The Secret of Korean Archery

2020_1 - CopyIts been said that 50 of the top 100 archers in the world are Korean. In recent years, with the proliferation of Korean coaches active around the world, this ratio has arguably fallen. As Korean techniques and programs are embraced by more and more nations, the gap has perceptively narrowed. But there is still something that the Koreans seem to do better than any other nation and that’s prepare.

london 2012For the 2012 Olympics in London, the venue was Lords cricket ground. The test event showed that in the event of a breezy day, there was going to be a wicked crosswind at the targets. However, the archers would be protected from the wind by the bleachers so creating variable air conditions that the arrow would experience on its way to the target. To simulate the conditions, the Korean archers conducted “wind-fighting” archery practice on Jeju Island, a windblown tourist island that gets some of the country’s most extreme weather.

army baseAs a final preparation, the six Korean archers selected to compete in London held their final training session at a military base in Wonju, roughly 70 miles east of the capital Seoul. It was configured to give the same atmosphere of Lords to acclimatise the archers in advance. Scoreboards, screens and approximately 700 boisterous soldiers provided an audience .. shouting, chanting and even booing during each shot. Ironically at the actual event you could have heard a pin drop mainly because the audience was mostly made up of archers who are polite and classy sportspersons (even if they were wearing denim that day!).

korea 2021With the final preparations for the delayed Tokyo games underway, the Koreans have been preparing in the same methodical way. Early March 2021 they held a special team event. A WA 70m head to head competition in their training hall set up to replicate the atmosphere of the finals. It had cameras, an audience, spectator screens, scoreboards, noise, a bi-lingual blaring PA and was conducted exactly as the Olympic event would be even to the point of formal adjudication, introductions and the archers waving to the “crowd” on entry to the arena. As possible medal favourite Kim WooJin said, experiencing it now would allow him “to be more comfortable when shooting at the competition for real.”

This attention to detail in their preparation is probably one of the things that still differentiates Korean archery from the rest of the world. It will be interesting to see if the last 4 years since Rio has allowed the world to catch up to the big dogs of archery or whither the intense Korean preparation and attention to detail will see them through to another haul of Olympic gold.

Video of the Special Team matches can be found at Korea Archery on YouTube

My X doesn’t count? Noooooooo!

archery griefAs lockdown continues to frustrate, unused archery skills erode and the Craigholme sale drags on … Committee member Bill posted this cartoon as a mirror to where our archery will be when we return and our response to that erosion of skills.

All I can say is .. we know someone who has been there, done that (sort of). Our editor forgot to secure his wrist sling while blank bossing over xmas and lobbed his bow at the target**.
We’re told looking at the hole it caused, his long rod did score a 6, a 7 and an 8!

We suspect that World Archery would disallow that score on the grounds his long rod has a diameter great than 9.3mm. That’s the maximum diameter of arrows allowed under World Archery/ AGB rules. 

Easton do do a 2712 aluminium shaft with a diameter of 10.5mm but its not valid for competitions in the UK. It does partly explain why so many compounders get 300 scores in the Vegas indoor shoot. Well, that and they get to use the recurve 40cm face with the larger 10 ring, rather than the compound specific face where just the X ring counts for a 10! Seriously guys, you get to use a trigger, cams and telescopic sights … use your own faces!

** ps: our editor has form in throwing bows, here is video of him at his calmest. ;o)

Inoculating against Archery?

pfizer-1You will be happy to know that some of our more “experienced” and “seasoned” club members have already received their COVID jabs. Some have received the Pfizer vaccine and others have received the Oxford/AstraZeneca one.

But in one very special case, one of our archers reported that he had received the Fivics vaccine.

fivicsThis caused a little consternation as we were concerned he was being vaccinated against archery! Or at the very least, the socially acceptable if expensive virus where you get an insane desire to buy archery equipment**. In case you weren’t aware, Fivics is a Korean supplier of some pretty decent archery equipment. ;o)

If you fancy having a look at shiny things, Fivics web site is always an interesting browse which can be found here and this is their current catalogue.

** Yes, we know our Vice Chairman is a carrier and enthusiastic spreader of this virus. AGB and SAA advise that earplugs or running away from him are the best ways to avoid contracting it.  

Lack of Developments

not the last arrows

9,9,10 … (not) the last end of arrows shot at Craigholme (we hope)

Another month on and there’s little new news regarding Craigholme. With Covid lockdown probably causing the sale to drag, there’s inevitably many loose ends to tie up on a sale of this size let alone contract confidentiality. We just have to be patient.

As was posted on our facebook site“sadly no news, which is depressing and frustrating in equal measures.”

We’d like to be getting things done for the club but chances are we wont hear anything till March. However, if all is well and we get to stay, that would set us up nicely for a socially distanced clean out of the containers followed by the start of the outdoor summer season.

So many things crossed right now I am shutting off blood flow to my extremities!

Developments …

trade

GA committee wander desert looking for new home. 

Even though a month has passed from the termination of our let at Craigholme, what with the Xmas break and fact that the sale of the school has not yet concluded, we are still in somewhat of a limbo. This does not mean we have been idle:

During the last few weeks, we and the other clubs active at Craigholme have rallied a great deal of support from MP’s, councillors and governing bodies (in our case the SAA and AGB) as well as Sport Scotland. In addition, the Rector at Kelvinside Academy (current operators of Craigholme) has passed on all of our details to the buyers who, he says, are keen to continue relationships with the various sporting clubs currently active at the sports hub including your friendly neighbourhood archery club. This all sounds quite positive for us staying where we are … But what if it all goes wrong?

We have been talking with some cricket clubs about the possibility of us taking up residence and shooting on their grounds. Now while no cricket ground is as well suited to our needs as Craigholme, Glasgow Archers could easily continue on another site. This would not be the first time GA has moved. Admittedly its been 47 years since the last time we moved our outside venue but just 10 since we migrated from Mearns Castle High School to Craigholme’s sports hall!

Given the terrible weather Glasgow is having right now, I’m not sure we would have had much shootie time especially over Xmas. However, as soon as we actually have some firm news to act on, your committee of sedentary, elderly archers will “leap” into action. Right now we are just waiting for the sale to go through and first contact with, hopefully, our new landlord. Fingers crossed.

Evolving a New Meta (DX)

meta dxOutside of the mad scientists of archery like Border Bows or Jörg Sprave, the evolution of archery kit is mostly iterative. Minor changes here and there are a staple of each years new catalogue from the big companies … but this year things are happening!

Win&Win released their 2021 catalogue with a few surprises. It comes with a statement from them that due to there being no competitions this year, they spent more time in R&D and their latest riser – the META DX – shows there’s been some out of the box thinking going on.

The basic shape of the DX is very similar to what has become the Wiawi standard. The length is 25″, weight 1340g, made of graphene/nano carbon – all very standard for top end risers these days. So where does the riser start to differ dramatically? Well, interestingly theres a “Special Steel” stiffener in the leading edge of the riser stretching from limb bolt to limb bolt. This has been inserted to aid in the transfer of vibration from the bow limbs to the stabilizer set up. W&W have also included two innovations made by different companies. One fairly sensible .. and the other a bit on the radical side.

Firstly there is a removable plate where the button holes are and the rest would be stuck. Created by Hoyt where its called the verta-tune rest plate, this can be removed and flipped to adjust the button holes to a higher or lower position allowing more variation in tillering and nock point placement. Hoyt made an innovation worthy of copying! … who knew that was possible!?

More radically, Win&Win worked with Mathews (the compound folks) to license and modify the dampening systems from their compounds to improve stability and reduce vibration. These are the Mathews harmonic damper and the EHS™ harmonic damper. If you look at the riser above, the dampeners are those circular things situated near to the limb bolts (EHS) and above the button holes (Mathews harmonic). In its simplest explanation, these are holes through the riser containing circular vibration dampeners which absorb vibration and reduce hand shock on release of an arrow. According to W&W’s graph below, shock and vibration are reduced as is the length of time vibration is sustained in the riser. This, coupled with the stabilizers, results in there being significantly less activity post shot in the riser. So in theory, the shot is more stable and the archer less affected by left over energy transitioning through the riser and into their hand.

vibration

Graphical representation of vibration in the Meta DX verses normal carbon risers

Coming in at an eye watering £800-ish, this is not an intermediate or even expert riser … this is god tier. I doubt that any mere mortal archer would get any benefit from the improved suppression in the riser … but the elite? Who knows! I for one will be watching the world cup closely when it restarts to see if anyone is using this puppy and are they shooting any more perfectly than before. The slo-mo option on youtube will be getting a work out that day focusing on the post shot friskiness of the riser.

Honestly, if pushed I’d say that there will never be another significant improvement in the recurve riser as the last 12 years have seen the concept refined to the nth degree. Improvements are very much on a downward trend of diminishing returns even with hugely increased effort and seem more aimed at “this years model” enthusiasts. At least the DX is something a little different from run of the mill annual ‘improvements’. However, even if it doesn’t make archers shoot any better, it does give Win&Win fanbois like our editor something to dribble over. How much does he dribble over pictures of kit? He still misses the annual paper copy of the Quicks catalogue! (the last issue of which 2015-16 can be viewed here)
(In truth, our editor frequently talks admiringly about kit but is monogamous and only has eyes for his CXT!)

Realization: This riser has 3 dampeners built in. It has 3 bushings for dampeners (top rod, bottom rod and one below the handle at the rear). It can take a stabilizer with a long rod and 2 short rods which can have 3 more dampeners. THAT’S 9 DAMPENERS POSSIBLE ON THIS BOW! That’s a lot of vibration suppression. (Not even going to consider limb savers!!!)

Rumour: We heard this story very recently (just before xmas 2020) told first hand by an American archer who said he found one of the harmonic dampers lying on the ground at his range. Seems they can pop out quite easily so something to watch out for should anyone in your club have one. They might be around £30 to replace.

References:
Bow porn … Win&Win 2021 catalogue
Win&Win introduce their new bow
Lancaster Archery review the Meta DX
Jake Kaminski unboxes a Meta DX
Jake Kaminski shoots and tunes a Meta DX

2021

moff hamster2A year ago I wrote “So as this Annus Horribilis finally winds down … Good Shooting in 2020“.
Writing the above, I was looking back sadly over the old and (like Janus) expectantly towards the new. Its kind of funny to think just how blissfully unaware of the impending future we were.

To make matters worse on top of the normal COVID 2020 misery, Glasgow Archers now find themselves homeless after the closure and sale of Craigholme School. Many Scottish clubs haven’t reopened. Some of them may never recover and archery membership numbers in general are falling. Still its a bit better than our English cousins have at present as they can’t shoot at all under some bizarre “fairness” criteria which lumps archery/tennis/golf in with sports with a high “nearness” factor like rugby!
Of course we all live in fear of waking up one morning with a cough, a temperature and nothing (alcoholic) in the fridge. “Hi, is that Morrisons? When can you do me a home delivery? ……….. MARCH!?!”

I think the best you can wish an archer right now is they get inoculated asap, their club and range reopens soon to a busy (yet distanced) line and the fridge is comfortably full of alcohol just in case. Not exactly a traditional new year toast! 

I’d like to close with “Good shooting in 202x” to you all … but I think I jinxed it last year. So here’s a traditional Scottish toast hopefully to a better year for us all**Lang may yer lum reek! Cheers.

** (unless you’re in a head to head with me where I hope your sight block falls off! ;o)

How I wanted to remember Craigholme.

With the closure and sale of Craigholme School and all its facilities at the end of 2020, Glasgow Archers were without a home. Had this been the end, this is how I would have remembered the field… taken as the sun sets on the last club day as the last archer left the field for the last time. However, this doesn’t seem to be the end. We now have new landlords – Hutchison’s Grammar School – and they don’t seem phased by their heavily armed tenants at all. Its still early stages, schedules and payments are yet to be confirmed but we’re feeling a lot happier about what the future will bring.craigholme

Had 2020 been our swan song, our legacy wasn’t too shabby. During our time at Craigholme we hosted … 30ish Scottish Archery Outdoor Championships (starting 1985/86); 3 x Scottish FITA Stars; 2 x Internationals – Scotland v Wales 1994 & Scotland v Netherlands 1996(?); the only Grand FITA held in Scotland (1990); 45 Glasgow Open Championships; almost 20 (4th of July) American competitions with BBQ and fancy dress; 15 Glasgow Indoor Competitions ~ and we only ever had about 3 cancellations and 3 abandonments due to weather which for Glasgow is damn near as good as it gets.

Even though the future is looking brighter for the club continuing at what we consider our home, we would still like to thank EVERYONE from nearly 5 decades of archery at Craigholme who … ran the club, shot with us, coached us, worked on field parties, competed in our competitions, made the field party’s breakfasts and adjudicated for us at competitions. To those who squelched through the mud, endured the rain, waded (and in one case ‘swam’) in the lakes around the 70m mark, shivered in the freezing cold and over-ate at the annual American BBQ … we hope you think of archery at Craigholme fondly and will be back on our hallowed, if soggy, turf soon. We’re looking forward to seeing you at our ‘new’ home … H@PP – Hutchison’s @ Pollock Park.

Oh … Deer!

deer3

Who you lookin at pal?

For those of you not familiar with Glasgow, we have had, for quite a while, a minor problem with urban deer. Glasgow Archers shoot at the edge of Pollock Park which for many years has been considered one of the deer hot spots with numerous alerts of “beware deer” being issued for the nearby M77 motorway.

Occasionally FAST has to be called during shooting when some deer have a derp moment, their racial memory slips their mind and they wander onto the archery field to investigate those big foam things that the fast moving feathery things are hitting.

antlerRecently, with Glasgow city centre deserted much of the time during periods of lockdown they have been getting a little bolder than just jaywalking on the motorway … deer doing a little window shopping.

Now normally down the field there’s no real evidence that the deer are about apart from the odd guest appearance but recently physical evidence was found … an antler (see left) from a comparatively young roe deer that looks to have broken off from an impact. The antler was about 16.5cm long (6.5″ in old money) and still had some of the deer attached (yuk!). 

Wonder if the deer was trying to get us into trouble with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981“Yes officer, I want to report trophy hunting archers. Their badge fixation is just a cover for something darker!!!!”