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.

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

New Target Face for Indoors?

lockdown target faceThe LockDown Knockdown International archery competition has been nothing but innovation since it was premiered a month ago. Now in its second outing, the recurvers got to strut their stuff this time but were thrown a bit of a curve ball when they got to experience the new indoor face being trialed. In the main, its a normal 40cm triple Vegas face but with one significant modification, one of the triples has a small white circle worth 12 points and its not in the centre!

The 12 point dot sits at the six oclock position on the line separating the 7 and 8 rings. Its just 15mm across (and you thought the 20mm X ring was small!). As can be seen from the above triple face, the dot is only on one of the faces. In addition you have to announce you are shooting for the 12 ring so no happy accidents just because you got sloppy and dropped your bow arm!

ASA scoringObviously this is a complete departure from our usual put the arrow in the middle of a series of concentric circles and borrows a little from the kill zones on 3D targets. The diagram to the left shows ASA (Archery Shooters Association) scoring zones for 3D models with the 14 ring being well away from the much larger 10/12 point scoring areas. You have to take a risk to shoot for 14 points with significant loss of points if you fail. This new 12 point white dot seems to be following the same philosophy. Shoot for 9/10 with less risk OR go for 12 forcing your opponent to have to risk the 12pt dot to keep up if you succeed with the penalty of only scoring a 7/8 if you fail. Also if you consider the way the faces are shot in head to head, being first or second and order of targets shot could bring in mind games and tactics never seen before in archery. I suspect the white dot face would ALWAYS be shot last in case you needed to go for that hail mary to win or tie the end.

new target in use

you’re scoring your arrows 12, 10, 9 is that right?…….  JUDGE!

One thing does worry me a little about this new target. Just how visible is that dot? Could this be construed as discrimination against slightly myopic archers? Competitions are there to test archery skill, not eyesight. Take Korean archer Im Dong Hyun. His eyesight is terrible yet he was at one time the No 1 male recurve archer in the world. Could he deal with this 12 point dot? There may need to be quite a bit of work done on this before it is rolled out beyond the top echelons.

So having thought about this a little over a nice malt last night, I suspect this white dot scoring zone will be the preserve of compounders, international competitors and recurve archers of A ranking. If it is implemented into regular competition for mere mortals, its going to be insanely hard to hit and may be a bad idea to attempt unless its a desperate attempt to catch up. I dont think it will ever be a pre-emptive thing i.e. going for the lead in arrow 1 or 2. The risk of gifting the advantage to your opponent is too great if you fail. Admittedly if you hit that shot … the ramifications might be a lot more than just scoring 12 points. It could shake up your opponents mental game completely. So if implemented this is going to significantly alter the already tense indoor head to head competition format. Mind games will be very much to the fore and shooting second has never had so much potential advantage. This could make 4D chess look tame in comparison given that shooting a perfect 30 may no longer be a winning end as Mr Ellison found out (see below).

Here is the first 12 point ever in WA target archery shot by Steve Wijler to steal the end from Brady Ellison with a 31 – 30 score!!!!  (Bit unfair though! When I claimed I shot a 31 point, 3 arrow end I got shouted at! ;o)

Current competition videos can be found in this World Archery’s YouTube playlist starting at video 46 for the recurve competition with the new face AND watch this video from WA explaining the new face.

Editors note: I mocked up a 40cm inner with 15mm dot added and looked at it down my bow sight (iris valve gehmann sight pin) at 18m. Trying to stay steady on that dot is murder. Without the concentric circles to give you reference, the dot (which is so very small) floats around in your sight pin like a demented bumblebee with a sugar rush. My respect for the shot noted above just went ballistic!

Academic focus on Archery finds


Archer not involved shock

Its not often archery is at the heart of a contentious issue. We are a conservative sport where outside of some petty bitching and occasional personal drama, we just get on with what we do. Our suppliers gently evolve their products, our governing bodies never have to deal with drug scandals, compounders find new engineered ways to avoid fundamental archery issues and we never read about international archers driving sports cars into swimming pools.

So it is a little surprising that archery is popping up in the middle of an academic spatette regarding the origins of human innovation and the “fact” they are typically sought in Africa or Europe and no where else.

200612125204-bone-tools-restricted-exlarge-169Whats it all about? Well, evidence of archery has been discovered in a Sri Lankan cave dated roughly to 48,000 years ago making it the oldest evidence of archery to be found in that part of the world. This places the Sri Lankan find towards the earliest discovered use of archery typically thought to have originated anything up to 50,000 years ago with outlier finds dated possibly as long ago as 60,000 years ago in africa.

There is also some contention over whither they are actually archery related items which muddies the waters still further. Obviously, these are arguments for academics but as archers we can still enjoy the find and the possible addition of more information on our archery forebears.

The Gizmodo article can be found here which brings up the spat and a more general article from CNN can be found here. The actual scientific paper was published in Science Advances and the research paper can be found, read online and downloaded in pdf here.


With Covid on the wane (at least for the moment), phase 2 of our escape from lockdown beckons. Hopefully this will herald a return to some normality and most importantly (absolutely no bias here ;o) the reopening of our archery clubs.

ME_452_ExpectationsHowever when you return to the line its going to be vitally important to remember just when you shot last.

Why? Because although muscle memory is a fantastic thing, you are going to be rusty. Your form will need to be watched for sloppy execution. Static releases, dropping that bow arm and inconsistent hand positions are going to creep in. So dont be down heartened if your usual scores aren’t there …

… because its not just club level archers that are suffering. Even the internationalists are feeling it. In the latest World Archery Lockdown Knockdown (the archery competition where social distance is by continent), you could see some of the archers such as Yasemin Anogoz (fantastic Turkish archer) struggling a little with her form shooting 7’s and 8’s at 18m.

So when you return to the line, keep this in mind. Review your shot cycle. Close your eyes and imagine the shot. Write it down if you have to. Remember to have good form at all times. If the shot isn’t there, reset and start again. Watch for fatigue affecting your form and work up gradually to your usual arrow count … we’re not at home to Mr Injury!

Lockdown Knockdown 2: 2 minute summary of Yasemin’s round can be found here and here’s the playlist for the current competition where they have just shot the qualifying scores. Start at video 37 for this competition.

Route Map back to the Line …

With the publishing of the Covid-19 route map out of house arrest in Scotland … here at GA we are already trying to work out how we get the club back up and running. We do however have some problems that might delay us getting back on the line. Not so much the logistics of keeping a minimum safe distance while setting up targets, gaps between targets, archers per boss etc … that’s just choreography.


Our boss is in here somewhere!

Here our concern is actual access to the hall for our kit, the schools requirement to have a staff member on hand even though we don’t need anyone present and finally the condition of the field with the grass not having been touched in 6 months. I for one don’t want to spend all day looking for arrows in the grass! If the school isn’t open in any way we will need permission to access the field on our own which we used to do till the rules were changed on us. In addition, toilet access in the pavilion might be limited. All things we need to address before our resident line captain gets out his shiny whistle.

We will keep you up to date with any progress we have in getting the club back up and running but our advice to you archers is start stretching out those back muscles in preparation for returning. If you haven’t been drawing your bow much in the last few weeks (see here for advice on that) its going to feel like a 100 tonnes when you try to draw for the first few sessions.

Hopefully see you on the line soon (I’ll wave from my boss).

If you are interested and dont have a copy of Phase 1, here are the documents …

Scottish Archery – Phase 1 – Archery v1.5
Scottish Archery – Phase 1 – Coaching



Working from Home … International Archery Edition


International archery is pretty dead in the water right now. There are no competitions going on and nothing even tentatively planned till September but that hasn’t stopped World Archery from getting their compete on.

WA is running an online tournament featuring 8 compound archers – four men and four women – who will be invited to take part if they qualify (like these guys wont qualify!!!! Qualification will be for ranking). Invites went to Mike Schloesser, Anders Faugstad, Domagoj Buden and Steve Anderson for the men. Sara Lopez, Paige Pearce, Linda Ochoa-Anderson and Toja Ellison are the four women. The Lockdown Knockout, as its being called, will be streamed live on the federation’s digital channels.

Schedule for the event starting with qualification is as follows:

  • 1-4 May – Qualification period (filmed)
  • 9-12 May – Quarterfinals (live)
  • 14-15 May – Semifinals (live)
  • 17 May – Final (live)

Matches will be filmed on mobile phones and the live broadcast will be produced from a remote location. Given the archers will be on various continents, I think thats taking social distancing a bit far! Coverage will be available live on World Archery’s YouTube and Facebook platforms so worth checking out perhaps? Get those archery juices flowing again.

The final will be a battle of the sexes  (my money’s on the girls) with the winner receiving 1000 swiss francs and the runner-up 500. Why do I think the girls have an edge? A stipulation of the competition is thin carbons must be used. Blokes are used to higher poundages (60lbs) allowing them to use fatter arrows so getting more line cutters. Even Sara Lopez, best lady compounder right now shoots only 53lbs and Paige Pearce 55lbs. They wont be losing as big a crutch having to use thinner carbons.
A short WA video on the event can be found here.

Short speeded up videos of qualification and quick chat:
Linda Ochoa-Anderson qualification here
Toja Ellison’s qualification here
Paige Pearce qualification here
Sara Lopez qualification here
Mike Schloesser qualification here
Dom Buden qualification here
Anders Faugstad qualification here
Steve Anderson qualification here


12 Strange Archery Facts …

… and some background around them. Archery is a pastime/sport what invariably leaves you thinking “what the flip?” when a little known fact surfaces. Here are 12 wtf moments for you …

  1. Language: The word archery is derived from the word Arcus, a Latin term related to anything arched or curved ie. bow, arc, coil, arch. You’ll sometimes see reference to archers being referred to as a Toxophilites. The word comes from two Greek words that together mean ‘lover of the bow’ and what archer doesn’t love their bow?! Being “Wide of the Mark” meaning not to the point comes from a mark being an archery target (see shooting the mark). “Parting Shot” comes from the term “Parthian shot” which is a shot taken behind you from horseback as you retreat. And finally a “Rule of Thumb” also known as a fistmele which indicates the correct bracing height for a longbow. (think thumbs up gesture used as a unit of measurement)
  2. JLSix-time Olympican Khatuna Lorig trained Jennifer Lawrence for the Hunger Games films. This is why Katness Everdeen uses a one over/two under hook, under the chin anchor even though she’s shooting a traditional style field bow with no sights. Lorig is a target recurve archer, not a traditional hunter thus the discrepancy since you would expect her to use a three under hook/higher anchor.
    Meh, Hollywood! Who can forget the “viking” armour in The 13th Warrior being everything from gladiator all the way to conquistador!
  3. On the subject of Khatuna Lorig … in the Olympics Khatuna Lorig2as Khatuna Kvrivichvili she competed while pregnant for the Soviet Union at Barcelona (1992) winning a team bronze. As Khatuna Lorigi, she competing for Georgia in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000). As Khatuna Lorig, she was unable to participate in Athens (2004) due to citizenship issues (wait, she gets even more far traveled!). She then competed for the United States at Beijing (2008). At 38yrs old she competed again for Team USA at London (2012) and finally just fell short of qualifying for Rio (2016) at the last gasp.
  4. At the battle of Agincourt, a skilled long-bowman could release up to 12-15 arrows per minute to create the “arrow storm”. Contrary to what you’d think about medieval archery, it was weight of fire that was important here and not pin point accuracy. Think area effect artillery rather than sniper. Now it’s believed there were 500,000 arrows in the baggage train at Agincourt which means the 5,000 archers at Agincort ran through their ammunition in 8 minutes. (there are archers that struggle to get 6 arrows off in 8 minutes!)
  5. bhutanflag300Archery is the national sport of the Kingdom of Bhutan. It was declared the national sport in 1971, when Bhutan became a member of the United Nations. They take their archery VERY seriously. From its first attendance in 1984 till 2008, Bhutan ONLY competed in 1 sport at the Olympics – yup, you guessed it, Archery! They have never won a medal. The traditional side of archery in Bhutan is a far cry from the western image of conservative, reserved archery and would be more inline with tribal conflict. If you pardon the expression … no shits are given when pride is on the line and its village team against village team.
  6. South Korea’s national sport IS NOT archery (more like a religion to be honest), that’s actually Taekwondo. However, South Korea has (so far) won the most archery medals in Olympic archery with an impressive haul of 38. That’s 23 golds, 9 silver and 6 bronze. Now in Korea, winning Olympic gold gets you a monthly stipend for life. These pensions were originally cumulative. Allegedly until Kim Soo-Nyung, one of the greatest olympic archers ever, won three gold medals. At this point the finance department started to get worried and things were altered. Just as well as subsequently Ki Bo Bae achieved four Olympic medals (three of them gold).
  7. barcelonaAnd while the Olympics are our focus, Spaniard Antonio Rebollo lit the Olympic flame at the 1992 Olympics Games in Barcelona by shooting a lit arrow through the gas rising from the Olympic cauldron so igniting it. Video can be found here.
    Point to ponder: where did the arrow end up AFTER the cauldron was lit?
  8. It was required by law that all English males over the age of 14 carry out at least 2 hours of longbow practice each week. Also if you lived in York, it was permissible to shoot a scotsman with a bow but not on a Sunday. Fortunately, these laws are moribund and superseded by later legislation although at least one GA member was demanding the 2hr a week legally mandated practice be reinstated while under COVID house arrest.
  9. gdThelma & Louise star Geena Davis missed out on making the US Olympic archery team in 2000, placing 24th out of 300!
    Need proof she’s an archer? Well check out this you tube video of her having some archery fun…
    Geena Davis Archery Trickshots
    The punchline to this video makes a hat tip to 1960’s filmstar Anita Ekberg who actually did shoot (and hit) a paparazzi who was hounding her with her flat bow. Doubt this story? Here is the preparing to shoot pic and one showing what the paparazzi saw just before he felt a stabbing pain.
  10. King Henry V (16 September 1386 – 31 August 1422) ordered 500,000 arrows for his army in 1421. The arrows were stored in the Tower of London under the watchful eye of the appointed “keeper of the king’s arrows. (I pity the fool who has to refletch them after the glue perishes!) Worth considering that during this time hundreds of “sub-contractors” would be required to supply those arrows making small batches each (Easton doesnt exist yet ;o). This was literally a cottage industry with multiple people/skills needed for each arrow – metalwork (points), woodwork (shafts), horn carving (nocks), feather splitting/binding .. and now you know why Fletcher was quite a common surname in medieval Britain. An additional step might be “weather proofing” for arrows likely be stored for a while. Final thing to consider … a half million arrows … where are the feathers coming from? I have heard of a royal edit requiring a tithe of 8 feathers from every goose in the kindom being issued. Thats a lot of feathers!
  11. According to the US National Safety Council, archery is more than three times safer than golf, with just one injury for every 2,000 participants. You have to wonder just how safe archery would be if bow hunting was excluded from those figures. Its so safe a sport that in the notoriously litigious USA, the insurance premiums for an archery range are roughly equivalent to badminton, handball, or golf. Check out this insanely detailed study from Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the US promoting archery as a safe sport for children.
    (At GA you are perfectly safe statistically speaking as our major injuries have already happened … an outdoor boss fell on one member while another managed to stab himself in the thigh with an arrow – DO NOT ask for proof or you will be shown the scar!)
  12. ski biathlonand finally … archery pops up in many other sports. We have archery angling or bowfishing, archery hunting obviously (not in the UK though), archery golf and even can be found mixed in with cross country skiing in Archery Biathlon!
    Hang on, isn’t biathlon cross country skiing and rifle shooting?
    Yes, it is but there’s an archery variant as well! Just lay off the après ski til after the competition!

Home Shooting … Facts

house arrowIn the light of the cautionary tale posted below … there has been some debate over shooting at home. To clear up some of the misconceptions about home shooting, here are some facts.

1) You are NOT insured by AGB when you shoot somewhere else other than the registered field for the club. Obviously that’s Craigholme for GA. Thus you shoot at your own (and your neighbours) risk.
2) Should you upset your neighbours with your archery and the police are called, the charge of ‘Culpable and Reckless Conduct’ can be leveled.
3) Consider the police are at a loose end right now. That’s a fact worth keeping in mind.

arrow tyreWe ALL (especially your editor) want back out on the line but we dont want to come back to our sport tarred with bad publicity. Or worse still, under investigation because an increasingly authoritarian state decides “there is no need for citizens to have medieval weapons in their homes” due to an incident of home archery.

Lets be sensible. Lets not shoot without permission, a safe overshoot area and all the usual safety procedures we take for granted at the club.


Staying Archery Fit …

fridgeMost of us are stuck at home right now. We visit the fridge relentlessly … and the drinks cabinet is glaring at me right now with an expression I can only describe as “LEAVE ME ALONE!”.

I can feel my archery fitness slipping away with no shooty or no gym time. So what can be done?

Well, first a quick jump over to our Books and Guides page where you can grab free PDFs from renown archery coach Ki Sik Lee and physical trainer/archer Tim Goodwin. These will give you some good exercises to try. If you don’t have a home gym (like 99% of us) … get inventive! All those stockpiles of food and drink can stand in for weights. 2L of diet coke = a 2kg weight.

Now actually drawing your bow without there being any shooty (called reversals) is good exercise and obviously works all the right muscles BUT when drawing your bow DO NOT put an arrow on the bow and even then face a wall. Whatever you do, DO NOT let the string go AT ALL. A dry fire will mean all that energy going into the bow and it will break so take care. If you don’t believe me, check out this article and video footage. You’ll never risk a dry fire ever after reading.

If you cant draw up your bow indoors due to low ceilings, the solution to this is an exercise band. Something like this used to simulate you drawing your bow will work those back muscles and help with you feeling the expansion as you draw through an imaginary clicker. These are available in lots of ‘weights’ and can be doubled over to increase the resistance as long as you don’t get one that starts as a loop. Medium to heavy are probably the best for most archers. There are archery specific products like the Bow Trainer or the Accubow Trainer but these can get quite expensive.

So there you are. A few ideas to keep your archery fitness .. or at least prevent you from turning into the Michelin tyre man. Now excuse me, those chocolate digestives aren’t going to eat themselves.