Blowing the competition away
19 July 2023
Suburban Auckland isn’t normally the place you’d think to find people practising the traditional art of Fukiya, Japanese blow darts. But at Pinesong Village, a group of residents are doing just that.
Fukiya combines the discipline of martial arts, the concentration of archery and the accuracy of shooting. In a bid to achieve the highest score, competitors use a long pipe to fire a dart at a numbered target using a short, sharp breath.
Convenor of the sport at the village, Hans Flapper has been coaching and guiding the group through the traditions of Fukiya since late last year.
“It can be an unusual sight to see, it’s quite different from any other sport. We follow all the traditional movements to get the best results”, says Hans.
“It’s all about your breath, you have to concentrate too. But once you’re in a zen zone you can relax and really start to enjoy it.”
“There’s a real sense of serenity with Fukiya. It’s not like darts, it’s a breathing thing – that’s where the exercise comes in. But when I’m not cool, calm, and collected, there’s no chance of scoring well on the day!”
Fukiya isn’t an exclusive sport either. No matter your physical abilities or boundaries, whether you need to sit or stand, anyone is welcome to get involved.
“The more the merrier and it’s free for anyone to come along and try!”, says Hans.
Fellow Fukiya enthusiast, Ken Webster has been enjoying the sport for the past few months and is always keen to share his knowledge with inquisitive family and friends.
“I had my granddaughter come and visit, I told her about Fukiya and she wanted to see. So, I set it up at home and blew a dart straight into the bullseye. She had a go and did exactly the same!”, he says.
Verna and Bill Hartill have been coming along every Thursday since they joined the group earlier this year after seeing a demonstration in the Pinesong lounge.
“If we hadn’t been so nosey wondering what on earth was going on, then we wouldn’t have known anything about it. Now we’re hooked!”, says Verna.
“My favourite thing is the shooting”, she says with a grin. “It’s fun, I don’t like to be too serious, and I like the challenge.”
Described as calm and composed when shooting, it comes as no surprise to the group that Verna has recently been awarded her ‘200’ badge - something only six people in New Zealand have managed to achieve to date.
“Residents at Waitakere Gardens have also achieved a 200 badge. So, it seems like Metlifecare are really paving the way for Fukiya!”, says Verna.