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The Benefits of Archery for Seniors

Today I was reading an older post I wrote called "You are Never Too Old to try a New Sport" and decided that I should elaborate on the topic of Archery Practice for Seniors.

I currently offer a 10% Seniors Discounts to everyone over the age of 65 when signing up for archery lessons, but I have also routinely had 1 or more promotional discounts per year in an effort to get more seniors outside and doing archery.

In the past I have discovered I really enjoy teaching older people the sport of archery, and when you really enjoy doing something you tend to want to chase that feeling again and again - hence why I routinely actively look for archery students in the older age brackets.

Seniors have a number of benefits when it comes to taking up archery as a sport.

A. They have more flexible schedules and can practice more often, often continuing to do archery after they finish taking lessons with me. A number of my past students are now regulars at the archery range, and it is always a pleasure seeing them again and again.

B. They're patient and willing to put in the time needed. Like any activity where the phrase "Practice Makes Perfect" truly matters, archery is one of those sports that require time and patience. Seniors in my experience are abundantly patient.

C. Seniors are very social and archery is a social sport. When not shooting, archers have a tendency to talk amongst themselves. Having good social skills is not a necessity obviously, but seniors I have encountered while teaching archery are typically quite talkative, and being a talkative person myself I enjoy the conversations about the history of archery as a sport / hunting practice / recreational activity. Thus on a social level, that is an advantage. (In contrast anti-social people tend to not enjoy archery as much, end up quitting after awhile, and their archery equipment ends up collecting dust in a closet or basement.)

As a sport archery provides a lot of positive things for seniors as well.

The Benefits of Archery for Seniors

#1. Exercise that combines walking with upper body strength.

Archery is easy on the knees as it only requires small amounts of walking to fetch arrows. There is a fair amount of standing involved, but archery can also be done while seated on a stool or even while seated in a wheelchair. This allows people with a broad range of mobility concerns to still be able to exercise and have fun.

Because the muscle work for archery is mostly for the arms, shoulders and upper back it is very beneficial for building stronger muscles, similar to a weightlifting workout - but nowhere near as boring as weightlifting.

#2. Archery sharpens the memory and observational skill centres of the brain.

Sports like archery have been proven to help reverse or alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, dementia and similar ailments. In the case of archery, the sport is very form oriented and shares similarities to yoga and Tai Chi. Having "good archery form" is a mostly a memory issue, and as archery students progress their memory-based actions start to become habits as muscle memory takes over. The regular mental stimulation of the brain exercises those parts of the brain, allowing the brain to become more robust and resistant to a variety of ailments.

#3. Archery is a very relaxing sport.

While it does take some upper back muscle to do, once people get the hang of it the sport is quite relaxing. It is very low stress and the worst thing that can happen is that you break or lose an arrow. You can take your time at it, there is no rush and it is indeed encouraged that people take their time perfecting a shot as opposed to rushing and performing shots at a frantic pace, as that only leads to sloppy inaccuracy.

#4. Good for your posture.

Walking in general is good for your posture, but archery also encourages a person to stand up straight and pay attention to the quality of their posture while shooting. The quality of a person's posture effects the quality of their accuracy, and learning "good archery form" will often feel like a lecture on good posture.

#5. Fresh air is always good for you.

See my past post on The Benefits of Fresh Air.

#6. Stronger bones.

Walking and weight lifting exercises (archery is effectively a muscle endurance exercise) also help to build up bone density, which gives you stronger bones which are more resistant to damage. My brother-in-law recently broke his hip while rollerblading in Vancouver, and he is only in his 30s, which makes you realize how easily people can break bones.

#7. Archery has a long list mental, physical and social benefits.

For a more complete list of all the benefits of archery read "Archery, huh, yeah, what is it good for?"

Note - You may have noticed that all photos shown here are of older male archers. Sadly, archery is not very popular with female seniors, a fact I find disheartening. I have taught a few older female archers, and I certainly would like to teach more of them, but they are certainly a rarity.

Individuals interested in archery lessons in Toronto are encouraged to contact me. If you are over the age of 65 please let me know and I am more than happy to give you the 10% discount. (The discount is on top of the regular discount for purchasing 3 or more lessons. So for example 3 weekday lessons is discounted to $170, so if you are a senior the total would be $153 instead.)

Happy shooting!


Toronto Archery Photos a Hit

One Very Popular Photo
I recently received an email from Google notifying me that some photos of mine are extremely popular.

Years ago I submitted 5 photos to Google Maps in an effort to help boost the popularity of the Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park.

Those photos have since apparently gone a bit viral, with over 300,000 views. Woot? Sure, what the heck. Woot!

During that time I have also seen attendance at the Toronto Archery Range skyrocket. Much of that is largely due to the Hunger Games and other film / TV franchises.

But the good people of Toronto wouldn't necessarily know we even have a public archery range. That is the real trick. The range is one of Toronto's best kept secrets, as the vast majority of people don't even know that the place exists.

When I first started going to that archery range in 2009 it was usually dead quiet there and you would be the only person there most of the time. On a busy day there would be maybe 3 people there, and they were the "regulars" and you would get to know them all by name.

During the height of the Hunger Games/etc visitors to the archery range exploded, with crowds of 15 to 30 people there regularly, or even 60+ on the really busy Saturday mornings.

So clearly the word that the place existed was getting out. Huzzah!

Last year it was so busy I found myself wistful for the quiet days back in 2011 and prior to that, when archery was comparatively less popular.

Recently visitors to the range has dropped off in 2016. A sign perhaps that the archery fad has slowed down a bit and only the true archery fanatics are sticking around.

However as the archery fad of the 1940s to early 1970s shows, these things come in stages. The 1940s-1970s fad lasted 4 decades, spawned largely due to all the Robin Hood movies in the 1940s. (There was literally dozens of them, beginning with the 1938 film "The Adventures of Robin Hood" starring Errol Flynn and showing the archery skills of Howard Hill.) The fad ended a few years after 1973, the year Disney made their animated version of Robin Hood. Deliverance in 1972 was also part of the same fad.

A brief archery fad in the 1980s sparked up after the making of the 2nd and 3rd Rambo movies. Another one followed with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. A small one occurred after the first Lord of the Rings film in 2001.

But those fads were all relatively small. Especially compared to the decades long fad of the 1940s-1970s era.

In this era of smartphones, the internet, and cable television it is very difficult for people to get motivated to go outside - thus it is also more difficult for large numbers of people to get involved in an outdoor sport. We will likely never see an archery fad as big as the one which occurred between 1938 and 1975.

Ramsay's Archery Skills on Game of Thrones / National Post Article

I was recently asked a series of archery questions by a reporter from the National Post, a Canadian newspaper. The questions pertained to a recent episode of the popular television show "Game of Thrones", episode 9 of season 6 during which the character Ramsay Bolton (formerly Ramsay Snow) displayed his impressive archery skills.

SPOILER ALERT - If you have not seen the recent episodes of Game of Thrones you may want to watch the episode in question before reading any further.

Some of the questions I was asked included:
  • How far would Ramsay, the shooter, have to be to successfully target the victim? How far would be too far?
  • And how long would this shot typically take? How fast do you believe the arrow is moving? 
  • What style of arrow and method of shooting is Ramsay using, and do you think these are good choices considering what he is about to do?
  • Would the arrow continue moving in a straight path at this distance? Would his victim have been able to “zig-zag” and avoid it, in other words?
Ramsay Bolton with Penobscot Flatbow

Ah yes, the scene with the Penobscot bow. I was very happy when I saw that. The Penobscot are a Aboriginal American tribe who used "double limbed flatbows" which have extra cables attached to extra limbs on the bottom and top of the bow, which allows the archer to adjust their tiller and weight by shortening/lengthening the cables by twisting the cables to tighten or loosen the cables. The adjustability and added power makes the arrows go further with a longer arc, which ultimately leads to more accuracy at longer distances.

Normally Ramsay in the TV show is seen with a Hungarian style horsebow, a type of shortbow which is not known for its long range accuracy, but by switching to a Penobscot bow he gets added range and accuracy. As a fan of the Penobscot bow, it was very nice seeing it being used in the show.

Sample of a Penobscot Bow

Penobscot Woman with Penobscot Bow
Note - Torontonians interested in buying a Penobscot bow should contact Gary at Basically Bows at 940 Queen Street East. Address and hours are listed on http://www.archerytoronto.ca/Archery-Equipment-in-Toronto.html

How far would Ramsay, the shooter, have to be to successfully target the victim? How far would be too far?


Depending on the archer and the power (measured in poundage) of the bow, he could be pretty far away. Howard Hill once shot a bald eagle at 150 yards away, which is twice the distance modern Olympic archers shoot at. Rickon is a lot bigger than a bald eagle however, but I would estimate he was about 100-120 yards away when the fatal arrow hit him.

Ramsay showing off, deliberately missing.
Judging by Ramsay's previous skill shown in the TV show, this is not impossible. I would say Ramsay is likely "reasonable accurate" out to a distance of 120 yards when shooting at a man sized target. Ramsay's skill is quite good and he even shows off a bit by looking away during one shot and deliberately missing. Judging by the camera angles and the size of people in the distance I think the two opposing forces were about 200 to 250 yards apart.

[It is difficult to estimate the precise distances as camera angles will sometimes skew distances. I am basing my estimates on previous experience of seeing the sizes of people at known distances of 100 yards, 200 yards and 300 yards.]

And how long would this shot typically take? How fast do you believe the arrow is moving?


To nock, draw and aim - only a few seconds. You would not want to be holding it for a long time when aiming at a moving target, as the character Ramsay likely would have tuned to the Penobscot to his ideal poundage for the utmost accuracy and speed. The arrow was likely traveling between 200 to 250 feet per second (fps) on release.

Regarding the precise arrow speed I am basing that on the estimate that Ramsay might have tuned the Penobscot bow to approx. 80 lbs, the higher the poundage the more power and speed released initially. Based on Ramsay's physical size, his youth and the fact he has clearly been shooting a very long time, 80 lbs seems like a reasonable amount.

Historically any bow used for war would be a much higher poundage than any bow used for hunting or recreation.

To put this in context 80 lbs is the bare minimum for an English warbow, which is more powerful than the standard English longbow. Longbows for adults are *usually* in the range of 20 to 80 lbs. English Warbows are usually in the range of 80 to 200 lbs. For example Howard Hill once used a 173 lb now while hunting a bull elephant in Africa, which admittedly was overkill in terms of power.

A typical hunting bow in Ontario is between 40 to 70 lbs, stipulated because the minimum legal poundage for bowhunting deer is 39.7 lbs and for moose/elk/black bear the minimum is 48.5 lbs.
A bow that is only 20 - 30 lbs of draw weight in contrast would have a speed of approx. 100 to 125 fps. Only a fraction of what a Penobscot bow is capable of.

What style of arrow and method of shooting is Ramsay using, and do you think these are good choices considering what he is about to do?


Ramsay appears to be using a wooden arrow with long turkey feather fletching (for added accuracy on non-windy days, less accuracy on windy days). The arrowhead appears to be a moderately heavy traditional broadhead. He would not want an arrowhead that is too heavy as that would reduce his long distance accuracy, so he has chosen one that is relatively narrow and saves on weight.

Ramsay Bolton with Hungarian-style Bow
Ramsay is using a style of archery similar to the Howard Hill style of shooting (this is how famous Howard Hill is, he has an archery style named after him). Howard Hill would also lean forward and into the shot slightly, aligning his body with the angle of the bow. The style is popular with longbow and flatbow archers, and bears similarities to Mongolian, Persian, Turkish and Hungarian archery styles. The style involves deliberately canting (changing the angle) of the top limb of the bow to the side so you get a cleaner view of the target and it compensates for the sideways motion of the arrow - without the cant the arrow would tend to go further to the side, but the cant allows the archer to be able to compensate for the difference and makes it easier to aim at their target.

As longbow archery styles go, there are three common styles you may have seen previously: English Longbow Style (no cant, shooting long distance in volleys because of reduced accuracy), Japanese Kyudo (no cant, but with significant stylistic differences in form and release), and the Howard Hill style of shooting. Of these three styles, the Howard Hill style makes the most sense, plus since he has already been seen shooting Hungarian style horsebows, it is not so different from the style of shooting he does regularly.

So yes, a moderately weighted arrowhead with a long fletched arrow, using a Howard Hill style cant makes total sense to get the most accuracy.

Hungarian Bow

Would the arrow continue moving in a straight path at this distance? Would his victim have been able to “zig-zag” and avoid it, in other words?

The arrow would be traveling in a straight arc, so yes, it would be straight and arcing downwards. In theory, yes, Rickon would have been able to zig zag at that distance and dramatically reduce the chances of Ramsay hitting him, but Rickon clearly was not thinking that. He also did not think to run behind the burning crosses and let the heat rising from the crosses change the view of the target so that it was blurry and more difficult to aim at. So if he had thought to zig zag behind the crosses, his chances of survival would have shot way up.

I should note that in the TV show Stark children who have their wolf killed somehow have a tendency to die. Sansa is the only character who has had her wolf die a long time ago and has not yet died. She has so far bucked the trend, which makes me wonder if she is doomed. Rickon was clearly doomed the moment he got captured and his wolf was killed. Robb got separated from his wolf during the Red Wedding and it was locked in a kennel, thus signaling his death was imminent. Arya is fortunate that her wolf is still wandering the Riverlands. Bran only recently lost his wolf on the TV show (not in the books) so it will be interesting to see if he also dies sometime.



Additional Notes

Check out Ygritte's bow that she had. It is a recurved replica of the Meare Heath bow, which is a famous example of ancient bow designs.

Ygritte with her Meare Heath replica

Diagram of the Meare heath bow

Ramsay was taking his sweet time there between shots. He was in no rush. Had he wanted to he could have shot perhaps 10 times easily in the space of 1 minute, but instead he was patient and took his time about it.

Which I think is part of his character. He takes his time and enjoys his sadistic pleasures. In contrast when he realizes he is in danger he manages to get three shots off at Jon before he starts getting punched in the face. That scene was shorter but was a better example of fast shooting.


Got archery questions?

Send your questions to cardiotrek@gmail.com. More than happy to help answer questions.

Happy shooting!

Five Tips for Winning an Archery Competition

Yesterday (Saturday, June 25th) I took part in an archery competition. The events in question included three categories of archery: Olympic, Compound and Barebow. Unfortunately they were short on competitors for the Compound and Olympic categories, and while I don't normally compete in such things, I agreed to take part so that they would have more competitors.

Drawing upon the experience, I have constructed a list of five tips for people looking to take part in archery competitions.

Tip #1. Understand the system being used for the particular competition you are in.

For example, the competition yesterday involved 3 ranking rounds, 3 shots per round. The results from those 9 shots (3 rounds x 3 shots per round) then determined your rank for the duels.

The rankings then determined the order of the duels, the highest ranking people facing off initially against the lowest ranking people. The winners of those duels progress to the next level, the losers duel it out to stay in the competition, if they lose round two then they are eliminated. As the duels continue, they eventually reach 4 semi-finalists, who are narrowed down to two people - the finalists.

Understanding how the competition system works will give you a better idea of how you are expected to win the competition. A dueling system like above could knock people out of the competition just by having 1 or 2 bad rounds.

In my case, there was only 3 people competing in the compound competition. So I was ranked against Randy, and then after I won that duel I faced Luis. Below are the scores during the rounds:

Charles Vs Randy

Round 1
Charles 10x 9 8 = 27 with one bullseye
Randy 5 3 3 = 11


Round 2
Charles 7 7 1 = 15
Randy 9 8 4 = 21


Round 3
8 6 5 = 19
7 6 5 = 18


Total Charles 61 vs Randy 50

Charles Vs Luis

Round 1
8 7 5 = 20
8 8 8 = 24

Round 2
4 3 2 = 9
10 9 8 = 27

Round 3
9 7 7 = 23
9 8 5 = 22

Total Charles 52 vs Luis 73

Round 3 Vs Luis. Green Fletch = My Arrows, Orange Fletch = Luis Arrows.

Tip #2. Keep track of everything you did during the rounds of the competition.

This isn't just useful for the current competition, but will help you to analyze what you did well and what you did wrong, that way you can use that information for future competitions as well.

So for example I know Round 1 vs Randy I took my time and did very well. Round 2, I rushed the shots when I should have took more time. Round 3, I narrowly beat Randy by 1 point by forcing myself to be more patient.

Versus Luis, I did okay during the first round, but during round 2 I encountered two problems. The first problem was mental, I had calculated that I needed to improve my score by at least 4 points just to catch up to Luis. This caused me to stress more about my shot and tense up. The second problem was wind, which caused me to stress more. After the first shot did so poorly I felt like I was already defeated and it didn't matter any more. By the second shot, it was clear my score was going to be dismal, thus by the third shot I had basically given up. Round 3 I recouped some of losses and even beat Luis by 1 point, but by then it was too late.

Analyzing this after the fact, you realize that what I really did wrong during the first duel was that I rushed the 2nd round when I should have been more patient, I could have got a score in the 20s had I not rushed it. And the second duel was mostly mental, and a dose of patience could have helped versus the second round when the wind was messing with my head.

Tip #3. Practice, Warmup and Tune before a Competition

I joined that competition last minute and had only practiced shooting compound once during the previous two weeks. I had hoped to arrive at the competition an hour early to do some "last minute practicing" but ended up arriving about 30 minutes before the event instead.

Had I known I was going to be taking part in the competition further in advance, I should have been practicing compound 3 times per week, tuning the bow for more accuracy, and I should have made more of an effort to arrive earlier and give myself ample time to "warm up" before the event.

In comparison Luis, the winner, regularly shoots compound and was amply prepared. I divide my practice time between traditional recurve, longbow, Olympic recurve and compound.

Thus anyone wishing to do better during a competition should be practicing the archery style in question more regularly so that they will well-practiced and well-tuned before the event. Showing up early to warmup is also handy.

Tip #4. Pace what you eat and drink.

Having a BBQ on a hot day and cold drinks may sound like a great idea for a party, but for an archery competition you would be better off eating healthier and trying to pace your consumption of both food and liquids. Obviously you want to avoid dehydration on a hot day, but you should also try to avoid over-hydration, eating too much and feeling bloated.

Since the competition yesterday was just for fun, it didn't really matter what I ate or drank during the event, but during any serious event people should try to be more cautious about their eating habits.

Tip #5. Mentally prepare yourself to prevent competition anxiety.

During the 30 minutes that I warmed up before the event I focused mostly on shooting a longer distance, so that when I was shooting at the distance at the shorter competition distance it would feel comparatively easy. I feel this did actually help.

There are other ways to mentally prepare yourself, including regular practice so you feel more confident in your skills.

Other Ways to Mentally Prepare Yourself:
  1. Choose and maintain a positive attitude - basic skill.
  2. Maintain a high level of self-motivation - basic skill.
  3. Set high, realistic goals - basic skill.
  4. Deal effectively with people using social skills - basic skill.
  5. Use positive self-talk - intermediate skill.
  6. Use positive mental imagery - intermediate skill.
  7. Manage anxiety effectively - advanced skill.
  8. Manage their emotions effectively - advanced skill.
  9. Maintain concentration - advanced skill.
Mental Skills Pyramid for Competitive Athletes

Some of the above mental skills come with taking part in competitions regularly, as experience will allow an athlete to draw upon past experiences with competition anxiety and they will be able to better cope with that anxiety.

You will also note that the above skills are useful for other kinds of competitions. Or public speaking.

Final Notes

I also won an arrow case as a door prize just for showing up, which was actually the primary reason I took part in the competition. I just wanted the arrow case right from the beginning. I had zero use for a trophy to collect dust.

Happy Competing!

A Journey with Pebbles in your Shoes

"A journey of a thousand miles will inevitably include having pebbles in your shoes. Bend over, take off your shoe, shake out the pebbles and put your shoe back on. Keep walking, you will get there."


18 Tips for Long Distance Walking / Walking in a Walk-a-thon

Every few months Toronto has various organizations that organize walk-a-thon style events, usually raising money or awareness for cancer or various other ailments. Some of these activities include walking extremely long distances over 1 day, 2 day or even 3 day periods. However to do those kinds of extreme walking distances not everyone is up to snuff and perhaps should be warned that they should be "in good shape" before the Big Walk and should be trying to be "a bit more energetic and healthy" in the days leading up to the big event. Thus here are 18 tips for taking part in such a long journey. Many of the tips below are also handy for long distance hiking.

I have split these tips into several categories, what to do "Before the Big Walk", what to do the "Day of the Big Walk", and "After the Big Walk".

Before the Big Walk

1. Keep a balanced diet. At least one item out of every meal should be vegetables.

2. Start going for walks every day to get yourself in shape (and double check the condition of your shoes, see #11 below).

3. Start eating smaller more frequent meals. Four to five are better for you than three big meals as it is easier for your body to digest smaller amounts.

4. Aim to eat fresh produce, especially fresh veggies - the more colourful the better, as unusual colours have a greater variety of nutrients.

5. Eat a variety of meat products. Beef, chicken, pork, fish, liver, oysters and mussels. This way you are getting a wider variety of nutrients.

6. Hydrate every day. A long journey is harder on the liver and your sweat glands, so it is important for both that you are well hydrated on the days before the Big Walk.

7. Make sure you have cushioned, breathable socks. Aim for comfort.

8. Moisturize your feet regularly. Check for any recent injuries and make sure they have healed fully.

9. Do NOT have a pedicure before the Big Walk. You are not there to show off your feet.

10. Clip your toenails short. Lots of long distance walkers lose toenails if they are too long due to the constant rubbing of the inside of their shoes on their toes.

11. Make sure you have TWO sets of comfortable walking / hiking shoes. If you know the terrain is going to be more rugged, be practical and get hiking boots. Having a second set is smart in case the first set has any problems.

Mr T during an United Way Walk-a-thon in downtown Toronto
Day of the Big Walk

12. Take time once in awhile to stretch your legs a bit so you can avoid cramping.

13. Hydrate at least every 10 minutes. If going up rugged terrain, hydrate every 5 minutes.

14. Bring food and eat some of it while you walk. Don't worry about the calories, bring something that packs lots of energy in it.

15. Pace yourself. You don't have to be the fastest person in a walk-a-thon. It is not a race. Travel at a reasonable pace and take your time if need be.

After the Big Walk

16. Finish your walk with a cool-down. Stretches. Brief jogging in one spot. Talk to other people while hydrating / stretching.

17. When you are finished walking, drink a bottle of juice, chocolate milk, something with lots of vitamins in it. Korean vitamin drinks with ginseng in them for example are awesome. Even V8 juice is good if you like that stuff (I cannot stand V8). My personal preference is chocolate milk.

18. Daydreaming about a hot shower afterwards? Make it a cold shower or a cold swim instead. Having a cold shower reduces any swelling that may have occurred during your walk. Myself a cold relaxing swim is best, followed by a BBQ in the backyard.

Don't forget to eat afterwards!!! Preferably something with lots of nutrients and vitamins in it.



Happy Walking! :)

10 Tips for Night Archery - How to Shoot in the Dark

Note - Hunting after dark is illegal in many provinces and states. But practicing after dark can be quite fun, especially during the summer months as the temperatures are nicer in the evening as opposed to the scalding heat of summer days.

So if you want to do night shooting, what should you be doing? Well here are 10 tips for doing some night archery.

#1. Use lighted LED nocks. If you miss the target they will be easier to find. They also look pretty awesome so that is a nice bonus.


#2. You will find it is tricky not being able to see what you are aiming at. I recommend using glowsticks, like the kind below. There are other kinds of glowing items (like bracelets), but I find they don't work quite as well because they are not as bright. I also don't recommend shooting at candles, so don't bother.


#3. Learn how to Gap Shoot. Gap Shooting is a different style of aiming, but it is handy for shooting at moving targets and also handy for night shooting. If you live in Toronto and want to learn how to Gap Shoot, I recommend signing up for archery lessons and ask to learn the Gap Shooting method of aiming.

#4. If you are using a sight for aiming, you may want to get a lighted sight that uses a LED and fibre optics to light up the individual sight pins. If you don't have one you can also find a way to add light to your sight, possibly by having a glowstick handy or even making your own homemade sight that has glow in the dark paint on it.


#5. The laser pointer target. As opposed to attaching a paper target to the target butt you are aiming at, an alternative to this is to set up a laser pointer and have it pointed at the target butt so you are basically shooting at the red dot. (If you put a piece of white paper on the target butt it will make it a bit easier to see the red dot from a distance.)

Cat laser pointers sometimes come with alternate settings for different shapes that the laser makes, so that can be fun too.

#6. Bring bug spray. Mosquitoes will be murderous late at night. Mosquito repellent will be very handy to keep the bugs away late at night. Citronella candles are also handy for keeping the bugs at bay, and also provide a bonus light source. Citronella Tea Lights plus a metal lantern would be good too.

#7. Bring a flashlight. Not necessarily to use all the time, but more for emergencies. Lets pretend you drop something on the ground and cannot see it to find it. A flashlight will be handy for such an occurrence, and also useful for finding the bathroom, preventing you from stumbling around in the dark while searching for lost arrows, etc.

A good Maglight flashlight or something similar would thus be handy. Accidents happen.


#8. Bring a Friend. Shooting by yourself is a bit boring. Having a friend to talk to is nice when night shooting. Make sure you observe safety protocol, calling live when about to shoot and clear when ready to collect your arrows. It would be bad mojo if you accidentally shot your friend or got shot while doing night shooting and you were ignoring the potential for danger, so please observe safety protocols.

#9. Dress for the temperature. Having a hoodie or similar clothing will be handy if it turns out to be chilly at night. Also handy for keeping the bugs off in case you didn't bring enough bug spray.

I thought this one was pretty awesome.
This one was amusing too.

#10. For extra fun, save your old broken arrows for the future and use them for night shooting at a lake. Bring marshmallows (optionally, you can soak them in fondue oil for a brighter flame). Stick the marshmallows on the tips of the old broken arrows, nock the arrow but only partially draw the bow - then light the marshmallow on fire and immediately shoot it up and across the lake.

Because they are old broken arrows you won't really care that you are burning them / losing them in the lake. But they will make for some fantastic fun shooting over the lake and seeing the reflection of the fire on the water.



Happy Night Shooting!

What are the best times of day to do archery?

Q

"What are the best times of day to do archery?"

A

Obviously shooting during the day is good so you can see the targets better. Speaking for myself, I find the early mornings are tricky because the sun is sometimes in your eyes. As such I prefer to do archery between 10 AM and 6 PM.

I also have a fondness for doing some night shooting in the hours after sunset - in which case it is useful to have lighted LED nocks, like the ones shown below. I also recommend bug spray, as depending on the time of year there will be lots of mosquitoes after dark.

Lighted LED Nocks for Night Shooting

Some people also prefer to shoot on weekdays, when there are less people at the local archery range, while others might prefer weekends or the "after 5 PM crowd" because they like to socialize with their fellow archers. Archery can be a very social activity. Not everyone is into socializing, so it really depends on your personal preferences.

Some people really like shooting in the early wee hours (5 AM to 7 AM) so they can get some shooting in before going to work. Not my thing personally. I like sleeping.

Regarding time of year...

My favourite time of year for archery is September and October, because the weather is so nice. Winter is cold and if you are a bad shot you could lose arrows in the snow. Spring is very muddy and rains often. Summer is too hot. Thus late summer / early autumn is a great time of year, weather wise.

Depending where you live in the world the seasons may vary dramatically, such as rainy seasons / dry seasons, and so forth. Whether you like shooting in the rain is a whole different topic.

Happy Shooting!

See Also

How to do Archery in the Wind and Rain, Part 1

How to do Archery in the Wind and Rain, Part 2

Sunrise, Sunset and Daily Weather Forecasts

Three Ways to Combine Archery with Swimming

For those people who love finding something fun to do in the summer - and for those people who are fanatics about both archery and swimming - here are 3 ways to have fun while combining the two.

#1. Snorkeling + Target Practice. Truly for those who love snorkeling and a challenge. Balloons that are weighted down make for good targets.



#2. Archery Diving - tricky to do, but something that will be a real challenge. Not a lot of people have attempted archery trick shots like this since the 1950s.


#3. Bowfishing while Wading in a River. Not really swimming, but still something fun to do. Just need a fishing license and a bowfishing reel. Only legal during carp bowfishing season, which in Ontario is May to July.


BONUS!

#4, #5, #6. Archery Surfing, Archery Kayaking, Archery Windsurfing, etc. Just because nobody has ever done it before does not mean it is not possible to try it. For safety purposes I recommend using blunt tipped arrowheads when doing archery trick shots while doing water sports!

Happy Shooting and Swimming!

Archery, huh, yeah, what is it good for?

If you said "Absolutely nothing." you would be repeating the song lyrics, but sadly mistaken.

The mental benefits of archery are listed as follows:
  • Increased memory function.
  • Better sensory awareness.
  • Higher observational skills.
  • Increased logic skills.
  • Increased problem solving skills.
  • Increased concentration skills.
  • Increased pattern recognition skills.
  • Increased mathematical skills and numerical aptitude.
  • Spatial awareness skills.
  • Better understanding of yourself (intrapersonal skills).
  • More complex thinking strategies (eg. being able to think about multiple things simultaneously).
  • Decreased chances of developing Alzheimer's Disease and similar diseases.
  • Higher order reasoning skills.
= Archery effectively raises your IQ over the long term. With a side benefit of reducing the symptoms of senility and similar mental problems.

The physical benefits of archery are listed as follows:
  • Increased fat loss.
  • Increased strength / muscle mass.
  • Increased endurance.
  • Improved cardiovascular system.
  • Increased hand-eye coordination.
  • Increased balance.
  • Improved overall health (including your immune system).
= Archery, like many forms of exercise, has a long list of health benefits from regular exercise. Everything from a stronger heart and an improved immune system.

And lastly, the social benefits of archery - since archery tends to be a rather social activity - are listed as follows:
  • Increased linguistic and verbal skills.
  • Increased understanding of body language and non-verbal communication.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Increased empathy. 
  • Better emotional processing.
= Archery will cause you to make more friends. That is really what it comes down to. Any person who is remotely social will end up making new friends when hanging out at the archery range. You would have to be completely anti-social and deliberately avoiding meeting new people to not be accidentally making new friends doing this sport. It is an extremely social sport and complete strangers will often build friendships in the span of a few hours.

CONCLUSIONS

Archery will make you Smarter, Stronger and more Social. What it is good for? Lots.

Naysayers of this might also point out that bowhunting, bowfishing, competing in archery competitions are also potentially useful, but frankly those are things that limited in their application. You would have to go out of your way to deliberately hunt, fish, or compete. In contrast, the mental, physical and social benefits will effect your life on a regular (if not constant) basis, especially if you become a regular at your local archery range.

Oh and one last benefit. Archery is FUN! What other reason do you need???

The photo below was taken when myself and two friends all brought our antique Browning bows to the archery range and we lined them up to compare them. :)


Saddened to hear Muhammad Ali is dead, boxing legend, age 74


I don't normally talk about obituaries on here, but nevertheless I was saddened to hear that boxing legend Muhammad Ali has died. He was 74. The cause of death was septic shock. He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for over 30 years.

Muhammad Ali, sometimes referred to by his birth name of Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., was three time world heavyweight boxing champion. His moral behaviour represented many of the things I admire about the sport of boxing - in the context that it is a gentleman's sport because it follows rules and a code of honour.

There is a stereotype that heavyweight boxers are huge lumbering brutes. Muhammad Ali was none of these things. He combined speed, agility and power into a fighting style rarely seen in large boxers. He was light on his feet and lightning fast with his jabs. Other boxers were often worn down by exhaustion over time by Ali's endurance. He won 56 fights over a 21 year professional career and only lost 5.

He had a sometimes brash personality, but it was combined with magnetism and personal convictions that made him stand up for his beliefs. When asked to go fight in Vietnam, Ali responded.

"Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years." - Muhammad Ali.
Born January 17th, 1942. Died June 3rd, 2016.

Muhammad Ali's boxing career started young (age 12), and by the age of 18 he won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.

Returning to the USA after his win he became frustrated with prejudice and discrimination and according to rumour threw his gold medal into a river. He would eventually sign a 6 year contract in Lousville, where he would also be introduced to the "Black Muslim Movement" in the USA and be given the name "Muhammad Ali" by the leader of the movement, Elijah Muhammad.

By 1963 he had won 15 professional fights and was still only 21. He appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and set to fight heavy hitting slugger Sonny Liston, who he mocked as a "big ugly bear" and issued his now famous quote: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, rumble, young man, rumble."

The heavyweight champion, Liston was expected to win that fight easily, the odds were placed as 7 to 1. But in the opening rounds of the fight it became pretty clear who had the upper hand. At 210 lbs and 6'3" tall, Muhammad Ali would dance away from Liston's clumsy punches and pepper him with jabs. By the end of the 7th round, Liston gave up. He had torn muscles swinging uselessly at Muhammad Ali. He was tired and broken.

Sonny Liston swinging uselessly at Muhammad Ali.
 In 1965 Liston would be given a rematch, but Muhammad Ali took him out in the first round with what became known as the "Phantom Punch". Many speculate that Liston took a dive and bet against himself.



After refusing to fight in Vietnam, Ali was stripped of his title, but fought attempts to send him to prison. He would not be allowed to fight again until he was 28 years old, losing 3.5 years of his athletic prime. His draft avoidance case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and during that time he worked on a film, appeared in a Broadway musical, and endorsed a burger chain called Champburger.

When finally allowed to fight again it was Oct. 26, 1970, a minor fight before he would be allowed to go up against the new champion Joe Frazier on March 8th 1971. Frazier would win the 15 round match on points, but the fight was seriously damaging to both boxers and was a close decision.

Meanwhile Muhammad Ali was winning in the courts. The United States Supreme Court looked favourably on Ali and on June 28th, 1971, it unanimously reversed a lower court decision and granted Ali his conscientious-objector status.

After losing to Frazier on points, people began thinking Muhammad Ali was done. That he should perhaps retire. But that never happened. Over the next few years he would fight in 14 matches and win 13 of them, eventually getting a rematch with Frazier and winning, and also beating George Foreman who had become the new heavyweight champion.


The Foreman fight was unusual. It took place in Zaire, on October 30th 1974 and was billed as "The Rumble in the Jungle". Near the beginning of the fight Foreman hammered Ali with blows to the chest and shoulders that hit like sledgehammers, but as the fight wore on Foreman wavered and got tired. Ali just seemed to get faster and faster and by the 8th round Ali knocked out Foreman with a blurry series of lightning punches. He took back the heavyweight title.

Ali would fight Frazier again in 1975, in a match called the "Thrilla in Manila". Unlike their 2nd match, this one lasted 14 rounds, but Ali still won by knock out.

In 1978 Ali lost a fight to Leon Spinks but would regain his title during a rematch.

Ali’s longtime ring doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, urged him to quit, noting the slowing of his reflexes and the slurring of his speech as symptoms of brain damage. Ali refused. In 1980, he lost to Larry Holmes. A year later, his last fight, Ali lost to Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas.

It was time to hang up the gloves.

Ali would later be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Some would claim it was caused by exposure to chemicals at his training camp, but as the years went by and more boxers / football players / etc became victims of mental illnesses, it became pretty clear that the symptoms were due to head trauma.

Even after his retirement Muhammad Ali would continue to speak out on issues that concerned him. Not all of his comments were welcomed or admired, but he would speak his mind regardless. As the years went by he began to lose his ability to speak and had a loss in mobility.

More Quotes from Muhammad Ali:

"I ain’t got nothing against them Vietcong."

"I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.' "

"I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I'm so mean I make medicine sick."

"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

"If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize."

"I've made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven't lived in vain."

"The word 'Islam' means 'peace.' The word 'Muslim' means 'one who surrenders to God.' But the press makes us seem like haters."

"If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you."

"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even."

"I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others."

"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."

"The man who has no imagination has no wings."

"My trainer don't tell me nothing between rounds. I don't allow him to. I fight the fight. All I want to know is did I win the round. It's too late for advice."

"Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are."

"Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don't belong anymore to anyone, that I'm not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one."

"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."

"I don't have to be what you want me to be."

Muhammad Ali will never be forgotten.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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