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or by joining the Canadian Toxophilite Society.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Archery Parkour?

Okay so this guy and his brother made this video which is supposed to be a combination of parkour/freerunning and archery... but it really is not. It looks like it is made on the family farm and parkour is meant to be done in the city.

So he does manage to do some jumps and a backflip. But that is it.

He doesn't even carry his archery equipment with him during the parkour run.

So I am putting the challenge out there to parkour aficionados. TAKE UP ARCHERY and then make some awesome videos that shows how it is really done.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

American archer aims to help deaf people

Nick Sumandra is an American who is promoting archery to deaf people interested in medieval martial arts.

Archery for deaf people is nothing new - as a sport there is no reason why deaf people cannot learn it. Like many other sports it is just a matter of patience, practice and aiming for perfection.

On the right is a photo of Nick Sumandra, dressed in costume as "Nikolaos Phaistos", pulling back on 30 pounds of tension on his 17th century-style bow as he competes for the Queen’s Championship.

He didn't win, but he calls out "Hezzah!" - still acting in character as Phaistos in celebration for his fellow archers.
Outside of the medieval archery tournament, Nick Sumandra is a 40-year-old sign language interpreter at Pierce College, aiding deaf and hearing-impaired students in accomplishing their educational goals. During his free time and weekends, he assumes his 17th century persona, Phaistos, who to hear Sumandra tell it is much more than a mild mannered mercenary.

“Nikolaos Phaistos is a mercenary archer from the Greek island of Crete,” says Sumandra of his alternate persona. “He was hired by the Medici family to find their lost daughter, Cecilia.” Phaistos found Cecilia in Persia, but instead of returning her to her family, he joined her clan of warriors and her quest to make right in the world.

In other words it is basically a LARP - Live Action Role Playing - but with a heavy dose of historical inaccuracy (although they do try to be historically accurate with the costumes and weapons they use).

"That’s the fun part," says Sumandra. "You can make your own history in a true historical context even though it’s not real history."

Sumandra is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to research and re-creation of medieval and renaissance culture, according to organization officials. But education has very little to do with it, it is basically just a giant international club for medieval enthusiasts.

“The SCA holds archery tournaments, fencing competitions, heavy armor battles, which all lead to larger battles between kingdoms around the world in our international gatherings,” says Sumandra.

As a teen, Sumandra’s uncle taught him to shoot bows and arrows in his backyard. “I loved archery but knew that nothing would come of it in life,” he says.

Sumandra later put archery aside and, in his early 20s, began taking American Sign Language classes, which led to his current career as an interpreter at Pierce College.

Then, a friend of Sumandra’s told him about the SCA, and that there were archery tournaments and medieval recreation events every weekend.

"I went to my first archery tournament and felt, right away, that I was in my element," says Sumandra. "I went home that night and joined up."

That was four years ago. Since then, he has become a very active participant in weekly gatherings and has achieved the title of Chiron, the highest level of archery in the SCA. This position allows Sumandra to teach and train others within the organization.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg, as he also uses his signing skill when there are deaf or hearing-impaired people who want to participate in SCA festivities. Thus there is a growing number of deaf / hearing-impaired people joining in the festivities - because the fun spreads via word-of-mouth, or in this case word-of-sign-language to other people who become curious.

"Sure, signing is not [from that historical] period, but I want to make sure that everyone feels included and welcomed as friends," says Sumandra. "That’s what’s important to me, to live chivalrously and take care of people, and the SCA just gives me more opportunities to do that."

Glasses and hearing aids are not from that historical period either, but that certainly doesn't stop people from wearing sunglasses / glasses to the events or fashionable hearing aids in the event that they have hearing difficulties. The medieval equivalent of a hearing aid would be an ear trumpet, but that is hardly practical even within a medieval re-enactment society.

Women's Archery during the 1950s and 1960s

Womens Archery during the 1920s and 1930s

Friday, November 29, 2013

Archery Biathlon Videos

Lately I have been researching archery biathlon as a winter sport. Check out some of these awesome videos I found.

I apologize for some of the loud annoying music on some of the videos.

Plus some more amateur videos.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Archery on Fire in Toronto

The popularity of Archery in Toronto is up 1100% compared to 2009, says Toronto Archery Instructor Charles Moffat of As an archery instructor Moffat has done archery promotional work for TSN and CBC News and is currently working on his second archery book.

"Back in Spring 2009, when I first started coming to the Toronto Public Archery Range, you would see maybe 3 or 4 archers there on any particular day. On a really busy day you might see 5 or 6 archers. In contrast in 2013 we saw 30 to 40 people at the archery range on a regular basis during the Summer. Even in Autumn numbers would hit 20 to 30 people at the range regularly, and it is largely due to all the new people who started doing archery in 2012 and again in 2013."

We are fortunate that in Toronto we have the Toronto Public Archery Range at E. T. Seton Park - without it many Torontonians wouldn't have a place to go and shoot. There are only two large public archery ranges in all of Canada, located in Toronto and Vancouver.

Which means that Torontonians can do archery all year round if they're willing to brave the freezing colds.

"What we really need is an indoor archery range. Either built by the city or sponsored by a big corporation like CIBC," says Moffat. "The CIBC and other big Canadian banks have been stepping up in recent years to support recreational sports and amateur sports, because it is those amateur sports that makeup the backbone of professional sports and Olympic athletes. If we could twist the arm of the CIBC into building an indoor archery range that would make a big difference to help Canadian archers in the GTA to become more competitive."

But getting big corporate sponsors like that is both difficult and rare. You need to be really organized to get the support of such companies.

"The other alternative is crowd-funding. If someone were to make a successful kickstarter campaign to build an indoor public archery range it would go a long way to promoting archery even more in Toronto," says Moffat.

So why not you?

Moffat laughs. "Too busy working! That is the problem with pipe dreams. They need someone who has plenty of free time and are willing to do all the leg work to get the ball rolling."

"Besides I love shooting outdoors anyway. It is just the problem that like myself, many people hate being cold while doing a sport."

Archery Ads in the Wake of the Hunger Games

Archery companies are advertising like crazy in the wake of the new Hunger Games film "Catching Fire". What is unusual is that these ads are often geared towards women who want to do archery.

See the ads below to see what I mean.

Catching Fire Review

I went to the Richmond Paramount (aka the Scotiabank Theatre) last Friday after doing some xmas shopping at the Eaton's Centre and saw the new Hunger Games film "Catching Fire".

I can honestly say it was better than the first film (which was very good too). So if you've been waiting to see Catching Fire, the news is good, you will not be disappointed by the quality of the film or how the story is developing.

Can't wait for films 3 and 4. (The greedy bastards split book 3 into 2 films.)

Next on my agenda of film watching... The Hobbit! The Desolation of Smaug... The 2nd Hobbit film comes out December 13th 2013.

Armless Archer, American Matt Stutzman

Armless Archer, American Matt Stutzman.
This guy is just plain awesome! Kudos!

Two Piece Takedown Longbow

Two piece takedown longbows are easier to carry than a traditional longbow, but obviously will cost you a bit more for the convenience of having a bow that is easier to transport.

You can also get two piece takedown recurves too, although most takedown recurve bows are three piece instead of two. Photos of various different designs below.

I think they're awesome!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bracing a Bow using the Push-Pull Method

How to string a longbow or pyramid bow using the Push-Pull method.

Explained by Mike Meusel, a local bowyer in Toronto.

Calculating Arrow Speed Formulas

There are a number of arrow speed formulas out there for people who want to try and calculate mathematically how fast their arrows are going in fps (Feet Per Second).

Sadly they are all inaccurate.

My advice? Calculate your arrow speed using multiple different formulas and then get a range of numbers or average number. Then you will know roughly how fast your arrows are going.

In which case you are also going to need to know the meanings of some words and acronyms...

IBO (International Bowhunters Organization number used as a measurement for calculating arrow speed, based on a 70 lb bow. The arrow will have a grain weight of 540 [9 grains of arrow weight per pound of bow weight]. The draw length will be set at 30 inches. The chronograph used for measuring the speed will be placed at point blank range for testing.)

AMO (Archery Manufacturing Organization number used as a measurement for calculating arrow speed, based on a 60 lb bow. The arrow will have a grain weight of 350 [5 grains of arrow weight per pound of bow weight]. The draw length will be set at 30 inches. The chronograph used for measuring the speed will be placed at point blank range for testing.)

DRAW (The distance you pull back the arrow from the arrow rest.)

GRAINS (A weight measurement for arrows and arrowheads. 7000 grains is 1 pound.)

STRING WEIGHT (Any added weight on the bowstring will slow your arrow down. Dampeners and similar devices will weigh down your bowstring.)

Once you know most of these numbers you can try and calculate FPS (Feet Per Second) using the different formulas. Try using the IBO formula and then the AMO formula and see the different results. Neither will be truly accurate to your actual arrow speed, but the average should be reasonably close.

There is also the ATA (Archery Trade Association) formula, which has gained some popularity despite being more restrictive in its calculations.


If you really want to know the specific number then you will need to buy a gadget and then use it several times to try and get an average number based on the readings.

eg. 3 consecutive readings might be 139 fps, 138 fps and 140 fps = averaging 139 fps.

2nd NOTE

For those of you who are into hunting please note that arrow speed doesn't matter so much when it comes to hunting. Yes, light arrows are faster. But HEAVY arrows do more damage because they have more momentum and impact.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Catching Fire, in theatres November 22nd

Are you one of those people who cannot wait to see the second installment of The Hunger Games? Well good news, there is only 27 days remaining until it opens in North American theatres on November 22nd 2013.

"Catching Fire" will be sure to have many young archers in the movie theatre - but to be fair, Katniss Everdeen really does very little archery in the films. In the first film she only shot an arrow 13 times.

Compare that to other films like The Avengers (23 shots by Hawkeye), The Fellowship of the Rings (22 shots by Legolas) and other films that have a lot more archery in them. The Hunger Games is more about the drama - which admittedly is the real reason why people are watching it.

But hey, the drama is very good. And the archery is good too. So maybe there is less archery in the film, but it is still a very good film.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Korean Boy talks about crafting a Traditional Korean Bow

In the video below 14-year-old Dong Woo Jang from Korea talks about crafting a Traditional Korean Bow using a variety of woods during his experiments in bowmaking.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Women in Archery during Early 21st Century

In recent years archery has become increasingly popular - and nowhere is this rise more noticeable than the number of female celebrities being shown in films, music videos, photography doing archery - often just posing with the bow and not actually learning archery.

Below is a collection of female celebrities from the last 15 years or so doing archery - or at least posing with a bow and arrow. It is a long list too. Everyone from actresses Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley to fashion supermodels like Daria Werbowy and musicians like Ke$ha.

To Anne Hathaway's credit she at least got an archery lesson and presumably learned something. Many of the photos of fashion models and actresses below clearly show a complete lack of formal training in archery. You can usually tell easily by their form and stance whether they have had any lessons or not.

To be fair, if we found a similar number of photographs of male actors, male fashion models and male musicians doing archery, they would likely look equally inept.

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