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Showing posts with label Exercise Questions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exercise Questions. Show all posts

Pain in Middle Finger after Archery Lesson

 Q

"Hi Charles, 

After the lesson today I noticed the last joint (closest to the tip) of my middle finger is quite sore. I noticed the same thing the last time I shot with my new glove, bow, etc. Is this normal for a new glove or is it an indication of something wrong, either with my form or the glove? 

Regards,
-Brian H."

 

A

Hey Brian!

That happens sometimes when the glove is either not protecting the fingers enough or the person is not used to pulling a higher poundage.

In your case however I did notice that you sometimes pulled the bowstring unevenly, wherein your middle finger was usually about half an inch further across the bowstring and the bowstring was then on the joint itself (as opposed to halfway on the fingertips). You were only doing it with your middle finger (and you didn't always do it so at the time I wasn't too worried about it because I felt you would eventually stop doing it) and you are not experiencing pain in any other fingers, correct? In the future I recommend making an effort to only use half your fingertips and see if that solves the problem.

You may recall me saying "Half your fingertips is twice as accurate." In this case however it could also be "Half your fingertips is twice as accurate, but also less painful." Half your fingertips also reduces the chances of plucking the bowstring during the release. Definitely something to build into a positive habit.

See you at the range!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

 

 

Are women more associated with archery?

 Q

"Can I ask you an archery question for research/my thesis?

Okay so I’m writing a thesis about gender and gender presentations in warrior women. I argue that gender is a construct and that objects should not be gendered when they are tools in one’s art of being a warrior, but my professor countered that bows and archery are more associated with women than men (not meant to offend anyone just looking for answers) is that true? Where does that come from? 

To me, when I think of archers I think of famous ones like Green Arrow, Robin Hood, and Legolas...Are there other archers in literature that you can think of that identify as a woman besides Susan Pevensie that would dominate the symbol of archers?"

- J. E. T.

A

Gender is indeed a construct, much in the same way that identity is a social construct. Or Zodiac signs is a superstitious construct.

With respect to archery it is predominantly a male sport. For example, with respect to my local archery range, men make up over 80% of the archery range's users, and that the "regulars" are even more male dominated, making up at least 90% of the frequent users.

Archery is a sport requiring strength and endurance. Far too often non-archers are expecting the sport to be easy, and they are not at all prepared for how difficult or strength intensive this sport is.

Part of this misconception is the fault of mass media, Hollywood, and the types of body types depicted in films, television and literature. People see these depictions in a variety of media and then perpetuate the false idea that archers are a specific body type. Eg. Skinny Legolas.

There are a variety of films during the past 30 years wherein skinny female characters are depicted as archers. This depiction is a double edged sword: It creates the stereotype that skinny women are ideally suited for archery, promotes archery to women, but also pushes the idea that women are unsuited to hand-to-hand melee.

While I appreciate and applaud that Hollywood is pushing the idea of more women in archery, it is coming at the expense of saying women are unsuitable for using axes, lances, swords or a variety of other medieval era weaponry, while simultaneously pushing the idea that archery is not a sport of strength and endurance.

This all comes back to depictions of body types in my opinion. Eg. Try to think of a film that depicts a female archer as not being skinny. I cannot name one. Hollywood depicts female archers as being ballerina skinny (and usually Caucasian, Asian, or giant blue alien, but that is another topic entirely).

In reality archers are all kinds of body types, but there is one commonality with respect to experienced archers - They are all strong and have built up their back muscles so that they can pull higher poundage bows. Some archers started being reasonably strong, and then became stronger as they built up their rhomboids, deltoids and other muscles used for archery. Some were weaker, but built up the muscle groups over time. Even older archers are often surprisingly robust and strong for their age.

Thus even if an archer started as being skinny or overweight, after 20 years of doing the sport regularly they're going to have a more robust stature because they've built up the muscle groups.

This strength factor doesn't mean that women cannot excel at archery however. While women are certainly a minority, I have met plenty of women who excel at archery.

Eg. Back in March (a week before COVID shut everything down) I had the pleasure of teaching a dancer in her 40s who has what I would describe as having an Amazonian body type. Certainly more in the direction of an athlete, which was an asset and she did very well during her first lesson. You can see a video of her on my Cardio Trek YouTube channel. Her lessons are supposed to resume this Autumn.
 

So does having more of a Tom Boy / Amazonian / athletic physique help when doing archery? Absolutely it helps. It is a sport of strength and endurance after all. However that doesn't mean it is only body type that can excel at archery. An archer who is overweight can excel just as easily if they build up the needed muscle groups, and likewise a skinny will become stronger over time.

With respect to archers of literature like Green Arrow, Robin Hood and Legolas there is definitely one missing:

Hercules.

Now you might think "Wait, Hercules did archery?"

Indeed he did. He was supposedly extremely good at archery, owing to his demigod strength.

Here's another: Odysseus / Ulysses.

Ulysses returned after 20 years of fighting Trojans & being lost at sea to find his kingdom in turmoil and suitors trying to marry his wife and take his kingdom. But his wife was very smart. She said she would only marry a man who could string her husband's bow. All the suitors tried and failed. They weren't strong enough. Then Ulysses, now an old man in disguise, asked to try. He strung his bow easily and killed all the suitors. There is a lovely clip of this scene on YouTube wherein actor Kirk Douglas plays Ulysses in the scene from the 1954 film.
 

So what is Greek female equivalent of Hercules or Ulysses?

Atalanta, and to some extent the Amazons.

Atalanta was abandoned on a mountain and raised by bears. Away from the social constructs of her fellow Greeks. The Greek myth makers clearly understood that femininity is a social construct and apparently believed that the only way a woman could grow to maturity without such constructs was to be raised in the wild by animals.

The Amazons it is now believed was one part myth and one part based on the Scythians (or the forebears of the Scythians), who were a nomadic group of hunters from Asia Minor wherein men and women both hunted, often from horseback, and they perfected the Scythian bow, which is a very complex recurve-decurve-recurve shape. As such they were phenomenal archers. It is small surprise that the Greeks mythologized such encounters with any warrior-women they encountered from Scythia as they were doubtlessly deadly with the bow.

Obviously I could keep going. I could probably write a nonfiction book on this subject.

So yes, in conclusion the idea that archery is strongly associated with women (and a skinny body type) is a stereotype perpetuated by the media. Largely due to Hollywood and anyone influenced by that false narrative. Archery is still very much a male dominated sport, it is a sport requiring strength and not agility (despite what Dungeons and Dragons would have people believe).

I would also assert that gender identity is not a factor in archery. People can identify as whatever gender they want to, it will make zero difference when you hand them a high poundage bow and ask them to pull it.

Anyone wishing to disagree can come to my local archery range and I will hand them a 50 lb Browning Wasp recurve bow, at which point we shall see if their perceptions of archery being "easy" or not requiring strength is remotely accurate. If they can't pull it I will give them a "much easier" 24 lb Ragim Matrix recurve bow. And if they still cannot pull that I will swap out the limbs for 18 lbs.

I have been teaching archery for almost 12 years now. Beginners are continually surprised at how physically exhausting the sport is. It is the reason why my lessons are 90 minutes long. Two hours is too long. People get tired and start making more mistakes close to the 90 minute mark.

There is a reason why I have blog posts on my website pertaining to weight training exercises specifically aimed at archers, so they can build more muscle in the needed areas of their body faster.

It truly is a sport of strength and endurance. Anyone who has fallen for the Hollywood fantasy that it is not... They're just perpetuating the false narrative.

My apologies if this is a bit of a rant. Archery is a lifestyle for me. I have been practicing the sport for over 31 years. Teaching for almost 12 years. My wife shoots. My 3-year-old son shoots. I write both fiction and nonfiction about archery. I am very passionate about promoting the virtues of the sport and it annoys me that there are so many false perceptions of it.

I recommend including my entire email in your appendices for your professor to peruse. If they have any questions or follow up they can address it to cardiotrek@gmail.com.

Have a good weekend!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

What kind of bow should I get my wife?

Q

"Hello! My wife weighs 115 lbs and isn't very big. What kind of bow should I get her for getting into archery?

Matt M."

A

Hey Matt!

Her weight isn't the biggest concern, her height and strength are bigger factors. I am guessing she is petite?

Start her on a low poundage bow, like a 15 to 20 lb recurve. I recommend a 3 piece recurve where she can get more powerful limbs later so she can build more muscle as she progresses.

If she is short you should also consider a youth bow. Some of my adult archery students who are closer to 5 feet tall need to use a youth bow, so if your wife is 5'2" or shorter this is an option, otherwise she may have clearance issues with the bowstring rubbing against her side.

If you have any questions just email me at cardiotrek@gmail.com

Good luck and happy shooting!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
 
 
Follow Up

"Thank you very much. This has been a big help. She is 5'3" so I am probably gonna go with a 3 piece so I can get her stronger limbs when she improves.

I was thinking the Samick Sage for her, but I'm worried the riser might be to big for her hands any other good starters you can recommend?"

A


Also the lowest poundage for the Sage is 25.

Perhaps the Samick Little Fox?

https://www.lancasterarchery.com/samick-little-fox-48-takedown-bow.html

Maybe get 20 lbs and she can later get 25 lb limbs. By the time she is ready for 30 lbs or more you can look at more expensive bows.

Cartel has a slightly bigger 54" bow that would also suit her, also available in 20 lbs.

https://www.lancasterarchery.com/cartel-triple-54-takedown-recurve-bow-58177.html
 
Or the Galaxy Bullseye 54, if she prefers wood.

Due to her height try to find something in the 48 to 58 inches range. The bigger the bow the more likely she will have clearance issues. 60 to 66 inches might be too big and have clearance issues with the bowstring.


Reply

"Thank you very much again. Very helpful."

7+ Frequently Asked Archery Questions

Where can I do archery? Is it safe and legal to do it in my backyard?  Is there a designated place to do archery in my city?

In Toronto the best place to do archery is at the Toronto Archery Range, located in E. T. Seton Park (near the Ontario Science Centre).

Visit archerytoronto.ca/Toronto-Archery-Range.html to see maps and parking info.
The legality of doing archery in your backyard depends upon how safe you are doing it. If a neighbour complains about your lack of safety precautions and police investigate they could charge you with reckless endangerment with a firearm. Since Toronto has a public archery range however it is generally accepted that you should really be practicing archery at the archery range.

What is the cost of equipment?  Do I have to shell out big bucks or can I do it on a budget?

Either. Nobody is forcing you to spend a lot of money. A typical beginners budget for equipment is about $350 CDN to buy bow, arrows, arrowheads, arrowrest, shooting glove or tab, bowstringer, etc. Alternatively you could just make your own equipment if you are skilled at woodworking and want to try your hand at bowmaking / fletching arrows.

What kind of equipment do I need to start out?  Should I just get a bow and some arrows or is there anything else I need?

Yes. You will want:


  • Arrowheads
  • Arrowrest
  • Shooting glove or tab
  • Bowstringer
  • A bag or box for carrying your equipment to and from the archery range.
  • Various optional items like a quiver, arm guard/bracer, arrow nock bead, paper targets, portable targets, 3D targets, and a variety of other accessories.

Do I need archery lessons?  Can I just go and shoot or do I need to be instructed on technique, safety, best practices, etc...?

No, you absolutely do not need lessons, but it is definitely helpful to have archery lessons and you should definitely pay attention and abide by all the safety bylaws as they are for your own protection and to protect others.

What types of bows are there?  I have seen some complicated contraptions and more Robin Hood looking bows, but what is the difference and which should I choose?

The most common styles of bows are:

  • Recurve Bows
  • Longbows / Flatbows
  • Horsebows / Shortbows
  • Olympic Recurve Bows
  • Compound Bows

Recurve Bows are the easiest to learn how to use. Longbows/Flatbows and Horsebows/Shortbows are stylistically similar, but have a more difficult learning curve. Olympic Recurves are more specialized and use gadgets to help the archery increase archery. Compound Bows are typically decked out with every gadget you can find. The biggest difference between the styles is how much the individual archer wants to embrace specific traditions or whether they prefer to use gadgets to get extra accuracy.


How long will it take me to be good?  Is it a long process or will I pick it up quickly?

It varies significantly upon a number of factors.


  • Whether or not you get archery lessons.
  • How many archery lessons you get.
  • Whether or not you buy/read any archery books or read websites about improving your archery form.
  • How good is your posture.
  • How often your practice.
  • What your definition of "good" is.

It takes years to get really good at archery. It isn't something that happens overnight. Getting archery lessons / reading a good book on the subject really speeds up the process.

What types of arrows are there?  What do you call the feathers at the end?  What is the best arrow I can buy?

There are many types of arrows, usually made from wood, bamboo, carbon fibre, aluminum or fibreglass. The feathers are called fletching. The "best arrow" depends on what you are using it for. An expensive arrow doesn't necessarily mean it is better at a specific task. Eg. A lightweight arrow would be better for long distance (flight archery), but a heavier arrow can often be better for hunting purposes. So it really depends.

Historically "footed shaft" arrows were considered to be the best of both worlds because they were heavier on the front and lighter on the back, which improved accuracy.

More Frequently Asked Archery Questions

Shorter Bows Vs Longer Bows

Q

Two Very Similar Questions

"I have a question. I'm 19 and started off when I was 2 years old shooting traditional. As I got older I started shooting compound. I have a bear kodiak super magnum and I am really wanting to be able to harvest my first deer with traditional equipment this year but my shooting is all over the place. Earlier I went in the garage and got out a bear grizzly the my dad doesn't use anymore. Now the grizzly is significantly longer than the kodiak magnum. I started shooting it and was shooting way better than with the magnum. Could the size difference of the bow be the reason I was shooting worse/better?

Dylan G."


"[A] question that I have is in regards to the length of bows in general. What would be the biggest difference I would feel if I used a 62" bow compared to the 66" bow that we have been using. Would it still work well with the 28" draw length or would I just be overdrawing the bow all the time?

Thanks again for all of your help,

Eric K."


A

The short answer:

Longer bows are more forgiving. You can make a mistake and often still hit the target.
Shorter bows are unforgiving. You make a mistake and miss completely.

The long answer... it is complicated. It comes down to the physics and the design of the bow, the canting of the bow, the angle of the bowstring to tip of the bow, lateral physics, whether the bow is more bottom heavy and other factors. But yes, generally speaking, longer bows are usually more forgiving than shorter bows.

This is also true of compound bows too, which are measured from axle to axle.

Axle-to-Axle, or more commonly called by the acronym ATA, is the distance measured between each axle of a compound bow. Each cam operates on an axle and taking the length between those two axles is going to be your ATA measurement. There are compound bows with a long ATA, short ATA and some with a middle of the road ATA.

The longer ATA compound bows are always more forgiving of mistakes. However many hunters favour shorter ATA compound bows because they want a bow that weighs less, allows them to maneuver easier around branches when shooting from a tree stand, etc.

With competitive compound shooters however they don't need to worry about weight and maneuvrability. They just want as much accuracy as they can get. Thus competitive compounds are often quite long from axle to axle.


The same goes with Olympic recurve archers.

When it comes to Olympic recurves they are usually 66, 68 or 70 inches long. The extra bit of length gives the bow a bit more accuracy and Olympic archers want all the accuracy they can get. Thus it would be rare to see an Olympic recurve which is 64 inches or less. Most manufacturers that make such bows don't even make limbs and riser combos that go that short.


WHAT MAKES A GREAT ARCHER?

Now you may have also heard previously that when it comes to feats of accuracy and skill the three best archers of the last century all shot longbows: Awa Kenzo, Howard Hill, Byron Ferguson - sometimes listed in that order.

And that is true. They all shot longbows.

Awa Kenzo shot a Japanese yumi longbow. Yumi longbows are typically 7 to 9 feet long.

Howard Hill shot a traditional English longbow which had a modified handle he designed himself.

Byron Ferguson is still alive and shoots a "radical reflex-deflex longbow". Rather a complicated longbow design, but there it is.

So why did they shoot a longer bow even though these archers were already great at what they do?

Because even great archers still make mistakes. And when you know mistakes still happen you want to get the extra consistency that a longer bow affords you.

So what made these three longbow men so great?

Well, Awa Kenzo was known for his trick shooting. He could shoot a bullseye in the dark and then repeat the shot with such accuracy that he Robin Hooded the first arrow.

Howard Hill was renown for his hunting skills. One of my favourite stories about him is shooting an eagle at 150 yards, roughly twice the distance that Olympic archers shoot at (70 meters).

And Byron Ferguson does a combination of both trick shooting and long distance shooting. He can shoot a tiny moving target, like an aspirin in the air at 30 feet.

So then you might wonder, wait, so if Olympic recurves are so great, why aren't there any really famous Olympic archers?

Because they come and go. The average length of a competitive archer's career is less than 10 years. Even the most successful Olympic archers only ever compete in 1 or 2 Olympic Games and spend most of their time competing in local competitions, and there is very little money in it.

Plus the Koreans keep winning 75% of all the big competitions.

This comes down to money. In Korea Olympic archers often get big sponsors like Hyundai and Samsung supporting their careers. There is far more money in the sport in South Korea.

In contrast guess how much a Canadian Olympic archer earns in a year from sponsors?

Usually zero.

So eventually as Olympic archers get older they need to stop competing in order to pay for bills. They get married, have a few kids, the usual deal.

Even great archers like Awa Kenzo, Howard Hill, and Byron Ferguson had/have their sources of income. Awa Kenzo taught archery and martial arts, opening his own dojo. Howard Hill was in a lot of films between the 1930s and 1960s, promoting archery via film. Byron Ferguson writes books about archery.

So what made them great wasn't just their skill, but also their ability to keep doing archery because they made it part of their livelihood. Teaching, promoting, writing.

Olympic archers after they retire from competitions rarely go into archery as a business. A tiny few will end up coaching, while most of them will get an university degree or a college diploma and pursue a different passion.

Can you name an Olympic archer who was active during the 1980s or 1990s who is still famous, still competing and shooting amazingly today?

Nope. Neither can I.

Below is two photos of three Olympic archers shooting inside the Eaton's Centre while it was being built in May 1976. The photographs were taken by reporter/photographer Tibor Kelly. The archers in the photo are Wayne Pullen, Ron Lippert and Sheila Brown.


I had never heard of any of those three archers until a few months ago. And oddly enough, despite all their medals and accolades, these photographs might be the most historically important thing they ever did as archers. No doubt they contributed personally to the sport, encouraging others, teaching a bit, being supportive. Tiny ripples of influence in the river of history.

The three of them collectively probably had boxes of medals and trophies. So many they didn't know what to do with. But once an archer's competitive archery career is over, then what?
 
Some might shoot recreationally.
 
A rare few might get into bowhunting.
 
A tiny few might get into coaching, if they have the necessary skills to teach it properly.
 
Extremely few will write a How To Book, as that implies they first got into coaching and also had the necessary skills required to write a book about it.

So what makes a great archer?

In my opinion it is more than merely competing for 10 years (or less) of your life. Great archers shoot for decades and they leave a lasting contribution to the sport.

Awa Kenzo didn't just found an archery school. He founded a whole branch of Japanese archery, breaking from the ritualized kyudo to focus more on zen and Buddhist principles, a branch of Japanese archery that is still practiced today as his disciples passed on his teachings.

Howard Hill performed some amazing feats of archery. But in North America he also caused an archery fad that lasted from the late 1930s to early 1970s. An archery fad that lasted decades and effected the sport on the global level. (In contrast The Hunger Games fad only lasted a few years.) If it wasn't for Howard Hill there wouldn't even by "Olympic archery". They brought the sport back to the Olympics in 1972 after a 52 year hiatus.

And Byron Ferguson continues to teach, write and amaze. His contributions to the sport are not yet tallied.

For example lets talk about E. T. Seton.

E. T. Seton was an author of children's books. Yes, he did archery, but he wasn't particularly great at it. But he did manage to leave a lasting impression on Toronto's Archery community by donating in his will the land that became E. T. Seton Park and now contains the Toronto Archery Range.

Thus his biggest contribution to archery was land. A place for archers to practice.

Was E. T. Seton a great archer? Probably not. But we could say that he was a good person and a good archer. Certainly a generous archer.

Pin Float Vs Reticular Drift

Q

Hey Charles!

I was speaking to a fellow compound shooter and I mentioned how hard it is to aim sometimes when the sight pin keeps moving around. He referred to this as "Pin Float".

Is Pin Float different from Reticular Drift or are they basically the same thing?

Regards,
Jeffrey H.

A

Hey Jeffrey!

Basically the same thing.

Reticular Drift is a term largely used by military snipers to describe when they are aiming through a scope and the crosshairs keep moving about while they are trying to perfect their aim.

In archery we also use the term Reticular Drift, but when we do we are talking about aiming off the arrowhead and likewise attempted to perfect our aim while the arrowhead is moving about.

Pin Float is a bit more specific to compound shooting, as compound sights usually have 3 or more pins to choose from (with the pins usually set by the archer to 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, etc). When shooting at 20 yards they would use the 20 yard pin. While aiming if the pin is moving around, making it difficult to aim, it is called Pin Float.


So how does an archer prevent Reticular Drift or Pin Float?

The short answer, you don't. It never truly goes away.

Reticular Drift is caused by the archer being in motion. The archer is breathing. Their muscles are contracting in order to maintain their draw length. The more the archer is moving the worse the Reticular Drift will be. eg. If the archer is shaking in some manner the Reticular Drift will be really bad.

However there are ways to minimize its effects.

One, use proper archery form. This will reduce shaking.

Two, learn how to breathe into the belly (as opposed to the chest) so that the shoulders are not moving up and down when you breathe.

Three, build stronger back and shoulder muscles so that they are more relaxed when put under pressure.






SOMEWHAT OFF TOPIC

In video games archers are often depicted as being super steady with the bow and there is no Reticular Drift at all.

However there is one video game I do want to applaud, because the realism in the archery depicted in the game is amazing. "Kingdom Come Deliverance" has the most realistic archery I have ever seen in a video game.

The hero (Henry) starts off in the game being horrible at archery. When Henry is first shooting he is horrible at it and the Reticular Drift is so bad it is very difficult to aim. However as the player gets better at aiming their Archery skill goes up ranks from 0 to 20, and their Strength ability and other scores likewise goes up. The Strength ability/etc is necessary in order to be able to use more powerful bows in the game properly.

Now I have heard people complaining about the game and whining about the archery system being so difficult... but frankly these people have been coddled by games like Skyrim where the character automatically is perfectly steady with their aim. They don't get that archery is supposed to be difficult. But, once the player has gotten Henry's Archery skill up and his Strength score likewise up, Archery is arguably the best combat skill in the game because it allows the player to kill enemies from distances (often while staying hidden), whereas the other combat skills require getting within melee range - in which case the swordplay system is likewise hard at the beginning to simulate Henry sucking at it.

Does the Reticular Drift in the game make it harder? Yes, at the beginning. And it never truly goes away either, it just decreases significantly as Henry gets stronger and better at archery. But that is the whole point. The game is based on reality as much as possible. Even the castles/locations are real places in Bohemia where tourists can visit. So for example the archery range in the image below next to the castle walls? You can visit the location and go there. There is no archery range there (at least not any more), but you can visit the castle.

Disclaimer - Nobody paid me to write this. I am just a fan of the game. I prefer realism in my books and my games.


Backyard Archery Legality Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Where can I do archery?

#2. Is it safe and legal to do it in my backyard or similar locations?

#3. Is there a designated place to do archery in my city?

#4. Where else can someone go to do archery?

#5. Is it possible to get permission to shoot inside certain buildings?


Answers


 #1. The short answer: Anywhere that is safe and legal to do so.

The long answer is more complicated as it varies on your location and local laws.

In Toronto it is illegal to do archery in a public park, unless you have a permit or if it is a designated area that is purposely for archery. This is governed by Toronto Bylaw 608-4.

608-4. Firearms and offensive weapons.
  • A. While in a park, no person shall be in possession of or use a firearm, air gun, cross bow, bow and arrow, axe, paint guns or offensive weapon of any kind unless authorized by permit.
  • B. Despite Subsection A, bows and arrows may be used in designated areas in accordance with posted conditions.

So with respect to public parks a person can do archery if they either (A) get a permit or (B) only do archery in the designated locations (eg. The Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park).

Now we should also note it is also possible to do archery on private property. Such locations are typically private archery ranges located at universities, indoor archery ranges, archery tag locations, etc.


#2. Yes and No. It depends.

Depending on the city you live in it is usually legal to do archery in your backyard, garage, basement, or other indoor facilities. What really matters here is two factors:

  1. Whether your city has banned any kind of outdoor shooting, release or throwing of items considered to be weapons. Some cities have outright banned the "release" or firing of such weapons. eg. Toronto has banned it in public parks, but there is no general ban.
  2. Whether you have taken steps to ensure the safety of your neighbours, passersby, etc. If the archer is recklessly shooting in a place with no safety precautions, then that is illegal regardless because it is Reckless Endangerment with a Firearm.

Imagine for example if someone was doing archery in their front yard and people walking by on the sidewalk are in danger of being injured (and possibly killed). Well then that constitutes Reckless Endangerment with a Firearm, which carries a penalty of a $4,000 fine and possible prison time.

So the backyard, garage, basement, etc is definitely safer, but in the case of a backyard the archer should also be taking steps to ensure that it is even more safe. eg. High fences would be ideal, shooting on a downward angle at a target placed on the ground, and exercising clear safety rules.

The safest alternative obviously is to only be shooting indoors in a garage, basement or similar location. eg. I know of several people who have convinced their employers to let them shoot in their warehouse during their lunch break, using stacks of old cardboard boxes in the warehouse as targets - cardboard doomed to recycled anyway.

That doesn't mean however that it isn't possible or legal to shoot in a backyard however. The person doing so simply needs to take various safety measures so that if they are ever asked by police about their backyard archery practice that they can prove that they are doing it in a safe manner that is not endangering anyone.

So for example a neighbour could phone the police and complain, and when police investigate and interview you then you would be able to show that you are using high fences, arrow netting, shooting on a downward angle towards a target on the ground and similar precautions. The police would then determine that there is no point in arresting you as you've proven that you've taken the necessary safety precautions and that you are not shooting recklessly over any fences and into the properties of your neighbours.

#3. In Toronto, Yes.

In Toronto we are fortunate to have the Toronto Archery Range, a free public archery range that is open 24/7 all year long. It is, to my knowledge, the only free public archery range in North America. (Burnaby has a similar public archery range, but it isn't free to use.)

You can learn more about the Toronto Archery Range by visiting:
http://www.archerytoronto.ca/Toronto-Archery-Range.html

Are there any other "designated areas" in Toronto where you can do archery outdoors? No, but there are a few indoor archery ranges that are privately run by universities and archery tag locations.

Very few cities have their own outdoor archery range. eg. Montreal has one, which I believe is privately owned. (If you know whether this is true or false please correct me in the comments.)

If you know of other cities or towns that have their own public archery range please post it in the comments.

#4. Outside the city limits.

If you leave the city limits of Toronto there are a variety of places where a person can do archery. Private archery ranges are at the top of the list, but a person could potentially also rent a small chunk of land from a farmer and build a small private archery range for use by themselves and their friends.

If you have family who owns farmland or a cabin up north or similar property you could ask your family if its okay to visit and shoot on their property. eg. I keep a recurve bow and assorted equipment at my parents' farm just for this express purpose, this way I don't have to bring archery equipment with me when I visit, it is already there.

#5. Yes, it definitely is possible.

Although it is difficult to obtain, some locations will sometimes allow archers to shoot on their premises. Especially if it is for a publicity stunt.

The photos below are of Canadian archery champions Wayne Pullen, Ron Lippert and Sheila Brown shooting inside the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto prior to the 860 foot long shopping mall being opened. The photos were taken by Globe and Mail photographer Tibor Kelly in May 1976. (It is from the cover of the May 17th 1976 issue.)

In order to be able to shoot in the Eaton Centre the three champions had to don hard hats in case anything fell on them. We assume the construction crew was on lunch break at the time they took the photos, and the three champion archers and the Globe and Mail photographer certainly had the permission of the Eaton Corporation. These aren't the kinds of photographs you could get without obtaining permission first.

The photographs are from newspaper clippings saved by Sheila Brown. We can all thank her for having the foresight to save a copy of this historical moment in Toronto archery history.


Gap Shooting, An Intermediate Archery Skill

Q

"New to traditional archery. Am I the only one to use the part circled to aim? Is it a bad habit I should break?

Justin M."




A


Hello Justin!

It is called Gap Shooting.

Rare for a beginner. It is more of an intermediate skill that archers learn after they have been shooting for a longer time period.

Gap Shooting is useful for shooting at moving targets; Aiming off the arrowhead is slower to adjust your aim compared to Gap Shooting which lets you keep your eye on the target.

Gap Shooting is not so good for shooting long distances as it means you are aiming above the target and often cannot see it any more because the bow is physically in the way.

If you learn both styles of aiming (traditional aiming off the arrowhead and gap shooting) it makes you a more versatile archer.
Some archers even put marks and/or dots on the side of the riser next to where they are aiming so they can improve their accuracy. This is known as a "Gap Shooting Cheat Sheet". It isn't really cheating, it just makes it easier to remember exactly where you are aiming.

In the example to the right is a "Gap Shooting Cheat Sheet" which uses an alternating dot pattern, making it easier to remember which set of dots you are using for aiming purposes.

The archer then aims to the side of the marks or dots, using the gap between the target and the side of the bow as a measuring device. An archer using a right handed bow with too much gap would see their arrow go to the right. Too small of a gap and their arrow goes left. (For archers using a left handed bow the reverse would be true.)

Happy Shooting!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Recommended Exercises for Archery

Q

Thank you for getting back to me. You have given me a lot to consider and just as soon as I finish organizing my schedule for the next while, I will be in touch to arrange to book [archery] lessons.
Meanwhile, I’d like to improve my strength and endurance, and would welcome any exercise suggestions and recommendations you offer.


Joy F.


A

Hey Joy!

Okay, here is a list of posts to read.

I strongly recommend the Warm Up Exercises / Stretches. You may want to ignore the weightlifting exercises and focus on the stretches. Don't do anything that is too challenging (eg. headstand pushups is not for everyone).

Yoga is also very good.

Warm Up Exercises and Stretches
http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2013/04/archery-warmup-exercises-stretches.html

More Advanced Stuff / Weightlifting
http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2013/04/how-to-train-for-archery-at-home.html

Weightlifting Tips for Archers
http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2013/05/10-weightlifting-tips-for-archers.html

More Weightlifting Tips for Archers
http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2015/06/10-weightlifting-tips-for-archers-part.html

If you have additional questions feel free to ask.

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca


Awa Kenzo

Youth Recurve Bow / Youth Archery Equipment

The following is a follow up email I sent to a client after teaching his daughter this past weekend. After the lesson he had a series of questions about purchasing equipment that I answered, during which I mentioned my Archery Equipment Checklist.
 
Hey I!

Good meeting you both on Saturday!

If you are considering buying equipment here is that equipment checklist that I mentioned after the lesson:


The biggest change is that you will be looking for a youth recurve bow instead of an adult recurve bow given in the example. When your daughter is 12 roughly she should be tall enough for an adult bow, in which case you could sell the youth bow and buy a new one. (The good news is used archery equipment, if you take good care of it, usually has a fairly good resale value of about 80% of what you paid for it.)

So for example you could get something similar to a Samick youth bow in 14 lbs. (She was shooting 12 lbs on Saturday, but an extra 2 lbs will be okay.)


Youth Samick Recurve Bow - Priced at $159.85 CDN on Amazon.ca


If you have any follow up questions feel free to ask. Have a great day!


Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Playing Sports while wearing Hearing Aids

Do you need advice about hearing aids while playing sports or exercising?

Are you wearing your hearing aids while exercising or competing in sports and are worried about damaging the batteries or the hearing aid itself?

Many people would agree that maintaining a healthier lifestyle is important in ensuring a better quality of life. Having a health-first attitude often includes some type of physical exercise. eg. Archery! However within archery, which is a very social activity, there are certain factors like being able to hear when people shout "Clear!" and "Live!" which are useful for your safety. So there is certainly a safety benefit. Even golfers typically shout "Fore!" when hitting a long drive and to warn people to watch out for incoming golf balls.

Safety aside, having an active lifestyle can also mean engaging in organized team sports, while others may prefer activities at a singular or small-group level such as hiking, dog walking, competitive dog walking, jogging, bike riding, or even bird watching (a lot of walking and hiking involved in bird watching).

And with respect to bird watching, which isn't really sporty but does require exercise, you probably also want to be able to hear the birds you are looking for.

Yet for individuals who wear hearing aids, there may be some hesitation to take part in fitness programs and/or various sports due to concerns about potential damage to these rather important and often expensive devices. Let’s face it; they need their hearing aids for many other facets of their lives, and they likely want to safeguard their financial investment as well. (Although if you live in Ontario/Canada, most of the cost is covered by OHIP.)

Regardless of the sports activity, or the age of the person for that matter, they should be able to enjoy themselves without having to worry about their hearing aids. And now, for the most part, they can; provided that they take a few precautionary steps with their hearing aids before, during, and after their exercise routines or games.

Hearing impairment does not have to be a hurdle to pursuing an active lifestyle. (I really wanted to put a hurdles gif on the right side here, but was unable to find one that I liked.) By maintaining and managing their hearing aids effectively, people with hearing loss can take part in and enjoy any number of sports and/or other types of physical activities.

To assist in learning more about these types of situations, the hearing loss specialists at Omni Hearing in Woodbridge offer the following advice and tips for hearing aid wearers who want to exercise or take part in sports:

Caring for Hearing Aids When Exercising and Playing Sports

  1. After a day of exercising/sports, place hearing aids in a dehumidifier box overnight to get rid of extra moisture.
  2. Upon removal from the dehumidifier, brush hearing aids to clean excess wax/dirt you may have accumulated.
  3. Wear a regular headband or hat to prevent excess sweat from saturating the hearing aids with moisture.
  4. For behind-the-ear hearing aids, cover them with a sweat-resistant pouch or sleeve.
  5. At times during an activity, use a portable puffer to blow air through molding/tubing.
  6. Wear properly-sized headgear (helmets, toques, caps) to accommodate your hearing aids.
  7. For contact sports, use a specially-designed clip that secures hearing aids to clothing to prevent it from getting knocked off and damaged.
  8. If you are exercising regularly apply an antimicrobial agent every few days to ward off bacteria, microbes, and prevent infection. Last thing you need is an inner ear infection.
  9. Keep extra tubing on hand at all times in the event of damage or dirt/sweat blockage.
  10. Identify a local hearing centre in case of emergency when traveling / exercising overseas.
  11. Select the proper type of hearing aids and ensure the right fit for the activities/sports.
  12. If possible, get water-resistant hearing aids. There are various kinds of water proof hearing aids that are ideal for swimming, snorkeling and similar activities.
  13. There are also accessories you can get to help make your regular hearing aids more water resistant / protected.
  14. Ask a Professional about Managing Hearing Aids in Relation to Playing Sports (see below).

Ask a Professional about Managing Hearing Aids in Relation to Playing Sports

Individuals with hearing loss who may have questions or concerns about wearing hearing aids while participating in various exercise regimens, physical activities, and/or contact sports would find it beneficial to consult with a hearing specialist from the Omni Hearing, one of the leading clinics in the GTA and ready to help people to achieve their goals (sports and otherwise).

In the same way that having the proper clothing/equipment and stretching the muscles before a recreational or sporting activity can enhance the experience, a visit to a hearing centre such as Omni Hearing in Woodbridge can help to better prepare those who need or want to wear their hearing aids under these types of circumstances. During this visit and consultation, hearing aid users can discuss and/or address matters related to:

  • Having extra batteries on hand, should you need them.
  • Other contents of the sports bag / accessories.
  • The condition of their hearing aids.
  • The correct fit of their hearing aids.
  • Accessories specifically for use in sports.
  • Water proof or water resistant hearing aids.
  • Back-up plans for any unforeseen situations.

For additional information on the hearing services offered by the hearing aids specialists from Omni Hearing in Woodbridge by calling 905-605-4593 or visiting their store at 8611 Weston Rd Unit 17, Woodbridge.

Fast Flight Bowstrings vs Vintage Bows

Q

"I have a question if you have a second.

That [vintage Black Hawk Scorpion] bow I sent pics of. My buddy Forrest made me a string for free but its ff [fast flight]. Will that hurt it?

- Parker S."


The bow in question, a Black Hawk Scorpion:





A

Hey Parker!

Risky. I wouldn't use fast flight on any of my vintage bows.

It was good you asked before trying it. Would be a real shame to see a Black Hawk ruined.

So weird thing... you know how bowstrings are usually 14 or 16 strands, right? So if people really want their bow to shoot faster they can also just make a bowstring that is 10 or 12 strands instead. The weight reduction on the bow string is what makes fast flight string faster, but other strings can do the same thing, you just have to use less of it. It does lower the life expectancy of the bowstring because it is then less durable, but if speed is what the person wants then it doesn't matter.
 
The downside of fast flight string is that it tends to damage bows by cutting into the wood / fibreglass. A friend of mine once experimented with making a bowstring made out of fishing line, which turned out to be a very idea. Even worse than FF judging by the amount of damage it did.

Parker: Ok thank you. I think he just wasn't thinking about it when he made it. What should I use? B50?

Yep.

Also if you ever get into making your own bowstrings, expect the first 5 to be horrible but usable. By the time you make #10 you will be probably be happy with their quality. It is a fast learning curve.

Parker: Ok thank you very much.


Where to find javelin lessons in Toronto?

Q

Hello, I live in the beaches area of Toronto and was looking for a contact or someone who can do one-on-one or small group sessions on throwing the javelin.  I am an athlete in many sports but haven't had the opportunity to try the javelin.  I would like to learn or at least try to see how good I could be in this sport and was hoping to have a few lessons to see if I like it before joining a throwing club and making a big financial commitment.  When I was quite young I threw the shot put but that was many years ago.  Also throwing the discus might interest me as well.

I will be 17 next month and am presently in grade 11 and will be participating in the TDSB track and field team in spring for my school.  I usually sprint and compete in the long jump but this year I would like to see if I could participate in the javelin only if I could gain some experience and see if I am good enough through some private or a few group lessons with an experienced thrower.  I was hoping you might be able to help me.

Thank you.
David T.

A


Hello David!

I tried javelin myself in high school and rather enjoyed it. I even made my own spears and a trident, for fun, while I was a teenager. (A few years ago I was visiting my parents and my brother-in-law broke my old trident.)

However I haven't touched a javelin in over 20 years and I am certainly not qualified to teach it. If you wanted archery lessons I could help you, but you don't seem to be interested in that. Although if you are, let me know and we can arrange some archery lessons.

My recommendation would be to find someone who competed in javelin, however briefly, and ask if they would be willing to teach a few lessons.

Another possibility you might look into, just because it is similar, is spearfishing. I personally think that would be fun to try. Legally, spearfishing in Ontario is governed by the same laws as bowfishing.
You might also ask around at various Toronto high schools and see if any of them have a javelin program. There should be a few Phys Ed teachers who teach it.

You could also try contacting professional Canadian athletes or their coaches, and ask if they can recommend someone in Toronto.

I am going to do a post on my website however and maybe (hopefully) someone will contact me who knows more about teaching javelin, and then I can refer you to them.

Best of luck to you!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca



Follow Up

I really appreciate all your input and information.  It's great to hear about your experiences.  Thank you very much for your advice and I'll continue to research all avenues and hopefully find someone nearby.  I'm also going to think about the archery.

David T.



When do you become an archer?

Q

Someone posted this on Facebook awhile back:

"When do you become an archer?"



And below is how I responded to this question:


When you first start you become an amateur archer.


When you compete, you become a competitive archer.


When you get paid to do archery you become a professional archer.

When you teach it and people come back for more lessons and tell their friends how great you are, you become an archery instructor (possibly by accident like I did).

When you have learned everything in terms of the physical aspects of archery and have to constantly challenge yourself mentally, you have become an archery master.

The master already knows how to shoot. That is not their problem. Their problem is finding challenges (often mental challenges) that allow them to continue learning something new.
A round of shots on January 24th 2019. The one shot clipped a nock and the nock went flying off.

Now you will notice that, yes, that is a very tight cluster. And yes, I did clip the nock so that it went flying off.

But what you might not notice is the date. January 24th and it was freezing cold outside. Here is some more photos from that day. To shoot that well in those conditions... it is mostly mental.

Eventually it got so cold I decided to go home.






Panarama of the Toronto Archery Range!

Archery Biathlon Lessons in Toronto

Q


"Hi I came across an old post about archery ski instruction out of Toronto.
Wondering if you’re still coaching or if you can point me in the direction of someone who is in the Toronto area (or somewhere within a drive ).
Thanks



E. M."


A


Hello E!

Yes, I still coach that but only on weekends.

Would you like to book for January?

If you have any questions feel free to ask. Have a good day!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca
Follow Up Comments
So yes, I still teach Archery Biathlon - but I rarely get requests for that. Not many people want archery lessons during the winter, and even less are interested in learning the sport of Archery Biathlon.
So E's email made me realize I should do a post that confirms, yes, I do still offer archery biathlon lessons (and winter archery lessons), and there has been a few changes and I do want to remind people of the following.
#1. I only teach Archery Biathlon during the weekends.
#2. Winter Archery Lessons are likewise only available on weekends.
#3. Winter lessons of either are one-on-one only. No pairs or groups of 3.
#4. You will need your own skis and ski gear. I do not provide those for you. I only provide the archery equipment, if you need it. If you have your own archery equipment and prefer to use it, that is fine too.

#5. Remember to dress for the weather, using multiple tight-fitting layers of warm clothing. Avoid bulky sleeves and bulky jackets.

#6. Definitely remember to bring a hot drink with you. Snacks are a good idea too.

#7. Lesson Plan:

  • Lesson 1 will include a Safety Lecture, Eye Dominance Test, Lecture on Aiming, Lecture on Proper Form, Archery Biathlon Practice combined with Field Archery Practice (aka "Field Archery Biathlon").
  • Lessons 2 will start with "Target Archery Biathlon", and include a lecture in the middle about arrowheads.
  • Lesson 3 will focus on "Long Distance Archery Biathlon", and include a lecture in the middle about arrow spine.
  • Lesson 4 will introduce how to use a Sight and Stabilizer and focus on "Target Archery Biathlon". At some point during the lesson we will be waxing the bowstring and waxing the skis.
  • Lesson 5 will focus on "Archery Biathlon Speed Shooting" - because it is fun, and why not do something fun for the final lesson?
How many lessons a person signs up for is up to them, but we should be able to schedule in 5 lessons during January / February when there is ample snow on the ground. If the snow starts melting too much towards the end of winter we may simply be doing "archery lessons" and skip the skiing aspect.

You notice also that E. asked about other locations where she could learn archery biathlon. Unfortunately I am unaware of anyone else in Toronto (or remotely near the GTA) who teaches archery biathlon.
To sign up for Winter Archery Lessons or Archery Biathlon send an email to

What is my favourite bow to shoot?

So I was talking back and forth with one of my previous students about archery equipment, answering any and all questions he had, and I mentioned I had recently purchased a vintage bow off eBay, bringing my total number of bows to 32.

To which they responded and added a postscript:


" P.S. 32 bows!! At least you must have a sweet collection. Which one is your favorite bow? "

I had to seriously think about that question because I had never chosen a favourite out of them.

So I responded with the following:

Honestly, very difficult to choose a favourite. It really depends on my mood what I feel like shooting on a particular day. I definitely prefer the older recurves I have collected from the 1970s. I also have other older bows from the 40s, 50s and 60s... the oldest of which is from 1942. Obviously I don't shoot the really old ones that often because I consider them to be "shootable museum pieces", and thus I prefer to only shoot those on rare occasions when the weather is favourable - don't want to shoot them when it is too hot, too cold, or too wet.

Of the bows from the 70s my favourite is probably the Black Hawk Avenger from 1972. It is a rather pretty "magnum style" recurve. It is called a magnum style because it is shorter and designed for hunters to easily move around with, less worry about it getting caught on branches etc. The problem with that design however is that it makes the bow less forgiving. A longer bow is more forgiving, you can make a mistake and still hit the target. With an unforgiving bow, you make a mistake and miss completely. Thus while it is a small beautiful bow, it is very challenging to shoot accurately and perhaps that is why I enjoy it more - because I like the challenge it presents.

Photos below, the Black Hawk Avenger. I really should take more photos of this bow. These photos do not do it justice. I also have a Black Hawk Chief Scout (compound bow) which is the prettiest wooden compound bow I have ever seen. They don't make them like that any more.
 
 
 


How to get the best of both worlds when buying archery equipment

A


"Hey Charles, hope all is good with you. This is Aadil, I took lessons with you like over two years ago, unfortunately have not practiced archery since. I want to get back into it, and maybe down the line take more lessons.

I wanted to ask if you could recommend arrows and bows:

For bow, I am looking at the Samick Sage Takedown @ 40 lbs.

http://www.lancasterarchery.com/samick-sage-takedown-recurve-bow.html

For arrows, I am a bit confused about because there are so many. Would you be able to recommend any?

Would love to hear you again, and perhaps maybe catch you on the field someday.

Best,
Aadil S."

A

Hey Aadil!

Long time no see!

I never recommend starting at 40 lbs when getting your first bow, but if you really want to get 40 here is my recommendation:

Get two sets of limbs, 25 lbs and 40 lbs. This way you can practice form on the 25 lb limbs and when you are later ready to shoot 40 (to build muscle, to hunt deer / small game) you can switch to the more powerful limbs. This then gives you the best of both worlds... A lighter set of limbs which are easier for a beginner to practice form on, and a stronger set of limbs for when they want to build muscle, shoot longer distances, practice for hunting, etc.

What I don't like to see is when a beginner gets a 40 lb bow, finds out that shooting it is exhausting, the exhaustion takes the fun out of it, and then their bow collects dust in the closet most of the year. Having the lighter limbs allows them to have more fun, still practice, practice more often, and has the bonus feature that you can give the 25 lb bow to a friend / sibling / etc and they can still hopefully shoot it.

Since you are looking at getting a 40 lb bow, I recommend getting 500 spine arrows. Depending on your draw length you might need different arrows, so please consult the chart on the following page:

http://www.cardiotrek.ca/2014/05/3-frequently-asked-archery-equipment.html


The 500 spine arrows will be a bit too stiff for 25 lbs, but better to be too stiff than to be too easily broken.

Also with respect to arrow fletching, aim for 3 to 4" fletching. 5" fletching is great on a day when there is zero wind, but we live in Toronto and there is ALWAYS wind here. 3" fletching will be less effected by the wind. 4" fletching will be more accurate when there is less wind. Pros and Cons to both.

I wouldn't worry too much about brand names. Get 500 spine and 3 or 4" fletching and you should be fine.

With respect to more lessons I sometimes have discounts, so if you check my website once in awhile I sometimes post a discount. So if you are thinking of getting more archery lessons, perhaps subscribe / come back to my site regularly and you will probably see a discount posted.

If you have more questions feel free to ask. See you at the range!

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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