Traditional Archery As an Elemental Sport

Many sports are very equipment intensive and demand a heavy outlay of cash. Archery on the other hand can be viewed as a minimalist sport. That is not to say that you can’t spend a lot of money if you try, but at the core there’s not much to it. In a nutshell it involves using a bow to launch an arrow through the air to the target.

The subset of the archery sport which you are most likely to encounter at the beginner level is traditional archery. This form has been around almost as long as the bow itself. This form of archery is not hunting. This form has the archer shooting at a target, generally round with diminishing circles on its surface, finally converging on the center “bull’s eye.” Just as with darts, the closer to the bull’s eye, the higher the score. Usually the targets will sit on an easel and the archer will shoot from a standard distance away.

Traditional archery is deceptive in its simplicity. After all, what does the archer do? Stand erect, sight in on the target, draw the string back with the arrow in place, and let fly. But there is more going on behind the scenes. The archer must have hours and hours of practice to perfect the technique of getting a successful shot off. Knowing how to sight along the shaft of the arrow, how to focus the totality of the senses on the bull’s eye, and pulling the string back just so. No wonder traditional archery has been described as a zen sport.

Shot preparation is the key to delivering a successful shot. Once the arrow leaves the string, the archer loses all control over the situation. In mentally calculating his trajectory, he must take into account factors such as distance, wind speed and direction, weather conditions, and the responsiveness of his bow, among others. Only countless hours of practice will make this an intuitive process.

Unlike bow hunting, traditional archery limits the kind of bows which can be employed. Basically, a recurve bow, a selfbow, or a longbow may be used, not a crossbow or…

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