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OFFICIAL RETIREMENT, AUGUST 28TH 2017

1975 Browning Wasp, at the Toronto Archery Range
August 28th 2017

Hello!

If you are here looking for archery lessons in Toronto, I have some sad news for you: I am official retired, as of today.

I announced my upcoming and now present retirement back in July in the following post: My Retirement from Personal Training / Sports Training. The details and reasons for my retirement are listed there.

Unofficially I may still end up teaching a few archery lessons in the future, only on weekends, and only when my new schedule allows me a little extra time to teach.

Otherwise you will just have to shop around for a different archery instructor, which I am sorry to say there are few archery instructors who have the knowledge and experience that I have, having done archery for 28 years and having taught archery for 8 of those years.

Furthermore I teach all 5 major styles of archery:
  1. Traditional Recurve
  2. Olympic Recurve
  3. Horsebow / Shortbow
  4. Longbow / Flatbow
  5. Compound
I know a few archery instructors who teach 1 or 2 styles, but I know of no other instructor who is qualified and experienced at teaching all 5 styles.

I have been told that my retirement will be "a loss to the Toronto Archery Community" and I am not going to dispute that I have made some contributions to the promotion of the sport in Toronto. In the 8 years that I was teaching I taught well over a thousand different people. I don't know the precise number because I did not keep accurate records in the beginning, but I do estimate that I was teaching approx. 150 to 200 different students each year. The exact number is likely in the 1,200 to 1,600 people range.

Many of my former students now visit the Toronto Archery Range on a weekly or monthly basis to continue practicing their sport. Some of my former students have gone on to compete, including several Olympic contenders from overseas.

Some students came from very far away to study with me. From South Korea, from Japan, from the USA, Britain, Ireland, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia and a variety of other locales. Some of them came all that distance just to study archery under me.

I do not discriminate with students. I have taught young and old. As the years went by I began cutting back on the younger students, preferring to teach people who are 16 years old or older - but I sometimes made exceptions and taught younger students if they were exceptionally interested in archery and showed a keen obsession with the sport. I also thoroughly enjoyed teaching seniors.

In the photo below is two police officers who were visiting the Toronto Archery Range, one of my former students from 2014 (John G.), and myself in the sunglasses / Ducks Unlimited hat. This photo was taken recently, on August 14th 2017. John has become a regular at the archery range over the past 3 years and students like him have been a highlight of my archery teaching career and one of the reasons I give discounts to seniors.


I am going to miss teaching archery.

It has been the most enjoyable career I have had thus far. I got to meet lots of interesting people, make all sorts of archery jokes, educate people on the history of archery / the sport of archery, and promote one of the greatest pastimes of all time.

It therefore makes sense that I won't be giving it up completely. I will continue to teach from time to time, schedule permitting, but it will be very different from my current schedule of teaching approx. 10 to 15 lessons per week.

There was a time a few years ago when I was teaching 18 to 21 lessons per week, and frankly feeling exhausted after teaching 5 lessons in a single day. I eventually realized that I needed to cutback on teaching so many lessons and relax more. Around that time I raised my rates, cut back on my total number of lessons I was willing to teach per week, and started scheduling more vacation time.

Such vacations likely helped in the wooing of my wife and resulted in our marriage in August 2016. Quickly followed by a Honeymoon in Montreal.

A few months later we began planning the birth of our son Richard who arrived in late June 2017. (2.5 weeks before his due date, I guess he was impatient to meet us.) Below is a photo of our son Richard with a slingshot during a recent trip to the beach. He doesn't know how to shoot it yet, but I had fun shooting beach pebbles into Lake Ontario.


In a few short years he will be shooting that very slingshot and learning how to shoot his first bow. With both parents doing archery and a number of other relatives who do archery (including my cousin Ken who is the 1990 and 1991 Traditional Recurve North American Champion and had so many trophies he was throwing them out...) Richard will raised thinking archery is something that many people do - and frankly many people do archery, it is just not as much as say soccer or baseball.

Richard will be raised with an active lifestyle, something I am looking forward to, with a heavy emphasis on appreciation for nature, science and the world around him. Everything from bird-watching to rock-climbing to geology to astronomy to the wonderful languages and food our world has to offer. (As a polyglot myself, I hope to have him learning a variety of languages during his summers when he is not attending school.)

My Future

I have a long list of things I want to do with my life, outside of raising my son with my wonderful wife. I listed some of those things on my previous post announcing my retirement.

One of the things I most would like to do is to buy a horse farm, raise horses and teach equestrian archery. To me that would truly be living the dream. If I could add Falconry to that dream, that would be fun too.

The Future of CardioTrek.ca

The website isn't going to disappear, I can tell you that. I am going to keep using it to promote exercise and a variety of sports, including archery of course.

By the end of 2017 I expect there to be a total of 830 posts on this website and I will continue to do 5 to 10 posts per month indefinitely.

The big change will be that I will be adding Google Ads on the side of the website, and I will be allowing advertisers to post sponsored articles in the future for a reasonable fee. (I have a baby to feed and clothe after all, and babies are not cheap, so I see nothing wrong with allowing some advertising.) All ads will be family friendly and abide my sense of good morals.

Happy shooting!

Archery Lessons in Toronto, Limited Time Slots Left

Hey Toronto!

So I am looking at my schedule and I only have 8 time slots for teaching archery left before I retire. (See My Retirement from Personal Training / Sports Training for more information about my upcoming retirement.)

So if anyone still wants archery lessons, the time to book is NOW before my retirement arrives.

In unrelated archery news...

Below is a photo of a Toronto police officer who visited the Toronto Archery Range on August 18th and was checking out a vintage Bear Takedown Recurve Bow. The Toronto Police were in the area looking for a homeless person with mental issues who is believed to be camping out in the park surrounding the archery range. The homeless person has been making threats and shouting at people.


And yes, that is a shotgun slung across his back. That particular shotgun shoots non lethal bean bags in order to subdue targets.

The photo below is from August 14th and is a selfie taken by the officer on the left - who was kind enough to send me a copy. In the photo is himself, my old student John G. who I taught in 2014 and is now a frequent visitor to the archery range, the officer's partner, and myself in the sunglasses. (The bow I am carrying is a vintage 1972 Black Hawk Avenger.)


The two officers above said they were just patrolling the park, but I now have a hunch they were also there searching for the same homeless person. The homeless person is considered a threat because they keep shouting threats against people and making references to the terrorist organization ISIS.

Expensive Compound Bows Vs Super Adjustable Compound Bows

Q

Hey Charles.

Question for you on Bows...

I'm really interested in getting a decent composite bow off the start (after a few lessons of course). The one I'm thinking of getting is the Oneida Kestrel or Pheonix. Do you think that's a bad idea? I read online that it's ok to go with more expensive bows as it just means I won't grow out of the bow quickly. I know online comments aren't always accurate, so I'd like to hear from a pro. Thoughts?

- Geoffrey C.

A

Hey Geoffrey!

The Oneida Kestrel as seen on the popular "Arrow" TV show.
The bow has seen a boost in sales thanks to the show.
Well, the Oneida Kestrel/Pheonix are definitely more expensive hybrid recurve compound bows. I only know of two people who even own Oneida bows, as they are pretty rare. I should note that older Oneida's can also be very accurate, judging from the one I shot a few years ago and it was made during the 1990s.

I would disagree with the statement that "people don't grow out of more expensive bows as quickly" because obviously there is going to be exceptions to that statement, and since there are so many different kinds of expensive bows, that is quite a few exceptions.

A better statement would be:

"A compound bow that is easy to adjust, fully adjustable, and has a broad range of power settings, draw length settings, and even comfort settings is the kind of bow a person will not easily grow out of."

This weekend I met a guy who had purchased a compound bow with two comfort settings. The first one had a hard Wall, but faster FPS arrow speed, while the second setting was more comfortable with a soft Wall, but slower FPS arrow speed. Modern compound bows are becoming ever more complicated, and this is largely due to manufacturers trying to make bows which are more easily adjustable and have more options for adjustment to suit the user's needs.

Consequently having more options / more adjustability can make a compound bow more expensive...

However not all compound bows are super adjustable. Some are quite the opposite, they are very narrow in how much they can be adjusted because the manufacturer has decided to focus on making a bow super powerful, faster FPS arrow speed, a harder Wall, more let off, extra gadgets for the sake of accuracy, more durability, lighter, better balanced, more expensive materials, etc.

There are many ways to make a compound bow more expensive. The ability to not grow out of it too quickly doesn't necessarily factor in to the ways a particular bow is more expensive.

With expensive bows there is always the chance a person ends up buying the wrong bow too and ends up regretting it because it was too powerful, not adjustable enough that it was suitable for the individual, etc.

eg. I saw a guy a few weeks ago who bought his girlfriend a compound bow expecting her to be able to use it, and unfortunately she wasn't strong enough to pull it even at the lowest possible setting because the bow he had purchased was not adjustable enough. She then ended up shooting his bow instead - which was super adjustable and could be adjusted to her draw length and power needs. Later he ended up shooting her bow instead of his own. (Maybe that was his evil plan all along, to get himself a new bow?)

If you have additional questions let me know. Have a great day!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

The Oneida Eagle Phoenix Hybrid Recurve Compound Bow

Average Wind in Toronto - Archery, Adjusting for Wind

August is the least windy month in Toronto - on average. In contrast January is the most windy month. Clearly this means doing archery in August will be more accurate due to less wind. But how do the other months stack up?

Average Wind Speeds in Toronto, Historical Averages
  • January - 18 kmph
  • February - 17 kmph
  • March - 17 kmph
  • April - 17 kmph
  • May - 14 kmph
  • June - 13 kmph
  • July - 13 kmph
  • August - 12 kmph
  • September - 13 kmph
  • October - 14 kmph
  • November - 16 kmph
  • December - 17 kmph
So as an archer if you want to avoid wind, August is a clear choice. However August is also the 2nd hottest time of year (#1 being July) in Toronto, so there may be other factors to consider.

eg. April, May, June, September and October are considered to be the best times of year temperature wise. Not too hot, not too cold.

Of course maybe you are one of those archers who love a challenge. Who embrace the wind and wnt to learn from it. In which case, you want to learn how to adjust for the wind conditions. It is definitely not impossible to maintain accuracy in these conditions however, you'll just have to modify your shooting patterns a little bit and understand the physics of what happens to your arrow in flight.

Regarding Equipment

Your equipment can have some serious effects, in addition to the wind. If you know you're going to be shooting on a heavier day there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Heavier arrows will always tend to fly better in the wind. This might seem counter-intuitive since they'll fly at a lower speed and thus are exposed to the wind's effect for longer but they'll maintain a truer course in windy situations thanks to their weight adding to their forward momentum. The heavier the arrow, the less wind can push it. You can plan ahead for this if you know you are going to be shooting on a windy day and bring your heaviest arrows.

Thinner arrows will naturally be less effected by the wind as well. This in theory makes a heavy, thin arrow the easiest to shoot in the wind, but good luck finding both of those qualities in an arrow.

Smaller fletching on your arrows also makes a difference. Larger fletch is more effected by the wind, smaller fletch is less effected. So having heavy arrows with tiny fletching is more accurate in wind.

Your bow's profile can also play an effect, particularly in heavier crosswinds. You'll have to compensate in the direction of the wind in order to stay on target. This can mean removing some accessories depending on your shooting style, but a heavier bow will also be less effected by the wind - and a bottom heavy bow will be more accurate.

Aiming with a Sight

If you use sights on your bow and do target shooting they can make things a bit easier on you as you can learn to shoot at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock on the target. If your arrows are dipping due to lost speed in windy conditions you might even aim at 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock.

Head Wind - Slightly higher, 12 o'clock.
Tail Wind - Slightly lower, 6 o'clock.
Cross Wind - 3 or 9 o'clock. (Or sometimes higher.)

And if the wind is coming from angles, a bit of head wind + cross wind for example, then you might find yourself aiming at 1, 2, 10 or 11 o'clock in order to have a more centered shot that is the correct height.

Cross winds will often slow your arrow down so you may find you have to aim closer to 9:30 or 2:30.

Traditional Aiming or Gap Shooting

If you are aiming off the arrow (Traditional Aiming) or Gap Shooting (similar to Traditional Aiming, but you are looking at the gap between the target and the side of the bow) then you will make similar adjustments just like you would with a sight, but you have to imagine and guess how much adjustment you need to do. eg. For gap shooting you might be shrinking or widening the gap, while aiming a bit higher depending on wind direction and power.

How The Wind Affects Your Arrows
  • A wind blowing from 12 o'clock will not cause sideways drift, but will slow it down.
  • A wind blowing 1 or 11 o'clock will cause a little sideways drift and slow it down.
  • At 2 or 10 o'clock the sideways drift will be stronger, but the arrow will only slow down a more moderate amount.
  • At 3 or 9 o'clock you're at a direct crosswind and the arrow will definitely have sideways drift, but it should only be slowed down marginally.
  • At 4 or 8 o'clock you will see sideways drift, but the height should not be effected as much because the tailwind is giving it a bit of a push.
  • At 5 or 7 o'clock most of what you will see it tailwind with a little sideways drift.
  • At 6 o'clock you'll be at a tailwind, your arrows will go faster and slightly higher.
Fluctuating Wind Directions and Power

Whenever possible try to pay attention to the following and adjust accordingly:
  • Which way flags are going. Wind socks are also handy.
  • Which way trees and/or grass are going.
  • Gusts - either wait for a gust to stop or adjust more than normal. Being patient and waiting is your best bet for accuracy as a gust can end at any time.
  • Stable wind from one solid direction is a good time to shoot.
  • Fluctuating winds form different directions can really cause problems.
  • Don't worry what the wind or flags are doing behind the target, worry what the wind is doing in front of the target - preferably at half the distance.
Don't Forget the Wind is also Pushing You

Depending on how much you physically weigh, the wind can also be pushing YOU sideways too, thus causing you to be less stable during a shot. The best solution for this problem is to tighten up your abdominal muscles that your core (belly and chest area of your torso) remains stable.

Alternatively it is also possible to try and shoot from a position where you are less effected by the wind, such as a bowhunter who is stalking and trying to shoot a deer might decide to shoot from a different angle where trees or a hill might give them more protection from the wind.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much wind is too much?

Honestly, I find 30 kmph or more is quite a bit. Definitely more challenging, but not impossible. 40 kmph or more is when you might as well not even bother. 50 kmph or more is basically a windstorm. Seek shelter.

Is there any equipment I can buy to compensate for the wind?

Asides from heavier arrows with smaller fletching, yes, buy flags! Flags will help you learn how to look at the wind and adjust for the wind accordingly. Or failing to get a flag, try to get a wind sock, weather vane, or something that tells you what the wind is doing.


Any Questions?

If I left anything out please leave any questions in the comments below and I will respond to your questions ASAP.

Also for fun, here is scene from Game of Thrones:


The Bear Takedown Recurve Vs the Samick Sage

Q

Hey Charles, this is the bow I'm thinking about getting I'm just wondering what configuration would work best for me?
http://www.bow-shop.com/secure/store/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=124_127_141&products_id=584
- Jon C.

A

Hey Jon!

Ooo fancy, the Bear Takedown. I have been wanting one of those for almost a decade. I will probably get one eventually, if I ever stop buying antiques / vintage bows - or maybe I will buy a vintage Takedown. We shall see.

See also http://www.beararchery.com/bows/traditional/takedown so you have a better idea of its stats.

The Takedown has two different riser lengths, 56 and 60 inches. I recommend the 60 as it is more forgiving of canting mistakes. (Shorter bows / shorter risers are less forgiving, so if you make a canting mistake it can be way off instead of a little off.)

The real problem is the poundage of the limbs - for which the minimum is 35 lbs. Ideally for someone who is still learning I recommend 20 to 25 lbs so that they can work on building their form while building strength, and then later get a 30 to 35 lb bow and work their way up to 40 to 45 lbs. Starting off at 35 lbs right away can cause a person to develop bad habits and I want my students to avoid that.

The analogy I like to use is dumbbells and weightlifting. You start off the smaller dumbbells, use them with good form in a variety of exercises, build up strength and eventually go to a bigger set of dumbbells when the old dumbbells start to feel too easy. This way a person progresses from one stage to the next, working on their form while simultaneously building strength/endurance.

Starting off with a bow that is too strong a person will often get exhausted easily, their endurance will lag, they will start making form mistakes / shooting too quickly / etc.

Here is one you might consider in the meantime:

Samick Sage - available with 25 lb limbs
http://www.bow-shop.com/secure/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=124_127_201&products_id=1558

Then after you build up strength and that bow feels easy you can get a 30 to 35 lb bow, eg. the Takedown, and progress from there.

The good news about both the Sage and the Takedown is that you get more powerful limbs as you progress too, allowing you to experiment with other poundages to see which one you like best. Obviously there will be a big price difference between those two bows.

Also it is handy to have an extra bow that is easier to pull in the future should you ever introduce a friend to archery, or perhaps even just have off-days when you want to relax and just shoot without it feeling like a weightlifting workout.

Pros and Cons

The Bear Takedown is one of the best traditional recurves you can get. It is powerful, durable and comes with a great warranty.

The Samick Sage in comparison is basically the Ford F-150 of bows - it does everything you need the bow to do, on a budget. (History Note - Decades ago the Damon Howatt X-200 / Martin X-150 used to fill that role, and was quite literally the F-150 of bows.)

Both bows have lots of great reviews, although Bear's warranty / craftsmanship / quality assurance certainly make it a fan favourite.

Both bows are attractive to look at. The Takedown is obviously prettier, but the Sage is certainly not ugly either.

There is the obvious price difference, however the price I don't think is the biggest issue here. It is the available poundages that matter.

The Samick Sage is available in 25 lbs. It is even possible to get 20 lb limbs that match it, but it is trickier to find those. This will make it easier to pull and work on quality form.

The Bear Takedown has a minimum of 35 lbs. It is not meant for someone who is still building up their strength and working on form. It was primarily designed to be used for bowhunting.

The Samick Sage does have a very good resale value. If you buy one for $175 CDN you can later sell it for about $140-$150 CDN. Thus if you decide to get one and later switch to the Bear Takedown, that is certainly an option. Or keep it as an extra bow for friends to try archery.

Conclusions

By now you have probably guessed that I feel strongly about this whole patience / proper form / building up strength issue. I have seen past students ignore my advice because I was not adamant enough about the whole being patient / working on proper form issue, and they bought a bow that was too powerful for them to properly practice with and they eventually stopped shooting because it was simply too hard - and now their bow is probably collecting dust in a closet.

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca
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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