Category Archives: General Archery Chat

Korea’s Dominance of Olympic Archery

Korea’s rein over archery has been apparent for many years. In 1984, Seo Hyang-Soon became the first Korean archer to win an Olympic gold in the ever-growing sport. Since then, Korea’s hold over the archery world has grown larger, with the country currently boasting 16 medals in half as many Olympic games. But how did Korea become such a formidable opponent in this ancient sport, that over here we tend to think of as historically British?

The history of Korean archery
Archery has been established in Korean since prehistoric times. Used in battle for centuries, the bow and arrow were a vital part of the Korean defence strategy throughout the 1800’s. Unable to keep up with modern firearms, Korea’s use of archery as a defence dropped in the 1900’s. However, with the reinstatement of archery to the Olympic games in 1972 (after its removal in 1920) Korea began training archers in Olympic-style archery and has now been dominating the competition since 1984.
Korea’s focus on archery
Korean children are introduced to archery at a young age and enjoy coaching in the sport throughout primary school. Throughout middle school, high school and university, the lower level archers fade away (but often continue recreational pursuit of the sport in the many ranges across the country) until the best young adults are hired for company teams run by large organisations and businesses.
Archery is so important in Korea that only 30 % of the sports funding is from the Korean Archery Association (KAA) with the rest coming from the countries 33 company teams who provide a wage, pension and career to the archers they hire to compete on behalf of their company. This level of investment ensures that Korea currently has 147 elite archers compared to the extremely small numbers found elsewhere.
To illustrate the level of devotion to the task at hand Korea is famous (at least in archery circles) for having built an exact replica of the Beijing 2008 Olympic archery venue, providing their archers with the opportunity to practice in “the venue” over a year in advance. Huge enthusiastic crowds voluntarily turned up for practice sessions to mimic the busy, pressured environment on the day. This dedication to the sport has clearly paid off, with Korea still proving to be the country to beat in international competitions.
Korea at the Olympics
Korea has held a number of Olympic archery titles for consecutive games. Since the introduction of the team archery event in 1988, the Korean women’s team has retained their team gold for all seven Olympic games. Meanwhile, the men’s team follows closely behind having held theirs for four out of the seven games.
Korea also has a tight hold of the gold in the women’s singles event; in all but the Beijing 2008 Olympic games, Korea has held the women’s gold since 1980, when the Soviet Union’s Keto Losaberidze won in Moscow. In fact, at the London 2012 Olympics, Korea medalled in every event and only missed out on gold in the men’s team competition when they won bronze.
Maybe we should think about forming company teams to try a novel method of giving British archery a bit of a boost? A great starting point (we think!) would probably be to book a 2020 archery corporate event and see how your company team gets on….

Affiliating to Archery GB – why would I want to and how should I do it as a 2020 Archery club member?

There are lots of benefits to joining Archery GB – membership is required in order to shoot with most other clubs (although not all) and is also needed to join leagues and enter competitions. If you provide your address you’ll receive the quarterly Archery GB magazine called Archery UK and you can also take part in the highly recommended ‘Personal Performance Courses’ at Lilleshall (details of prices etc are available on the Archery GB website). There are probably lots of other good things as well – have a click around on the Archery GB website for more. 
So, there are 2 different ways of joining Archery GB – one is through your club (in our case 2020 Archery) in which case you MUST also affiliate to Region and County. In our case this is Southern County Archery Society (SCAS) and the County of London Archery Association (CLAA)  – don’t worry about this step we’ll do this automatically for you if you affiliate through us. You can also join Archery GB as a direct member. The main advantages and disadvantages are that you’ll be responsible for renewing each year if you’re a direct member whereas if you join through the club we’ll just contact you and ask if you want to continue as a member through the club with a payment request. The other difference is that there is a price difference. Clubs are able to offer a pro rata payment system for joining at different times of the year but if you join directly there is one fixed price all year round. The fixed price for direct membership is £46 no matter when you join. 

The Archery GB membership year runs from October to October. This makes the total cost for joining through our club 
  • Oct-Dec = £47.50 
  • Jan-March = £38
  • April-June = £28.50 
  • July – Sept = £19 
The fees breakdown of the Archery GB portion is available here http://www.archerygb.org/support/services/join/fees.php – on top of the Archery GB fee we need to charge CLAA fees of £3 to join (at any time of the year), SCAS costs £1.50 to join (at any time of the year) and we charge a £5 admin fee to cover the costs of banking and admin. 

If you’d like to join directly please go to the Archery GB website (link below) where there is a link to download the direct membership form. 


If you’d like to join through 2020 please send an email into the office (enquiries@2020archery.co.uk) with your full address. We will assume you’re ok with us storing this data along with your email address so that we can contact you at renewal time (usually July / August). Once we’ve received your payment we’ll send it off to Archery GB pretty much immediately. Once it arrives with them they’ll process it and your card should arrive – directly from Archery GB – within 2-3 weeks. 

If you are planning to shoot at another club or you’ve registered for a competition we provide a standard Archery GB receipt which we’ll email to you. This should work as evidence that you’ve paid club subs until your card arrives although we recommend that you alert people that you will be bringing a receipt of payment not an actual Archery GB card if you’re pushed for time. 

Finally, we’re happy to answer questions about the administering of how this all works but if you require more detailed information on Archery GB itself (why join, what to expect etc) please go to their website at www.archerygb.org

Robin of Locksley

The tale of Robin Hood has been told in verse, story and film across the centuries. The legend is basically a collection of stories concerning a group of outlaws who risk life and limb to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Robin, a lovable rogue with a longbow and a quiver of arrows on his back, is always at the centre of the action with his band of Merry Men as the supporting cast. Love interest is provided by the beautiful Maid Marian often depicted as having a double life – a rebellious warrior chick in the forest choosing Robin and the outlaws whenever she can get away from the embroidery and dancing that, as a lady, she is supposed to be enjoying. The story centres around archery (Marian is often shown, especially in screen versions, as being a pretty accomplished archer herself) and epitomises for many of us how awesome skills with a longbow can get you out of trouble (and make you a hit with the ladies / is a good alternative to embroidery).


The story begins with Robin, a Saxon nobleman, living near the castle in the city of Nottingham. The city is ruled by Prince John, who has taken over while his brother, King Richard, is off fighting the Crusades. No-one seems to know whether Richard is alive or dead, his return is always hoped for but in his absence evil Prince John takes advantage of his new authority by teaming up with the equally nasty Sheriff of Nottingham. Between them they attempt to transfer as much money as possible from the people of Nottingham into their own coffers. As taxes keep rising and punitive laws are enacted to dissuade anyone from challenging them, the people of Nottingham are left with barely enough to feed themselves or keep a roof over their heads. As the story takes place following the Norman conquest of Britain the story also makes much of the evil (French) conquerors against the plucky British (Saxon) underdogs. 

Robin, hungry and struggling to survive (in some versions Robin himself is newly returned from the Crusades to find the family home burnt down and his family dead), is caught hunting royal deer with his longbow and is outlawed from the city. With no home, money or possessions, he’s left to fend for himself in Sherwood Forest which lies just outside the city. Robin’s skill at hunting, and his personal charisma, helps him to befriend other outlaws. They eventually form a full camp with various roles and skills in the group. The stories of how Little John, later to be Robin’s right hand man, and Will Scarlet come to join him are amongst the most famous of the tales. 

After months of futile fighting, with Robin and his men successfully stealing back taxes and storing food for the poor villagers, evil Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham are determined to arrest him. Knowing of Robin’s skill with the longbow and aware of his desire to fight for the rights of the Saxons, they stage an archery contest to trick him into coming back – illegally – into the city of Nottingham. Disguised as a peasant, Robin enters the city and enrols for the contest, determined to win the Silver Arrow prize. He easily makes it through to the final shoot-out, but his impressive skill alerts the Sheriff and his men who are on the look-out for Robin. With his Merry Men disguised amongst the crowd of Saxon peasants watching the contest, Robin’s first shot of the final hits gold. Little John, seeing that the Norman knights are moving in on Robin, tells the crowd that Robin is a fellow Saxon, and the best archer in the land. The crowd begins to cheer for him, distracting the knights and disrupting their movements. As Robin looses his final arrow, splitting the shaft of his previous ‘perfect 10’ and thereby winning the contest, Prince John signals to his knights to take him. Reacting quickly Little John shouts to the crowd to lift up the winner. A hooded Robin, is held aloft by the crowd. In the melee the outlaws manage to carry him straight through the Norman knights. As Robin is returned to the ground his bow is hidden once again and, with the help of his friends, he slips out of the city unnoticed. Robin and his men return to their camp deep in Sherwood Forest to celebrate their victory, as evil Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham are thwarted once again. 

Modern day Robin Hood

The incredible visual appeal of archery has probably contributed to the ongoing ‘Rise of Robin’ with versions of him or the stories featuring in movies, games and on television (although we’re currently enjoying the tales of Merlin and Prince Arthur – another traditional English failsafe that also, happily, tends to feature archery practice). There have been countless depictions of the courageous Robin in the past 70 years, with the feature film, Robin Hood (2010) featuring Russell Crowe (“you’ve got dead ears mate. Bollocks.”) being the most recent. But not the best. 



The story’s revival has done particularly well in the last ten years thanks to the most recent BBC series,which followed Robin and his Merry Men for 3 years. Your age probably determines which version of Robin you find the most recognisable – the glossy mulleted Michael Praed is sadly the one for me. Kevin Costner (also with a mullet, albeit shorter, and, err, more bleached) runs a close second. 

One of the most loved depictions of the story is Disney’s animated feature, which used a cast of animals to tell the popular tale. 






The music of Robin Hood

Even seeing this picture makes you start humming no?




And, if all that Robin Hood goodness has really got you in the mood here’s the Karaoke version : 


Dan – Traditional Bows : a Beginner’s Guide to Wooden Longbows

I got my first traditional bow last year and I was happily hooked soon thereafter. Even if I am wielding something that is more usually found in the gloomier regions of the Amazon Rainforest in an indoor hall near London Bridge it’s still rather a lot of fun! I soon decided to look into buying something better. What followed were many weeks trawling through the internet looking at random bits of tree and talking to some spectacular beards, and as such I thought it might be worth passing on some useful little tips which I picked up. 

Modern traditional bows are an oxymoron as they are normally made up of 2 or 3 layers of wood called laminates. This is because different parts of the bow require different technical properties, specifically the ability to withstand compression or tension, and it’s impossible for one type of wood to do both equally well. Laminate bows therefore utilise woods with different types of properties in different parts of the bow which makes them better but more expensive than single piece self-bows.

Your bowyer will be able to give you detailed expert advice on the best types of wood to use and different bowyers prefer different types of wood. The following however is a good starter for 10, regardless of whether you go for an off-the-shelf bow or a more tailored one.

Bellywood. The belly of the bow is the part of the bow which is closest to the archer, and requires a wood which is capable of withstanding compression. The most common bellywood is Lemonwood which is cheap to use and found in most traditional bows. It won’t last more than a couple of years though before it starts to have a bend in it called string-follow, but it is excellent for a first traditional bow. [NB according to many bowyers, string-follow actually improves the performance of a bow, so like wine your bow will improve with age!]

Other bellywoods include Ipe, Yew, Osage Orange and Putu Jumau. Each of these is excellent under compression making them ideal for the belly of a bow, if in doubt, go for the one whose colour you like best – a traditional bow can, and indeed should, be something beautiful.

Corewood. The core or middle of the bow is the foundation of the bow and is typically made of a very hard wood, indeed the harder the better. The most common are Purpleheart or Greenheart which are excellent corewoods and, because of their availability, they are cheap.

Other corewoods include Balau [“harder than the knockers of hell” as one chap colourfully described it], Ipe, Yew, Padauk, Bubinga, Snakewood and a whole host of other woods I have never heard of – as with bellywood if in doubt go with the one whose colour you like best. 

You will note that Yew and Ipe, and indeed several others, can be used as both core and belly woods, in such a case you would end up with a bi- as opposed to a tri-laminate bow. 

Backwood. The back of the bow is the part of the bow furthest from the archer and requires a wood which is capable of withstanding tension. By far the best backwood is Bamboo, which unfortunately is also the most expensive. If you are buying a tailored bow, it is worth sacrificing cost elsewhere in the bow to be able to have a Bamboo back. Hickory or Maple are also perfectly good choices for heavy (60lb’s or more) and lighter bows respectively.

Traditional bows come in a whole host of different types, shapes and sizes from delicate flat bows to 140lb warbows, each of which however will incorporate the ideas discussed above. Go on give it a go, you won’t regret it!

Archery for Beginners

Archery is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. Open to all, archery can be enjoyed by young and old, people with disabilities and whole families (2020 has a great junior club with Mums and Dads shooting alongside young people each weekend – www.juniorarchery.co.uk). 

As a sport that can be practiced inside or outside throughout the year, socially or competitively, archery can really be said to cater for everyone. Over here at 2020 Archery we currently have 1 completely blind club member and 1 with significant visual impairment. We’ve also had a number of wheelchair users and people with mobility issues as members in the past. 

Forms of archery

Target archery: this is the most popular form of archery in the UK and the style that is currently featured in the Olympic games (although the Olympic version is somewhat different than regular competitions). Target archery takes place on flat ground – indoor or outdoor – and involves shooting a specific number of arrows at particular sizes of target faces at 

distances of up to 100 yards. This type of archery can also take place inside over shorter distances. Indoor archery – like we do at 2020 – typically sees us shooting 5x dozen arrows at 60cm target faces for a score out of 600 at 20 yards. You can see our club members scores on the club website here (http://www.2020archery.co.uk/club-6/)


Field archery: this form of archery takes place on a series of targets set out in outside locations, often in woodland. The shooting distances are usually unmarked so archers rely on their judgement and instinct, especially if they choose to use a traditional bow such as a longbow or flatbow. Saying that, I also know a number of compound archers who also enjoy this type of more ‘natural’ shooting.  

Clout archery: this form of archery is similar to target archery but the archer must drop the arrows at a long range into a number of circular scoring zones on the ground. Arrows are shot at an angle of around 45 degrees up into the air. This type of archery probably emulates the kind of military training that used to take place when an enemy might be a known distance away (e.g. approx 150 yards) and accuracy at the specified distance could mean victory or defeat.  

Flight archery: requiring a lot of space, flight archery is a sport in which the archer must shoot the arrow as far as possible. This is generally done in very specific categories for weights and types of arrows shot from specific bows. James Farrar of Fairbow holds a number of flight records using very heavy traditional bows known as warbows – he also sells great traditional archery gear which we like a lot over at 2020 (http://www.fairbowuk.com/). 

Getting involved 

There are a number of ways that you can get involved in archery but the best place to start is your local club. Most clubs are very welcoming to beginners (as long as you’ve made an appointment or booked a session) and many offer Have-a-Go sessions. This gives newcomers the opportunity to try out the sport before enrolling in a beginners course and – hopefully – becoming a member and starting to practice with the club. 

Although clubs often welcome beginners, it is important to have a basic understanding of the sport before you try to join a club or start practicing.  Most clubs will offer structured beginners courses to set up would-be archers with the basic skills and techniques required. The course can take place across a number of weeks or over a weekend and gives new archers the opportunity to join an archery club for further training and the chance to compete in tournaments if they want to. 

Archery on Horseback

You’d be forgiven for believing that archery on horseback was a thing of the past, a form of iron age hunting and fighting that has long since disappeared. But mounted archery has far from died out. It’s unlikely that it still takes place in the traditional way for hunting or in aggressive situations, but instead it has become a popular sport, with competitions taking place in the UK and across the globe.


A little history

Although it was once a popular method of assault in fast attacking raids, mounted archery was an ineffective defence against massed foot archery in more formalised battle settings. Large numbers of foot archers were able to synchronise attacks on their large targets and achieve a longer range than their mounted enemies. In fact, mounted archery was such an ineffective defence that Mongol archers would often dismount and shoot from a sitting position!

Mounted archery began to disappear in the 17th century when modern firearms became common weapons. During the next century, bows were occasionally used in conjunction with firearms, providing archers with the benefits of both. However, as repeating firearms were developed, mounted archers were removed from battle completely.



After Mongolian independence in 1921, mounted archery enjoyed a resurgence as a cultural display at festivals showcasing Mongolian heritage. Its instant popularity – and huge visual appeal – sparked a worldwide interest and mounted archery began to be reintroduced across the world. 

Competitions today

Nowadays, mounted archery is a rapidly growing equestrian sport, popular in a large number of countries including the UK, the USA, Germany, China and Korea. The sport has come a long way from its origins and now uses a light weight (under 50 Ib) bow and a guided track to keep the horse straight.  

There are a number of annual competitions held all over the world, with the largest held in Korea. In order to embrace the sport’s history, competitors often wear the traditional clothing and use traditional bow and arrows rather than those used in modern foot archery.

In general, the competitions are split into two groups: Korean style and Hungarian style. The Hungarian style involves one run on which the archer must hit three targets from three different angles, the reverse angle being the most difficult (obviously!). The Korean style involves three different runs that vary in difficulty, the hardest being the 5-shot serial run which requires the competitor to loose the arrows quickly between targets. All mounted competitions include time penalties and points for accuracy making it a difficult balance between completing the course in the allotted time – and actually hitting stuff. 

The Korean style competitions also include a game called Mogu. In Mogu, the mounted archer must chase after a ball being dragged by another horse. They are required to shoot at the ball with ink-dipped arrows and the number of ink stains is counted to determine the score. This also requires a horse with nerves of steel (or good protection at the back – not sure I’d want to try this one myself unless I’d got a LOT of practice in)! 

Getting in to mounted archery

Many mounted archery beginners start out as horse riders with an interest in picking up archery. If you have previous horse riding experience, a few beginners’ archery lessons may be all you need before you’re ready to start competition training with your local club. 

For those with no previous horse riding experience, regular non-mounted archery is a great place to start. Taking part in a beginner’s course gives you the opportunity to try out the sport or archery in general while picking up the basic skills needed for mounted archery. For information about 2020 Archery’s Have A Go sessions where you can get started for only £20, click through to our main website here http://www.2020archery.co.uk/lessons-courses-1/Have-a-Go or call 0203 130 6797.

Josie : Shooting at 2020.. Do’s and Don’ts

While we’re here we might as well cover all the bases. This is by no means a definitive list but covers many things I’ve come across in my time at 2020. There are no doubt things I’ve missed, and perhaps some should be expanded upon, but for what it’s worth this is my 2020 “Do’s and Don’ts” Guideline List…

>>—->  2020 uses whistle codes on the shooting line. Please listen out for them! The safer we stay, the more shooting we can pack in.

>>—-> The shooting line can get very busy: be aware of where the ends of your limbs and arrows are at all times.

>>—-> Don’t run with arrows. The quicker we clear the butts and get safely back behind the line the more ends we can fit in, but never compromise safety for speed!

>>—-> The butt you are shooting on is your responsibility. Ensure the legs are always in the correct position.

>>—-> Be respectful of other archers and their kit – this includes club equipment too!

>>—-> Never distract an archer once they’ve started drawing.

>>—-> Never nock your arrow off the shooting line.

… and some positives:

>>—-> Have fun! If you’re not shooting well and getting frustrated your form will deteriorate. Take a break and clear your mind.

>>—-> On the other end of the scale, if you’re shooting well don’t let it go to your head – over-confidence will mess up concentration in exactly the same way as frustration.

>>—-> Not sure about something? Ask! There are plenty of coaches and club members milling around, don’t be afraid to ask questions (even if the question may seem silly – we were all beginners once).

>>—-> If you’re looking to purchase a new bow why not ask some of the club members if you can try theirs? Be prepared that they may not all say yes but it’s worth asking.

>>—-> When you’re struggling with technique (as we all do at times) ask someone on the line to watch you shoot and offer comments. Better still, if they can video you on their phone that will give you plenty of information to work with. If you’re anything like me you’ll hate seeing yourself on film, but it really works.

Anyone else? The floor is open to bidders…

Roger : An Archers Path by Roger Huggins

Hi, my name is Roger and I’ve been shooting all sorts of bows for about 6 years. I’ve been teaching modern recurve archery at 2020 Archery for the past 8 months during which time I have taught over 200 people and counting. I learnt to shoot while I was at university in Sheffield with a recurve training bow. I was fortunate enough to be able to shoot compound bows and modern recuves after which I bought myself a very nice long bow which I still shoot today. I have a love of historical archery and own – or have owned – a long bow, a horse bow and a Chinese repeating crossbow.
 
Last year I came back to modern recurve archery when I started using them to teach beginners. To refresh and expand my knowledge I read several books on archery and coaching (more of this later) and I also started practicing with the recurve several times a week. After a few months of practicing and improving my form with a training bow I started building my dream recurve. Components started trickling in during September 2012 with the aim of having everything together ready for me to start shooting in competitions early in 2013.
 
Which neatly brings me to the aim of this blog, over the next few months I am going to share my experiences of my journey along the path from being a seasoned traditional archer, through intermediate archer, to (hopefully) competitive modern recurve archer.

Hopefully this will be interesting.. and hopefully it will also help beginner and intermediate archers avoid some of the pitfalls and problems that I’m encountering myself. I’m also working with a few people at the club trying to sort various issues which I’ll be able to share with you. I’ll be offering suggestions on how to move forward with your archery if you find yourself getting stuck in a rut, whether its getting over a slump or just looking to get something more from archery than shooting a few ends in your club once a week (not that there’s anything wrong with shooting a few ends once a week!). 
 
Well that’s more than enough about me, my next post will be on improving your knowledge to improve your shooting, what books to read and when and how to get the most out of watching the professionals.

Josie : At the forefront of a sweeping tide of history

Hi everyone, how’s the shooting going?

I thought I’d give you a bit of a clue what’s to come before we dive in. I’ll let you know how things are going with me – I have some bow upgrade work planned soon of which I’ll keep you informed, it should be quite exciting. However, I also want to share some thoughts and ideas which have helped me become a better archer over the past 8 months. If I come across something really useful I’ll pass it on. Who knows? It might just be the key you were looking for…

Technique is obviously a big thing to bear in mind, equipment is another. I’m probably not best-placed to comment on these but I doubt that’ll stop me and I hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong!

Then comes the psychology of archery which is perhaps something I can comment on. This is probably one of the most difficult hurdles, especially if you shoot in one of the busy sessions. Tricky keeping your calm rhythm when someone behind is poking you with their short-rod!

However, one can’t expect to always be in a zen-like atmosphere at every shoot. I imagine competition is far from it, not to mention the added pressure of graded performance. It’s up to you alone to create the perfect conditions for shooting and this can all be done from the comfort of your own head.

The beauty of archery is that it’s changed very little since the Dark Ages. The function may have evolved but the raw fundamentals remain intact. This is handy as we can safely draw on references from right the way through history and apply them to the present day. For instance, did you know that the first recurve bows were shot by the Assyrians around 1000BC? That’s not even the oldest form of archery. Have a look at some of the early archery manuals here:

The object may be different but the rest isn’t. Nice to know we don’t exist in a vacuum.

To all the new archers out there: welcome to the forefront of a sweeping tide of history! Glad you could join us…

Josie: Good Morning Ladies and Gents….

–>

Good morning ladies and gents, my name is Josie and I shall be one of your flight attendants on this voyage. Please read the safety instructions provided and ensure your seat belt is engaged. One of my colleagues will be along shortly with the menu, so sit back and enjoy the ride…
I’ve been shooting with 2020 since last April (2012) after doing the 5-week intro course with Asher. I had shot before back in Devon in a casual way so it was great to finally get a decent grounding in proper archery technique. Immediately afterwards I joined the club and there aren’t many weeks I haven’t shot since. It’s seriously addictive!
My first bow was purchased back in August last year. After much deliberation, questioning club members and a bit of testing I settled on the Hoyt Formula Excel with Formula Excel 30lb limbs; and what a choice she was. I still think she is far and away the best choice for me and I never tire of shooting her.
The starting set-up was quite simple: just the bow, string, Joomong Scorpion sight (which is a good beginner sight if you’re strapped for cash, although the bracket can shake loose if you don’t Loctite it) and a plastic Hoyt Super rest. Since then I’ve added a Shibuya DX button, Spigarelli Evo II rest and Easton X10 long-rod to the equation which has made a considerable improvement. In terms of arrows I shoot Easton X7 Eclipse at the moment, though that will be changing. More on that later.
I can usually be found shooting at 2020 on the weekends; either Saturday, Sunday or both if I have the time. I try to score as often as I can and chart my progress (which isn’t always upwards!) so I have a good idea what effect any changes to my bow or technique make. To give you a rough idea, my very first Portsmouth (shot on 19th May last year) scored 213. On 23rdDecember I shot 500. 
My goal is to try and join the 550 ranks this year. It’s a tough goal but I’m sticking to it. I’ll let you know how it goes!