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Arrow Hitting Bottle and Catapulting Back

 One of my archery students back in July sent me this GIF of their arrow hitting a bottle and then catapulting backwards. Seen in a loop it creates the impression that the arrow is hitting the bottle and just bouncing back and forth, while the lid goes flying each time.

Enjoy!


Photography Credit: Robin Kuniski / www.robinkuniski.com

Never Go Canoeing with a 5-Year-Old

Yesterday "for fun" I went canoeing with my mother and my 5-year-old son Richard.

I don't have any photographs of the lesson in physics because I was too busy keeping the boat upright and trying to prevent it from tipping over.

Canoes, if you're not aware, are a tad tipsy. A tad tipsy in this case means "very tipsy".

And 5-year-olds who don't like to sit still also don't like to listen.

This "comedy horror" experience is not for everyone. If you have any kind of heart condition, please (for the love of God!!!) DO NOT GO CANOEING WITH A 5-YEAR-OLD.

A ten year old? Sure. That sounds fine to me. A ten year old will have a better grasp of physics and that boats can tip over. A ten year old will also be better at listening and actually useful at using a paddle.

This is not to say a 5-year-old won't have fun in a canoe. My son Richard definitely had fun.

Meanwhile poor dad is having a heart attack whilst trying to keep the canoe upright and prevent said 5-year-old from tipping it over. Grandma also enjoyed from her position at the front of the canoe, but couldn't see their grandchild who keeps moving around every 10 seconds or so.

Then there's the matter of the wind.

Now you might not realize that canoes can be affected by the wind so much, but if the wind is strong enough it creates two factors:

1. If the wind hits the canoe broadside it rocks the canoe a bit, making it more tipsy.

2. The wind will make waves on an otherwise calm lake, leading to the waves rocking the canoe more strongly whenever the waves are coming parallel to the side of the canoe.

These two factors combined with an energetic 5-year-old who doesn't listen (and doesn't understand physics) leads to a catastrophic amount of tipsiness.

Is tipsiness a word?

It is now!

A Few Canoeing Tips

Always wear a life jacket in a canoe.

Never stand up in a canoe. (Again physics.)

Keep as much of your weight distribution towards the middle of the canoe as possible. A low center of gravity is best.

Whoever is in the rear of the canoe is the one in charge of steering. Everyone else gets to just paddle, unless otherwise instructed by the person steering the boat.

If possible wait until all occupants of the canoe are at least 10 years old before embarking on this (comedy horror) adventure.
 

 

Whitetail Deer at the Toronto Archery Range

Whitetail Deer

They're about 140 yards away, but there's three fawns and a doe in the photos below taken at the Toronto Archery Range. Just one of the benefits of practicing archery. You get to see wildlife on a regular basis.

Sometimes you can even get really close to them. I once got within 5 yards of a stag.

If you're at the archery range often enough you will see whitetail deer, red tailed hawks, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, rabbits, and more.

Depending upon the season + time of day I also recommend bringing mosquito repellent. That is one bit of wildlife we could do without.







A Beginner's Guide to Clout Archery

Look closely and you'll spot the arrows close to the flag pole shown in the photos on the right.

So what's the big deal?

Well, the flag is approx. 70 yards (210 feet) away from where the archery student was standing... And this was only their 5th archery lesson.

Oh and it was a tad windy that day.

That's why such results are worth taking photos of.

So what is Clout Archery?

Clout Archery is a long distance sport wherein archers compete to see who can get their arrows closest to the flag pole, which is generally placed really far away.

Usually 140 to 180 yards away, which are the competitive distances for Clout Archery.

However since the Toronto Archery Range is only 140 yards long (and lots of trees behind that) we have to use a shorter distance which is still challenging for a beginner, but also surprisingly a lot of fun.

Getting a cluster of arrows to land near the flag pole is also very challenging, even for experienced archers who are used to getting their arrows in clusters at shorter distances.

If you look closely at the photos on the right you will note that some of the arrows are touching or almost touching. That is some very good consistency for a beginner archer.

This isn't unheard of for my archery students however. I have periodically had students hit the flag pole or the flag itself at distances of 80 yards, 90 yards or more.

Getting to the point that you can do Clout Archery with this degree of accuracy isn't for beginners really. I generally only teach this to my archery students who sign up for 5 or more archery lessons.

When students sign up for 5 archery lessons they generally (I will sometimes customize the lessons for the needs of the student) get the following:

Lesson 1: Safety Lecture, Eye Test, Lecture on How to Aim Traditionally, Lecture on Proper Form, Field Archery Practice.

Lesson 2: Target Archery Practice, Lecture on Arrowheads.

Lesson 3: Long Distance Field Archery Practice, Lecture on Arrow Spine.

Lesson 4: Target Archery Practice, Lecture on How to Aim using Gap Shooting, Moving Target Practice.

Lesson 5: Clout Archery or Gap Shooting Field Archery (varies on the student).

Thus it really depends upon the student. Some students are more into learning Gap Shooting and others are more interested in long distance shooting.

Note - When someone signs up for 10 or more lessons I don't really have to choose so much. I will just teach them both, but I will still be customizing the lessons to the student's needs or interests.

Clout Archery Tips

Because the archer will usually have to aim at the sky in order to get their arrows to go that far you need to come up with a system for how to aim at the same spot on the sky.

Don't aim at clouds. They move. Instead you need to measure on the sky where you want to aim. I teach several different techniques for how to measure and aim at the sky so that students can choose which method works best for them.

Proper Form! If you don't know how to properly perform a shot then you should either get archery lessons or buy a book on the subject (I recommend "Precision Archery" by Steve Ruis & Claudia Stevenson).

And if you're in Toronto or the GTA you have no excuse not to get archery lessons from a dedicated professional like myself who teaches multiple different styles of archery and different archery sports like Clout Archery.

Browse the links below to learn more. Happy Shooting!

See Also

The Benefits of Clout Archery

Archery Lessons in Toronto

 

10 Things to do on a Mental Health Day

I don't usually talk about mental health on Cardio Trek, but I am going to do so today because I have decided to take a Mental Health Day. Think of it like a mini vacation. A day off to do something you enjoy that doesn't stress you out.

So with that in mind let's go through some of  my favourite activities to do on a Mental Health Day, and keeping in mind that I like to exercise so there will be a theme to this.

#1. Archery

I love archery. I find it very relaxing, despite it being a sport/exercise. I never get bored doing archery. I get tired and/or hungry and eventually have to leave the archery range because I need food, sleep, ice cream, a shower, etc. Creature comforts. But I am never bored while doing archery or socializing with my fellow archers (most archers are fairly social and talkative).

#2. Go to the Beach and Swim

If it is remotely warm outside (and not raining) then it is probably a good day to go to the beach and swim, walk along the beach, jog in the surf, etc. Take the dog with you. Take the kids. Have a fun time. Bring cold drinks and/or stop for ice cream.

#3. Make Ice Cream!

As you may have guessed I do like my ice cream, and while most ice cream certainly is not the healthiest you can also make low sugar / low fat alternatives that still taste amazing.

You can very easily make your own strawberry ice cream (not real ice cream, but the texture will be roughly the same) by mixing the following in a blender:

  • 10 ozs frozen strawberries
  • 4 ozs Greek yogurt 
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 4 fresh strawberries

Easy peasy strawberry squeezy! Afterwards you have a healthy snack you can take with you for a walk, to the beach, to the archery range, etc.

#4. Go for a Walk / Hike / Birdwatching

Where you go doesn't really matter. Walking trails. Abandoned railway tracks. The beach. I recommend taking a camera with you, or if you are into birdwatching (aka birding) then bringing a bird book with you is also a good idea. Even if you are not into birding then now is a good time to start getting interested in it. There are even apps on the subject if you don't own any birding books. (I am not going to recommend a particular app, but feel free to browse.)

#5. Shopping / Window Shopping

I love window shopping almost as much as I like actually buying things. Sometimes it is fun just to browse and look. Even for things you know you cannot afford, like when you walk into a Lamborghini dealership just to have a look. You aren't going to buy a Lamborghini, but it is still fun to walk around them, sit in them and talk to the sales staff (try not to waste their time however unless they look bored due to a lack of customers).

Shopping often deals with a significant amount of walking, and possibly carrying anything that you purchased, so there is oddly an exercise component and it can be quite exhausting by the time you get home with your new purchases.

One of my personal favourites is to go to bookstores and browse (and maybe buy a book). I don't need to buy any books to have fun and relax while shopping for books, but I certainly buy a lot of books judging by my shelves. I also like garage sales and used book stores because you never know what you are going to find. In Toronto check out the store "Re: Reading" on the Danforth. 

Another one I really like is furniture shopping. Mostly because you get to sit on the furniture and it is therefore relaxing, but there is still a goodly amount of walking involved. Plus maybe you finally replace that sofa you've been meaning to throw out, so that could be a win-win.

#6. Ice Skating

In the winter it is a great time to go ice skating, and in a city like Toronto there are many free outdoor ice rinks to choose from. The one in front of Toronto City Hall for example offers skate rentals and lockers so that you can enjoy the activity even if you don't own skates you can still do it. Plus you don't need to be good at ice skating to have fun doing it. It is still fun regardless even if you are horrible at it.

#7. Rollerblading / Roller Skating

Other times of the year you can still skate, but the method is different. It might involve going to a roller rink and renting roller skates or rollerblades, but just like ice skating this is something you can have fun doing even if you are horrible at it.

For best results take a friend or family member with you!

#8. Go Fishing

Not for everyone, but regardless of whether you don't catch anything, catch-and-release, or eat what you catch you will still have a relaxing time.

#9. Antiquing

Similar to shopping, antiquing is when you go to many different antiques stores and browse. Antique store owners are used to people browsing and not buying anything so what you're doing isn't really that unusual.

#10. What is your favourite hobby?

Chances are you have a favourite hobby. Why not spend the day doing it? Just relax and do that one hobby that makes you really happy. As long as the hobby isn't harming you or anyone else, and isn't stressful, then it should be a good way to relax.

Happy Mental Healthy Day!

Students who don't Listen

Today I had a bonding experience with a fellow archery instructor during which the topic of "students who don't listen" came up. For me this experience of commiserating with a fellow archery instructor was cathartic.

What is the point of getting archery lessons (or any other kind of lesson) if you're not going to listen to the instructor?

There is nothing more annoying to an instructor than trying to teach someone who refuses to listen. I have, historically, refunded lessons to people who didn't listen and I didn't want to bother teaching them.

Especially if I considered them to be a danger to themselves and others. It would be irresponsible, in my opinion, to teach someone I consider to be dangerously ignorant and refuses to correct their mistakes or listen to the instructor.

This is one of the reasons why I rarely teach children any more. There is a measure of responsibility and maturity on the part of the student that needs to be there before I even agree to teach archery to a child... And if they later turn out to be the type of person who doesn't listen then guess who is getting the remainder of their lessons canceled and refunded*...?

* Partly because of liability issues in which I don't want to be legally responsible for a child (or adult) who is a danger to themselves and others. So this isn't really a choice for me. It is basically a legal requirement on my part to be responsible about who I choose to teach.

As noted by my colleague and myself, this problem of students who don't listen is mostly an issue of children who lack maturity. It is rare to meet an adult with this particular problem, although not unheard of. I sometimes come across an adult or even a senior who has become set in their ways and doesn't want to listen, even when they know it is in their best interest to do so.

The problem I find often stems from students thinking that they know more than the instructor because they have been watching too much television/movies, did archery at summer camp with someone who didn't know how to teach archery, or they've bought into misinformation about the sport they learned from other sources (fictional books, YouTube, Facebook, etc). This is why, in my opinion, it is often better to teach a student who is a blank slate. The less misinformation they have previously received the better.

Just because you saw a cartoon character doing archery a certain way doesn't mean that you know more than the archery instructor. You don't. Get over it.

 



Trying to teach someone like that also makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration. I don't need the added stress. My knee jerk reaction to meeting a student who doesn't want to listen is to cancel the lessons and refund the money. The liability and the stress just isn't worth it.

Plus why take lessons in something that you don't want to learn???

I get it when parents sign up their kids for ice skating lessons or swimming lessons... And the child would rather be looking at their cellphone than paying attention to the lesson. But if the parent knows that their child isn't actually interested then you should just find them a different activity that does interest them. Not every child wants to swim, do ice skating or archery. Find them something else they actually want to do. Tae kwon do lessons perhaps. Rock climbing. Krav maga. Golf. Violin. Ballet. Parkour.

Don't force them to do a sport they're clearly not interested in.

Shapesmiths, Fitness Coaches and Personal Trainers

I learned a new word today:

"Shapesmith"

 Apparently it is an older version of saying fitness coach or personal trainer. The word Shapesmith appears in Dr. Johnson's English dictionary, which was published in 1755. He defined the shapesmith as “one who undertakes to improve the form of the body".

But that could also mean someone who is an athlete too, couldn't it? So to some extent it represents someone who is both an athlete and/or a fitness coach.

I see myself as more of a sports trainer, seeing as my goal is to get people "in shape" by encouraging them to get better at various sports like archery, boxing, swimming, ice skating and others.

I find that motivation is an important part of exercising - and getting into the practice, rhythm and habit of exercising - and that if you can make exercising fun via sports then it is far easier for people to get motivated and stay motivated.

Furthermore a person doesn't necessarily need a personal trainer (or fitness coach or shapesmith) in order to do sports, but when it comes to certain sports like archery, swimming, ice skating and boxing then it definitely helps to have someone who can coach you on how to do it properly. 

... 

For reference, I learned the word shapesmith by watching an episode of QI (season J, episode 4), which you can watch below thanks to YouTube: 

 

The Benefits of Practicing Clout Archery

Clout Archery is a sport in which archers compete at shooting a "clout of arrows" as close to a target flag pole as possible, often at really long distances such as 140 or 180 yards away.

For people new to clout archery (or when the field is shorter than desirable) you may want to use shorter distances such as 60, 70, 80 yards, etc. Or if you have a really large field available, you could even try shooting longer distances like 200 yards or more.

The image below shows the results of 1 round of shooting with one of my archery students recently on June 4th 2022, shooting at a distance of 60 yards (180 feet). She got two clusters near the flag pole as you can see, nearly hitting the flag pole despite windy conditions that day.


Which brings me to the topic of what makes Clout Archery something that is useful to learn:

#1. Clout Archery is really good for archers learning how to adjust for wind conditions.

#2. Clout Archery is very good at teaching people how to shoot long distances accurately, with the distances often being more than that used by Olympic archers (70 meters).

#3. Because shooting long distances magnifies any mistakes the archer makes it forces the archer to be more of a perfectionist than shooting short distances in comparison.

BONUS THOUGHTS

Shooting such long distances can also be quite fun as there is a level of joy in watching an arrow fly so far and yet manage to land near the flag pole (or on rare occasions, even hit the flag pole).

For extra fun you can also use whistling arrowheads.

To make it easier to find your arrows (depending on the distance) you can also use wingnuts behind your screwed on field points so that when they hit the ground they dig in like an anchor and are easier to find. Alternatively, you can also use large (flu flu) fletching on your arrows.

Clout Archery Lessons?

Anyone wanting to learn archery (and specifically Clout Archery) can sign up for archery lessons in Toronto and mention that you want to learn Clout Archery.

How to Fix Holey Archery Targets

 

As time goes by eventually your archery targets will get holey (or fall down) in which case you either need to replace the material or repair it in some manner.

Repairing Natural Tentest Targets

In the case of Natural Tentest targets, like those at the Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park shown above, one way to repair the big gaping holes is to wait until one of the target butts collapses and falls down - often due to heavy rain and/or wind - and then you can use the broken fallen pieces of Natural Tentest to stuff the holes in the other targets.

And for fun, you can also add a large water container to the target butt which collapsed so that people can still potentially shoot at something until that target's tentest is replaced.

Repairing 3D Targets

In the case of 3D targets (deer, raccoons, etc) that are popular with hunters one of the best ways to repair them is with foam, like in the video below. What brand or style of foam you use doesn't really matter, what is really important is that you don't overfill the holes you are repairing because otherwise excess material will leak out (as demonstrated in the video below). A "less is better" approach is best for that scenario.

Repairing DIY Cardboard Targets

The beauty of cardboard targets is that they're super easy to repair and cost effective. Just make a habit of saving any large pieces of cardboard from your home and/or workplace and you can easily just rip out any damaged pieces of cardboard from your DIY targets and replace with new cardboard.

Best of all, the old cardboard is still recyclable so it has simply been reused before eventually reaching the recycling bin.

Your cardboard archery target doesn't need to be fancy either (like the one in the image below). It simply could be a cardboard box which is filled with cardboard. Having a wooden frame is really unnecessary for most people's purposes. But once you have a cardboard target they're very easy to repair.



Happy Birthday to Arthur

PERSONAL NOTE

My wife, myself and my eldest son would like to announce the birth of our new boy Arthur. So if you see me in person do feel free to congratulate me on the birth of the newest member of our family.

I look forward to him learning archery, swimming, ice skating, etc in the years to come.



Ikigai and the Archer

About one year ago my colleague Steve Ruis wrote a blog post called "The Ikigai of Archery".

Ikagai is a Japanese word which means "live reason" or "reason to live".

Basically Ikagi is when you have something that helps you get out of bed in the morning and provides a purpose or meaning in your life is certainly helpful.

Can archery be a reason to live?

I believe so.

Sometimes we just don't want to get up in the morning, but we force ourselves to do so because we have to get to work - often to a job we dislike.

I am fortunate that I have a job I really enjoy and love to do. There are many people out there who wish they could quit their regular jobs and just do what they love to do.

Even so there are definitely days when I am excited to teach archery and do some personal practice, and then there are other days when I have to go to work and I would rather stay home if I had the choice.

I find the quality of sleep I got the night before is a factor.

Same thing goes with my students. I can tell based upon their focus and the quality of their shooting whether they didn't sleep well the night before - or worse, if they're hungover, distracted by something, stressed or upset, hungry, etc.

And yet they still got up and they came to their archery practice because it was something they wanted to do, because they deemed it important, and quite possibly they were excited about it.

Thus in this case I think Ikigai is an excellent word, and an apt word. If archery can be the crutch that helps people get up in the morning - and in some cases to strive and find purpose in their lives - then so be it. Sometimes people need a crutch to help them to keep on surviving so they can find other reasons to live.

I believe people can have multiple reasons to live, including an important one: Family. Speaking for myself then my wife and my son are two of my biggest reasons to live, but archery is another. As is writing. I have many reasons to live.

For my students who are curious about the more spiritual sides of archery I usually recommend two books:

1. Zen Bow, Zen Arrow
2. The Unfettered Mind

The 2nd book isn't actually about archery. It is about Zen Buddhism and swordsmanship, but also about being a good person who learns to manage their thoughts and emotions. So while it is primarily about swordsmanship, the principles described in the book also apply to archery.

Years ago I even published my own book of poetry on the subject, a book called "Dreaming of Zen Archery". (The ebook version is $2.99 if you're curious about it.)

So yes, I believe archery can be an Ikigai - a reason to live.

It doesn't have to be your sole reason to live however, but it can be the crutch that keeps you moving forward until you find other reasons.

Accepting New Archery Students for 2022

Hello Toronto!

Do you want to learn archery? Of course you do, you're here reading this aren't you?

Well, the good news is that I am accepting new students for the 2022 archery season.

Contact cardiotrek@gmail.com to book your archery lesson(s) today. When in doubt I recommend starting for 3 lessons for $200. See my archery lessons page for more details / discount rates / etc.

So what's so special about my archery lessons?

#1. I make them fun and informative. So you're learning, but you get to have fun while doing so.

#2. I have been teaching archery so far for 13 years (and doing archery for 33 years). Suffice to say I have been doing this for a long time and have learned some of the best ways

#3. I have published articles over the years in "Archery Focus Magazine", which recently released their final issue in November 2021. (My article "Gap Shooting: Aiming for Versatility" was included in the final issue.)

#4. Browse my Archery Lessons Plan to learn more about the how each lesson is different.

#5. One on one lessons. No group lessons. You get personalized attention from an archery coach and I tailor the lessons to meet my individual students needs.

#6. I also teach people with adaptive archery needs. So if you're in a wheel chair or have other difficulties, not to worry, you can still do archery. Just email me to discuss your situation.

#7. People over 65 get a 10% Seniors Discount and people from Canada's armed forces get a 10% Veterans Discount.



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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