The history of bows and arrows goes back to at least to 25,000 BC. The earliest flint arrow heads were found in Africa from around that time period. The bow and arrow was one of mankind’s great inventions. It revolutionized hunting and warfare alike. The famous English long bow won several important battles in European history. In 1066 AD we had the battle of Hastings, in which the archers of William of Normandy defeated Harold of England. 1415 AD Henry the 5th defeated 23,000 French troops with 7000 men, of which 5500 were archers, in the battle of Agincourt. The great Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan built his empire between 1211 and 1294 AD. His horsemen, armed with superior recurve bows, conquered the world from eastern China and Korea to Austria. It was not until the invention of the musket in 1520 that the use of the bow declined as weapon of choice. For hunting and as an Olympic sport bows are still widely in use today.

Students do not compete for points but are encouraged to extend their own range of attention and focus.

In our outdoor programs we also instruct students in the safe use of bows and arrows in a variety of ways. We shoot at targets consisting of a single red dot at distances from 10-30 yards. In this practice both eyes are kept open.  Pointing the bow, drawing the loaded string and releasing the arrow become one fluid, integrated movement. The attention is held during the whole process on the red dot serving as a target on a bail of straw. No formal aiming, lining up of arrow point and target, takes place.

Students do not compete for points but are encouraged to extend their own range of attention and focus. In “cloud shooting” we practice shooting our arrows high and far, to the limit of our bows’ capacity, follow the arrow in flight with our attention and bring the arrows to land as close as possible to a stake in the ground at a distance of 50-75 yards.

For some students who wish to take up bow hunting in the future we provide special instructions. From time to time we have instructions on bow and arrow making. Students learn to fletch and take care of their equipment. We use fine wooden or wood laminate ”long” and “recurve” bows and prime cedar shafts fletched with real feathers for our practice. This allows the archers not only to have a fine aesthetic experience but also a consistency of shooting which will promote steady progress in accordance with the effort put out by the student.

More on the pedagogical and developmental benefits of archery to follow.

For more information feel free to contact me.