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Showing posts with label Toronto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toronto. Show all posts

Archery Lessons in Toronto + Do-It-Yourself Approach

Note - So years ago I wrote this article for "The Canadian Daily", an online magazine which has since disappeared. Since it is no more I realized I should republish the article here instead. Thus while the information here may be a little redundant when compared to some of my other articles, it is not wholly redundant. There are some useful parts in here that are not mentioned elsewhere on my website. Also I have updated parts of the article.



Hello!

My name is Charles and I am a personal trainer in Toronto. However on the side I also teach archery, boxing, swimming and ice skating. Depends on the season really.

When it comes to my sports training activities it is the archery lessons that get the most attention (thanks to all the movies and media fuss in 2012). However there simply aren’t a lot of places or people in Toronto that offer private archery lessons.

There are archery clubs (like Hart House at the University of Toronto) and even an archery school, but when people want private lessons and don’t want to spend a bundle there isn’t a lot of options.

(Update April 2014 – Toronto now has an archery club, the Toronto Archery Club on Meetup.com. So that is a new option for the Do-It-Yourselfers out there.)
There really is not a lot of options. Especially for kids, since many places don’t teach kids, with the exception of summer camps which exclusively teach kids - but often have shoddy equipment and sometimes even instructors who have never even touched a bow.

Now you could hire me – that is a given. But what I am going to do here is talk about the Do-It-Yourself Approach to Learning Archery. There are definite pros and cons to the DIY approach which I will explain.

#1. You will need to buy equipment. To get a decent beginner package of equipment you are going to need to spend approx. $300 to $350. If you want to get into Olympic archery you need to be thinking $1,000 to $1,500 – but I don’t recommend Olympic archery for beginners. If you want to get into compound archery / hunting / bowfishing you are looking at $500 to $1,000 depending on the type of compound bow you get. Again, I don’t recommend compounds for beginners either because they are more complicated since you have to learn how to tune them. I argue it is better to learn recurve first, and then you can switch to your chosen style of archery.
 
Note: Deciding what kind of archer you want to be is an important decision. I personally teach traditional recurve archery because all the truly great archers were traditional archers and my personal intent is to follow in their footsteps. This doesn’t mean you can’t go down the road of Olympic or Compound shooting, simply that it is a personal choice that each archer must make and their decision should be respected. You can even try to do more than one style of archery – but it would be a huge investment as you will need different sets of equipment. For myself my next bows will be a traditional Japanese yumi bow and a traditional Korean shortbow – because I want to explore other unique types of traditional archery.

#2. Where to buy equipment. The place I used to recommend the most is Tent City in North York, near Steeles and Dufferin, which had a fair selection and if they don’t have it then they can order it for you. Unfortunately Tent City is no longer there as they ran into financial troubles after a fire on their roof years ago. But there is also Bass Pro in Vaughan which caters more to compounds and hunting / bowfishing, and The Bow Shop in Waterloo which has a much bigger selection, but is evidently further away.

All else fails, you can purchase equipment via Amazon.ca or similar websites and just have it delivered.

#3. You will need to learn proper archery form. Beginners learning archery need to focus on form a lot. You need to learn how to stand, how to pull the bow, how to anchor your shot, how to aim, how to follow through, how to make lines and clusters, how to adjust your shot – and how to learn from your mistakes. Oh and how to multitask unconsciously because you’re expected to do a lot of this all at the same time without really thinking about it.

Note: You can get a lot of free archery tips off my website in the archery section. But even that only scratches the surface.

#4. To learn form it is best to have an archery instructor (like me!) who can coach you and tell you what to do, what you are doing wrong, and help train you away from bad habits you are making and steer you towards good habits which will increase the quality of your shots. However if you don’t want an instructor you are going to be relying on trial and error and complete guesswork – which will take forever because archery is a sport for perfectionists and you will be making lots of mistakes. Thus if you want the DIY route I do have a book to recommend you. It is called “Precision Archery” and is edited / written by Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson (the editors of Archery Focus Magazine). The book is basically a list of the best articles from their magazine and has 14 chapters covering everything from equipment to form to aiming to competitions. There are other books I recommend reading too, but Precision Archery will cover a lot of the topics you will want to learn – and it covers multiple styles of archery.

#5. Weightlifting… Thanks to The Hunger Games, Brave, The Avengers, Arrow, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and even the British film Hanna archery is super popular right now. But many of these films present a false understanding of archery and people think that it is easy to pull a bow. It is not. Most beginners are stunned by how much more effort it requires just to pull a 24 lb recurve. The more powerful bows require quite a bit of strength to pull back and hold steady – strength that is beyond the average person.

To backtrack to equipment it is important that a person’s first bow be one they can actually pull back easily – but still has some physical challenge to it so that they are building extra muscle so that they improve physically with time. This is why I bring up the topic of weightlifting. If you want to have a physical edge in archery, to be able to hold the bow more steady, to pull more powerful bows, to get better range and accuracy, then you are going to need to do weightlifting that targets your back, shoulders and triceps. Forearm strength helps a bit too – which means using hand grips to build up those muscles.

Note: I recommend specific exercises to my archery students, but the exercise I recommend most is good ol’ fashioned push ups. Do 20 push ups 5 times per day and you will be building up many of the muscles which will give you a physical edge in archery. Some archers even like to do push ups, stretches and other exercises before shooting to warm up their muscles. (Push ups targets the shoulders, triceps and pectorals. The shoulders and triceps are used a lot in archery, and the pectorals are mirror muscles for the back muscles – which is useful for maintaining balance and form. Over time many archers get overdeveloped back muscles and then their form and balance suffers because their pectorals are too weak. By doing push ups regularly it helps to rectify that problem while simultaneously building the shoulders and triceps.)

#6. Location. The place to go in Toronto is E.  T. Seton Archery Range (also known as The Toronto Public Archery Range) in E. T. Seton Park, near the corner of Don Mills Road and Gateway Boulevard. To get there take the 25 bus from Pape Station or if driving I recommend parking in the Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot near the Tim Hortons. Then walk down the hill westward on Gateway Boulevard and part way down the hill you will see several shortcuts after the fence which lead near the archery range.

Note: If you live outside of Toronto and unable to make the trip to E. T. Seton then you will need to find a suitable place to do archery. I do not recommend your back yard because that could get you charged with reckless endangerment. A better solution would be a grassy field on a farm.

#7. You are going to lose a lot of arrows if you don’t have someone coaching you. This is a given so remember to buy lots of arrows. My advice is that you don’t muck or fool about with your aim. When in doubt aim really low because the arrow will arc upwards and your first shots might even go over the target if it is only 20 yards away. Archery is part geometry and physics in that the arrows are going to arc and you need to learn where to aim in order to have your arrows hit dead center. Aim low, hit high.

#8. Don’t do archery in a place where you will break or lose arrows easily. eg. Shooting at a tree in the woods may look good in the movies, but you will break your arrows on the tree or lose them in the woods. You want a nice soft surface (like a professional archery target butt) and a grassy field or hill behind the target so you can find your arrows easily.

#9. Don’t expect to be amazingly good in an hurry. It takes years to master archery. Archery is a journey and it requires patience and lots of practice.

#10. If you change your mind and want archery lessons in Toronto you know where to find me. A couple lessons and I can have you set on the right track.

Happy Shooting!

Private Archery Ranges near Toronto

One of my students asked me about private archery ranges near Richmond Hill, and in response I have made the following list of private archery ranges near the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) - which includes Richmond Hill.

I was originally thinking of organizing this list alphabetically, but then I changed my mind and decided to organize by categories as some of these locations are university clubs, archery tag locations, and only a few are wholly private archery ranges.

PRIVATE ARCHERY RANGES IN THE GTA

Archers of Caledon
archersofcaledon.org

Located North-West of Brampton, this club/private range was once known as the Humber Valley Archers, but changed the name when they moved the club to Caledon Hills north west of Toronto. The club hosts indoor and outdoor tournaments, and international tournaments as well.

The Archers of Caledon has a 30 x 15 meter heated indoor range, with 10 shooting lanes.

Outdoors, Archers of Caledon has:
  • A 30 to 90 meter target range.
  • A 10 to 80 meter practice range, which includes both field archery and target archery.
  • A 28 target field archery / 3D range course with animal targets ranging from 6 to 65 meters.

Durham Archers
durhamarchers.com
Two ranges located north of Oshawa, this members only club offers a 3D shooting range (only from Spring to Autumn, the 3D targets are put in storage during the winter to prevent ice damage), target ranges, and field archery. They also host a variety of tournaments.

Note - There is no indoor range.


Peel Archery Club
peelarchery.ca

Located in Peel/Brampton (north west of Pearson International Airport), this indoor range offers both target and 3D options, with the comfort of heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. It also boasts Canada's only 70 meter indoor archery range. (Currently the only one. This may change in the future.) They also host a variety of indoor tournaments.

Note - There is no outdoor range.


York County Bowmen
yorkcountybowmen.com

Located east of Newmarket (north of Toronto), York County Bowmen is a club/private range that boasts the following:

  • An indoor 18 meter (20 yards) range  with 12 shooting lanes.
  • Over 50 acres of 3D target ranges, with 14 field archery shooting lanes.
  • A target practice range, with targets spaced from 10 to 60 yards.


ARCHERY TAG INDOOR RANGES

The following is a short list of archery tag locations which also operate archery ranges, the trick being that most of the time the space is being used for archery tag, and they only rarely open the space up as an archery range. So for example some archery tag locations only open up the space for practice 1 day per week, so don't expect a lot of availability that matches your schedule. The size of the space varies on the locations, but don't expect anything larger than 30 meters as these locations are typically about the size of a high school gymnasium. The good news however is that you don't need a membership for these indoor ranges and can just pay an hourly rate to use the space.
  • Archers Arena in North York
  • Archery Circuit located south of Markham
  • Archery District in Etobicoke
  • Archery 2 You in Ajax
  • Battle Sports in North York
  • Stryke Archery Range in Brampton and York

UNIVERSITY ARCHERY RANGES

Joining an university archery club can be a bit trickier. It generally helps if you are already a student or alumni for that university. With university archery clubs there is typically specific times when the range is open, so you really need to find out what their hours operations are before deciding whether to make the effort to join one of these clubs.
  • University of Ryerson Archery Club
  • University of Toronto Archery Club @ Hart House
  • York University Archery Club

PLACES TO AVOID

Sharon Gun Club - Located north-east of Newmarket, this club does NOT offer archery. Contrary to what a Google search dictates, this club does NOT do archery at all. It is purely a gun club. So don't waste your time on this one.

Shooting Academy Canada - Located in Scarborough, this location does offer both guns and archery (as well as throwing knives, airsoft, and BB), and boasts a tiny 15 yard indoor target range. There is no outdoor range. No field archery, no 3D archery targets, etc. Hence why I decided to list it down here and not with the wholly private archery ranges. Plus since they are using firearms indoors, users should really be wearing hearing protection - which many archers might object to as it would feel weird wearing hearing protection while doing archery. So it is not a location I would recommend to students.

Target Sports Canada - Located north of Markham, this is another location that does NOT offer archery. It is another gun range that could be easily confused as an archery range, mostly due to faulty Google search results.


See Also

List of Archery Clubs in Ontario

10 Lesson Archery Crash Course / Visiting Toronto

Traveling to Toronto to Study Archery

I have had students who come from the USA and overseas (Saudi Arabia, China, South Korea, India, Brazil, the U.K., etc) who have come here expressly to study archery under my tutelage.

Now that doesn't mean that they don't have any archery instructors available locally (although in some places like Saudi Arabia they are admittedly difficult to find). It simply means that for whatever reasons, some of my archery students have decided that they wanted to travel to Toronto, Canada to study archery here rather than study locally.

In 2017 I taught a young man from Ohio who came here for two weeks and took a 10 lesson crash course in traditional archery. Why? Because he couldn't find any archery instructors in Ohio that he felt were professional / quality, and he wanted to improve his archery skills in a hurry. So he decided to visit Canada, found an Airbnb, and have a vacation wherein he explored Toronto for 2 weeks and had 10 archery lessons during that 2 week period. He liked it here so much he was tempted to find a job in Toronto and move here. (Partially to get away from the political nonsense in the USA.)

In 2014 I taught a young woman with aspirations towards joining the Saudi Arabia Olympic Team, and thus came to Toronto for 10 lessons in Olympic-style archery. Saudi Arabia has a number of problems with archery:

  1. The common person cannot even purchase archery equipment unless they are already on an archery team. Thus it makes sense to study archery overseas. (Catch-22 Situation)
  2. You cannot get an archery coach in Saudi Arabia unless you are on a team.
  3. Joining an archery team requires that the individual has already demonstrated that they have archery skill.
  4. Taking archery equipment on a plane is prohibited unless you can prove it is for training purposes only.
Seriously, they make it really difficult. So in order to pursue her archery goals, she needed to study overseas. And she would need to buy archery equipment overseas, practice, get better, and continue to pursue her dream. It isn't going to be easy.

And other students of course, some of whom may have had other reasons for visiting Toronto and deciding to get archery lessons while they are here.

Two of my happy archery students from November 2018.

How many archery lessons should a person get?

Typically my "crash course" students take 5 to 10 lessons. The more the merrier. There is no limit.

Some of my regular students who live here in Toronto just keep coming back for more lessons year after year. Including one of my older students from the U.K. who visits Toronto every Spring and Autumn and has lessons during those times of year.

How much does 5 to 10 lessons costs?

For one-on-one lessons:

5 lessons is $270 CDN (weekdays only) or $405 CDN (weekends only).

10 lessons is $520 CDN (weekdays only) or $780 CDN (weekends only).

Often crash course students mix/match weekday/weekend lessons, so they might have 6 weekday lessons and 4 weekend lessons for a total of $624 CDN. (With the current exchange rate $624 CDN is about $466 USD.) This combination of weekday and weekend lessons allows them to have lessons on a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday + Saturday/Sunday schedule, with breaks on Mondays and Fridays so they can relax.

Also my availability often varies on the season and how booked up I am with other students, so precise scheduling can vary upon what is available.

Is there a lesson plan?

Yes, I have multiple lesson plans.

There is the Standard Archery Lesson Plan (for traditional recurve), the Horse Archery Lesson Plan, and the Olympic Archery Lesson Plan.

If an archer is more experienced or has specific goals in mind, I can also adjust and tailor a lesson plan to suit the student's needs.

So for example I have yet to have a student ask to focus on longbow archery for 10 lessons, in which case I would simply modify the Standard Lesson Plan to suit their needs.

With compound archers their needs often vary on their goals so I routinely design an unique lesson plan for each compound archer that suits their individual needs.

Tips for Taking an Archery Crash Course

#1. Eat Healthy - You are going to be exercising for 90 minutes almost every day, so having a healthy diet is certainly beneficial. Lots of veggies and protein.

#2. Sleep Well - Avoid staying up late doing activities. Try to be well rested and alert the day of lessons. eg. Going out to a party, drinking and being tired/hungover the next day would be a bad idea.

#3. Pack a Lunch - Bring food, snacks, drinks to every lesson should hunger or thirst strike you. Having a hot or cold drink is very handy during the colder / hotter times of year.

#4. Archery Gear - If you have your own archery equipment and are bringing it with you, you should make certain it is okay to bring it on any international flights to Canada. You also don't want to forget anything you might need, so when in doubt BRING EVERYTHING you think you might need and pack it well in advance. You don't want to arrive in Toronto and discover you forgot your favourite tab or shooting glove or thumbring.

#5. Familiarize yourself with Toronto Weather - Depending on the time of year it is either really hot or very cold and you should prepare yourself by bringing or purchasing appropriate clothing.

Note - In 2019 I am going to try to not schedule lessons during the hottest weeks of the year and instead take a vacation at that time. The last two weeks of July are two of the hottest weeks of the year, so that sounds like a good time for a vacation.

#6. Be Prepared to Learn a Lot - My Japanese professor in university told us that the average human only learns and remembers 10 new things in a day, and thus a person learning a language can only be expected to learn and retain 10 new words each day. Over the course of 10 lessons, you will be expected to learn way more than 100 things. Thus you should expect to learn a lot, you should expect to learn some things you weren't expecting to learn, and it can feel a bit overwhelming at first.

Fortunately for you I explain things in terms of the physics of what is happening, and I often employ narrative storytelling, jokes, and "Archery Sayings" into my teaching methodology which helps students to remember. I even recently published an article in Archery Focus Magazine about using narrative storytelling as a teaching tool.


What are my credentials?

  1. I have been doing archery since April 1989. So almost 30 years, since the age of 10.
  2. When I was a teenager in the 1990s I routinely made my own bows, arrows, and crossbows.
  3. I studied Olympic-style archery formally in South Korea, at Jeonbukdaehakkyo (Jeonbuk University).
  4. I started teaching archery in 2009.
  5. I practice and teach all 5 major styles of archery - Traditional Recurve, Olympic Recurve, Longbow, Shortbow/Horsebow, and Compound.
  6. I still make longbows and crossbows as a hobby.
  7. I collect antique and vintage bows from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. I would like to get some older bows.
  8. My personal collection of bows is *currently* 34. I create, buy and sell bows every year, so the number fluctuates.
  9. I have published 3 articles so far in Archery Focus Magazine. More to come!
  10. I have published a book of poetry about Zen Archery: "Dreaming of Zen Archery".
  11. I am currently working on an archery "how to" book and also a book of archery sayings/photography.
  12. I have been on CBC News, CTV, CityNews, TSN, OLN, CBC Radio (twice) and various other television and radio broadcasts.
  13. I have both won archery competitions and judged archery competitions.
  14. I taught my wife archery, and in 2019 I expect my 2-year-old son will begin archery. Five members of my extended family also do archery, including my cousin who was North American Champion for Traditional Recurve Target Archery in 1990 and 1991, and Traditional Recurve Field Archery Champion in 1991. So archery is a family sport for myself and my relatives.
  15. Teaching archery is not a hobby for me. It is my full time occupation. I live and breathe this sport.
The archery instructor on February 23rd 2017. A warm day in February.

Is it possible to get archery lessons during the winter? Are they indoors?

Yes, it is possible, and it is outdoors. I am a firm believer in practicing outdoors and learning how to adjust for weather conditions. Even if it is very cold. However since this is Toronto, one of most southern Canadian cities, it often isn't even that cold here and the snow melts easily.

However I do have a rule with winter archery. It must be -5 ℃ or warmer. Any colder than that and the combination of the extreme cold and the windchill is going to make it feel like it is -20 or colder, and it is both bad for the archer to be doing archery in such conditions, but also potentially bad for your archery equipment.

Thus for the sake of your equipment and mine, -5 or warmer is the rule.

Also I don't recommend using vintage archery equipment when it is too cold, too hot or too humid, as the heat/cold/humidity can be much more harmful to older vintage equipment. Aim for moderate temperatures when using any kind of vintage archery equipment. So while I do sometimes bring some of my "museum pieces" to the range to show students / shoot them, I only do that when the weather is appropriate.

The bow in the photo above is a 1949 Bear Grizzly Static Recurve, and it was so warm that day in February I decided it was safe to bring it.

What else is there to do in Toronto?

There are many tourism websites and things to do in or near Toronto. You will not be bored in this city which has a plethora of historical sites, art galleries, museums, restaurants, and cultural districts (eg. Chinatown, Little Korea, Little Italy, etc), world class beaches, sailboats, etc.

You could potentially also take day trips to Niagara Falls, Hamilton (which also has many waterfalls), Guelph, Kitchener, Elora Gorge, Barrie and various locales within a short drive / train ride of Toronto. Depending on your interests you could be exploring outdoors, going to historical sites, getting winery tours, etc. If you have specific interests I can even recommend places my wife and I have gone.

Some of archery students have also taken horseback riding lessons, so if that is your goal you could in theory do both. Study archery and horseback riding at the same time. After ten lessons of both you should be able to handle yourself on a horse and be able to shoot with a degree of experience and confidence. The Horse Archery Lesson Plan page contains a list of horse riding locations in / near Toronto if you want to browse and compare prices.

Update - One of my former students recommends Wind Spirit Stable, which is about a 90 minute drive north of Toronto.

Personal Note - It is my long term goal to open a horse riding school / private archery range. It is on my To Do List. It is just a matter of time.

Thursday Archery Lessons in Toronto

Regarding Archery Lessons...

I have been thinking of making some time slots available on Thursdays - 10 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM for teaching archery lessons.

UPDATE, I may also be available on Fridays too.

At present I only teach on weekends and watch my infant son on weekdays, but in the near future I may be able to start teaching on Thursdays again, pending availability*.

* I might not be available on all Thursdays. We shall see.

Sorry, no evening lessons. Not available.

Anyone interested in Thursday archery lessons should email cardiotrek@gmail.com and let me know what time slots you are thinking of and how many lessons you are interested in.

To learn more please read my Archery Lessons page which provides all the necessary info regarding my rates, equipment, etc.

And now, because I find them interesting and amusing, here are some photos of birds perched on arrows. Tada!


Owl perched on a cluster of Arrows
Peach Faced or Rosy Faced Lovebird Parakeet perched on an Arrow

How to take a Punch and Stay Calm

By Charles Moffat - April 2018.

Years ago when I was in South Korea I had a Tae Kwon Do instructor who said something profound which I will share you with you. I may not be remembering what he said exactly as he explained the concept in quite a bit of detail so there is going to be paraphrasing here as I don't recall the exact words he said in the full context of the conversation he told to us students.

But basically what he said was something along the lines of "When your emotions run high in a violent situation it is of utmost importance that you take a breath and keep your wits about you, and then act in a clear and decisive manner."

He broke this down in conversation with a number of examples.

Say you get in an altercation with someone and they attack you, and for a brief moment you have a choice. Do you immediately attack back without thinking of consequences? Or do you think of the consequences and then stay calm, while simultaneously acting in a manner that helps to defuse the situation.

WHY THIS MATTERS TO ME TODAY

Today I was assaulted by the superintendent who lives in my apartment building.

Ah, you say. Now it makes sense why I am talking about staying calm, restraint, and thinking about consequences before acting.

So let me break down the events to you.

1.

My landlord has been wanting the tenants to move our bicycles out of the basement of the building, where my wife and I have stored 5 bicycles. I own 9 bicycles currently and I am a bicycle mechanic hobbyist - I simply enjoy fixing them for fun. Two of the bicycles currently in the basement are really just there for spare parts.

2.

My son fell asleep earlier and I decided now was a good time for me to go move the bicycles while he was sleeping. I found the keys for my bicycle locks, went down to the basement, got the first bicycle and carried it up the stairs and outside to the cement porch that is near the garage and the parking lot. There is a metal railing that goes around the cement porch that many people climb over to the parking lot.

3.

The superintendent followed me out of the building and proceeded to argue with me about where my wife and put our garbage diaper bags. He then pushed me back into the railing so he could climb over the railing. Being pushed back, I reflexively grabbed on to his jacket in order to maintain my balance and during this struggle he punched me in the left side of my face near my ear. Around this time he slid the rest of the way over the porch railing, but I held firmly on to his jacket.

4.

At this point I had a moment of clarity. I had a choice here. I could punch him and beat him up easily. I am a boxing instructor and have studied kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do. He is an old guy in his 50s or 60s. He didn't stand a chance against me. But I had a very clear choice. I didn't have to fight him at all. All I had to do is call 911 and keep holding on to his jacket. (Note - Adrenaline in this situation doesn't help. While it does make you physically stronger and faster, and it helps you ignore pain, it doesn't help you keep your emotions in check. So it becomes ever more important to keep your emotions under control.)

5.

I called 911. This was the clear choice. I have a wife and a son to think about. There are consequences to getting in a fight and beating the **** out of an old guy. I would be in serious trouble if I decided to just beat the **** out of an old guy. So I held on to his jacket while I was calling 911. At this time the superintendent also took out his cellphone and called 911, it was like a race to see who could tell their side of the story first.

6.

I explained to 911 what had happened, with considerable detail. At this point the superintendent punched me in the lower jaw - effectively an uppercut because of the angle, and I did respond by jabbing him in the jaw with the same hand that was holding on to his jacket, so it was a very short jab. This is the one and only time that I punched him in response. I don't remember if he punched me again after that and there might have been an extra time he punched me that I simply ignored and didn't care about. I did tell the 911 lady about him punching be in jaw and that he was still attacking me. The 911 lady advised me that police were on the way and that I should release his jacket, which I did so.

7.

So the police are on their way and I tell the 911 lady that my wife is inside sleeping and I want to check on him. I was not expecting to be gone so long as I had simply wanted to move my bicycles and was not expecting to be attacked by anyone. She said that was a good idea and recommended I do so. So with the police on the way and they have my phone number and location, the 911 call ended and I went back inside. My son had woken up and was crying and I soothed him and fed him.

8.

The police phoned my cellphone, I answered, picked up my son and went to the door. I then held my son in the hallway while I explained to the police all the events. The police listened, asked questions, and two other officers interviewed the superintendent. I admit I was still shaking from adrenaline at the time. The officers then left me, I went back inside our apartment and fed my son some yogurt in the kitchen. I could hear bits of the conversation coming from outside the kitchen window and the superintendent was belligerent with rage. He was not having a very good time keeping his story straight and clearly was not very good at staying calm.

HOW COULD THIS HAVE GONE DIFFERENTLY?

Honestly, everything I did was reactionary. Cause and effect.

He followed me and argued with me, I argued back.

He pushed me, I grabbed his jacket to maintain my balance and a struggle ensued.

He punched me, I called 911.

But it could have gone dramatically different. I had that brief moment where I had to make a decision whether to fight or not to fight. And I chose to simply hang out tight to his jacket (mostly so he could not escape) and called 911.

If I had made the wrong decision, to fight back and beat up an old guy, I would mostly certainly be in handcuffs right now and being charged with assault, because the police would have looked at me with no injuries at all and this old guy who I could have simply beat black and blue.

Restraining myself in such a situation was not easy. I was angry at the time, but I made the conscious effort to not let that emotion rule me. I had to remain calm for my sake, my wife's sake and my son's sake. Love in this case, truly did defeat hate.

THE UNFETTERED MIND

The Unfettered Mind is a book by the Japanese Buddhist monk Takuan Soho, which contains letters he wrote hundreds of years ago to various samurai of the age. I have written various past articles on Cardio Trek about The Unfettered Mind and some of the Zen philosophies described within the book, such as the article: Archery Meditation + Zen Focus. I also have a whole section of my site dedicated towards "Zen Exercising", which is an interesting concept.

In part 2 of the book, titled "The Clear Sound of Jewels" Takuan Soho describes how people value life and "rightmindedness" and how people will sometimes throw their life away for the sake of "rightmindedness".

Takuan Soho states:

"Nothing is more precious than life. Yet, at the moment when we must throw away this valued life and stand on rightmindedness, there is nothing more highly esteemed than rightmindedness."

Basically it is the idea that people will often die for their beliefs.

However people can also die (or ruin their lives) by making unwise decisions, which Takuan Soho later points out by pointing out that people can also value Desire more than life. Desires such as lust, greed, vengeance, bloodlust and so forth.

Takuan Soho states:

"Dying because someone is vexed at being insulted resembles rightmindedness, but it is not that at all. This is forgetting oneself in the anger of the moment. It is not rightmindedness in the least. Its proper name is anger and nothing else. Before a person has even been insulted, he has already departed from rightmindedness. And for this reason, he suffers insult. If one's rightmindedness is correct when he is associating with others, he will not be insulted by them. Being insulted by others, he should realize he had lost his own rightmindedness prior to the offense."

In essence, getting angry at being insulted and then fighting as a result might feel like you are fighting for your beliefs, but really you are just fighting because you are angry.

I totally recommend reading The Unfettered Mind if you can find it in a book store or on Amazon. It is a fantastic book which has useful insights for many different activities, including archery, and also how to maintain a strong moral code.

Samurai historically believed in Bushido (which means honour), but it didn't mean that you died for honour. It meant that you behaved honourably and kept your vows. Samurai vowed to protect and avenge their leaders, but they did not believe in throwing their lives away on base emotions such as anger. Anger to them was a tool, which could make them more vicious in combat, but it could also be the double-edged sword that led to their defeat, and so it needed to be kept in check.

TAKING A PUNCH ITSELF

Taking a single punch by itself is actually easy in my opinion. Multiple punches, such as taking a beating, that is physical challenge obviously (in boxing terms, boxers who can take lots of punches are said to have good "chin"). The emotions that arise (as you probably figured out from your past experiences) is the true challenge of staying calm.

Once you recognize this, taking a single punch is no big deal. Even 3 or 4 is not that big of a deal, like I took earlier today. My jaw is a little sore, as is the left side of my face where he kept punching me with his right hand. But otherwise I feel pretty good. I only really any noticed any pain until much later when the adrenaline dissipated.

So clearly, with the benefit of adrenaline in this case dulling any pain, a person can choose to remain calm. If it just a single punch, it is really just a minor bruise and not worth worrying about.

AN OLD STORY, FISTICUFFS IN KENSINGTON MARKET

Years ago I got attacked by a drug addict in Kensington Market who was angry and decided it was a good idea to punch me in the side of the face and break my glasses. Ha, great idea. In that situation I was more upset about him breaking my glasses that I had purchased in South Korea - where I studied archery, Tae Kwon Do, visited many Buddhist temples, enjoyed good food, and gone mountain climbing many times. I totally recommend going, Korea is awesome. On that occasion I had opted for what I call "Classic Fisticuffs" like what you might see in a period film about the early 1900s. No kicking, just quality footwork, and two fists raised in the classic pose. I then aggressively used my footwork and blocking to dodge/deflect all of his punches and kicks, and get close enough to land solid punches. He then chickened out and ran away like a little coward.

Classic Fisticuffs
On that occasion the drug addict only managed to land his first punch against me when I was sitting down on a bench and not expecting it.

After that, and once he realized I was doing "Classic Fisticuffs" he thought he was being all smart by trying to kick at me, but I just sidestepped his kick and moved closer in order to be able to land solid punches. He tried punching several times and I just deflected them easily. A few jabs to the face later and he suddenly decided that even though I was using "Classic Fisticuffs" as a style, I was clearly good at it. He then ran away.

During the encounter I had two major decisions to make. 1. Do I fight back? Which I chose yes, but had opted for a more gentlemanly style of boxing, which went really well with my girlfriend-at-the-time who was observing this. And 2. Should I chase him after he runs away? I decided not to, stayed with the then-girlfriend, and we later tried to report the attack to police in Chinatown - which they ignored us and just waved us away. Violent drug addict attacking people nearby, and the Toronto police don't even care.

THE AFTERMATH

How do people deal with stress after a violent encounter with a crazed person?

In my case I focused on my son - making sure he was fed and entertained, and then I listened to 80s music while writing this post for my website.

I was reminded of what my instructor in Korea had said about staying calm, but I was also reminded of the book "The Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho.

I should probably eat something. According to my phone I was attacked and called 911 at 9:54 AM, and it is now 1:24 PM. I had breakfast earlier today and have not eaten since.

Food after a stressful situation is certainly beneficial. So I am going to go eat now.

I hope anyone reading this finds it educational, informative, and useful in the future when they are faced with a violent and/or stressful situation.

How I used personal training to help my infant son roll, crawl and walk faster, Part Two

PART TWO

By Charles Moffat, Toronto Personal Trainer

 April 25th 2018.

It has been 6 months since I wrote PART ONE of this series of posts. My son Richard is now 10 months old and he can now roll over with ease, is crawling, cruising and even walking small amounts independently.

Last time we covered the following topics:
  1. Tummy Time
  2. Assisted Rolling
  3. Assisting Sitting Up / Assisted Sit Ups
  4. Assisted Standing
  5. Assisted Squats
All of which gave Richard the ability to roll over sooner than other babies would normally be able to (on average), to be able to sit up on his own sooner, stand up, squat down to pick things up, and do a variety of tasks.

The normal ages for doing the various activities are as follows:

The normal ages for rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing up, and walking are as follows:

Rolling Over - 4 to 6 Months
Sitting Up - 4 to 8 Months
Crawling - 7 to 10 Months
Standing Up - 9 to 12 Months
Walking - 9 to 15 Months
Now with Richard being 10 months old, he has long since mastered rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing up, cruising (walking by holding on to things), and is walking independently short distances. He has also learned how to walk up and down stairs, with assistance.

Today we are going to talk about other topics, including:
  1. Assisted Walking, Two Hands
  2. Assisted Walking, One Hand
  3. Assisted Stairs, Two Hands vs One Hand
  4. Independent Walking
  5. Letting Go, Letting Them Fall
#1. Assisted Walking, Two Hands

Walk around your home with your baby for about 5 minutes at a time, holding your baby's hands or fingers by both hands.

I say 5 minutes at a time because doing this for an extended period can become painful for your back if you are constantly bending over.

Note - While there are gadgets for this, such as Jolly Jumpers, Walkers, etc - those are useful, but they will never replace the physical action of walking around your home, local park, library, etc for a few minutes at a time to build of the muscles in your baby's legs. The Jolly Jumper for example does allow your baby to stay suspended in the air, with no fear of falling, but unfortunately in practice is often more like a swing than a walking device. Various walking devices are designed to be pushed around while the baby holds the handlebars, but unfortunately babies don't inherently know they are supposed to do that and so with Richard (for example) he is more likely to just flip the walker over and play with it.

Update, October 2018 - Richard didn't really start using the walker until 14 months, roughly 3 months after he had mastered independent walking.

#2. Assisted Walking, One Hand

Walking with two helping hands is really because your baby hasn't yet learned how to balance themselves and will fall over easily. Walking with one hand means that they have already learned a degree of balance, and is now progressing to being able to walk independently - but for safety reasons and a little added balance the single helping hand is there so your baby has someone to cling to if need be and should a fall happen.

#3. Assisted Stairs, Two Hands vs One Hand

I started Richard going up and down stairs at a very early age, at the same time we were doing assisted walking. If we were doing assisted walking and came to stairs, the natural thing was to simply help him walk up the stairs - something he seems to find hilarious.

The same rules apply, but I do recommend a firm grip on your baby's hands and lots of patience as babies like to take their time on the stairs.

Walking up and down stairs with one hand helping is something Richard now does regularly. Every time we go outside is another chance for him to use the stairs. Thus my recommendation is to see every staircase as an opportunity for your baby to practice walking up/down stairs.

Update, October 2018 - Richard can now climb stairs independently, but for safety reasons I usually hold 1 hand just to be safe.

#4. Independent Walking

There will be times when your baby shoos your hand away and just wants to walk on their own. Just let them do it on their own. Be there in case they fall and keep constant supervision.

With Richard he seems to be magnetically drawn towards cars and traffic, so I am constantly putting him in the middle of the park, far from traffic and then herding him like a collie herds sheep in an effort to keep him away from cars.

With the independent walking I also keep track of the number of steps he does, as a way of record keeping his progress. When he sets a new record for the number of steps, I make a note of it and tell the wife "Richard walked 17 steps today. New record!"

Thus every day you want to allow your baby to play in some sort of safe play area - could be the living room floor, a large play pen, the local park - and just let them walk around on the grass / floor for 30 to 60 minutes every day as they get better at independent walking.

Having a large play pen or play area in your home is also handy.

#5. Letting Go, Letting Them Fall

For a parent learning to let go and let your child fall can be a bit challenging, but it is something you need to do. Your baby needs to learn how to fall, how to land, and how to get back up again and keep doing it.

Learning how to fall safely, take the hit, and get back up is an important skill for babies to learn.

Update, October 2018 - Richard recently discovered he can spin himself in circles and make himself dizzy, and then fall down. He thinks it is hilarious. Clearly falling and getting back up is not a problem for him.

For the parent your goal needs to be there to observe and not to interfere. The only times you should be interfering is when there is danger to your baby, which should be mitigated by simply picking safe places for your baby to practice walking.

eg. A large football field or baseball field is pretty good. Lots of grass to soften falls and the distance to any danger (eg. traffic) is significantly further away and hopefully blocked by fences.


Update, December 2018

Richard is 17.5 months old now and walks independently all the time, except when on a sidewalk near traffic and near other possible dangers (rivers, lakes, pools, etc). He can go up stairs independently, but we usually hold his hand for safety reasons.

He has also:

  • Mastered the buttons on automatic doors.
  • Figured out the buttons on elevators.
  • Figured out escalators.
  • Learned to steal remote controls and cellphones/tablets and press the buttons.
  • Climb up stairs for a slide, sit down and slide down it.
  • Push chairs and other obstacles out of his way.
  • Mastered clapping, high fives, patty-cake, peekaboo, hiding under blankets, kicking things...
  • Crawl underneath furniture or between gaps sideways to escape.
  • Climb up on to furniture (to steal the TV remote).
  • Can spin to make himself dizzy.
  • Figured out this new thing called jumping.
  • He can move surprisingly fast, not quite running yet, but soon enough.

Honestly, if you take your eyes off of him for a few seconds he can run off in a different direction and you have to chase him. He loves to explore.

Thus physically he is now highly capable, so my big challenge these days is to supervise his activities and teach him new things. Every day it is something new.

Looking forward to teaching archery again

Hey Toronto! Happy New Year!

Starting in March 2018 I will be offering archery lessons again, however this year I will be limited to teaching archery mostly on weekends.

People who want Archery Lessons in Toronto should contact me via email - cardiotrek@gmail.com - to arrange lessons.

The time restrictions is because on weekdays I am looking after my son Richard, who is currently 6 months old, while my wife is attending university. There may sometimes be weekdays during which I am available, but I would not wager on it.

That said, I am looking forward to teaching archery again. I taught a dozen or so lessons back in September and October, on weekends, and so it has been several months and I miss being outside teaching.

Although admittedly it is winter right now, and I do not normally teach much during the winter anyway. Still, the snow will melt and it will be Spring soon enough. It will be good to get back to teaching, even if it is only on weekends.


How I used personal training to help my infant son roll, crawl and walk faster, Part One

By Charles Moffat, Toronto Personal Trainer.

Okay so my infant son Richard is roughly 3 months and 2 weeks old, and he is already rolling over from his back to his belly, and vice versa. He did his first complete roll yesterday and did several more today.

Now to be clear, being able to roll over by himself is a huge stepping stone for a baby. The normal ages for rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing up, and walking are as follows:
Rolling Over - 4 to 6 Months
Sitting Up - 4 to 8 Months
Crawling - 7 to 10 Months
Standing Up - 9 to 12 Months
Walking - 9 to 15 Months
Call me impatient if you wish, but I have become determined to help my son reach the various milestones slightly faster than other babies. (For context he said "Daddy" back on August 31st, when he was just 2 months and 1 week old - and he was 2 weeks early popping out of his momma, so clearly he is also impatient to do everything in a hurry.)

Every day I get my son exercising. But the exercises he does differ from what most parents normally do.

#1. Tummy Time

Usually such exercising is referred to as "Tummy Time", which is included in what he does. Tummy Time is typically laying the baby on his or her tummy so they can practice lifting their head up.

Tummy Time is important for building neck and upper back muscles, in addition to arm muscles, leg muscles, abdominal muscles - all muscles your baby needs to start building.

Tummy Time is an exercise that all babies should be doing, every day. So it is strongly recommended parents take the time to have their babies do 10 to 30 minutes of Tummy Time per day.

#2. Assisted Rolling

In addition to Tummy Time I also help my son to roll over - to the point that he can now roll over onto his side - and from his side to his belly - all by himself.

We accomplished this by doing the following:
  • Assisted rolling by helping him move his arms and legs into the correct positions for rolling over and then helping him push himself onto his side, and eventually on to his belly.
  • Laying him on his side so he can practice rolling on to his back or towards his belly, unassited
Now that he can roll himself under his own power he is less vulnerable to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). A common cause of SIDS is a baby suffocating on something because they were unable to roll away from the object they were suffocating on. Even being able to perform a half-roll on to their side could end up saving their life.

#3. Assisted Sitting Up and Assisted Sit Ups

This I accomplish by placing him in a sitting position and supporting his back and chest with one hand. As he gets better at it however I have started removing the hand supporting his chest, and even switching to having both hands holding his wrists instead of his torso - this way he still gets support if he needs it, for safety reasons, but otherwise is practicing holding himself upright in a sitting position.

I find you have to kind of steer him using his wrists and arms because his lack of balance will cause him to leave forward or to the sides more often.

The second part of this is holding his hands and helping him to perform a basic Sit Up. He starts from a laying position, holding his wrists I help him into a sitting position - maintain that sitting position - and then help lower him back down into a laying position. I repeat the Sit Ups 10 times before giving him a break.

#4. Assisted Standing

Using my hands under his armpits to support him, I lift my son into a standing position. I then reduce the amount of pressure I am using to support him, forcing him to exercise his leg muscles in order to maintain standing.

Doing this exercise every day, I find it allows my son to build stronger legs so that he is now able to stand for longer periods with very minimal support (mostly for balance and safety purposes) from myself.

Sometimes I will also help him by supporting his hands instead of his arm pits, so he is more under his own power.

#5. Assisted Squats

Since his legs are getting stronger every day, I have also started helping him to do squats. Squats builds his leg muscles even faster than standing does. The method is similar to the assisted standing above, but I reduce the amount of pressure I use to support him so that he is forced to either stand on his own or is reduced to a squatting position and then he has to use his own power to stand back up again.

He hasn't reached the point like the baby below has with the squatting and lifting weights, but nevertheless.



 Your End Goals

The ultimate goal of all of these exercises is to improve the survivability and strength of your baby.

If your baby can roll over by themselves that is a very important step, but being able to sit up independently, crawl away from danger, or even stand and walk away from danger - those seem like important skills to me.

As my son gets older I will also be making sure he learns how to swim and a variety of other useful skills.

Doing all of this in a supervised manner is safer in my opinion.

Doing the things mentioned above may seem like "no brainers" to some people, but I am also applying personal training concepts to his exercises, things like:
  1. Repetition - He does every exercise 10 times or more, or for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Exercising Daily - He exercises every day, even when Papa is tired or busy we still make time to do the exercises.
  3. Do Every Exercise - We don't skip any exercises. 10+ minutes of Tummy Time, 10 Rolls, 10 Minutes of Sitting, 10 Sit Ups, 10 Minutes Standing, 10 Squats. Total time - About 35-45 minutes.
  4. Break Times - So he doesn't get exhausted.
  5. No Exercising on a Full Tummy - Want to see the baby spit up? No? Then wait at least 30 minutes after feeding before doing any exercises.
  6. Nap times are also good, not just for baby, but for everyone.

As your child grows they are going to be exercising constantly. Remember to hydrate and feed them regularly. Sleep. Nap. Rest breaks.

Avoid too much TV, computers and cellphones. If it feels like they are watching screen too often, it is time to go outside.

Remember to have fun outdoors!

Don't Expect This To Happen

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.

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:


6 Ways to Make Running more Fun!

Guest Post by Cara H.

Are you getting bored or find it increasingly difficult to get yourself to go out running? Why not turn running into a more enjoyable experience and get back to finding running a fun activity? Here are 6 ways to make running more fun:

1. Choose beautiful places for your running sessions.

Why not explore a nearby beautiful park, instead of running around your dull neighborhood streets? By focusing on exploring new places, and running near landmarks you enjoy, you will find much more joy in running as well. So, plan your next run to somewhere you love going or wish you could go to. You will find yourself much more motivated to go run there.

In Toronto, check out the following locations to run for fun:

High Park
The Don Valley (aka the Don River Trail)
Rouge Park
Beaches
Sunnybrook Park
Stan Wadlow Park
Charles Sauriol Conservation Area
Tommy Thompson Park
Toronto Island Park
Humber Bay Park
West Humber Parkland
Martin Goodman Trail
The Beltline Trail
The Humber River Trail


2. Rejoice for the progress made.

Enjoy the fact that you are continuously improving your running performance and results. Track your steps, times and progress, so that you can feel the satisfaction of your improved performance.

3. Treat yourself to rewards for the efforts.

Plan a fun dinner with friends after a long run, or reward yourself with a beautiful new running accessory when you reach a specific running related goal of yours (hint: bright coloured shoes will definitely lift up your mood). You can enjoy a small forbidden treat or drink after a long run too, but without overdoing it on calories of course.

Hot Tip - Chocolate Milk makes a good after run treat, as it contains a good amount of protein, calcium and energy.


4. Get a running buddy.

Running is always more fun if you have a running buddy to join you. It is perfect if you can engage one or more of your close friends or your significant other to run with you. Run at a comfortable talking pace, so that you can have a conversation with your running buddy. This will definitely make the experience much more enjoyable. Even if you can’t find a friend who is willing to run with you - don’t worry, just do some research on your local running groups and join one of them. You will meet new people, and possibly make new friends on the way.

5. Listen to some great music.

Create a playlist with your favorite tunes to listen to when running. It is better if you pick high energy, faster songs, especially if you want to push on your running pace. There are a number of readily available playlists for running on Spotify and other music websites. If you prefer, you can catch up on your reading, and listen to the latest bestselling e-book while running. It will keep you engaged, and will make running much more enjoyable too.

Inspirational music also works well too. Music that makes you feel inspired, energetic and wanting to run harder.


6. Take part in races.

There is nothing more satisfying than that feeling of reaching the finish line with a crowd cheering on! Enjoy the fun of the competition and your result at the finish line. Don’t be afraid to sign up for a race. You will be able to explore new places, meet new people, enjoy refreshing snacks and challenge yourself to reach the result you have planned.

Obstacle races are the real deal, if you are looking for the fun part of the running. Even if you do not finish first, the joy of taking part in the race will be sufficient to keep you happy and satisfied, believe me!

Lovely Winter Weather for Archery / Antique Bows

On Saturday I was very tempted to go do some archery, as the weather was warm (10 degrees or so) and a bit foggy. Unfortunately I had chores to do around the home so that was not to be despite the beautiful warm weather on Saturday.

I also have two *new* bows with brand new bowstrings that I want to try out sometime soon.

The two bows are:

A 1949 Bear Grizzly Static (Grayling)

A 1960s Archery Craft Toronto 64" Longbow

(Photos forthcoming.)

I purchased them both back in 2016 but had to wait to get custom made bowstrings for the two bows before I can use them. I strung them up two nights ago to exercise the limbs a little bit.

This is the thing about antique bows. When you buy an antique bow you should not be full drawing them right away. Instead you want to exercise them because they may not have been drawn in a very long time. Exercising them improves their life expectancy.

To exercise a bow you string the bow (preferably using a bowstringer) and then lightly pull on it a few inches. You repeat this process many times and then leave the bow strung for an hour or two.

Then you unstring the bow and leave it alone.

A day later or a few days later, you repeat the process. This time you *might* decide to draw it a bit further, always being cautious to never pull it to full draw.

Only after the bow has been exercised multiple times do you begin full drawing - and this assumes you have a normal draw length. If you any weird noises (pings or clicking sounds) this is a bad sign and you should immediately stop. A loud cracking noise would be really bad.

I feel more confident about exercising the Bear Grizzly Static as the limbs are made with an aluminum core.

The Archery Craft Toronto bow I purchased from a woman in Montreal, so to me that was a case of bringing an antique longbow made in Toronto back to Toronto where it belongs. I am less worried about shooting that bow and more interested in it as a collector's item and museum piece (it is my long term goal to someday open an archery museum).

If you have a really long draw length of 29 inches or more, then you probably should not be purchasing the really old antiques. Bows from the 1970s or 1980s you would probably be okay with, especially if they are compounds or fibreglass recurves, but for people with longer draw lengths you need to be extra careful overdrawing an antique.

I have a few antiques that even now I never full draw them. eg, I have 1942 Ben Pearon lemonwood longbow which still shoots well, but I only pull it to roughly 26 or 27 inches when using it. It may be lemonwood (a very good tropical bow wood), but because it is 75 years old I am super cautious with it.

I also have several antique bows that are meant for children - which are basically decorative and not used at all. Maybe someday I will let younger family members use them. Or maybe they will simply decorate my walls, or likewise a presumptive archery museum.

Buying antique bows there is always a risk you might break the bow. It hasn't happened to me yet, but I did have one bow make weird noises two years ago. It was a 1952 Roy Rogers longbow meant for kids. I drew it back and clearly was drawing it too far when I heard a sharp click sound from the bow limb. That is a bow that is evidently meant to have a short draw length and should never be drawn by anyone who is taller than the bow.

Having been making my own bows for almost 28 years now I should also say you do some of the same things during the tillering process of making a bow. If you hear a click or ping sound when tillering, you need to stop and examine the bow limbs for any signs of cracks or chips in the wood. Last winter I did a bowmaking class here in Toronto and a topic that came up during the class of what to do if a bow makes such a sound during the tillering process.

There was a number of solutions, but the most obvious one was: Don't shoot that bow because it could break. The alternatives were time consuming and didn't guarantee the bow would be safe to shoot. It would be less time consuming and safer just to start from scratch and make a whole new bow.

Toronto's $88 million hockey / skating arena still not completed

Back in August 2010, Toronto decided to build an $88 million hockey and skating arena on Toronto's waterfront, near Commissioners St. and Don Roadway. At the time $34 million had already been earmarked for the project. The city was contemplating a bond (essentially a mortgage) to help pay for the rest of the arena plus additional funding from the Ontario government. I am not sure how they raised the rest of the money, but the 'finding the money part' was presumably done years ago.)

Artists Rendition, circa August 2010
An user surcharge was designed to help pay off the bond over a period of 30 years. The arena complex will include four NHL-size ice rinks stacked above each other, spectator seating, restaurants, meeting rooms, an indoor track for running. The indoor arena will be ideal for tournaments and allow Torontonians to hone their ice skating skills even in the off season. The facility will act as a regional sports complex.

The building is designed to be environmentally sustainable (which is important since its build near the waterfront and can't be leaking waste into the lake) and may include an Olympic-sized rink for speed skaters and figure skaters (which would be great for if Toronto ever gets another shot at hosting the Olympics).

There was also some concerns about migratory birds flying into the nearly-all-glass structure so there are also plans to make it more bird-friendly.

So yeah, this was all announced and planned for back in August 2010.

Only one problem. It still has not been built.

As of April 2015, the only thing completed is that land was set aside for the new building and proverbial plans were still being made. The latest estimate is that building won't be built until 2018 at the earliest.

Meanwhile Toronto Mayor John Tory has been threatening to shut down 35 skating rinks across Toronto.

 To which you might ask, how many skating rinks does Toronto currently have? 49.

So 49 - 35 would leave 14 left open.

And since this is Toronto, and politicians in Toronto are corrupt, the 14 that get left open would probably be in rich neighbourhoods. Rich neighbourhoods with outdoor rinks that have been sponsored by companies like Natrel.

Below is the Natrel Rink on Torontos Harbourfront, a wealthy neighbourhood with lots of condos. The Natrel Rink is boasted to be "The most scenic rink in the city", but it only continues to exist thanks to its corporate sponsor, Natrel, maker of milk and cheese products, based in Montreal, Quebec. And guaranteed when choosing which ice rink to sponsor, Natrel opted for the "pretty one in a rich neighbourhood".

The Natrel Rink at 235 Queens Quay West

So Mayor John Tory is shutting down ice rinks across Toronto, but somehow back in 2010 the city managed to cough up $88 million to build 4 new ice rinks down on Toronto's Waterfront - but that conveniently hasn't been built yet and seems to be caught in a time loop of "Oh, we're still making plans for it." Something is fishy down on the waterfront...

Heads up Toronto. We will be having another Mayoral Election in 2018. If you appreciate hockey or ice skating, please don't vote for the idiot currently in office. True, he may not be as bad as Rob Ford, the worst mayor in Toronto's history, but that bar is pretty low and that doesn't mean John Tory deserves re-election.

In other news, please go outside and appreciate the ice rinks that Toronto does have. While we still have them.
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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