So … what is meant by archery?
Archery is, in physics terms, a fairly simple transference of potential (stored) energy held in a bent piece of wood to kinetic (propulsion) energy in a projectile.
The archer puts potential energy into the bow by drawing back on a string attached at both ends to a springy, long piece of wood. Upon release of the string (to “loose”) the energy stored in the bent wood (one side compressed, the other stretched) is transferred directly to the projectile attached to the string as the wood returns to its normal shape. The kinetic energy applied to the arrow propels it (all things being executed well) in the direction of aim. The arrow will follow a parabolic path slowing and dropping due to air resistance and gravity.
Exactly when people began shooting arrows is fiercely debated subject. There are those who believe that archery was being practiced some 50,000 years ago while others believe it was as recent at 10,000 years ago. What is agreed upon is that stone age man (the paleolithic era) was suffering the same archery related frustrations as the modern day archer he just didnt realize it … archers paradox, target panic, dropping the bow arm, hand moving away from the face, forward release etc etc etc!
Its extremely doubtful that the inventor of archery realized just what he had released on the world. As far as he was concerned, he’d found a great way to get dinner without having to chase it. And so began millennia of archery: with millions of (wo)man-hours dedicated to tuning, bowyering, fletching, testing, innovating, swearing and inevitably searching for lost arrows. With quite a bit of world history turning on the actions of archers and their bows, its been pretty influential this past-time of ours.
So now we know what archery is and how long its been about … what about the styles we have today? Is there one? Many? Are they all the same? Well, its complicated (as with everything in archery) ….
Browse these sections to learn more about archery … you may even get a smile or two (our editor has a “sense of humour”):