Ki BoBae 기보배 – The Best

I recently got asked “who is the best archer in the world?” … and the answer should be easy, whoever is world champion right now. But that answer doesn’t sit well with me. We are the sport that exemplifies the “art of repetition” so whoever is best needs to have been the best for a considerable period of time … and that, for me, is a very easy choice.

Ki BoBae

Bo-Bae-Ki-Olympics-Day-2Ki BoBae is from South Korea and right there you already know this is going to be a list of superlatives. Three-time Olympic gold medalist with four Olympic medals overall makes her one of the most decorated Olympic archers of all time. In addition she was a three-time winner at the Archery World Cup finals. She has three times held the position as women’s world number one in the World Archery Rankings. And to prove I’m not the only one who feels she’s the best, Bow International magazine named her Archer of the Decade 2010-2019 in issue 140.

unnamedAlthough I was present early in her career, I saw her win the Bronze medal at the 2010 World Cup in Edinburgh, for me the journey with Ki BoBae begins with the 2012 Olympics. The final was shot at Lords Cricket ground in extremely windy conditions. Ki was being matched shot for shot by Mexican Aida Roman. After the 5th set, the match was tied 5-5 meaning it came down to a 1 arrow shoot off. Shooting first Ki scored an 8 almost on the 9 line. Fighting the swirling wind Roman also scored an 8 but more centrally in the ring meaning Ki was closer to the centre and so won. Watch the entire 16 minute match here … (breathing at times optional.)
In a post match interview when asked about the one arrow shoot off, with her voice cracking with emotion, she apologised saying “A Korean does not shoot an 8”. I think we can take that to mean “I don’t shoot an 8!” Strong in this one, the desire for perfection is!

KBBFor the next 2 years Ki was a regular in World Cup stages but in 2014 lost her edge and found herself off the international squad and watching the Asian Games from the commentary booth. What happened next was, if you were a Korean female archer facing Ki in competition, pretty terrifying. She found her motivation…
“… if I cannot participate in international competition, I would smash all the domestic competitions instead,” Ki said. “I decided to show everybody that I wasn’t dead yet.”

What followed was a reign of terror on the domestic professional circuit where Ki literally demolished opponent after opponent with a relentless string of wins that even had the hardened Korean archery fraternity going “Daaaaamn!“. 2015 unsurprisingly saw her back on the Korean international team.


targeting software upgrade

Returning to international competition, she did not let up. Ki was the women’s recurve world champion in 2015 and from 2015 to 2017 she held the world record score for the women’s WA720 (72 arrows at 70m on a 122cm face).
Ki, as part of the ladies recurve team at the 2016 Rio games took gold over Russia securing her third Olympic gold medal. With the stage set for drama no matter what happened … Ki’s bid to become the first Olympic archer to retain their Olympic title was ended by teammate Chang Hye-jin in the semi-finals. Chang outshot Ki in what some felt (me included – there was some bad language) was an upset. Ki went on to beat Mexican Alejandra Valencia to win what was for her, a consolation bronze medal.

Winning back to back World Cup finals in 2016 and 2017, it looked like she was back to dominating form. And in what was to be her last international appearance, the Dhaka 2017 Asian Archery Championships (24th-30th November 2017), she took an individual bronze and anchored the ladies recurve team for the gold.

ki bo baeTowards the end of 2017, at a time where Ki BoBae was regularly in the Korean sporting news, was being recognized in the street and people attended events specifically to see her, she got married with the intention of starting a family. With her 1st pregnancy running through the 2018 season, this saw Ki fade from the competitive scene.

Returning in 2019 she struggling to combine family life with practice. While she’s not the first international archer to be a parent and compete, it’s not the same in Korea. There the competition is beyond cutthroat and where its ‘perform now or adios muchachos!’ With archery how having to share her focus and time, Ki’s performance became mortal.  There were some emotional interviews after some very substandard competitions in 2019 (substandard for the perfectionist in her) … proving that the only way to go when you are The Best is eventually down.

The 2019 comeback had been with the intention of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but in the piranha fish tank of Korean archery, Ki was struggling. She was knocked out of the trials in September 2019 coming just 37th of 64. Its worth remembering that’s 37th where its been said 50 of the top 100 archers in the world are Korean.
(Google Translate horribly mangles this article, but I think the 2019 season began just 3 months after the birth of her daughter and Ki struggled to get into shape … read the article here – warning, its in Korean and google translate is not kind).
As of August 2020 there’s no word on what the future holds for Ki.

Given her sheer dominance 2011 till 2017, she is and will remain for me the most successful archer ever to have strung a bow … and personally I’m not counting her out yet. There’s just too much determination and will to win wrapped up in that 5’6″, 123lbs frame. While I have no information at this time to substantiate this, Korea will most likely have another set of Olympic trials for Tokyo 2021. If they do, I fully expect, well .. fervently hope .. to see her on the line doing what she does best … winning!

Ki BoBae’s World Archery International Career in numbers

Videos of Ki Bo Bae in action:
Ki BoBae shot in slow motion
Ki BoBae archery technique evolution (2010-2017)
World Cup 2010 Edinburgh v Yun Ok Hee
World Cup 2010 Edinburgh v Justyna Mospinek – Bronze medal match
Ki BoBae throwing the first pitch in a baseball game … with a bow!

Note: Much of the above information was gathered from Korean websites. I used machine translation (MT) to get the information and its no exaggeration to say Google Translate struggles with Korean. If you see anything majorly wrong in the above, please let me know via our contact form and I will correct.


armed police


Remember back at the beginning of lockdown … AGB, the SAA and even your humble editor were warning archers of the perils of backyard archery? Well this poor archer learned the hard way that people can be a bit stupid, panicky or just plain vindictive.

Archer and instructor Rob Frontier had been rough shooting in a sunken glade in some woods when he was surrounded by armed police. He had been reported as “intoxicated” and in possession of a bow and arrows.

He had had people watching him shoot who enjoyed what he was doing but someone felt the need to report him. Now while this tale had a happy ending for our hero since the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Section 154 is quite clear in there has to be “intent to cause alarm or distress” which he had not. And its is a very valid defense for you to prove that your conduct was reasonable which he could… however it could all have ended very messily indeed.

So now we have GA back open again … the best place for archery is down at Craigholme (or your own club if you aren’t a Glasgow Archer) where any visit from the police is purely one of interest or routine. If your own club’s registered venue isn’t open yet and you are in central scotland … you can always come shoot with us!

Original story found in the Swindon Advertiser: Archery instructor says he was left traumatised after armed police swooped

Breakfast of Archers

Had these been normal times, we would have been well into the outdoor competitive season by now. While talking about the impact that lockdown was having on archery, it dawned on me there is something archers might not have seen since last year. An archery treasure we should not let slide from memory. A shoot tradition that must not be allowed to fade. I’m referring to the Breakfast of Archers AKA the much loved Roll and Lorne Sausage.
If you are not Scottish (Scots know of this repast at a genetic level) and have never heard of this culinary delight … let me paint you a picture:

<Beware, the following was written by an unhealthy carnivore. There is no vegan, vegetarian or healthy eating option.>


artwork optional … but appropriate

Situation: Field party duty can be at times a little thankless. For archers doing field party duties setting up the field, its an early start. Its probably raining. There’s a lot of physical humphing of heavy items and the place is littered with the endlessly whynging competitive archers. However, by 9am the field is ready, the judges take control and the field party retire for the highlight of the day … Breakfast.

As you approach the pavilion, a glorious smell will lift you from tired and fed up to a state approaching nirvana. Get closer and an angelic sizzle will assail your ears. Entering the kitchen you lay eyes on the components of natures most perfect food … morning rolls and the lorne sausage! Your heart sings with joy (if muted slightly by clogged arteries). Grabbing roll and lorne sausage .. you shuffle one into the other then smother in either ketchup or brown sauce. The resultant ‘sandwich’ is shoved into gob with about the same finesse as would be expected from a starving rugby league team in an “all you can eat in 20 minutes” buffet. Instantly the world is a better place and a day of soggily searching for lost arrows and moving bosses for ungrateful archers no longer looks so bad. If only it worked on my life the way it works at the field! :o(

Background: The lorne, square or sliced sausage is traditional scottish fare (and therefore deeply unhealthy). Its basis is a mixture of pork and beef. They are minced together with rusk and spices, packed into a rectangular tin about about 9-10 centimeters (4 in) square-ish, and then cut into slices up to 1 centimeter (0.4 in) thick. When cooking you fry or (the slightly healthier option) grill them. Expect the sausage to shrink considerably during cooking as the thing is laden with fat which will messily escape when cooked. It’s ideal fare to fortify a people who live in a cold, wet climate. Under no circumstances look at the packaging for ingredients unless horror movies are your favourite cinematic treat. Its said they are a good source of potassium, protein, calcium, essential vitamins and form an ideal base for a healthy breakfast. (Honestly, got no idea who would say that at least not without falling over while laughing!) However the taste is as ambrosia from the (archery) gods which will sustain and nurture you throughout a long soggy boring day and an archer on field party duty can ask no more than that.

References: If you are interested in the history of this uniquely scottish dish, this is a rather good article from the Scotsman. And if you want to read of the incident where the humble lorne sausage was at the centre of allegations of cultural appropriation which included appeals to the scottish government to “dae somfin”, check out the above link.

Note for furriners: In scotland, while this syntax may be completely at odds with your understanding of the english language …. a roll and sausage is not the same as a sausage roll. Be warned.

Dishing it out Korean Style

Koreans are arguably the best archers in the world. Its been said that to shoot like a Korean, you need to be like a Korean …

… so tonight I think I’ll have Bulgogi (Korean Fire Meat) for dinner. That’s being Korean! Lets get started as there’s a little preparation:

Ingredients (for two):


  • 1/2 pear, peeled and grated roughly
  • 80-90ml soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Gochujang (a Korean red pepper paste available in Morrisons foreign food section. Its in a red tub)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

Other stuff you need:

  • 300-400g (depending on appetite) of boneless steak. I used Denver steak from Morrisons
  • Sunflower oil
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Rice

What you do:

  1. Stick the steak in a zip bag and put in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will make slicing easier. Cut across the grain into 6mm or 1/4-inch (in old money) thick strips.
  2. Mix the pear, soy, sesame oil, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and gochujang paste in a bowl. Place the mixture and the steak in another zip bag into the fridge for at least 3 hours (for best results, overnight). Turn occasionally.
  3. Dinnertime – get the rice on … you know how long to cook it.
  4. Heat wok or frying pan to a medium high heat. Fry the steak in a single layer in the sunflower oil for about 2-3 mins a side turning once. It should be well done.
  5. For the last minute or two, stir the marinade from the bag into the beef and heat til its hot and bubbling. (this will reduce it slightly which is good)
  6. Serve NOW including scraping out any caramelized marinade (the best bit) and garnish with the green onion and sesame seeds. (in restaurants Bulgogi arrives at your table like fajitas – so hot you have a wait a minute til it calms down).

So …. anything else you need to know?  If too much of the marinade is lost in cooking, its a little dry. First time I tried this, I quickly fried a few mushrooms which helped. You dont always need to use the marinade as a marinade, you can use it as a sauce on a stir fry. Just stir fry the beef and stir in the sauce at the end.

So, how was it? Awesome! Think slightly (or more dependent on how much paste you added) spicy BBQ. Did I shoot better? Oddly I did. So there might be something to “eat like a Korean, shoot like a Korean!”  ;o)


10 on the left … 10,10,9,9,9,9 on the right

GA welcomes visitors once more

statue of liberty

Give me your unrequited toxophilites, your stircrazy compounders, your huddled under umbrella masses yearning to shoot free, the wretched recurvers of your teeming shore. Send these, the tentless, tempest-tost to me as I lift my lamp beside the shooting line!

As of  Monday 13th July, Glasgow Archers welcomed the archery deprived and the currently club-less of central Scotland. Now that we are allowed more than 2 targets active at a time, guests are once more welcome. It helps we now have everything up and running (mostly) smoothly. There are sessions running on Monday and Wednesday evenings as well as Sunday mornings. Guests must be members of Archery GB & Scottish Archery and obviously have their own kit.

Numbers are extremely limited due to how few targets we can set up with social distancing restrictions in place and obviously our own members want to shoot as well so don’t delay if interested.

To express an interest in coming along please contact us at the following address:
Please note that you must pre-book a session 2 days in advance to be allowed to shoot. This is to allow an audit trail for track and trace.

Just be aware, we are having to jump through hoops right now to get things up and running. This isn’t a return to normal so there will be requirements and stipulations that we all have have to conform to. Please remember this is a global pandemic, what was once easy and cheap is now difficult and expensive and that we at GA are making an effort to get archery available for as many archers as we can. So be tolerant and understanding when things dont go as efficiently as normal.

First Night Back

Dateline: 1st July Pollock, Glasgow … Roving band of bow armed ruffians take control of park … film at 11.

backwards strung

Something not right here but cant figure it out!

Archery returned to Craigholme last night for the first time in over 3 months. Probably the longest break in the clubs history since it moved to Craigholme in 1962.

It was chilly with grey skies, breezy and a spit of rain in the air. Typical scottish weather for July but after 100+ days of lockdown there was going to be archery no matter what. To be honest, even a monsoon wouldnt have stopped us! (not that it would have been the first time either!)

Getting set up took forever. The containers needed reorganized. Bosses needed to be wrapped in plastic (to aid in cleaning). Guy rope pins are missing as were the outdoor target pins so workarounds were found. Shooting lanes needed to be created and then the real hard work began … how does my bow go together again?

Arrows were shot. Archery grief was experienced. There was complaining/whynging/moaning about the wind/rain/form/strength/grass/bosses/weight/alcohol consumption/other archers … (you know, archers at their happiest ;o). It was great to be back even if we were all knackered by 7pm but had the option to shot on til 9pm.

Next session is Sunday, I’m booked in and most importantly, I’ve got my complains and excuses all ready.

There’s Archery in them there fields!

safe to shoot

2020 Proverbs: Many directives make protection MAX

Finally some club news and its good. All being well, Glasgow Archers will be reopening its containers and hauling the bosses back onto the field in the next few days.

We are looking to start getting the club up and working from the Wednesday 1st July but it cant (right now) be the way things were in the past. You will need to book a slot on an evening. You just cant turn up and shoot. We have a comprehensive risk assessment we have presented to Craigholme. We have the SAA, AGB and the scottish govt all giving us guidelines and as you can imagine .. it gets pretty involved and complicated REALLY fast.

bow phone

I’m told there’s one for beer as well!

Hand sanitizer is now de rigueur all the time. (Compounders will no doubt get a mounting on their bows to hold a pack ;o). We have to take temperatures with a thermometer before you can shoot (dont panic, its the forehead kind! :o). You need to wear gloves and a mask when in the containers. The bosses are covered in clingfilm to make cleaning easier. We cant use the pavilion except in emergencies. One person/family unit a boss. We need to keep records of attendees for track and trace. Everything has to be cleaned before and after shooting. There’s no sharing of anything outside family units.  Honestly, there are more hoops to jump through to get on the line than a performing lion would be comfortable with … but its archery and I’m willing to put up with a lot to get my bow strung and shot!  I hope you feel that way as well.

Unfortunately, until we get a little more leeway in the rules we have to operate under, GA club nights will be for full members only (EDIT: This has now changed to guests welcome – see later posts for details). Pay as you Go guests we hope to add back into the mix soon when we get our processes efficient and can get permission to squeeze more targets on the field. We’re limited to few bosses due to field size and the huge separation required between bosses.

Details of all the processes, the risk assessment your committee signed off/presented to Craigholme and the Phase 2 guidelines can be found below. Any questions either drop by the Facebook site or use the message function on this website and we’ll try to answer your questions.

See you on the line!

Phase 2 – Archery v1.8
Glasgow Archers – Risk Assessment v1-2
Members update for club re-opening … details on how to book a session plus all info you need.

Instant Legolas

joergIf you’ve read this blog before, you may have seen reference to Joerg Sprave of the Slingshot Channel (pictured right) who is a German gentleman who loves to tinker with bows and crossbows (and has a ridiculously awesome laugh). Well Joerg has gone further than anyone has with innovation to archery in the last 50 years by creating an integrated release aid, 5 arrow magazine and sight that literally turns a compound bow into a pump action, semiautomatic capable of shooting 5 arrows accurately in as many seconds. Its been called the “Instant Legolas” after the insanely skilled Elven archer from Lord of the Rings and is effectively a completely new ‘class’ of archery.

automatic-bow-instant-legolasIts gone through some major iterations all of them made in wood like the one shown to the left to get to where it is now. So where is it now?  In collaboration with SteamBow from Austria, Joerg has produced a completely CNC machined version. This puppy is no longer an experiment or flight of fancy, its now commercially available. At 1000 euros just for the magazine/release aid, its not cheap but the first 100 sold out in 90 minutes and the second run of 400 sold out in 2 days. Archery … there’s a new thing in town!

inst legolas

“Let me show you its features”

I’ll let the man himself showcase his ‘finished’ creation to you in the video below. Its called the Fenris and seeing what this thing can do is quite extraordinary. You can watch the reveal video here. Explanation, demonstration and Joerg laughing.

But is it archery? …… Sort of but its a similar ‘into the darkness’ leap in archery innovation to the one that took us from the standard takedown Recurve to the Compound. I’m not sure anyone can predict if this is a significant innovation or will be just a curiosity. I doubt anyone predicted just how big the compound would become.
Honestly, I think this will be for hunters and hunting only … I can’t ever see this in traditional target competition or even Field/3D but then again I suspect that’s what they said about the compound. Still … its an incredible achievement to make such a huge advancement on an invention that’s been around for 50,000 years!

tod medieval legolasWhile Tod of Tod’s Workshop (a fantastically skilled “medieval” craftsman shown on left) has proven this device could easily have been made during the medieval period for a longbow had anyone thought about it. There has been some good natured discussion on just who would have used this militarily (peasants or trained troops) and in what tactical situation (open field, siege, close range assault) and the reasons it wouldnt have been used … with Tod’s views found here.
What sparked furious debate was when the discussion turned to adding a draw assist mechanism which the Instant Legolas had originally. Toning down the war bow 180-200lbs draw weight with something that provides a letdown like effect would have made longbows far more accessible especially to other nations. Tod tried and came up short because his theoretical “medieval” design for a draw assist mechanism proved unstable. Here is his attempt at making a medieval draw assist mechanism for an instant legolas. However the discussions on the draw assist went on with a lot of people thinking hard about how to make a medieval assist work and they may have cracked a light, viable, medieval draw assist methodology. Tod discusses many of the attempts briefly before getting to the successful design in his opinion.

Hope you enjoyed this article and perhaps check out some of our other archery related but slightly odd takes.

(Pictures taken from screenshots of Tods Workshop and The Slingshot Channel youtube videos for the purpose of reporting.)