Traditional mounted archery
In traditional Japanese archery Yabusame (流鏑馬) is a type of mounted archery. On a running horse, an archer shoots three special "turnip-headed" arrows successively at three wooden targets. At the beginning of the Kamakura period, this style of archery has its origins. At the lack of archery skills his samurai possessed Minamoto no Yoritomo became alarmed. As a form of practice, He organized yabusame. surugaoka Hachiman-gū in Kamakura and Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto is the best places to see yabusame performed nowadays in May.
In Samukawa and on the beach at Zushi, as well as other locations it is also performed. Across many cultures, Horseback archery has been an indelible aspect of warfare and hunting for centuries. In Japan, Yabusame, one form of horseback archery evolved from a sport to a ritual that's still honored. The rules of Yabusame are simple such as, at three wooden targets while riding at full gallop down a narrow track roughly 250 meters or more in length shot three arrows, while passionately shouting Inyo (陰陽), the word meaning yin and yang, light and darkness. It takes many years of practice for mastering the Yabusame.
There aren't many events that take place today exactly as they did but yabusame (horseback archery) is one of them. For shooting, the archers need to use both hands, so they have to rely on their knees alone to control the horses. The bow has been a symbol of power since ancient times in Japan and has been used on horseback since the fourth century. To draw a bow and shoot accurately, even in the heat of battle, the ability was seen as the ultimate mark of a true samurai, but it wasn't until 1187 that horseback archery was formalized into yabusame. The first Yabusame tournament task of organizing fell to Ogasawara Nagakiyo of the Seiwa Genji clan, who was a tutor to Minamoto. From father to son ever since the equestrian techniques and martial spirit of the House of Ogasawara have been passed down.
Beginning in the fourteenth century, there was a period of around four hundred years, when yabusame was no longer practiced, but it was resurrected in 1728 on the orders of the then shogun, Yoshimune Tokugawa. Shooting arrows while riding a horse running at full speed was an important skill for warriors, Until the Middle Ages, and yabusame began as a form of military training combining horsemanship and archery. The ritual is performed by three archers. This ritual is a way of praying for peace across the land, and the arrows and targets that were used in successful shots are treasured as good luck.