• Nayeldraccon
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18 Apr 2008 22:34 #13832 by Nayeldraccon
Replied by Nayeldraccon on topic ARCHERY
I've been an active archer for over twenty years.

When I was around 8 years old, I traded a Voltron action figure to a buddy for a crappy fiberglass recurve. (I still have it today.) It is a real piece! When I got it, it had been spray-painted black and was strung with kite-string. My parents were none too happy with my business venture, so they refused to buy me any arrows. Luckily, we lived out in the country, and I found that by taping the end of a dried-out weed,(I think it was called milkweed, not sure, but it grows to be around 6ft. in height) I could make reasonably accurate projectiles from them.

After a short time of my dad watching me plink cans and toys away with surprising accuracy, he came home with some pine target arrows, a real bowstring, and a bale of hay. There was no turning back. An archer was born!

Since then I have only had three other bows. One old, heavy, and worn-out Martin compound that I acquired by trading a survival knife to my cousin for. (Still have it, too) A Bear compound that a friend gave me when he decided that he wanted to join me in practicing the art, but grew very upset after he got it as a gift. And discovered that he couldn't draw it. (sold it to another friend's father when he decided that he wanted to give archery a go.) And a Pearson compound that I found at a thrift store and picked up for only 35 bucks.

LOL! Last year, before I moved into this house, my friend, Clint came over to show me his new bow, a Jennings compound, and made fun of me to no end that I didn't have sights on either my Martin or my Pearson. I simpley explained, \"Never have used them. Don't need em'.\" So he decided to teach me a lesson..... He set up a box stuffed with bedsheets at around thirty yards and showed me how useful sights are. HAHAHAHA! By missing the box completely on his first shot. His second arrow hit the upper left-hand side of the box. My first arrow went straight through the box, cleanly, at would would best be described as dead-center. Being a total smart-ass, I looked at him and said, \"What did you say about sights, again? Sorry, I didn't hear you. What were you saying?\"

Can't repeat his reply.

Sadly, we now live in an urban environment, and with me staying at home with my two youngest kids during the day, going to the range is out of the question. So my bows hang on the wall in a hallway, gathering dust.

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  • Kana Seiko Haruki
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19 Apr 2008 08:54 #13847 by Kana Seiko Haruki
Replied by Kana Seiko Haruki on topic ARCHERY
Due to health issues, I havent been able to shoot for about a year (or is it 2) now, but I maintain the bow on a monthly basis... wax strings etc

I tried to post a pic of my bow on here but it didnt work, but my bow is a 50lb Hoyt 2002 Cybertec with Versa Cams
Here is a point on sights, first my club has many blind archers, they are often better than fully sighted archers so there is one demonstration of the eyes deceiving

another (you can research this) is target panic and archers paradox

I was told by so called 'experts' that my bow was set up incorrectly, funny how I still hit the targets when set up my way and get nowhere when done the 'proper' way

my first bow was made from a branch of an Ash tree (when you could find them in the UK) and arrows were made from bamboo (many scars on bow hand as evidence of that mistake.

So you know what I mean about the focussing etc of archery then ;)

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  • Kana Seiko Haruki
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02 Feb 2009 19:24 #22008 by Kana Seiko Haruki
Replied by Kana Seiko Haruki on topic ARCHERY
Muhahahaha - just when you thought it was safe - you came out from behind your sofa cushion nad suddenly the

BUMP monster strikes again :lol:

Actually - I thought id add to this thread - try to make it somewhat more informative


Much of the following is taken from wikipedia, however, additions, changes, clarifications and corrections have been made by the poster of this article.


The bow seems to have been invented in the late Palaeolithic or early Mesolithic. The oldest indication for its use in Europe comes from the Stellmoor in the Ahrensburg valley north of Hamburg, Germany and date from the late Palaeolithic Hamburgian culture (9000-8000 BC). The
arrows were made of pine and consisted of a main shaft and a 15-20 centimetre (6-8 inches) long fore shaft with a flint point. There are no known definite earlier bows; previous pointed shafts are known, but may have been launched by atlatls rather than bows.
The oldest bows known so far come from the Holmegård swamp in Denmark. In the 1940s, two bows were found there. They are made of elm
and have flat arms and a D-shaped midsection. The centre section is biconvex. The complete bow is 1.50 m (5 ft) long. Bows of Holmegaard-type were in use until the Bronze Age; the convexity of the midsection has decreased with time.

Mesolithic pointed shafts have been found in England, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. They were often rather long (up to 120 cm [4 ft]) and made of hazel (Corylus avellana), wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana) and other small woody shoots. Some still have flint arrow-heads
preserved; others have blunt wooden ends for hunting birds and small game. The ends show traces of fletching, which was fastened on with birch-tar.

Bows and arrows have been present in Egyptian culture since its predynastic origins. The nine bows symbolize the various peoples that had been ruled over by the pharaoh since Egypt was united.

In the Levant, artefacts which may be arrow-shaft strengtheners are known from the Natufian culture, (ca. 12.800-10.300 BP) onwards. The Khiamian and PPN A shouldered Khiam-points may well be arrowheads.

The bow was one of the earliest forms of artillery. Bows eventually replaced the atlatl as the predominant means for launching projectiles.
Classical civilizations, notably the Persians, Parthians, Indians, Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese fielded large numbers of archers in their armies. Arrows were destructive against massed formations, and the use of archers often proved decisive. The Sanskrit term for archery, dhanurveda, came to refer to martial arts in general.

During the Middle Ages, archery in warfare was not as prevalent and dominant in Western Europe as popular myth sometimes dictates. Archers were quite often the lowest-paid soldiers in an army or were conscripted from the peasantry. This was due to the cheap nature of the bow and arrow, as compared to the expense needed to equip a professional man-at-arms with good armour and a sword. Professional archers required a lifetime of training and expensive bows to be effective, and were thus rare in Europe (see English longbow).

Archery was highly developed in Asia and in the Islamic world. In East Asia the ancient Korean civilizations were well-known for their archery skills, and South Korea remains a particularly strong performer at Olympic archery competitions even to this day. Horse archers were the main military force of most of the Equestrian Nomads. Central Asian and American Plains tribesmen were extremely adept at archery on horseback.

Decline, last uses, and survival of archery

The advent of firearms eventually rendered bows obsolete in warfare. Despite the high social status, ongoing utility, and widespread pleasure of archery in England, Japan, Korea, China, Turkey, Armenia, America, Egypt, and elsewhere, almost every culture that gained access to even early firearms used them widely, to the relative neglect of archery. Early firearms were vastly inferior in rate-of-fire, and were very susceptible to wet weather. However, they had longer effective range and were tactically superior in the common situation of soldiers shooting at each other from behind obstructions. They also required significantly less training to use properly, in particular penetrating steel armour without any need to develop special musculature. Armies equipped with guns could thus provide superior firepower by sheer weight of numbers, and highly-trained archers became obsolete on the battlefield. \"Have them bring as many guns as possible, for no other equipment is needed. Give strict orders that all men, even the samurai, carry guns.\" The sole exceptions may be the Comanche’s of North America, whose mounted archery was more effective than muzzle-loading guns. (Other Plains Indians fought mostly on foot, and usually found guns to be superior weapons when they did so.) \"After... about 1800, most Comanche’s began to discard muskets and pistols and to rely on their older weapons.\" Repeating firearms, however, were superior in turn, and the Comanche’s adopted them when they could. Bows remained effective hunting weapons for skilled horse archers, used to some extent by all Native Americans on the Great Plains to hunt buffalo as long as there were buffalo to hunt. The last Comanche hunt was in 1878, and it failed for lack of buffalo.

The last recorded use of bows, in an English battle, seems to have been a skirmish at Bridgnorth, in October 1642, during the English Civil War. The most recent death in war from British archery was probably in 1940, on the retreat to Dunkirk, when a former archery champion who had brought his bows on active service \"was delighted to see his arrow strike the centre German in the left of the chest and penetrate his body\". In Ireland, Geoffrey Keating (c. 1569 - c. 1644) mentions archery as having been practice \"down to a recent period within our own memory\" Archery continued in some areas that were subject to limitations on the ownership of arms, such as the Scottish Highlands during the repression that followed the decline of the Jacobite cause, and the Cherokees after the Trail of Tears. The Tokugawa shogunate severely limited the import and manufacture of guns, and encouraged traditional martial skills among the samurai; towards the end of the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, some rebels fell back on the use of bows and arrows. Archery remained an important part of the military examinations until 1894 in Korea and 1904 in China. Ongoing use of bows and arrows in some African conflicts has been reported in the 21st century, and the Sentinelese still use bows as part of a lifestyle scarcely touched by outside contact. A remote group in Brazil recently photographed from the air, aimed bows at the aeroplane. Bows and arrows have seen considerable use in the 2008 ethnic clashes in Kenya.

Traditional archery remained in minority use for sport and for hunting in many areas long after its military disuse. In Turkey, its last revival for this purpose took place with the encouragement of Mahmud II in the 1820s, but the art, and that of constructing composite bows, fell out of use in the later 1800s. The rest of the Middle East also lost the continuity of its archery tradition at this time. In Korea, the transformation from military training to healthy pastime was led by Emperor Gojong, and is the basis of a popular modern sport. Japanese continue to make and use their unique traditional equipment. Among the Cherokees and the British, popular use of longbows never entirely died out. In China, the revival of archery continued until the Cultural Revolution, when it was suppressed; the last of the traditional Chinese bowyers is now working again. In modern times, mounted archery continues to be practiced in some Asian countries but is not used in international competition. Modern Hungarians have revived mounted archery as a competitive sport. Archery is the national sport of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Modern primitive archery

After the American Civil War, two Confederate veterans, Maurice and Will Thompson, revived archery in America. The two brothers and Thomas Williams (a former slave) lived in the wild in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. As ex-Confederate soldiers they were not allowed to own guns, so they needed other ways to hunt for food. For some reason, Thomas Williams knew something about English-style Archery (using a longbow) and showed Maurice and Will. Later, Maurice wrote a book, \"The Witchery of Archery,\" which became a best seller and enthused people about the sport of archery. In 1879 the National Archery Association was formed. However, public interest in archery soon subsided.
That all changed when Ishi came out of hiding in California in 1911. Ishi was the last of the Yahi Indian tribe. Once he came out of hiding, he was extensively studied and then lived at the University of California at Berkeley Anthropology Museum. His medical caretaker, Dr. Saxton Pope, was an instructor of surgery at the school. Dr. Pope was very interested in Ishi and his culture, especially archery. Ishi willingly taught Dr. Pope about his culture, how to make tools the way the Yahi did, and how to hunt using a bow and arrow. Soon, Dr. Pope was joined by archery-enthusiast Arthur Young.

Ishi's time was short however, and he died in 1916 of tuberculosis. Dr. Pope and Mr. Young did not lose interest in archery, and set about proving that archery could be used to bag large game. They hunted in Alaska and Africa and took several large game animals.
Because Dr. Pope and Mr. Young demonstrated to Western society that archery was effective on not only small game, but large game as well, archery did not lose public interest so easily. Many methods that Ishi taught Dr. Pope are still used today by primitive archers. From the 1920s, professional engineers took an interest in archery, previously the exclusive field of traditional craft experts. They led the commercial development of new forms of bow including the modern recurve and compound bow. These modern forms are now dominant in modern Western archery; traditional bows are in a minority. In the 1980s, the skills of traditional archery were revived by American enthusiasts, and combined with the new scientific understanding. Much of this expertise is available in the \"Traditional Bowyer's Bible\"


Archers and archery play a role in several mythologies, including Greek Artemis and Apollo, Germanic Agilaz, continued in legends like those of William Tell, Palnetoke, or Robin Hood. Armenian Hayk and Babylonian Marduk, Indian Arjuna and Persian Arash, were all archers. Earlier Greek representations of Heracles normally depict him as an archer. Yi the archer features in several early Chinese myths,[20] and the historical character of Zhou Tong features in many fictional forms. Cupid, the Roman god of love, is always depicted as an archer.


Metal Detector[/u]

A commonl owned and used piece of gear by archers (especially in the club scenario - the metal detector saves many archers an awful lot of money. Arrows are expensive items in their own right - especially the carbon ones - but they are expensive in terms of time to make (something many archers do themselves). It is surprisingly difficult to locate an arrow that misses a target and ends up in the ground - usually a grassy field. The arrows have a habit of going under the grass roots and along the root layer between the grass and the mud almost like burying an arrow under a rug or carpet.

Occasionally the arrow will the visible above the grass by brightly coloured fletchings standing out but generally the metal detector comes in to play - the detector picks up onm the metal points of the arrow (on carbon and wooden arrows) - which whilst not a huge target area and easily confused with coins and gold treasure that is carelessly left - it is better than losing £20+ worth of arrow altogether - with aluminium arrows - the job is very much easier.

Types of bows

While there is great variety in the construction details of bows (both historic and modern) all bows consist of a string attached to elastic limbs that store mechanical energy imparted by the user drawing the string.

Bows may be broadly split into those drawn by pulling the string directly and those that use a mechanism to pull the string.
Directly drawn bows may be further divided based upon differences in limb construction. Bows with relatively straight limbs include the longbow, a tall bow with narrow limbs that are D-shaped in cross section, and the flatbow, with flat wide limbs that are approximately rectangular in cross-section. Bows with curved limbs can be classified based upon the bow shape resulting from this curvature.
A compound bow is a simply drawn bow designed to reduce the force required to hold the string taut. Most compound designs use cams or elliptical wheels on the ends of the limbs. The cams on a compound bow are engineered in such a way that the archer can hold twice as much draw weight for an extended period of time. Although the archer starts the draw at full weight, there is a 65%-75% let-off at full draw. For example, a bow set at sixty pounds would allow the archer to draw 60 lb (27 kg). for a short period but hold 65-75% less than that at full draw.

Mechanically drawn bows typically have a stock or other mounting, such as the crossbow. They are not limited by the strength of a single archer, and larger varieties have been used as siege engines. Crossbows have a disadvantage inthat the projectile length is usually shorter, thus the power stroke is shorter, the result is a massive reduction in velocity in a short distance, so whilst a crossbow has excellent armour piercing ability at short range, they are not ideal for masses volleys or long range suppression, and the reload time is much greater than a standard bow also. On the advantage side, it takes little or no training to use a crossbow.

The classic ‘English Longbow’ was a rare weapon in that it was a very effective military weapon. It had an accurate killing range of 400 yards (approx 4 football fields long) and the arrow head could be more than 1 ounce in weight with a velocity of upto 200fps. This bow was not actually invented by the English, but by the Welsh. It is thought this weapon in its own right, was the reason why the Roman armies never defeated the Welsh and also why the Romans build particularly strong defences along the England/Wales borders. There was a time in English history, were all common Englishmen, over the age of 7 had to practise the longbow every Sunday (after church) at a minimum range of 200yards. An average power (Draw weight) of these bows was some 120lb and resulted in actually overdevelopment of the arms in archers (massively higher density bones in the bow arms and shoulders). With this sort of power and range, the longbow was an incredibly powerful weapon of war.

A common misconception of the bow, especially in European medieval warfare, is that the bow was anti-personnel weapon. Whilst the bow and arrow did make short work of un-armoured humans, and even on the lucky occasion armoured human, the idea of the bow in massed ranks was very simply to lay down a carpet of sharp pointed sticks in the ground that no horse in its right mind would even walk through, let alone gallop. The biggest threat on a battle field at this time was a Knight in full armour on a huge armoured horse (The Modern Equivalent in today’s warfare is for example the Abrahams Tank). The horses were generally Shire or Clydesdale which weigh half a tonne normally, wearing plate armour with a man wearing similar protection, with a pointed or heavy weighted weapon, rushing towards you at at least 20mph along with a few friends was not something to stand and take in hand to hand combat.

The role of the archers was simply to stop these tanks making any kind of progress down the field. There were even bigger bows known as artillery bows that did intentionally target these knights and put an arrow into the horse thus disabling it and the rider, and this is partly how the English beat the French at Agincourt, the front ranks were shot at and fell, the rest piled in behind and a crowd crush quickly ensued and many drowned in the mud. Due to the nature of bows, rain and bows don't mix, the string gets soggy and limp, therefore greatly reducing power, however on this occasion, the English were actually in desperation to defend themselves from imminent disaster a,d basically got very lucky.

The English also utilised the Longbow in Naval warfare, the old pictures of ships show a fore and aft flat platform with battlements that seems to serve little purpose to a ship, fill these sections with archers (with flaming arrows) and you have a very effective ship burning ship, the Greeks invented this technique and this was the primary use of ‘Greek Fire’.

Types of arrows and fletching

A normal arrow consists of shaft with an arrowhead attached to the front end, with fletching and a nock at the other. Shafts are usually made of solid wood, fiberglass, aluminium alloy, carbon/alloy composite or carbon fiber. Wooden arrows are prone to warping. Fiberglass arrows are brittle, but are more easily produced to uniform specifications. Aluminium shafts were a very popular high-performance choice in the later half of the 20th century due to their straightness, lighter weight, and subsequently higher speed and flatter trajectories. Carbon fibre arrows became popular in the 1990s and are very light, flying even faster and flatter than aluminium arrows. Today carbon/alloy arrows are the most popular tournament arrows at Olympic Events, especially the Easton X10 and A/C/E. These arrows are extremely expensive, at time of writing, these retail at £150+ for a set of 12. These arrows are individually measures for weight, straightness and all the other properties required of an arrow and sold in ‘matched sets’ therefore the bow and arrows are tuned to one another to produce a much better overall constant in terms of the physics of the shot. A single point can be the difference between winning and losing.

Carbon arrows are also (like glass fibre) very brittle, and for this reason are not used for hunting as the arrows shafts can splinter on impact, especially on impact with a hard object like a bone making the game inedible. Also, for indoor competitive archers, aluminium arrows have an advantage in that they are thicker and thus increase the chances of a line cutter (this means the arrow hits the dividing line between scoring zones on the target, in archery, when this happens, the higher score is awarded) and because indoor archery is at short range (20meters or less) and wind is not an issue, the archer can use a thicker arrow and larger fletching without concern.

The arrowhead is the primary functional part of the arrow, and plays the largest role in determining its purpose. Some arrows may simply use a sharpened tip of the solid shaft, but it is far more common for separate arrowheads to be made, usually from metal, stone, or some other hard material. The most commonly-used forms are target points, field points, and broadheads, although there are also other types, like bodkin, judo, and blunts.

Fletching is traditionally made from bird feathers, but also solid plastic vanes and thin sheetlike spin vanes are used. They are attached near the nock (rear) end of the arrow with thin double sided tape, glue, or, traditionally, sinew. The fletching is equally spaced around the shaft with one placed such that it is perpendicular to the bow when nocked on the string [though with modern equipment, variations are seen especially when using the modern spin vanes]. This fletch is called the \"index fletch\" or \"cock feather\", (the others sometimes being called the \"hen feathers\") and is a reference for the nocking of the arrow. Three fletches is the most common configuration, though more may be used. The fletching is sometimes attached at a slight angle, to introduce a stabilizing spin to the arrow while in flight. Oversized fletchings can be used to accentuate drag and thus limit the range of the arrow significantly; these arrows are called flu-flus. Misplacement of fletchings can often change the arrow's flight path dramatically.

It could be argued that the barrelling of rifles was actually inadvertently invented many decades before the invention of firearms through archery. The use of fletching to stabilise the arrow in flight is almost as ancient as archery itself. The most common ‘fletching’ used was bird feathers. These naturally have a concave property, and thus when applied to an arrow, the forward thrust causes a rotation of the arrow and immediately causes a more stable flight path.

Bow string

Dacron and other modern materials offer high strength for their weight and are used on most modern bows. Linen and other traditional materials are still used on traditional bows. Almost any fibre can be made into a bow string. The author of \"Arab Archery\" suggests the hide of a young, emaciated camel. Njál's saga famously describes the refusal of a wife, Hallgerður, to cut her hair in order to make an emergency bowstring for her husband, Gunnar Hámundarson, who is then killed.

Protective equipment

Most archers wear a bracer (also known as an arm-guard) to protect the inside of the bow arm and prevent clothing from catching the bow string. The Navajo people have developed highly-ornamented bracers as non-functional items of adornment. Some archers also wear protection on their chests, called chestguards. Chestguards (mainly for female archers) are to prevent the bowstring from being obstructed by the archer's body or clothing as it is released. They also protect the archer. Roger Ascham mentions one archer, presumably with an unusual shooting style, who wore a leather guard for his face. Some archers use gum shields and eye protection, as well as shooting gloves (which can be used to replace the ‘tab’ or ‘release aid’ see below)

The drawing fingers, or thumb in the case of archers using the thumb or Mongolian draw, are normally protected by a leather tab, glove, or thumb ring. A simple tab of leather is commonly used, as is a skeleton glove. Medieval Europeans probably used a complete leather glove. Eurasiatic archers using the Mongolian draw protected their thumbs, usually with leather according to the author of \"Arab Archery\", but also with special rings of various hard materials. Many surviving Turkish and Chinese examples are works of considerable art; some are so highly ornamented that they could not have been used to loose an arrow. Presumably these were items of personal adornment. In traditional Japanese archery (Kyodo) a special glove is used, provided with a ridge which is used to draw the string.

The Japanese Longbow (Kyodo Bow) is an interesting bow in that whilst in length it is similar to the longbow, the arrow shelf/grip is not in the centre but actually nearer the bottom i.e. the lower limb is much shorter than the upper limb. This has a number of consequences, firstly, the bow can be fired from either a standing, sitting or kneeling position and also from horse back. Another factor is that the supposed imbalance of power between the linbs is actually (on a bio mechanical point) correct, as when an arrow is drawn, humans naturall pull down with the arrow arm, creating an imbalance in pressure in the linbs of the bow, with the Japanese design, the balance between the limbs power is re-established, giving more output velocity to the arrow and requiring less input from the archer to draw. Kyodo arrows are also very long in comparison (over 1metre) and thus the extra length means even more power can be put into the arrow. The Samurai of ancient Japan were generally as skilled with a bow as they were with the katana (Samurai Sword).

Release aids

Archers using compound bows usually use a release aid to hold the string steadily and release it precisely. This attaches to the bowstring at the nocking point and permits the archer to release the string by pulling a trigger. The \"trigger\" may be an actual trigger lever which is depressed by a finger or thumb (or held then released) but it may also be some other mechanism. Hydraulic and mechanical time delay triggers have been used, as have \"back tension\" triggers which are operated by either a change in the position of the release or \"true back tension\"; that is to say the release triggers when a pre-determined draw weight is reached. A mechanical release aid permits a single point of contact on the string instead of three fingers. This allows less deformity in the string at full draw, as well as providing a more consistent release than can be achieved by human fingers.

Other equipment used includes (among many others) stabilising rods/shock dampers (to aid in the stability of the bow and thus improve consistency) clickers (gives an audible click when the arrow is drawn to a predetermined distance and stops target panic) as well as the quiver which is used to hold the arrows and carry them prior to shooting. In warfare, the arrows were pushed into the ground in front of the archer, this meant it took less time to reload the next arrow between shots, a good archer could fire 12 arrows in a minute, and the average was probably 8 arrows which would reduce through fatigue. As a result of this habit, biological warfare was also at play and the dirt adhered to the arrowhead and added to the likelihood of infections in wounds sustained. It has been said the archers knew of this and therefore used the dirt on purpose, this is unlikely and just a lucky (or unlucky) coincidence.

Shooting technique and form

The bow is held in the hand opposite to the archer's dominant eye, though holding the bow in the dominant hand side is advocated by some. This hand is referred to as the bow hand and its arm the bow arm. The opposite hand is called the drawing hand or string hand. Terms such as bow shoulder or string elbow follow the same convention. Right-eye-dominant archers hold the bow with their left hand, have their left side facing the target, sight towards the target with their right eye and handle the arrow and string with their right hand.
Modern international competitive form.

To shoot an arrow, an archer first assumes the correct stance. The body should be perpendicular to the target and the shooting line, with the feet placed shoulder-width apart. As an archer progresses from beginner to a more advanced level an 'open stance' is used/developed. Each archer will have a particular preference but mostly this term indicates that the leg furthest from the shooting line will be a half to a whole foot-length in front of the other, on the ground.

To load, the bow is pointed toward the ground and the shaft of the arrow is placed on an arrow rest which is attached in the bow window. The back of the arrow is attached to the bowstring with the 'nock' (a small plastic component which is typified by a 'v' groove for this purpose). This is called nocking the arrow. Typical arrows with three vanes should be oriented such that a single vane is pointing away from the bow. In years past there was normally a vane with a different colour, called \"the odd vane out\" or \"the nocking vane\". However, most modern archers tend to use same colour vanes; as different dyes can give varying stiffness to vanes. This results in less precision.
The bowstring and arrow are held with three fingers. When using a sight, the index finger is placed above the arrow and the next two fingers below. The string is usually placed in either the first or second joint of the fingers.

The bow is then raised and drawn. This is often one fluid motion which tends to vary from archer to archer. The string hand is drawn towards the face, where it should rest lightly at an anchor point. This point is consistent from shot to shot and is usually at the corner of the mouth or on the chin. The bow arm is held outwards toward the target. The elbow of this arm should be rotated so that the inner elbow is parallel to the ground though Archers with hyper extendable elbows tend to angle the inner elbow toward the ground as exemplified by the Korean archer Jang Yong Ho.

In proper form, the archer stands erect, forming a 'T'. The archer's lower trapezius muscles are used to pull the arrow to the anchor point. Some bows will be equipped with a mechanical device, called a clicker, which produces a clicking sound when the archer reaches the correct draw length.

The arrow is typically released by relaxing the fingers of the drawing hand (see Bow draw). An archer should pay attention to the recoil or follow through of his or her body, as it may indicate problems with form (technique).

Aiming methods

There are two main forms of aiming in archery: using the sight picture or not.

The sight picture includes the target and the bow, as seen at the same time by the archer. With a fixed \"anchor point\" (where the string is brought to, or close to, the face), and a fully extended bow arm, successive shots taken with the sight picture in the same position will fall on the same point. This allows the archer to adjust aim with successive shots in order to achieve a good standard of accuracy. It cannot be used with short bows, which by definition do not allow a full draw. Modern archery equipment usually includes sights which mark the predicted impact point. Sight picture aiming is universally used with modern equipment and also by many archers who use traditional bows. It allows good accuracy to be achieved after a moderate amount of practice.

When using shortbows, or shooting from horseback, it is difficult to use the sight picture. The archer may look at the target but without including the weapon in the field of accurate view. Aiming involves the same sort of coordination between vision and motion that is used when throwing. With sufficient practice, such archers can normally achieve good practical accuracy for hunting or for war. Aiming without a sight picture may allow more rapid shooting.

Instinctive shooting is a term often used, but there is no agreed definition. Some use it to mean shooting with a sight picture but without giving it conscious attention. Others use it to mean shooting without a sight picture.

In archery, target panic is a psychological condition that forces the archer into a premature hold or release of the arrow.

Target panic is indicated by one of two primary symptoms depending on the shooting style of the archer. An archer who uses sights or a reference point for aiming will hold prematurely, before the target is fully acquired. An archer who shoots instinctively will release the arrow prematurely, again before the target is acquired. An archer with target panic will find his or her accuracy greatly diminished.

With this in mind, it should be of no surprise that many ‘Blind Sports’ archers (visually impaired) are often more ‘accurate’ than their sighted counterparts. This is down to psychology and the fact the blind archer concentrates more on their form and technique and less on ‘what they are looking at’. Archery like many martial arts is very much a mental game. Blind archers usually have a sighted partner to help them set up the equipment etc and use a specially designed tripod to help guide them to point in the right direction, but it is not a ‘targeting’ device in the true sense of the meaning.

Bows function by converting elastic potential energy stored in the limbs into kinetic energy of the arrow. In this process, some energy is dissipated through elastic hysteresis, reducing the overall amount released when the bow is shot. Of the energy remaining, some is damped both by the limbs of bow and the bowstring. Depending on the elasticity of the arrows, some of the energy is also absorbed by compressing the arrow, causing it to \"bow out\" to one side. This results in an in-flight oscillation of the arrow in which its centre protrudes out to one side and then the other repeatedly.

The straight flight of an arrow is dependent on its fletching. The arrow's manufacturer can arrange fletching to cause the arrow to rotate along its axis if desired. This improves accuracy by evening pressure build-ups that would otherwise cause the arrow to slowly tilt in a random

direction after shooting. If the fletching is not arranged to induce rotation, it will still improve accuracy by causing a restoring torque any time the arrow tilts away from its vector of travel.

Arrows themselves may be designed to spread or concentrate force, depending on their applications. Practice arrows, for instance, use a blunt tip that spreads the force over a wider area to reduce the risk of injury. Arrows designed to pierce armour in the Middle Ages would use a very narrow and sharp tip to concentrate the force. Modern reconstructive techniques and research have found this to be false and that a rounded bullet point is just as efficient at pentrating arnmour as a pointed tip. The pointed tips will have caused nasty flesh wounds, but the earodynamics of a flat/pointed broadhead is not as good as a bullet point, and the bullet point is easier, faster and cheaper to produce en masse in times of war by an on-field blacksmith (whilst a professional bow maker is known as a bowyer, and arrow maker a Fletcher, most archers at these times preferred to make their own equipment). Some Lords who took their own archers to war, paid bonuses for proven kills, which led to archers customising the markings etc on their arrows to identify and prove any kills at the end of battle. Arrows used for hunting would use a narrow tip that broadens further down the shaft to facilitate both penetration and a large wound.

The term archer's paradox refers to the flexing of an arrow shaft that occurs when it is shot from a non-centershot bow. Coined by Robert P. Elmer in the 1930s, the archer's paradox centres around the idea that, in order to be accurate, an arrow must have the correct stiffness, or \"spine\", to flex and return back to the correct path as it leaves the bow. The word paradox refers to the fact that in order to strike the centre of the target, the arrow must be pointed slightly to its side.

Less powerful bows require arrows with more spine (literally, the ability of an arrow to curve - like a spine). Less powerful bows have less effect in deforming the arrow as it is accelerated from the bow and the arrow must be \"easier\" to flex around the riser of the bow before settling to its path. Conversely, powerful bows need stiffer arrows, with less spine as the bow will have a much greater effect on the arrow as it is accelerated around the riser.

As the diagram shows, an arrow with too little spine for the bow will not flex and as the string comes closer to the bow stave, the arrow will be forced off to one side. Too much spine, or flexure, will result in the arrow deforming too much and being propelled off to the other side of the target.

In archery, compensation of the archer's paradox led to the invention of the Plunger button, also known as a pressure button or Berger button (after its inventor, Vic Berger).

The ‘Tuning’ of a modern recurve or compound bow can be compared to tuning of a racing car. Each component directly effects the entire system in some way, and thus when adjusting one part, everything must be retuned at the same time and like wise with the arrows and bow and even the archer. Professional archers spend many hours simply tuning their equipment, using computers and lasers to help analysis the equipment and hopefully give them a winning advantage.

The term recurve simply comes from the fact that the limbs bend inward towards the archer then outward away from the archer near the tips, this allows for the same amount of power from a shorter bow as against a longer bow with standard curvature (i.e. a longbow)


Using archery to take game animals is known as bowhunting. Bowhunting differs markedly from hunting with firearms as the distances between the hunter and the game are much shorter in order to ensure a humane kill. The skills and practices of bowhunting therefore emphasize very close approach to the prey, whether by still hunting, stalking, or waiting in a blind or tree stand. In many countries, including much of the United States, bowhunting for large and small game is legal. Bowhunters generally enjoy longer seasons than are allowed with other forms of hunting such as black powder, shotgun, or rifle. Usually, compound bows are used for large game hunting and may feature fibre optic sights and other enhancements. Using a bow and arrow to take fish is known as bowfishing. Bowhunting is illegal in the UK.

Modern competitive archery

Competitive archery involves shooting arrows at a target for accuracy from a set distance or distances. This is the most popular form of archery worldwide and is called target archery. A form particularly popular in Europe and America is field archery, shot at targets generally set at various distances in a wooded setting. There are also several other lesser-known and historical forms, as well as archery novelty games. Note the tournament rules vary from organization to organization. FITA rules are often considered normative, but large non-FITA-affiliated archery organizations do exist with different rules.

Target Archery

Modern competitive target archery is often governed by the International Archery Federation, abbreviated FITA (Fédération Internationale de Tir à l'Arc). Olympic rules are derived from FITA rules.

Target archery competitions may be held indoors or outdoors. Indoor distances are 18 m and 25 m. Outdoor distances range from 30 m to 90 m. Competition is divided into ends of 3 or 6 arrows. After each end, the competitors walk to the target to score and retrieve their arrows. Archers have a set time limit in which to shoot their arrows.

Targets are marked with 10 evenly spaced concentric rings, which have score values from 1 through 10 assigned to them. In addition, there is an inner 10 ring, sometimes called the X ring. This becomes the 10 ring at indoor compound competitions. Outdoors, it serves as a tiebreaker with the archer scoring the most X's winning. Archers score each end by summing the scores for their arrows. Line breakers, an arrow just touching a scoring boundary line, will be awarded the higher score.

Different rounds and distances use different size target faces. These range from 40 cm (18 m FITA Indoor) to 122 cm (70 m and 90 m FITA, used in Olympic competition).

The BBC Olympics Website has information on archery. The Recurve bow previously mentioned is also often referred too as the ‘Olympic Recurve’ bow, and (with the exception of the Paralympics) is the only bow allowed in this event.

Field Archery

Field archery involves shooting at targets of varying (and sometimes unmarked) distance, often in rough terrain. It's like an Archery version of Golf.

Three common types of rounds (in the NFAA) are the field, hunter, and animal. A round consists of 28 targets in two units of 14. Field rounds are at 'even' distances up to 80 yards (some of the shortest are measured in feet instead), using targets with a black bull’s-eye (5 points), a white centre (4) ring, and black outer (3) ring. Hunter rounds use 'uneven' distances up to 70 yards (64 m), and although scoring is identical to a field round, the target has an all-black face with a white bull’s-eye. Children and youth positions for these two rounds are closer, no more than 30 and 50 yards (46 m), respectively. Animal rounds use life-size 2D animal targets with 'uneven' distances reminiscent of the hunter round. The rules and scoring are also significantly different. The archer begins at the first station of the target and shoots his first arrow. If it hits, he does not have to shoot again. If it misses, he advances to station two and shoots a second arrow, then to station three for a third if needed. Scoring areas are vital (20, 16, or 12) and non-vital (18, 14, or 10) with points awarded depending on which arrow scored first. Again, children and youth shoot from reduced range.

One goal of field archery is to improve the technique and required for bowhunting in a more realistic outdoor setting, but without introducing the complication and guesswork of unknown distances. As with golf, fatigue can be an issue as the athlete walks the distance between targets across sometimes rough terrain. IFAA Field and International rounds are used in European Professional Archery competition.
Other modern competitions

The following are listed on the FITA website. These competitions are not as popular as the two listed above, but they are competed internationally.

3D Archery

3D archery is a subset of field archery focusing on shooting at life-size models of game and is popular with hunters. It is most common to see unmarked distances in 3D archery, as the goal is to accurately recreate a hunting environment for competition.
On these animals there are 4 rings, only 3 of these are used in ASA shoots. The one that isn't used very often is the 14 ring. This can only be scored if you call it before you shoot, and even then it may not be allowed. Next is the 12 ring inside of the 10 ring, inside of the 8 ring. Anything on the target that is outside of the 8, 10, 12, or 14 rings is a 5. If you miss the target, you score a zero.
Though the goal is hunting practice, hunting tips (broadheads) are not used, as they would tear up the foam targets too much. Normal target or field tips, of the same weight as the intended broadhead, are used instead.

Clout Archery (G.N.A.S. rules in the United Kingdom)

Similar to target archery, except that the archer attempts to drop arrows at long range (180 yards / 165 m for the men and 140 yards / 128 m for women; there are shorter distances for juniors depending on age) into a group of concentric circular scoring zones on the ground surrounding a marker flag. The flag is 12 inches (30 cm) square and is fixed to a stick. The flag should be as near to the ground as is practicable. Archers shoot 'ends' of six arrows then, when given the signal to do so, archers proceed to the target area. A Clout round usually consists of 36 arrows. Clout tournaments are usually a 'Double Clout' round (36 arrows shot twice). They can be shot in one direction (one way) or both directions (two ways). All bow types may compete (longbows, recurve, barebow and compound).
• Scoring. A 'rope' with a loop on the end is placed over the flag stick. This rope is divided into the scoring zones of the target: Gold (5 points), Red (4 points), Blue (3 points), Black (2 points) and White (1 point). The rope is 'walked' around the target area and arrows falling within a particular scoring zone are withdrawn and, on completion of the full circle, are laid out on the rope on the corresponding colours. The designated scorer would then call out the archers' names and the archers would (in turn) call out their scores as they pick up their arrows. The scores must be called in descending order as with target archery.

Flight Archery[/u]

Flight Archery can only take place where space permits usually in a protected area such as an aerodrome, subject to approval and access, since archers compete by shooting for maximum distances. Flight Archers shoot in various classes and weights and shoot six arrows at each \"end\" and then search for all of them marking the one which has been shot the furthest parallel to the datum line then marking this furthest one with an identifiable marker, the arrows can then be drawn from their landing sites. Alternative bows may be shot on subsequent \"ends\" and also marked as above with their bow types and weights. Only four ends are usual in one shoot (as per UK rules - in the US only one end is permitted). At the end of the shoot, archers stand or sit by their furthest arrows while judges and their assistants measure the distances they were shot. There are many bow classes and bow weights that one can shoot in. The archer who shoots the furthest in their class is the winner. Flight archery relies on the finest in performance equipment and the search for better flight archery equipment has led to many developments in archery equipment in general, such as the development of carbon arrows.

Ski archery[/u]

An event very similar to the sport of biathlon except a recurve bow is used in place of a gun. The athletes ski around a cross-country track and there are two stances in which the athlete must shoot the targets: kneeling and standing. During competition the skis must not be removed at any time. The athlete may unfasten the ski when shooting in the kneeling position but must keep the foot in contact with the ski. The shooting distance is 18 meters and the targets 16 cm in diameter. In certain events, for every missed target, the athlete must ski one penalty loop. The loop is 150 meters long.

Traditional competitions[/u]

The following are not listed on the FITA website but are competitions that have a long tradition in their respective countries.


A traditional northern French and Belgian archery contest. Archer’s teams shoot alternately at two targets facing each other, 50 meters away. A perpendicular array of wooden walls secures a path parallel to the shooting range. After each round, the archers take their own arrow and shoot directly in the opposite direction (thus having opposite windage). One shoots always the same arrow, supposedly the best built, as it was difficult in medieval times to have constant arrow quality. The round black-and-white target mimics the size of a soldier: its diameter is shoulder-wide; the centre is heart-sized.

Popinjay (or Papingo)[/u]

A form of archery originally derived from shooting birds on church steeples. Popinjay is popular in Belgium, and in Belgian Clubs internationally but little known elsewhere. Traditionally, archers stand within 12 feet (3.7 m) of the bottom of a 90 ft (27 m) mast and shoot almost vertically upwards with 'blunts' (arrows with rubber caps on the front instead of a pile), the object being to dislodge any one of a number of wooden 'birds'. These birds must be one Cock, four Hens, and a minimum of twenty-four Chicks. A Cock scores 5 points when hit and knocked off its perch; a Hen, 3; and a Chick, 1 point. A horizontal variation with Flemish origins also exists and is also practiced in Canada and the United States

A Papingo is also hosted during the summer in Scotland by the Ancient Society of Kilwinning Archers. The archers shoot at a wooden bird suspended from the steeple of Kilwinning Abbey. Here only one bird is the target, and the archers take it in turn to shoot with a longbow until the \"bird\" is shot down.

[/u]Bunny Shoot[/u]

This is often used as a fun even but from the name - the origins is fairly obvious - it orginates in the shooting of small game such as rodents (rabbits) for food - for this reason it could be included in the field archery. The usual method for this 'game' is for a a group of air filled balloons (of different sizes to be released in a field (usually on a day with a light breeze) and the 'bunnies' are either allocated points for the size and the archer aims for as many points in a given set of arrows (usually 6) with the smaller bunnies being higher valued or all the bunnies are equal size and value and the archer scores as many points in a set of arrows within a certain time frame.

Obviously this 'game' can be costly in lost arrows so isnt very popular.

Roving Marks[/u]

The oldest form of competitive archery, as practiced by Henry VIII. The archers will shoot to a \"mark\" then shoot from that mark to another mark. A mark is a post or flag to be aimed at. As with clout a rope or ribbon is used to score the arrows. In the Finsbury Mark the scoring system is 20 for hitting the mark, 12 for within ~3ft, 7 points for within the next ~6ft and 3 points for within the next ~9ft. \"Hoyles\" are marks are chosen at the time from the variety of debris, conspicuous weeds, and so on found in most outdoor areas. As the distances have to be estimated this is good practice for bowhunting, and it requires minimal equipment.

Wand shoot[/u]

A Traditional English archery contest. Archers take turns shooting at a vertical strip of wood, the wand, and usually about six feet high and three to six inches (152 mm) wide. Points are awarded for hitting the strip. As the target is a long vertical strip this competition allows for more errors in elevation, however since no points are awarded for near misses the archer’s windage accuracy becomes more important. It is highly likely this is the source of the fabled ‘Robin Hood’ idea of an arrow splitting a stick.

Other competitions[/u]

Archers often enjoy adding variety to their sport by shooting under unusual conditions or by imposing other special restrictions or rules on the event. These competitions are often less formalized and are more or less considered as games. Some forms include the broadhead round, bionic and running bucks, darts, archery golf, night shooting, and turkey tester.

Historical re-enactment[/u]

Archery is popularly used in historical re-enactment events. This sort of event usually combines education of the audience of aspects of archery (such as the bow, arrows, and practice drill), combined with a demonstration or competition of archery in the style most favoured by the period on display, generally in period costume. Often the bows are of lower power and have rubber blunts on the tips for safety reasons.

Many of the larger Castles and working/living museums in the UK also have archery demonstrations, usually geared towards the medieval warfare side of archery. As a side not, Knig Henry VIII is said to have been somewhat of an expert archer and crack shot with a cross bow also, but who in their right mind would say he was otherwise whilst he was alive.

Archery education[/u]

A relatively new program has developed in U.S. schools called the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP). In this students use Genesis bows (a compound-style bow without a let-off). This is similar to a physical education programmes, and students who want to can also go to state and national shoots to compete against other schools. Though started in the United States, it has begun to spread to other countries.
Many sportsman's clubs and similar establishments throughout the US and other countries offer archery education programs for those under 18. These programs are commonly referred to as Junior Olympic Archery Development Programs, or simply JOAD. There are over 250 JOAD Clubs recognized by the National Archery Association.

Archery as an entertainment art[/u]

Demonstrations of archery skill are sometimes featured as entertainment in circuses or Wild West shows. Sometimes these acts feature a performer acting as a human \"target\" (strictly speaking they are not the target as the objective of the archer is to narrowly miss them, however they are frequently referred to as human targets). Archery in this context is sometimes known as one of the \"impalement arts\", a category which also includes knife throwing and sharp-shooting demonstrations.

It is important to note the strict separation between archery practised as a competitive sport and archery as an impalement art. For example, organising bodies for competitive archery prohibit activity that involves deliberate shooting in the general direction of a human being. The separation between the worlds of competition archery and the impalement arts is more marked than that between, for example, knife throwing as a sport and as an entertainment. While some competition knife throwers have also performed circus acts and there are official organisations that embrace both worlds, there is little or no evidence of such crossover in archery.

Archery involving a person in the vicinity of the target is a particularly dangerous practice and, even with very experienced performers, there have been cases of very serious injury.

Another situation where archery features as an entertainment is in its portrayal in movies. Howard Hill used his extraordinary accuracy for the archery in the movie The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) starring Errol Flynn. He used a heavy hunting bow to hit small reinforced target areas on the chests of actors in motion. Hill also performed stunts such as shooting an apple held by a volunteer and shooting a stone as it was thrown in the air. Some of his stunts can be seen in the short film Cavalcade of Archery (1946).

Like any martial art, if you interested in learning how to shoot or become a toxopholist (an archer) it is advisable for safety to seek professional coaching from an accredited teacher or club. A bow is a weapon and designed to kill, treat a bow with as much respect as you would a sword or a gun.

Finally a funny but probably true archery idea. Ever wondered where the V-sign (or the bird) came from i.e. the offence of sticking your fingers up at someone?

The theory goes as follows. When the English and French were at war (quite normal in history) the French feared the English archers. So when the French captured archers, they would cut off the shooting fingers from the prisoners so they couldn’t shoot again. Prior to a battle, the English would taunt the French by showing they had their shooting fingers and this is where it is thought the V-Sign came from.

Another factual term in archery is the Robin Hood. Basically, it is when an archer hits his or her own arrow that is in the target, with another following shot, the second arrow will shatter the nock in the back of the first, often embedding the pint of the second arrow in the shaft of the first. This ruins both arrows but the visual and audible effects are stunning. Many archers never manage to do this in their shooting career.

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  • Kana Seiko Haruki
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02 Feb 2009 19:33 - 02 Feb 2009 19:54 #22010 by Kana Seiko Haruki
Replied by Kana Seiko Haruki on topic ARCHERY

Here are some videos on youtube demonstrating Kyodo (Japanese longbow - another weapon most Samurai were experts with)

Fight Japan: Kyudo

The Empty Mind - Kyudo or Japanese Archery

This one (He is actually a Korean Archer) shows what can be done with plenty of training and understanding of the mental game 9the moving meditation of kyodo if you will)

japanese archer (Actually Korean)

On the off chance you are unable to view youtube cos your boss is mean - here are the three files made into a single downloadable movie file (or if you want to keep them anyway)


Last edit: 02 Feb 2009 19:54 by Kana Seiko Haruki.

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