means of the thickness of the bow. Thus it is said that a bow of 6 bū, 8 bū, or 1 sūn.
1 bū = 1/10 of 1 sūn.
The ordinary strong bow is of 7 bū. The beginners generally begin with a bow of 4 bū or 3 1/2 bū.
"Makiwara."—For the practice of shooting there is a peculiar way called " Makiwara." " Makiwara" is a bundle of straw bound tightly with the length of 3 shaku 6 sun and the width of 1 shaku 5 sūn.
This bundle of straw constitutes an end for the archer. The archer stands in front of it at a distance about 4 feet, and shoots on this. This practice is to be done in order that the archer can learn how to put his body according to the rules. The advantage of the practice is that the archer can devote himself absolutely to the study of his positions required by the rules without being hampered by the existence of any special mark in a distance.
In the present day "Makiwara" is made up by putting a certain amount of straw in a cask of nearly same size as mentioned above.
The arrow used for this practice is different to the ordinary one in that it has no feathers, and therefore it is simply what is called a shaft.