ALL A QUIVER

In Ye olde England and other Ye olde places, knowing how to shoot a bow and arrow was not just jaunty and delightful, it was a lifesaving skill.

Not only did it allow people to hunt and catch their food, it also prevented them from being hunted and turned into food.

As technology superseded yea olde bow and arrow, the skill needed to send off a perfectly arched quiver diminished, however sporting archery has held on as a much admired practice, and is still widely respected, even at Olympic level.

Of course, hunters do sometimes still use sticks to bring down animals, and you would have had to have been to be living under a rock not to have heard about the douche-tastic dentist from nowheresville America (Dr Walter Palmer) who managed to horrify most of the planet with his shockingly inaccurate killing of the iconic African Lion, Cecil. Robin Hood makes shooting an arrow look cool, Dr Douchebag made it look like a stunt by ISIS. Only with a Lion.

That moron aside, most people who aim their arrows at things chose round bullseye targets to hit. There is a fantastically primitive and thrilling feeling when your steady hand and careful aim hit the centre of the target. Or maybe even just somewhere on the wall nearby.

Archery clubs can be found anywhere, even in the inner city of most countries.

In Sydney, for example, there are Archery clubs that have their ranges in the bottoms of buildings.

In Asia, and around the world, Archery clubs abound. There are a vast number of choices when it comes to bows, and just as many variations of arrows as you can imagine.

Apart from these two items, the other kit you will need might include protection for your forearm, a finger tab to ease the pressure on the skin on your inner hands and – if you are a lady person or someone whose chest sits out from your ribs- a breast plate.

The stance of the Archer should tell you why these things are needed. By extending the body back and releasing a tensile strength loaded wire, you are essentially creating a garrote for your body. As a lady person of ample cleavage myself, and a fan of the sport, I have suffered many a thwacked boob and nipple and believe me, it is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

Speaking of sound, one of the great things about good bowman ship is the satisfying thunk a hit on a target makes.

Truly, archery is an all sensory sport.

Being relatively stationary, it is also a great sport for those with limited movement or disability. Wheelchair archery is hugely popular, and as long as you have some mobility in your arms and chest area, you can shoot an arrow.

Cross bows and compound bows are easier to manipulate than the traditional recurve bow, which just a simple pull and release function that relies on strength. Cross bows and compound bows have more mechanisms that assist in creating tension in the bowstring, so less effort is required.

Of course, a steady hand is important, and highly competitive archers spend a considerable effort lowering their heart rate and keeping calm. When fractions of a centre metre means the difference in hitting or missing, shaking hands will do you no favours.

It looks simple, and on many levels it is, but like anything, doing it is one thing, doing it well, another.

Having said that, archery is a sport that can be taken up quickly with only a minimum of training.

It may seem old fashioned, but this is a sport that speaks to the heart of all of us. Whether it’s the fantasy of the Knights, the call of the hunter, the simplicity of the action, or just the satisfaction of making the target, it is hard not to fall in love with this ancient and exciting skill.

#SPORT #ARCHERY

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