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Balloon Animal Field Archery

Balloon Animal Field Archery

I saw a couple of archers doing this last Saturday and thought it was both amusing and a fun way to do Field Archery.

Field Archery is shooting at targets placed at random distances. During recreational field archery the goal is to hit the target and then next round move it to a different location, so you keep having to change your aim and learning where to aim based on the different distances. Field Archery is also a competitive sport, for those people who get really into it.

Myself, I routinely use a target ball, but Balloon Animal Field Archery seems like a fun idea too. I have also seen people do it with:
  • Regular Balloons.
  • Paper Plates.
  • Plastic Water Bottles.
  • Tim Hortons Coffee Cups.
  • Watermelons.
  • Whatever they have handy.
I should also mention that when doing this style of archery it is wise to add Wingnuts to your arrowheads (just unscrew the arrowhead and place it behind the arrowhead, then rescrew it). The wingnuts will act like hooks / anchors when they hit the grass and make it basically impossible for you to lose your arrows in the grass.
Happy Shooting!

Why I prefer to teach archery one-on-one, Personalized Attention + Professionalism.

Note: While I have listed this under "Testimonials" this is really more of a Compliment.

Today I got a compliment from a fellow archer. He praised me for how professional I am at teaching archery and how I give such personalized attention to each student I teach.

He had seen me teaching many times in the past, but last Saturday he and I both witnessed a complete amateur teaching and he had his eyes opened to what happens when someone who doesn't know what they are doing attempts to teach archery.
  • Let alone teaching 7 people at once.
  • With 3 bows that were too powerful for beginners to be using. Including one 85 lb bow the "instructor" couldn't even pull back properly.
  • At one point the "instructor" was trying to show off by shooting his 85 lb bow and accidentally punched himself in the face. (I wish I had a video of it.)
  • With a shortage of finger gloves / arm bracers, which meant people had to share them.
  • With no personalized instruction, which meant he spent no time correcting their form errors.
  • Running around like he was trying to herd cats.
  • One of his students dry fired one of his bows. (Much to the cringing of nearby archers.)
  • He insisted they call him "sensei". (Yes, the white guy is insisting he be called sensei. Cultural appropriation much? I have a word for idiots like that: Baka.)
No surprise they kept completely missing the targets.

I was doing some personal practice and I watched with amusement, at one point I had one hand cupping my chin with a big smile on my face. Another archer, a regular, was watching too and we were both amused by it. "This is fascinating." I remember saying.

To me, watching amateurs teach archery is a highlight. Especially when they are utterly clueless as to what they are doing. Let alone watching them try to teach 7 people at once.

It would be like being a professional daycare worker watching someone babysit for the first time ever and you give them 7 toddlers to look after. Or a Formula 1 driver watching 7 amateurs who have never driven before behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car and watching a non-professional driver trying to teach them how to drive a Formula 1 car. It would be extremely amusing to watch.

So let me compare to what I do.

#1. I prefer to teach people one-on-one.

One-on-one is the absolute best way to learn archery. I will sometimes teach 2 or 3 friends at once, but I cap it at 3. I never teach more that. Part of it is that I devote myself to giving personalized instruction to my students and you cannot give that kind of personalized instruction when teaching large groups. People learn faster when they get one-on-one instruction.

I have sometimes been asked to teach large groups of people (20 or more) but I always refuse to deal with such events and instead recommend one of the local archery tag locations instead (I have my favourites when it comes to who I recommend).

I don't want to dilute the quality of my teaching by trying to teach crowds of people. It just isn't worth it. I want people to learn how to do archery properly and to get rid of their bad habits, and to not become discouraged. Having a shoddy instructor can lead to people failing to make progress and becoming discouraged, thus giving up at a sport that they could have become good at.

I believe everyone has the potential to become a good archer. They just need the right instructor and the time to apply themselves properly to learning the necessary skills.

#2. Every shot is watched and analyzed for mistakes.

Every. Single. Shot. I leave no room for errors. We are looking for perfection here, with the knowledge that complete perfection will never be achieved. This process means I am watching the student shoot, correcting their form errors to get rid of bad habits and replace them with good habits.

#3. I use appropriate archery equipment for beginners.

Nothing says you are clueless of what you are doing like giving a bow that is too powerful to people who cannot even pull it properly. When teaching I have 5 different sets of limbs available, all in lighter poundages, so that guaranteed regardless of the size, height, age, or even physical impairment I have a bow that my students can shoot.

#4. The first lesson always covers the basics.
  • Safety Lecture.
  • Eye Test.
  • How to Aim Lecture.
  • Proper Form Lecture.
  • Field Archery Practice - which means I am starting them off slowly with an aiming exercise that will nevertheless be challenging and fun.
#5. Sometimes I do demonstration rounds, but only for the purpose of teaching.

One of the common demonstrations I do is called my "Canting Demonstration" during which I do 1 perfect shot and 4 shots during which I am canting 4 different ways, that way students learn what canting is and how it effects the arrow. This usually happens during the first lesson. I really should make a YouTube video on the topic.

Another common demonstration I will do is "Inconsistent Draw Power" during which I demonstrate what happens when I deliberately use different amounts of draw. Such as not using a full draw, over-drawing to the cheek ("Cheeking"), under-drawing, and using different amounts of back power.

Doing a demonstration round should never be about trying to show off. It should be about teaching the student what happens when you do something correctly and what happens when you do it wrong. This means you first need to perform a perfect shot and then demonstrate what happens when you change one little thing and how that ruins the shot.

#6. I never punch myself in the face.

Although I will laugh about people who do this. I still wish I had a camera recording when that happened...

#7. I provide all the necessary equipment.

Not just the bows, but the finger gloves, arm guards, bowstringer, arrows and everything needed for practicing archery. Students should not have to be sharing equipment back and forth.

#8. Students learn what dry firing is and why you should not do it.

In a nutshell, dry firing is when someone pulls back a bow and lets go with no arrow on the bowstring, resulting in a horrible twanging sound and the bow possibly breaking. It might not break the first time it happens, but it isn't something you want to do again and again until it eventually breaks. It is very bad for the bow for it to be dry fired. Physically, what happens is all the power stored in a taut bow is expended into the limbs of the bow and causes it to vibrate. Those vibrations are so intense they can cause micro fractures in the bow limbs and cause the bow to eventually break.

On a compound bow this is even worse. Dry firing can cause the cables to come off the cams, causing a huge tangled mess, plus the cams could snap or come off the axle. A compound bow that has been dry fired loses its warranty and after several dry fires will likely be garbage.

#9. I prefer to be called Charles.

Because that is my name. I don't need a title, honourific or otherwise.

#10. I do this professionally.
  • I take this sport seriously.
  • I have been doing archery for 27 years. Except for that big gap in university.
  • I have been teaching for almost 7 years.
  • I shoot every style of bow. All five major styles of archery.
  • I currently own 29 different bows.
  • I have competed, although frankly I don't like competing because it is too much about ego.
  • I enjoy bowfishing, archery biathlon and a wide range of archery activities.
  • I published a book in 2015 titled "Dreaming of Zen Archery".
  • I am currently working on my 2nd and 3rd books about archery. The second book is about recreational archery, and the third book is about archery sayings and what they mean.
  • I make my own longbows and arrows during the winter as a hobby. I have been making bows since the age of 10. I also enjoy woodworking, which I find compliments my skills as a bow-maker.
  • I believe archers should exercise regularly. A well-tuned body leads to more accuracy.
  • I have a tiny archery range in my garage.
  • I practice archery in the winter. I sometimes even teach it during the winter.
  • I enjoy shooting at moving targets and performing trick shots.
  • I never stop seeking perfection.

8 Fun Ways to play Pokemon Go + Exercise in Toronto

This is basically a sequel to my previous post from July regarding Pokemon Go:

Pokemon Go as a Workout Plan - How to get the Most Exercise and the Most Pokemon.

Since then Pokemon Go has continued to grow and thrive as a game / competitive sport. It is basically getting nerds and common people to go exercise and compete against each other, so yes, it is definitely a competitive sport. Hence the old adage:

"All it takes is for one person to lose an eye and it becomes a competitive sport."

Losing an eye isn't the issue. People have died playing this game. Usually from not paying attention to where they were walking. So pay attention to where you are going!

But to be fair, people also die while texting, driving while distracted by food, crossing the street while their cellphone is in their pocket and it just happens to have the game open. The game is probably no more unsafe than say window shopping with friends or other innocent activities.

Speaking of which here are 8 Fun Ways to play Pokemon Go + Exercise in Toronto and you will note I have chosen to list ways which are also safe.

#1. Visit the Roundhouse Park train yard near CN Tower / Steam Whistle Brewery.

Known as Roundhouse Park it is brimming with Pokestops (and quite a few Ponytas, so if you need to catch a Ponyta that is a good place to do it). A five-six minute walk around the park hits 10 different Pokestops without ever having to cross a street or put yourself in danger. Thus you can literally just walk in circles for 30 minutes and collect approx. 60 Pokestops.

Also you get a bonus every time you hit 10 unique Pokestops in a row, so this is a good place to do that. The bonus gives double items (minimum 6, maximum 10) and rewards 100 XP instead of 50.

In addition there is also free samples at Steam Whistle, the railway museum to visit, Ripley's Aquarium just north of there, and lots of old trains to look at.

#2. Visit Edward Gardens in East York, Toronto / Bring your bicycle!

Home to many exotic plants, lots of squirrels and other wildlife, Edward Gardens also has 25 Pokestops. A great place to walk or bicycle.

There are many different trails and paths inside Edward Gardens, and it doesn't matter which routes you take you will always find lots of Pokestops and lots of interesting things to look at. I ended up spending a lot of time during my last visit just doing photography.

If you walk south from Edward Gardens there are trails going all the way to Sunnybrook Park and eventually E. T. Seton Park. So also a good place to hit some Pokestops and then go for a long hike afterwards.

Edward Gardens is a great place to feed squirrels and pet them. They have some very friendly squirrels there. The video below is one I made during my last visit.

#3. Graffiti Alley in Downtown Toronto.

If artwork is more something that interests take a walk / bicycle ride / skateboard / rollerblades down to some of the graffiti filled alleyways in downtown Toronto.

Between Augusta and Spadina, just south of Queen Street, is Graffiti Alley. That alleyway and many of the alleyways in downtown Toronto are rife with Pokestops. Exploring the back alleys also keeps you away from cars and motorists, which are the bane of Pokemon Go players.

#4. Archery at E. T. Seton Park in East York.

If you are into archery, the archery range at E. T. Seton Park is also a Pokestop. You can shoot a round of arrows and then collect a Pokestop. Shoot a round, catch a Nidoran. Shoot a round, collect Pokestop again. You won't be hitting a huge number of Pokestops, but you will have a lot of fun doing archery.

Archery also involves a lot of walking (to collect the arrows after each round of shooting) so as a bonus you will get some walking done.

If you don't have your own archery equipment you can also get archery lessons.

#5. Catch an Onix in Downsview Park.

Downsview Park has many things you can do there, whether you prefer to walk or bicycle - but one of the things you can do is to look for Onix, one of those rare hard to find Pokemon. Onix has a tendency to appear near the west end of the park, towards Downsview Dells and Northwood Park. If you explore all 3 areas you will likely spot an Onix.

#6. Take up Bird-Watching

If bird-watching (or "birding") is something you have always wanted to do, here is your chance. You can walk around, take photos of birds with your phone, capture Pokemon, hit Pokestops, borrow books about birdwatching from the library (since libraries are often Pokestops), and basically become a great birder and have fun during the process.

In my mind someone should invent a phone app game similar to Pokemon Go, which encourages players to capture photos of birds to add to their collection. For people into birdwatching, it would be a fun game.

A good place to see both birds and hit lots of Pokestops (and a few gyms) is Moccasin Trail Park. The park is home to many historical plaques (like the one below), nature plaques about the local wildlife, and the above mentioned Pokestops / gyms. Also a great place for a bicycle ride / skateboarding / fishing.

#7. Take up Fishing.

There are plenty of different places to go fishing in Toronto. Along lake-shore there are many Pokestops and places to go fishing. There are also a great number of parks in Toronto where the fishing is pretty good. Moccasin Trail Park is one, but you can also go to High Park - which has a good number of Pokestops and an abundance of places where you can sit and collect items while waiting for the fish to bite.

When fishing I recommend getting up once in awhile and switching locations or even taking a break from fishing to walk around and enjoy the other things the parks in Toronto have to offer.

#8. Horseback Riding at Sunnybrook Park.

Okay maybe I am just biased here because I really like horses, but it seems to me that spending your time riding horses and either playing the game while on horseback, or playing the game when you are relaxing in Sunnybrook Park, is a good thing.

Also Sunnybrook Park is a good place to catch Eevees and a variety of water Pokemon.

There you go! 8 ways to have fun playing Pokemon Go, do it safely, and get exercise in the process.

Not satisfied? Leave a comment asking for more and I shall do another post like this. You will need to subscribe to receive the notification.

Shots going to the left, center-shot arrowrests


"Hey Charles,

I noticed I have to kind of aim to the right of the target in order to get my arrows any where near the target.

Is it because I'm not perfectly aligned with the object I'm trying to shoot at? Does it have something to do with forced perspective?"

- Gordon M.


Hey Gordon!

What kind of arrowrest did you get?

Unless you are plucking, canting or making some other kind of form mistake, chances are likely your arrowrest is not center-shot, and you will have to aim a little to the side when using that style of arrowrest.

There is no such thing as "a perfect arrowrest", but there are a wide variety of arrowrest designs with varying degrees of how center shot / accurate they are.

Charles Moffat

Round 2

"The one I got has one of those flippers on it."

- Gordon M.

Hey Gordon!

This one correct?

You have two choices:
  1. You can deliberately aim to the right a bit.
  2. You can deliberately cant to the right a bit. Try to cant the same amount each time once you find the correct amount of canting.
Feel free to experiment with both methods to find the method you like best.

In the future you might also decide to get an arrowrest that has a more center-shot design, but for now the flipper will work.

If you have additional questions let me know.

Charles Moffat


"Thanks Charles. That's the one.

I'll experiment with canting."

- Gordon M.

More Than Medication: 5 Antidepressants Doctors Need to Prescribe

Guest Post by Dan Chabert

Depression is the most common mental illness in America, and while prescription medication is necessary for some individuals experiencing depression, there are natural ways to help ease these symptoms that should be included as part of a treatment plan.

We all know eating well, working out, and getting enough sleep are part of a healthy lifestyle, but these cornerstones of wellness have a direct effect not only on our appearance and how our bodies function; they greatly impact the brain and our mood.

Here are 5 natural antidepressants to try before turning to prescription medication, or to supplement alongside it:


Meditation is a simple concept on the surface; be still, focus on your breath, keep your brain and thoughts in the moment. But only recently has the practice been adopted into mainstream society, no longer seen as something exclusively for Buddhist monks. The health benefits range from lowered blood pressure and improved heart health to a boosted immune system. So why is this such a powerful antidepressant?

Meditation focuses on being mindful of your current thoughts and emotions. When the mind wanders - as it will - the purpose of meditation is to recognize the thought without judgement, and let it go. Because of this, people experiencing depression and anxiety can learn to stop the cycle of negative thoughts as opposed to letting them spiral.

As Stacy Lu explains in her cover story in American Psychological Association, “A review Madhav Goyal, MD wrote...looked at different types of mindfulness meditation among 47 studies, finding that it had the same moderate effect on treating depression as medication, and had moderate effects on anxiety and pain as well.”

While medication can have side effects, there are no negative side effects or harm in trying meditation alone or alongside other treatments. It takes practice, but now that it’s gaining popularity there are not only classes offered at yoga studios across the country, there are plenty of apps to get you started. Click here for a list of 2016’s best meditation apps.


When we sleep, our bodies reset, and energy is restored. While one night of too little - or too much - sleep won’t throw you out of whack, chronic sleep deviations lead to fatigue and irritability, which directly affect your mood. Because of this, poor sleep can even lead to depression.

Sleep is a natural mood regulator, so getting your sleep patterns on track can improve symptoms of depression, and hopefully stave it off in the first place. Here are a few tips to getting better sleep:

  • Set a bedtime alarm for 8-9 hours before you need to get up.
  • Sleep with an eye mask or blackout blinds and ear plugs.
  • Avoid caffeine at least 6 hours before bed.
  • An hour before bed, allow yourself time to unwind and set the mood for bed; no email, brush your teeth, wash your face with warm water. Avoid rushing around.
  • Keep a consistent bedtime and wake up time.


Regular exercise has been shown to provide mood enhancing qualities, and in one 1999 study, was shown to have similar effects as antidepressant medications.

“ About 60%–70% of the people in all three groups could no longer be classed as having major depression. In fact, group scores on two rating scales of depression were essentially the same. This suggests that for those who need or wish to avoid drugs, exercise might be an acceptable substitute for antidepressants.” - Harvard Health Publications

What’s more is a follow up study to this, showed the effects of exercise to last longer than those of the medications!

To reap the mental boost of exercise, you don’t need to sign up for a marathon or spend hours at the gym. Exercising at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes most days of the week will not only give you a host of benefits, from weight control and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, to increased strength of muscles and bones, it’s enough to boost your mood and mental health.

There’s no one way to exercise. Find something you enjoy - long walks outside, a zumba class at a local gym, and/or a body weight routine you can do at home - to ensure you’ll stick with it and look forward to the experience!

Having a Hobby

Creative flow - that state where you’re so absorbed in what you’re doing you lose track of time and other thoughts float away - has similar effects of meditation, which as we’ve seen can improve symptoms of depression.

When your mind and body are engaged in a leisurely and enjoyable activity, the brain releases dopamine, triggering the reward and pleasure center of the brain. Even 15 minutes can calm the mind and relax the body. Don’t have a hobby? Think of activities you enjoyed as a child and revisit them as an adult. Coloring, knitting, puzzles, or writing are all activities easily accessible
that do not require extensive training, if any at all.

Healthy Diet

Food can be either medicine or poison; it’s up to you. Our bodies react to what we fuel them with, and this has an affect on the brain and our mood. Pumping ourselves full of processed junk, caffeine, and alcohol won’t just give you a stomach ache, it will put your blood sugar out of balance and deplete your serotonin.

By getting the nutrients your body needs, you will keep your energy levels in a balanced normal range, and promote overall wellness, making activities like exercise and stressful situations easier to manage.

You don’t have to become a nutritionist to improve your eating habits. Focus on eating enough to fuel your day, but not so much you are stuffed. Make real food a priority, limiting junk and overly processed products. Whole grains, lean meat/protein, fresh vegetables and fruit along with healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocado, will give you energy and the vitamins and minerals you need to feel your best.

Writer’s Bio: Dan Chabert

Writing from Copenhagen, Denmark, Dan is an entrepreneur, husband and ultramarathon distance runner. He spends most of his time on,, and He has been featured on runner blogs all over the world.

How does too much brace height affect the trajectory of the arrow?


"Hey Charles,

Probably a dumb question.

How does having too much brace height on your bow affect the trajectory of your shots?"

- Gordon M.


Hey Gordon!

Too much or too little brace height hurts the arrow speed, and arrow speed consequently affects the length of the arc of the arrow, the power and accuracy of the shot. It really comes down to the speed of the bowstring and how quickly it stops on the ideal location. The arrow only leaves the bowstring when the bowstring reverses its forward momentum and goes backwards instead. So yes, it definitely affects the arc and trajectory.

To illustrate this in terms of physics, think of three cars accelerating in a drag race and then slamming on the breaks, with each of the three cars trying to stop at a specific line on the race track.
  • The first car speeds up, but then stops too soon, not achieving its full potential speed. On a bow, this hurts arrow speed because it never reaches its full speed.
  • The second car speeds up, but stops too late. It did go very fast, but on a bow that means the bowstring went too far forward because the bowstring was too slack, and that process causes it to slow down on the forward thrust and then bounce backwards in a sluggish manner.
  • The third car speeds up, reaches optimal speed, and then stops at the ideal spot. On a bow, this means the arrow leaves the bowstring at an optimal time to maximize its speed.
There is also a sound difference. If you experiment with different brace heights you will discover that the three different brace heights will cause the bowstring to make noticeably different sounds. A good brace height should make more of a solid thrum sound, whereas incorrect brace heights will sound more twangy.


You should be able to find the precise brace height for your bow online and then measure it with a ruler or a Bow T-Square, but when a ruler is unavailable you can also use the "Rule of Thumb Method" I showed you previously.

Measuring Brace Height with a Bow T-Square
Rule of Thumb Brace Height
Some archers also file or use sandpaper on the nocks so that they leave the bowstring faster and more smoothly, in an effort to increase arrow speed by a few feet per second (fps).

If you have additional questions feel free to ask.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Charles Moffat


"Wow, definitely made a huge difference now that it's at the recommended brace height."

 - Gordon M.

Arrow Length Question + Archery Testimonial


Have a quick question regarding purchasing arrows.  How long should your arrows be with respect to your draw length?  Should they be the same length or should they be a little longer than your draw length?"

Kind regards,

Gordon M.


Hey Gordon!

One inch longer than the draw length is very common.

Some people have a habit (or like having the option) of overdrawing the bow and go for two inches past their normal draw length.

Some people also try to save weight (to increase speed slightly) by having only half an inch past their draw length.

Happy Shooting! Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Charles Moffat


Various cultures also historically used really long arrows for bowfishing or for hunting birds. The really long arrows would be easier to find / would float in the water, making their retrieval easier. In some cases the arrows would be almost as long as the bow or even longer than the bow itself.

Bowfishing from a Riverboat
Wai Wai Bowfisherman

Bird Hunting in the Amazon

Archery Testimonial

Had an awesome time learning archery the past month, the lessons had a good balance between formal and chill atmosphere.  Learned a lot about how to safely and properly handle the bow, but more importantly also about the proper ettiquette shooting at a public range; because nobody wants to be 'that guy'.

- Gordon M.

A Six Month Plan to Lose 10 Pounds using 6 Minute Exercises

Lets pretend you currently weigh 200 lbs and you want to lose 10 lbs over a 6 month period (or 20 lbs over the course of a year). What would you need to do to accomplish that using purely exercise and no changes to your diet?

Well, first lets look at the math.

10 lbs is the equivalent of 35,000 calories.

Divided up into 6 months, that is a goal of losing 5833.33 calories per month. Or 194.44 calories per day.

If you go for a simple 6 minute walk during which you walk 0.5 km, a person who weighs 200 lbs will burn 37 calories. (Admittedly that is a fairly slow and leisurely walk.)

The person in question would need to do that same walk 157.65 times per month to burn the necessary calories to meet their monthly goal. That would be roughly 5.25 walks per day.

So a 6 minute leisurely walk just isn't going to cut it.

But a slightly faster pace and more time, 30 minutes walking 2.7 km, that would burn 200 calories.

A significantly faster pace, jogging for 15 minutes a distance of 2.0 km, that would burn 188 calories. Counting the Afterburn Effect, it would end up being over 200 calories.

However if the goal is to get the Afterburn Effect, then you would actually get the best results with the least amount of effort by using Interval Training.

Sample Interval Training Routine

1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.
1 minute running or jogging, followed by 5 minutes of walking.

So the person is getting in 5 minutes of running/jogging, which gets the heart pounding hard, following by light exercise in the form of walking. By spacing it out into intervals it causes a combination of multiple hormonal releases and multiple triggers of the fat burning Afterburn Effect. Interval Training is also easier for people who lack stamina and endurance, and over time they can change the routine to add more time jogging and less time walking. As a result they are burning fat, and building endurance so that they will later be able to burn fat at a faster rate.

The above routine would burn over 250 calories, plus a bonus amount depending on the Afterburn Effect. In theory they could do less time, 25 minutes instead of 30, and still be burning the 200 calories per day.

So what about 6 Minute Cardio Routines?

Well, you are not going to burn 200 calories in six minutes. That is basically impossible. Even the most intense exercise won't be able to burn 200 calories in six minutes.

But a 200 lb person jumping rope (fast) for six minutes will burn 108 calories. That means that if a person did that twice per day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon/evening) they could burn 216 calories per day.

So it is possible to break the 200 calories per day mark by doing 6 minute cardio exercises, but you would need to choose a very intense exercise and most people will not be able to do an intense exercise for 6 minutes straight.

Other intense exercises and the calories burned for a 200 lb person:
  • 6 minutes of Jumping Jacks, approx. 73 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Sprinting/Running 8 mph, approx. 122 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Kettlebell Training, varies on the weight of the kettlebell. Approx. 90 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Kickboxing, approx. 90 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Cycling, approx. 103 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Rowing Machine, approx. 79 calories.
  • 6 minutes of Stair Climbing, approx. 64 calories.
Notice something about all of the above exercises? They are all exercises that use both the legs and arms. Want to know what else burns lots of calories? Swimming.

Here are the same numbers but for different kinds of swimming exercises, again calculated for a person who weighs 200 lbs:
  • 6 minutes of Leisure Swimming : 71 calories
  • 6 minutes of Backstroke : 82.5 calories
  • 6 minutes of Front Crawl (Slow) : 82.5 calories
  • 6 minutes of Breaststroke : 118 calories
  • 6 minutes of Front Crawl (Fast) : 131 calories
  • 6 minutes of Butterfly : 131 calories
So if a person really loves swimming, this is certainly an option. Doing the 6-minute Butterfly exercise 300 times over 150 days (5 months) would burn 39,300 calories or 11.2 lbs. Doable? It really depends on how much you love swimming.

What about dieting?

After seeing the amount of exercising many people may be thinking "Hmm, maybe I should just diet instead."

In which case you will want to reduce your daily intake of calories to a more reasonable level. Your best bet is to be calorie counting, as that multiplies your chances of success. Aim to be consuming 200 calories less than the normal amount of calories you need per day, which means you will be burning fat stores instead. So if your body burns 1800 calories per day, aim to eat only 1600 per day.

So yes, dieting is certainly an option.

Or you could do both, diet and exercise. The combination of both is a surefire way of burning more calories than you are consuming. It really depends how much you want to lose and over what time period. Trying to burn 10 lbs in 1 month is possible, but would be extremely grueling. Doing the same amount, but spread over 6 months is much more reasonable.

Happy Exercising!

Archery, Aiming and Glasses Vs Contacts

Today one of my archery students was having a problem with the contact in the eye that he aims with. He used to wear glasses, but has made the switch to contacts. His contact was making his eye itchy and dry, and this was interfering with his ability to aim.

The quality of his aim today was thus suffering.

Logically, today would have been a good day for him to switch back to his glasses.

So does that make glasses better than contacts when it comes to aiming?

Not necessarily. The problem with glasses is that they will sometimes shift on your nose, thus shifting the magnification you are using to aim. Ideally, if the glasses were always perched on the same part of your nose then it would be okay, so the trick then is for glasses-wearers to adjust their glasses before a shot, and make a habit of doing it before shots.

Contacts, assuming that the user's eyes are not dry / irritated, thus would normally be superior. There are certainly pros and cons to both.


There are also "Archery Sport Glasses", which are designed to give the user a greater focus / magnification so they can more clearly see where they are aiming, without squinting or straining their eyes. The lenses can also be adjusted to full sun or low light conditions. Some people consider "Archery Sport Glasses" to be cheating, akin to using other kinds of archery gadgets, and thus they might not be allowed at some kinds of archery competitions. It is more common to see them at compound archery competitions, which are very "pro gadgets" in the first place.

Recurve Bows, Brands and Models

During a recent email conversation with a new archer who is shopping for archery equipment, I recommended the Samick Sage because of its reliability and the many excellent reviews it has received in recent years. But I also mentioned that I could "recommend a variety of other brands / models if you want to see a wider range of companies and styles."

To which he responded: "Good I asked you, it would be definitely interesting to see other brands / models, more importantly it would be nice to know the difference."

Hence why I am now writing the post you see below, to showcase some of the other brands and models that are available when it comes to recurve bows designed for beginners (adults). Note - If anyone wants to see a similar list of Youth / Children's bows, post a comment at the bottom and I shall make another list in the future just for you.

The Samick Sage is a bit like the Ford F-150. It is economical and has everything you expect to see in a recurve bow made for a beginner. All the normal bells and whistles for a sum of $150 CDN.

Samick Sage Recurve Bow
But Samick is not the only manufacturer out there. They are just one of many. A recurve bow is a recurve bow is a recurve bow. They are all more or less similar, with slight differences in materials, shapes, lengths, level of quality, and prices.

Since many manufacturers list equipment in USD prices, the
exchange rate can cause prices in CDN to vary dramatically.

The PSE Razorback and the Jandao Recuve

If these two bows look similar it is because they are both made in the same factory and look exactly the same. Just different brand names on them. Both cost about $100 USD. They are nothing special and are basically a very cheap introductory recurve bow. I am not even going to bother showing a photo of one. The Samick Polaris falls into the same category of cheap beginner bows, with very similar looks to the Razorback/Jandao.

The PSE Blackhawk, Ghost, Mustang, and Talon

Unlike the Razorback mentioned above, these bows are worth showing. They're all pretty bows and have histories of receiving excellent reviews, the Blackhawk ($260 USD) most of all. The Mustang is $220 USD, the Ghost is $250 USD, and the Talon is $235 USD. I think the Ghost is the prettiest of the bunch, but the Blackhawk has some impressive pedigree/reviews so it is difficult to ignore.

Above: PSE Blackhawk
Above: PSE Ghost

Above: PSE Mustang
Above: PSE Talon

The Martin Poplar, Martin Willow and Martin Cypress

The following are three takedown wooden recurve bows, all made by Martin Archery: Poplar, $130 USD; Willow, $200 USD, + the Martin Cypress, $250 USD. Of the three the Cypress is nicest and prettiest, shown below. Design and features wise, the Cypress is Similar to the Samick Red Stag (shown further below).

Above: Martin Cypress

The Samick Red Stag

If the Samick Sage doesn't interest you, there are also other bows made by Samick which might interest you instead. The Samick Red Stag is one such bow, or rather, three. There is the takedown recurve, the one-piece recurve, and a longbow version (prices for all three versions vary between $200 USD to $300 USD). There is a downside to the Red Stag however, it is not drilled for any kind of accessories. It is meant for traditional fur rests only. It is also a bit noisy, so you will want to consider getting dampeners / string silencers.

Samick also offers a variety of similar bows, like the Lightning Nighthawk, Squall, Phantom, Phoenix II, Leopard II, Volcano, Stingray, and similar models which are designed more for looks.

The Martin Jaguar, Martin Sabre and Martin Panther

The following are three non-traditional takedown bow models, all made by Martin, which some similar design features. The Martin Jaguar is the most basic model at $200 USD, the Martin Sabre is a more advanced model at $250 USD, and the Martin Panther is $300 USD. (There has also been sales in the past for $150, $200 and $250 respectively.) As recurve bows go they fill a niche market of people who are less attracted to wood and want something that is either camouflage or "Darth Vader Black".

In recent years they have also come out with Jaguar Elite (weighing 2.6 lbs) and the Jaguar BF (blue for bowfishing).

Martin Jaguar

Martin Jaguar BF

The Bear Grizzly

The photo below doesn't just show any Bear Grizzly. That is my Bear Grizzly, which I got years ago and even named it "Seahawk". At $380 USD the Grizzly has decorated the shelves of many archers' homes for decades now. The basic design hasn't changed much since the 1950s and these days they are made with "FutureWood", a wood polymer blend that makes the wood tougher and protects from water damage.

Bear Archery also sells a variety of other recurve bows and longbows worth looking at, but the Grizzly is the model that I personally fell in love with.

The Martin Independence

It used to be that Martin had a wide range of recurve bows with a variety of different designs. They made very pretty bows like the Martin Dream Catcher, the Gail Martin, the X-150 / X-200, and so forth. Just Google "Martin Dream Catcher" and see how pretty that bow is and you will understand why some of the older models are arguably better when it came looks.

But all of those models have been discontinued, leaving only the more popular models like the Martin Hunter and Martin Mamba, for which they have jacked the prices up to $630 USD for the Hunter and $600 for the Mamba...

Now keeping in mind the Martin Mamba and Martin Hunter are widely regarded to be two very good bows for their price range, which might explain why Martin has been jacking up their prices in recent years. If they cannot meet the demand because it is so popular, it is time to raise prices.

The Martin Independence (shown on the right) however is basically one of the cheaper models now available, for $400 USD, and it is a very pretty bow.

Stylistically it is similar to a Martin Mamba, but without certain design features that make the Mamba more time consuming and expensive to make.

That was the whole principle behind the old X-200 and X-150 models. They were faster and cheaper to make because the designs were simpler.

However $400 seems like a steep price to pay for the bow, especially when you can go on eBay and buy an older X-150 or X-200 for considerably less. Remember my comments up above about the Ford F-150? Well the Martin X-150 / X-200 was basically Martin's answer to what archers needed: An inexpensive recurve bow that was well made and lasts a long time.

Yesterday I met up with two people who both had X-200s and I joked that I should buy one too and we could start a X-200 Owners Club. Ha!

Browsing eBay can be an excellent way to get a nice quality bow for significantly less than what you would pay for a brand new one. However there are downsides. Finding the poundage you want will be much trickier, the bow may not be in mint condition and have problems, and lastly other people be bidding against you - which can inflate the price and you could end up in a bidding war. So buyer beware.

Note - Now this is not a complete list of manufacturers available. Bear, Martin, PSE, Samick are just a handful of the more popular companies available out there. They are the Fords, GMCs, and Chryslers of the archery world. I haven't even touched on European manufacturers like Ragim, Border Archery, etc. I also limited myself mostly to the so-called traditional style recurves, the ones that are more ideal for beginners due to their price range. I ignored the proverbial Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini type companies, because frankly those are out of the price range of most people (see the brief mention of Blacktail Bows below).

CONCLUSIONS: A recurve bow is a recurve bow is a recurve bow...

There are obvious huge price differences mentioned above, from the $150 CDN Samick Sage, to the $630 USD Martin Hunter. The sky is the limit when it comes to how much a person is willing to spend on a bow.

A quick tour of for example will make your jaw drop at the artistry of some truly exquisite and beautifully decorated bows. Their bows don't sell for mere hundreds, they are thousands of dollars each. See the image on the right to see what I mean.

And then there are antique bows or rare bows that belong in a museum, in which case they can become well nigh priceless.

But if the sky is the limit, how do you know which bow is right for you?

Honestly, you don't. It is like going to the dog pound and trying to pick out a puppy. You don't know which puppy is the right puppy for you, you just pick one based on its size, shape and demeanor and hope it falls in love with you just as much as you fall with it.

Having a really beautiful bow like a Blacktail doesn't mean you are going to be more accurate with it. It is just as likely that the bow will end up decorating a wall and collecting dust, because your favourite bow will end up being the one you are most comfortable shooting with and you get the most enjoyment out of shooting.

Thus you won't necessarily know you've fallen in love with a particular bow until after you've shot it many times, perhaps even given it a name, and gotten very used to shooting it. If someone sees the bow, likes the looks of it and offers to buy it off you would you sell the bow that you love so much? Probably not.

It would be like selling man's best friend. You love that little guy. You take him everywhere with you. And when you find that bow you will never want to let it go. You may buy and collect other bows over time (I am up to 27 bows currently...), but the bows you love you will never sell.

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