Archery – The skill of shooting an Arrow using a Bow was in the bygone ages a military weapon and also a hunting method before the invention of gunpowder. It is mainly confined now as a competitive sport used for target shooting.
A bow is a weapon that shoots arrows using the elasticity of the bow. The bow is made of a strip of flexible material with a cord linking the two ends of the strip to provide tension from which is propelled the arrow which is a straight shaft with a sharp point on one end or have flints and usually with feathers attached to the other end.
The modern day ‘Target Archery’ involves shooting arrows at a target from a pre-set distance. A Recurve bow is the only type of bow allowed to be used. Archery competitions may be held indoors or outdoors. Indoor distances are 18 m and 25 m. Outdoor distances range from 30 m to 90m depending on the seniority and 70 m is being used in the Olympic Games. Competition is divided into ends where an archer shoots either 3 or 6 arrows per end, depending on the type of round. There are 20 ends of 3 arrows in a round for indoor competition, but outdoor rounds generally involve more arrows per round. At the end, the competitors walk upto the target to score and retrieve their arrows.
Targets are painted with 10 evenly spaced concentric rings, which have score values from 1 through 10 assigned to them. Targets are colored as follows:
Outermost 1 ring & 2 ring – white
3 ring & 4 ring – black
5 ring & 6 ring – blue
7 ring & 8 ring – red
Innermost 9 rings & 10 ring – gold
There is an innermost ring, sometimes called the 10X ring or the Bull’s-eye.
The score for each arrow depends upon where it hits on the target. The highest score, a ten, is awarded by shooting an arrow into the two inner most circles. The bull’s-eye ring is typically as a tiebreaker with most X’s winning. Missing the rings on the target results in a zero score and in case of Line breaker where an arrow just touches a boundary line will be awarded the higher score. Scores are tallied at the end of each round or volley of arrows by summing the scores for their arrows which are recorded on a score sheet.
Archers have a set time limit in which to shoot their arrows. For indoor competition is 2 minutes for 3 arrows. Signaling devices such as lights and flags prompt the archers when it’s time to shoot.
The History of Archery
The heroic effort of archers at the battlefield helped several kingdoms win wars. Archery although obsolete today has helped men since ages. Since ages people have used archery to conquer their enemy and to tame wild animals.
Studies have shown that archery was widely being used in ancient civilization. Archery history shows that earlier arrows were made of pines which had a long fore shaft that had a flint point. Till date, archaeologists have found the oldest bow in Denmark. Arrow shafts have been found in many places across the globe in Egypt, Sweden, Denmark and India.
Bows and arrows are the main constituents of archery. Archery history reveals the fact that the bows were developed in either early Mesolithic age or late Paleolithic age. Pines were used for making arrows.
Archery was highly developed in Asia and other Islamic kingdoms.
People were specially trained in archery; these archers were used in the battlefields. In fact before the development of firearms archery served as primary weapons. Different types of bows and arrows were manufactured and accordingly they had different range.
The archery history is full with saga of great archers. These archers have played a major role in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, India, Greece and Persia.
The archery bows which were commonly used were: longbow, shortbow, flatbow, recurve bow, crossbow and compound bow. Longbows were very long bow. The length generally matched the height of the archer and in some cases even exceeded the height of the archer.
The limb of the Flatbow is wider and the cross-section is rectangular in shape. Shortbow is shorter in length, is light-weight and have a short range. It was basically used for hunting purpose. In crossbow the limbs are mounted in a horizontal manner and not in a vertical manner. The compound bow is designed in such as manner that the archer is at his ease while mounting the bow.
Shaft, arrowheads, nock and fletching constitute an arrow. Aluminum alloy, carbon fiber, wood and fiberglass are used for the construction of the shaft.
The shaft should not be too flexible; it should be straight and easy to handle. At present arrows made of carbon alloys are popular and are being widely used by the archers. In fact arrows used in popular sports events like Olympic are made of carbon alloys.
Sight shooting and instinctive shooting are the two methods adopted by an archer while shooting an arrow. In instinctive shooting the archer completely concentrates on the target while shooting the arrow. It requires a lot of practice; this method of archery was popular during the early phases.
However, later bows with adjustable pins were developed; these pins could be adjusted by the archers to aim a target. This is called as sight shooting and is easy as compared to instinctive shooting.
Later when the firearms were developed it replaced archery. Firearms were found to be superior to archery; it was more lethal, it had long range and also using it wasn’t too difficult. In fact hose kingdoms which did not know to use firearms had to suffer heavily on the battlefield.
Archery history indicates that men since time-immemorial have been devising ways to lord over others.