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Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Heart of Robin Hood, Toronto Theatre Production

Mirvish is currently selling tickets for "The Heart of Robin Hood", a swashbuckling / archery stage production which takes a new twist at the legend of Robin Hood.

Tip - This is a good theatre production to take your significant other with you, so get your tickets for Valentine's Day right now. Expect a good dose of singing and romance.

It isn't all archery either by the looks of the YouTube video from the Manitoba production [further below].

But now that "The Heart of Robin Hood" is visiting Toronto it is our turn to enjoy the show.

Ticket prices vary between $45 and $105 per seat, and is on stage in Toronto from December 23rd 2014 to March 1st 2015.

Northern India Steel Bow

The photos below were found on the website, which sells antique archery equipment, swords, antique firearms, etc.

High tensile steel bows became popular in the Middle East and India during the 18th and 19th century, but later went out of favour as firearms became more popular. The beauty of steel bows however is that they are often inlaid with decorative designs.

Indian Bamboo Bows in Modern Archery

For close to 45 years now, the Archery Association of India (AAI) has been promoting bamboo bows (also known as Indian round competition) by conducting National championships at senior, junior and sub-junior levels - and restricting archers to using bamboo bows only. This tactic has helped popularize archery among common people in India and even earned some of them jobs in various institutions, such as Services, Railways, Central Reserve Police Force, Assam Rifles and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

While modern recurve and compound bows dominate international archery, the presence of traditional bamboo bows in domestic Indian events raises interest by allowing bamboo bows to be used competitively in India. Bamboo bows put archers on an even playing ground, they're very cheap, and so the only competitive factor remaining is the skill of the archer's themselves.

This cheapness factor has become the biggest contribution of bamboo bows by taking archery to the masses. Most of the aspiring archers in India come from humble backgrounds and start with bamboo bows as they are much cheaper than the professional recurve or compound bows. Bamboo arrows are also considerably cheaper.

"One gets a bamboo bow for about Rs. 1000. A recurve bow is at least 10 times costlier than that and a basic compound bow starts at Rs. 30,000," says Rupesh Kar, a judge and a joint secretary with the AAI. "The bamboo arrows cost only Rs. 30-35 per piece, while a recurve or compound arrow starts at Rs. 300."

Historically bamboo bows were manufactured mostly in the North East but now they are being made in several states including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata.

Rupesh Kar points out that traditional bamboo bows are still popular in many South Asian countries, such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

"We used to have a South Asian championship of bamboo bows, but it’s been a while since it was last held. The Europeans also use bamboo bows but they use laminated parts, which make the bow very close to the recurve bows. Here, we do not want our bows to shed their traditional form," says Kar.

Virendra Sachdeva, the AAI treasurer and the Delhi Archery Association president, says he has never seen any dip in the interest among bamboo bow archers.

"This time, we have 317 archers and officials participating in these Nationals here."

"Several other Asian countries also have the tradition of bamboo bows, but most of them are in laminated form. We would love to have a continental competition of these bows, but the main challenge is standardizing the equipment," added Sachdeva.

They may remain unsung but the bamboo bow archers have a reason to pursue their passion. Having archery as a skill is a desirable hobby to put on their resume because archery requires discipline and good aim, making them ideal candidates for the police forces and military.

‘Shoot’ and land a job is their motivation. Sticking to tradition is certainly paying off when it comes to finding work.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Byron Ferguson shooting at Flying Saucers

Want to get really good at shooting at moving targets?

Well first you need something for 'shooting' discs into the air so that you can shoot at them. Basically what you need is a catapult that launches flying saucers. Similar to the video below of Byron Ferguson shooting at Flying Saucers with a longbow.

The trick therefore is to first have some woodworking skills combined with mechanical skills to build such a catapult for shooting the discs into the air. Once you have that, then having the moving targets to shoot at becomes much easier.

Practice makes perfect. Remember when shooting at moving targets you need to aim further below and to the side in order to time the descent of the target and actually hit it, otherwise you will likely miss completely.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to use Korean Female + Male Thumb Rings

Male Kkakji Thumb Ring
Korean thumb rings for archery come in two varieties: Female and male. (This doesn't mean only males and females use the different thumb rings, it is more like male and female plugs and sockets.)

Female, which is identical to the common thumb ring used in other cultures.

Male, which is built with a large thumb shaped appendage attached to the ring which is used as a 'surrogate thumb' for releasing the bow string. The male version sometimes comes with a piece of leather to make the thumb ring fit tighter.

The Korean word 깍지 and pronunciation is Kkakji (Kkakjchi).

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How far can you shoot an arrow?

In 2010 Zak Crawford, only 14 years old at the time, set a world record in the "under 35 lbs recurve" category of flight archery.

The previous record was approx. 350 meters, but Zak smashed that record when he shot a little over 500 meters with his bow in 2010.

However that was with a 35 lb bow - which he likely overpulled to approx 37 - 40 lbs in order to give it some extra umph during the release.

Overpulling a bow to give it extra distance capacity is pretty standard when doing flight archery. That extra couple of lbs of force behind the arrow can make a huge difference when you are trying to smash a world record.

However Zak's feat is minor when you consider that 500 years ago British longbow archers were reputed to be able to shoot over 1500 yards away (over 1370 meters). And still hit a large target, like an enemy ship. Shooting burning arrows at enemy ships from long distances was the height of British naval warfare before cannons became popular and eventually erased the need for archers.

British longbowmen at the time were pulling bows with 150 lbs or more - so approx. 4.3 times the power of the bow Zak Crawford used in 2010.

And their arrows were heavier. Therefore it makes sense that a modern archer with great physical strength - pulling a 200 lb bow and using super lightweight arrows - could shoot arrows significantly further.

Arrow fletching also makes a difference. For flight arrows you want the fletching to be very small.

Wind conditions also make a big difference when doing flight archery. A headwind (coming towards you) will slow your arrow down. A tail wind could help or hinder it.

Another factor is elevation. Shooting on a high plateau gives you an advantage because of the thinner air. Shooting at sea level however, the air is thicker and slows your arrows down more.

But what is weird is how modern flight archery competitions all have weight categories for the bows. Limitations effectively on how far people can shoot using a much weaker bow.

For example Dennis Riley in 1981 shot a 72.8 lb conventional flight bow 975.36 meters.

Why was his bow 72.8 lbs??? Because that was the weight limitation for the category he was shooting in.

In contrast Don Brown in 1987 shot a conventional flight bow in an "unlimited category" and shot it 1222.01 meters. But how many lbs was his bow? I cannot tell you. I cannot find a record of the poundage.

In 1979 Harry Drake shot a foot bow (another category that is unlimited) 1410.87 meters. Again, no record for the poundage of his bow.

See for other weight categories for men's flight archery.

So how far can YOU shoot?

Depends on the poundage of your bow, the weight of your arrows, the length of your draw (overpulling), the wind conditions and how close to sea level you are.

Please don't shoot at animals

We know some people out there think it is funny to shoot at animals, but seriously, that stuff is not funny.

Even just jokingly shooting at a pet could cause serious harm to the animal.

"Oh, I just wanted to scare him a little!"

Seriously. Not funny.

Assuming the pet doesn't get killed, it is still going to be a nasty visit to the vet.

And either way, if you get caught shooting at animals you will be charged with cruelty to animals.

If you want to hunt, go get a hunting license and learn to shoot at animals you will actually eat like deer, elk, moose, geese, ducks, etc. Get your hunting license, hunt during hunting season only, and do it properly.

Shooting at pets only gives archers a bad rep and makes the rest of us look bad because of your idiocy.

Traditional Longbow from Africa

Wherever you go in the world, the vast majority of longbows all have the same basic shape.

Traditional Archery in Brazil

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fashion Advice for Male Archers

Baggy clothes doesn't work well for archery. Here to tell us why and to give us some fashion tips for archers on how to dress is an article espousing the benefits of men's high fashion when doing archery.

Where Men’s High Fashion Meets Archery

By D. Eze

Archery has become more and more popular over the past few years. Something that was only associated with Robin Hood in pop culture has now become almost ubiquitous. From very popular Katniss Everdeen and her bow and arrow hunting from the Hunger Games to the almost as popular Arrow TV show featuring the comic book character Green Arrow, an archery aficionado, and his side kick Speedy; archery is practically taking over as the sport to try out.

Now you see kids (especially young girls) taking up the sport, there are more people at the archery ranges and people are taking more and more lessons. But, there seems to be just one problem. What should you wear?

You could go with the Robin Hood look of old leather jackets and woolen slacks, but that seem a little too extreme. Although authenticity is great, one should never be a slave to it. You could go with Katniss’ run down rags (for those of you who did not see the movie or read the books *Spoiler Alert* Katniss is from a very poor part of The United Stated of America), but it does not seem like it would be very comfortable or very stylish. You could go with the comic book and don spandex and a cap, but that also sounds uncomfortable (in more ways than one – not sure if you want to show everything off) and well kind of weird.

What should a person do in such a situation? Trying to take part of a happening and interesting trend but not sure what to wear to enjoy it fully.

Well, you could take a look at Kish Wear, a Toronto men’s fashion line, which provides comfortable clothing at affordable prices that will allow you to look as good as if you had just finished a GQ fashion shoot.

Having tried archery myself, I can tell you that being comfortable is paramount to being successful. There are 3 things that you must consider to be comfortable at the range: Climate, Freedom of Movement and Style.


Climate is always a given no matter what situation you are in. We all look at the Weather Channel or at our mobile weather apps to make sure that when we step out of the house we are prepared for the weather we will find outside. The archery range is not exception. You will be outside for the entirety of you archery practice so you better know what you will be facing while you are shooting. Also, if you are not prepared for the weather and you find yourself in cold, hot, windy or rainy conditions you will not be able to focus on the archery target at all. For instance, in Toronto at the archery range you are susceptible to any and all weather conditions. It is cold from late September to late March and hot from mid May to late August and moderate in between. You need to be prepared for all these conditions to get the best out of your archery season.

Here are some options that will keep you warm, cool or dry from Toronto high fashion menswear maker Kish Wear.

Wool Black Cardigan

The Wool Black Cardigan is warm and great for when the temperature dips.

Grey Brown Zipper Detail Jogger Pant

These pants are slightly thicker and more comfortable to allow you to keep warm when the temperature gets a little lower then you would like but you just cannot say no to the range.

Freedom of Movement

Freedom of Movement of you limbs is extremely important to every archer. You need to be able to have a steady stance, your arms must be able to firmly hold the bow in front of you and deftly pull back the arrow and bowstring. If your clothing inhibits any of these movements you will definitely not be able to properly shoot an arrow and you may put yourself or others in danger. Wearing close fitting clothing is best for archer practice and also happens to be a popular fashion forward trend.

Here are some possibilities that let you take advantage of high-end fashion and allow you the freedom of movement that is so necessary for all archers.

Brown Incotex Slim-Fit Trousers

These trousers are slim fitted to stay close to the body and thus not get in the way of shooting and a proper archery stance.

Italian V-Neck Cardigan

This light and fitted Italian V-Neck Cardigan is perfect to allow you the freedom of movement you need to take accurate shots.


Style might seem like a strange requirement, but it is important that you feel at your best to focus on firing your arrows consistently and accurately. One of the main points of archer is to consistently shoot in a cluster, that is, shoot arrows in a small section of the target. If you are able to do that it shows that you are accurate, you are able to consistently reproduce an accurate shot and that you have successfully attuned yourself to the conditions such as your bow, your arrows, the weather and other people. If you are worried about what others think about your clothing how can you possibly concentrate on firing the best you can.

Style can be simply taken care of with a variety of choices at Kish.

Italian Wool-Blend Turquoise Hoodie

As an homage to Robin Hood and all the other archers of the olden days, why not try this wonderful turquoise hoodie that will keep you warm and let you blend in. This hoodie has two welted pockets to keep your hands warm, is semi-fitted and is made of comfortable fabrics.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

1940s Archery from the University of Iowa

The images below are from the University of Iowa archery club in the 1940s. Proof that women in archery is nothing new.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Toronto Laws governing Archery within City Limits

There are a number of different laws governing the use of archery equipment within the Toronto city limits.


608-4. Firearms and offensive weapons [Updated January 23, 2014]

A. While in a park, no person shall be in possession of or use a firearm, air gun, cross bow, bow
and arrow, axe, paint guns or offensive weapon of any kind unless authorized by permit.

B. Despite Subsection A, bows and arrows may be used in designated areas in accordance with
posted conditions. [eg. The Toronto Public Archery Range is a designated area.]

Plus there is also the potential for a person to be charged with say:

The Toronto Firearms Discharge By-Law - which prohibits discharging a weapon (including bows and crossbows) in any public location where other people might be injured, with the exception of designated archery ranges.

Reckless Endangerment - which ranges from a $400 fine plus possible jail time.

Mischief / Damage to Property - Fines of up to $2,000 plus possible jail time.

Mischief / Endangering Life - Possible life imprisonment even if nobody dies or is injured.

Animal Cruelty - In the event someone shoots an animal (non hunting), this would also be a charge that could be leveled.

Hunting in a Prohibited Area - No hunting within city limits. All hunting within Toronto is prohibited.

If you have questions about bows, crossbows and firearms you can contact the Chief Firearms Officer of Ontario (via the OPP).

How to Draw Bows and Arrows

There is an error on the images below, a visual guide on How to Draw Bows and Arrows - The mistake is the "compound bow", which is not a compound bow. It looks to be a Turkish/Scythian/Mandarin style composite bow. Sadly so many people confuse compound and composite.

Compound bows have wheels and pulleys. Composite bows are made of different materials (wood laminates, antler, sinew, etc) to give them extra strength.

You will see another error above, where the hand is drawing back an arrow with only two fingers. Three is the normal number.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

FITA Archery Target

Want a good quality target to shoot at?

Well you can go to Tent City and get a nice paper target for about $4 - or even a large 122 cm plastic official FITA target for $7.

Or if you could take the following PNG file to a print shop - Kinkos or Staples - and have them print it out to whatever size you want it to be.

But why bother with a boring round archery target when you could make up your own archery targets?

Zombies, dragons, ducks, rabbits, deer, snakes, aliens, flying spaghetti monsters.

Many people at the Toronto Archery Range don't even bother with such things. They just use a lid from Tim Horton's.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

How to make a Primitive Yew Bow using Bronze or Stone Age Tools

How to make a Primitive Yew Bow using Bronze / Stone Age Tools

Hun Rapid Fire Archery

If you are interested in learning how to shoot quickly then I recommend watching this video on Hun Rapid Fire Archery.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Homemade Archery Targets - 2 videos worth watching

Here are two videos on the topic of Homemade Archery Targets - the clear winner of which is cardboard boxes filled with a softer material, like fabric or newspapers. You can try other ways of making archery targets, but cardboard at the present time is the clear winner.

Which hurts more, archery tag or paintballs?

And the winner clearly is archery tag - which leaves no bruises, whereas paintballs hurt a lot and leave some serious welts!

Below is a 2nd video showing how much fun archery tag is.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Archery Teaches Self Control and Discipline

With box office influences such as the "Hunger Games", Disney’s "Brave", Hawkeye from the "Avengers" and the newest Hobbit movie "The Desolation of Smaug" it is no wonder why so many youth are drawn to archery.

Since archery isn't a team sport it also forces children to become more self reliant - if they make a mistake, they recognize it is their own fault and they have to learn from their mistakes. This means learning a degree of humility, self control and also self discipline.

Children with ambitions to become truly great in the sport of archery often take part in local archery competitions, with aspirations of proving their greatness. But before they can even have a chance at winning they would need to practice, practice hard, and learn to discipline both their bodies physically and their minds emotionally.

Archery lessons, school archery clubs, after school archery programs, Boy Scouts / Girl Guides - these are all beneficial ways for children and teens to build their archery skills and learn such discipline - but it is often just practicing on their own, often with only a coach present, that allows young archers to truly grow in this perfectionist of sports.

Archery classes begin with an introduction to the basics of archery, with a focus on equipment, equipment maintenance, safety fundamentals and information to help them be successful.

The really nitty gritty archery tips - things like learning to control your breathing, breathing into your stomach, how to hold your shot steady, how to follow through on a shot... These all take a lot of time and require the young archer to keep striving harder, concentrating harder and learning everything one lesson at a time.

What happens often is people begin archery with an expectation that they will get really good in a hurry. Which is partially true, a young archer can become "proficient" within the first couple of months of regular practice, but it takes years to become a skilled archer - and decades to become a master at the sport.

Archery is a fairly inexpensive and highly rewarding sport, offering many benefits to participants. Increased strength, increased concentration, there is even reports of archers developing better visual acuity / observation skills.

According to a study at the University of Pennsylvania, youths who are involved in archery tend to be better students in school, due to the patience, focus and discipline required for the sport.

"Archers have to learn to take their time, go through the safety and fundamental archery steps and make sure every aspect of the shot is perfect and safe," says Grant Caraway, the recreation assistant for Outdoor Adventures. "Good archers are patient and methodical, allowing them to put a good shot down range."

Since archery is an individual sport it allows athletes to progress as fast as they desire - practice very little, they will progress slowly, but practice daily and they will improve in their skills in a hurry. Archery skills are commensurate with drive and dedication, the number of hours put in to improving themselves both on the physical level and mental preparation.

On the physical level some people are very serious about. Charles Moffat, a personal trainer in Toronto, uses personal training techniques to forge his body into a more efficient archer - so that he is physically stronger, has better balance (so you can maintain stillness while aiming) and even yogic breathing exercises so he can better control his breathing during a shot.

Moffat is also a zen archery enthusiast, following in the footsteps of Japanese zen archer Awa Kenzo, and also zen monk Takuan Soho, and believes strongly in the power of the archer's mind.

"You can't shoot for perfection if you are too busy being distracted by feelings of hate, hunger, greed and ego. Humility is an archer's best friend and those archers who are too full of ego have good days and bad days. A humble archer who has control of his mind can control his feelings and shoot well every day." - Charles Moffat.

But not everyone can afford such a thoughtful archery instructor with so much self control, so they send their kids to summer camps - summer camps where the focus is on fun and the archery instructors barely know how to shoot themselves.

Students attending such summer camps are no doubt hoping to learn a new skill and have some fun in the process - but if they are serious about becoming good at archery then the shoddy equipment and shoddy instructors at summer camps just isn't going to satisfy them.

"I am excited about shooting the bows, it looks fun and it will be my first time shooting," said 8-year-old Michael Wells, a participant in the USA's After School Archery Program.

The program takes the young archers through the appropriate range safety commands and signals necessary to use archery ranges. During each class, students learn how to safely and correctly use a recurve and/or compound bow. Students are instructed on what each safety signal (eg. "clear" and "live") means and what is appropriate behavior for the archery range.

So that is a good way to learn the basics of archery and safety procedures, but if they don't have an archery coach they will be learning how to aim, proper form through trial and error.

Archery Injuries

Muscle groups that make up the back, shoulders and arms are used repeatedly while archers draw back their bows. The weight archers pull back varies depending on the bow and their abilities, making correct form a necessity for injury prevention.

Many people overemphasize the use of back muscles - which is used a lot in archery, but often results in overdeveloped back muscles and can result in injuries if people rely too heavily on one set of muscles.

Another common archery injury is "archer's elbow", commonly known as tennis elbow. This is due to overuse of one's elbow during the practice of archery.

Thus it becomes important to hone other parts of the body physically so a person does not become so reliant on their upper back muscles and elbow muscles. Practicing proper archery form is important but can be difficult to maintain if a person doesn't also build up their physical strength too, thus doing so is a great way to prevent such archery injuries to the back and elbows.

Archery gives everyone an opportunity to release stress and have fun. Whether you want to take up bowhunting, go to archery competitions or just practice for fun, people from all backgrounds can enjoy the sport.

Archery is found every culture around the globe, dating back to the stone age. No one group can claim ownership to the sport - and thus archery is for everyone. Not just Katniss fans, although they are certainly welcome too.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hunger Games - Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead?

On Superbowl Sunday, Feb. 2nd, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose. As thespians around the world mourns the death of the 46-year-old Oscar winner, many people are also wondering about the fate of "The Hunger Games" franchise - which, oh by the way, has a lot of archery in it.

For those unfamiliar with the Suzanne Collins series, Hoffman played the character Plutarch Heavensbee. Hoffman’s character was introduced in the second film, "Catching Fire" as the successor of Seneca Crane (who died in the first movie), the Head Gamekeeper for the Hunger Games. In the series, the main character Katniss immediately distrusts Plutarch even though he tries to win her trust by revealing a watch with the mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion. However by the end of the "Catching Fire" Katniss discovers that Plutarch is actually the head of the rebellion against the Capitol.


In the movies the last time viewers saw Plutarch, he and Haymitch had used a hovercraft to save Katniss, Finnick and Beetee from The Quarter Quell in "Catching Fire." In the final book "Mockingjay," Plutarch plays a major role in Katniss becoming “the Mockingjay” and helps plan the propaganda to fight the Capitol. At the end of the series when Katniss is accused of murder, Plutarch helps her defense by standing as a witness at her trial. After the war is over he’s appointed as the Secretary of Communications.


However the good news is that filming for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1" is done and is already in post-production. However "Mockingjay – Part 2" was still filming and had 7 days of shooting left to do. So, how will Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death affect the final of the two "Mockingjay" movies?

Likely they will just phase out his character's importance halfway through the 2nd film.

A joint statement on behalf of Jennifer Lawrence, director Francis Lawrence, Suzanne Collins and producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilk was released Sunday afternoon:
"Words cannot convey the devastating loss we are all feeling right now. Philip was a wonderful person and an exceptional talent, and our hearts are breaking. Our deepest thoughts and condolence go out to his family."

Francis Lawrence has said that the studio is "confident" they can finish the film without Hoffman and that the film’s ending won’t be "substantially changed."

The final two Hunger Games movies are on schedule to be released on Nov. 21st, 2014 and Nov. 20th, 2015.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Archery and Ethical Hunting

Bowhunting is becoming popular again.

After decades of decline in hunting, bowhunting has seen a resurgence in recent years - most markedly by urbanites seeking a more authentic way of getting their meat on the table.

Part of it is society's new obsession with grass-fed, humanely killed, hormone-free food. Organic and non-genetically modified. (99% of organic food is GM.)

The decline of hunting can easily be seen in British Columbia, where resident hunting licences peaked at 174,000 in 1981, and dropped to 85,000 in 2005 but have since rebounded to 94,000 in 2012.

That rebound is largely due to bowhunters and crossbow hunters - both men and women - and their numbers are being swelled by urbanites / city dwellers who want to hunt for their own food.

For some of those people they are worried about food safety, eating locally and being connected to the food we eat. Others just feel that hunting is a more interesting way to get their meat in their freezers and love the taste of venison.

The government in British Columbia is making it easier to become a hunter too, eliminating hunter-safety program requirements and have set a goal of at least 100,000 licensed hunters by 2014-15. And because it is faster / easier to get your hunting license if you are a bowhunter, this means bowhunting is an easier option for people who want to get into hunting.

Hunting also brings in extra tourism dollars from within Canada and from foreign hunters. So it is a win-win for the province of B.C. to keep down the populations of deer, elk, moose, goat, sheep and caribou. The province is spending $2 million this year improving the habitats of animal populations.

Even youth hunters (10 to 17) are getting involved.

“These changes will give youth and other new hunters an opportunity to find out if they enjoy hunting,” reads the government synopsis, “before requiring them to go through the time and monetary commitment of taking hunter safety training.”

Back to the topic of urbanite hunters, Kai Nagata, a 27-year-old communications consultant, has taken up bowhunting in his quest for ethical hunting.

“Those of us who grew up in the city are disconnected from the food we eat,” said Nagata. “It starts out as a philosophy, but it gets hands-on very quickly.

And what is more is that the vast majority of hunters make a strict distinction between hunting for food and trophy hunting - and oppose trophy hunting as a crime against nature. They're not alone either. A recent survey found British Columbians support food hunting, but a large majority oppose trophy hunting.

Monday, January 27, 2014

1365 - when football was banned and archery neglected

Centuries ago - during the 1300s and 1400s - football was regarded as a violent sport which caused the young men of the day to neglect the practice of archery. Indeed many laws were passed prohibiting the playing of football.

The first national law that interfered with the game of football was decreed in 1365. Other earlier laws were passed against it, but it was in 1365 that such a law became a national issue. In Scotland King James I decreed as follows - "It is statute, and the King forbiddis, that na man play at fute-ball, under the paine of fiftie schillings to be raised to the Lord of the land, als oft as he be tainted, or to the Schireffe of the land or his ministers, gif the Lords will not punish sik trespessoures."

James I of England also wrote in his Basilikon - "From this Court I debarre all rough and violent exercises, as the football, meeter for lameing than making able the users thereof." This was made the ground of an indictment preferred at the Middlesex Sessions in the eighteenth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, which charged sixteen persons – husbandmen, yeomen, artificers, and the like – for that they did, "with unknown malefactors to the number of a hundred, assemble themselves and unlawfully play a certain unlawful game, called football, by reason of which unlawful game there arose among them a great affray likely to result in homicides and fatal accidents."

These words give a somewhat accurate description of what is now known as a rugby scrimmage.

But the ban against football / what would later become rugby and soccer and American football / was far too popular, and indeed many lawmen themselves played football so it was a hard sport to suppress.

There later developed the custom of playing football on Shrove Tuesday, which became at one time a great football festival. In 1797 there was an indictment preferred at Kingston-on-Thames to suppress this custom of playing football on Shrove Tuesday, in which persons were charged for that they "did then and there unlawfully, riotously, and routously kick, cast, and throw a certain football in and about the said town". What is interesting to note is that by 1797 the game was played according to Rugby rules.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Archery, Part of Toronto's History

Archery has long been a part of Toronto's history.

You can see it in historical photographs of people doing archery at the Grange Park in 1867.

You can even see archery in the sculptures around the city.

Like the relief sculpture below at Ryerson University.

Or Henry Moore's 1966 sculpture "The Archer" located outside Toronto City Hall.

Large crowds came out in 1966 just to see Henry Moore's sculpture "The Archer".

Basically what it comes down is that archery has been part of Toronto's culture for a very long time - and it shows in our artwork and historical photographs.

I am on the hunt to find more examples of Toronto archery in artwork and historical photographs. So if you know of any please leave a comment as to where to find them.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Arnold Sports Festival

The Arnold Sports Festival will celebrate its 26th anniversary when it takes place in Columbus, Ohio, from February 27th to March 2nd, 2014. More than 175,000 sports and fitness fans are expected to attend and also another 18,000 athletes.

The annual event, which is co-produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer, was first organized in 1989.

In its early years, it was a bodybuilding competition, but it now spans 50 different sports, including amateur boxing, archery, fencing, grappling/jiujitsu, judo and taekwondo. It will also host a Martial Arts Festival and an Amateur MMA Festival.

If you are visiting Columbus, Ohio in February or March you might want to check it out at

So regardless of what you are into - whether it be archery or bodybuilding - it is certainly an event to attend if you get a chance.

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