I'm biased. I have to say the Koreans who were able to wipe out
the enemy from great distances. Centuries ago, the Chinese referred
to Koreans with a combination character of Great/Bow.
Look at modern archery: the Koreans are still tops.
Philip J. Magistro
What would really interest me is to record some of those outstanding feats, and then
see if anyone could get anywhere near any of them with sights, arrow-rests, cams,
cushion-plungers, stabilizers, etc, etc. I greatly suspect we are not getting
anywhere near the performance of the great archers, even with ideal conditions and a
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I'll go for Koreans too :-)
Kim, Soo-Nyung 1988 Olympic Gold medallist, 1989 & 1991(?) World
Champion and 1992 Silver Olympic Medallist. Used a Yamaha alpha Ex for
the most (Eolla in '92) with Beman Diva "+" or "S" arrows.
I guess it's a bit harsh not to give Pace a mention but he didn't look
as nice ;-)
PS I know that's not what you mean't!
John Dickson,(aka Stretch) Hoyt Avalon, Carbon+ 70" 47#
Multimedia Guru? Gemini Stabilisers, Spiga Carbon 30
Heriot-Watt University ASB Dyneema 22str, ACE 400 L4 32.5"
Makes sense to me, anyway!
By the way, the escutcheons (armorial shields) of the chivalry of that
period are still to be seen in Llantrisant church, I believe, and the
Common may be grazed by the cattle of the direct descendants of those
archers - the "Freemen of Llantrisant".
Didn't Hugh Soar once have an article in 'The Glade' where he said that the origin of the 'V' sign
wasn't an archery thing? Just wondering....
What does Hardy reckon in his book?
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>Was it the Mongols?
Mongols, by a long shot! Who else could ride and shoot so accurately? Even
the Welsh couldn't do that =)
Everyone has their favorite.
The Japanese certainly deserve recognition. However, during the Japanese
invasion of Korea in the late sixteenth century, the Korean navy sank most
nvasion of Korea in the late sixteenth century, the Korean navy sank
of the Japanese fleet, while Korean archers decimated their ranks from
great distances. <GRIN>
Korean archery (Goongdo) is still a popular art and sport.
P.S. when it comes to horse archery, the Korean Hwarang of 1,300 years ago were without peers.
>invasion of Korea in the late sixteenth century, the Korean navy sank
>half of the Japanese fleet, while Korean archers decimated their ranks from
>great distances. <GRIN>
Unless the Japanese were lousy ship-builders?
I, also, think the Japanese bow is a work of art. No doubt Japanese masters
However, we all have our favorites and mine will continue to be the Koreans.
As I said originally, I am a bit biased, being so close to the Korean culture
and having shot Korean traditional archery for years, not to mention that
several Korean masters are close friends of mine.
What would be fun is if we could match up masters of several disciplines
(in a mutually agreed upon competition format) and have a shoot-off.
Maybe that could help settle the question of who's best (presently).
As for historically, we may always disagree.
> The Mongols were great archers certainly, but the Japanese deserve consideration here too. Japanese archers were famous for using their
charicteristic asymetrical laminated longbows from horse and afoot. Even
today Yabusame (horse archery) and Kyudo are taught and practiced in
Not only in Japan... There are some 1500 Kyujin in Europe (700 in Germany
alone, where Kyudo started in 1969) who practice and teach, depending on
their level. Of course there are Kyudo groups in the US too (did I
understand correctly You practice Kyudo?)
> It is true that Mongolian people still value archery but it is the Japanese whose master archers travel, performing their art in exibition for credulous westerners.
And teaching Kyudo: There are 3 EKF-seminars in Canterbury, England,
andseveral Heki-Insai summer gasshuku in Finland, Germany, and Italy this
> Bushido (the way of the warrior) was originally focussed apon the Horse and the Bow, Swordsmanship came later.
Which is why it was called Kyu-Ba-No-Michi (the way of bow and horse)
Crusty old BUFF guy
"I speak for no one!"
While target archers today are satisfied if the arrow just sticks into a fairly soft
target, oriental archers - including target archers - required their arrows both to
hit and to deliver a lot of force. The Chinese ideal was set at passing through
seven layers of armour leather (about one inch of hardened ox-hide) at a range of
Pulling very heavy bows was a bit of a party-trick in later years. The Manchus
debased archery in China severely. They never managed to keep up any sort of
standard, which is one of the reasons archery died out in China, but remained
popular in Korea and Japan.
I can only speak of japanese bows - my own bow (2.27 m) has a draw weight
of 19 kg at 93 cm draw. I know an archer who uses a 25 kg bow (amongst
others). The upper limit today is somewhere well above 30 kg.
(Figures in pounds are roughly kg x 2)
The arrow speed a good archer can produce is about 200 km/h, crossing the
28 m to the target in less than a half second.
A special aspect in japanese archery (my own background is
Heki-Ryu-Insai-Ha) is the major influence of the shooting technique on
the force and acceleration generated. This is so important that one
master called his style "the art of the weak bow". About one third of the
accelerating force can be added by the working of the left hand (which
always holds the bow) if the shooting technique is refined.
Well, I shoot a 50-60 lb longbow once a week or so, just to give you
an idea of what I'm used to.
I've fired a 100lb longbow. Drawing it was work, but not too bad.
After a dozen or so shots by right arm (I shoot right-handed) was
starting to cramp up when I released.
I know people who have a couple of greatbows (AKA footbows). The
larger one is 225lb when fired as a footbow, and around 180lb when
held fired like a normal bow. I can't get it to full draw, myself.
The guy who made it works full time as a woodworker, and *can* shoot
it as a normal bow, but with a great deal of effort. Based on that
bow, I'd say I could probably draw 120-140 pounds. If I worked out a
bit, I'd say I could get to the point where I could draw a 166lb bow
as a party trick without too much problem.
I'm certainly not an exceptional person (at least not in terms of
strength). I'm 6' tall, around 180 pounds, and not particularly
strong in the upper body.
The owner of the greatbow is also not what I would consider
exceptional, just in the good shape you would expect of someone
who works with his hands every day.
I'd have to gues that an exceptional person (let's say a
Schwartzeneger type) who knew how to pull a bow (technique is
*important*), should be able to handle over 200lb, probably a
fair amount over.
The job for Middle Eastern archers (Turks, Arabs, Persians) was to
shower enemies with arrows from great distances. The arrows were
relatively light and bows probably no more than 80 lb. Very heavy
bows were used for exercise and shows, some were over 200 lb. The
famous flight bows were probably 120 lb max. (an archer was
disqualified at a competition in Morocco for using a bow over 160 lb.)
I have made a few of these bows, they are fantastic to draw, very
smooth, absolutely no stack, lots of power. Modern fiberglass recurves
are however more stable, and never follow the string. I never had
a chance to chronograph the bows, but suspect the trad. composite
would be as good as fiberglass only when freshly conditioned (dried)
The American plains indian deserve an honarable mention. They would hang off
their horse and shoot arrows from underneath the horses neck (at full gallop!)
Until the development of repeating firearms the indians "owned" the plains.
Typically a horse mounted indian could deliver a dozen accurate arrows in the
time it took to recycle a muzzleloader.
... and any one who would kill buffalo with arrows has my respect!
It's not the bible that's filled with contradictions,
It's our brains that are filled with them.
J. Vernon McGee
Thomas, with respect to the "competition format" I think you're missing
the point of kyudo. Although kyudoka do involve themselves in competition
to provide an extra element to their training, it is definitely not the
basis for studying kyudo. Such a competition would not have the validity
because the precepts of kyudo are not accuracy alone.
>Round about 100 / 110 lbs I can believe. Surely only an exceptional person
>would be able to draw 166 ?!
Perhaps not too much of a feat. I am no he-man, but I can pull up my 155 lbs to a
bar seven times in succession, without pausing to nock and arrow, aim or fire. I
don't really have more muscles available to do that than to pull a bow: but I need
different muscles to do the bow, and they are not properly trained.
: Thomas, with respect to the "competition format" I think you're missing
: the point of kyudo. Although kyudoka do involve themselves in competition
: to provide an extra element to their training, it is definitely not the
: basis for studying kyudo. Such a competition would not have the validity
: because the precepts of kyudo are not accuracy alone.
So, who's talking about kyudo? I was referring to _all_ disciplines.
If people studying kyudo wanted to participate, that would be fine.
If not, that's fine, too.
BTW kyudo, I believe, comes from the same Chinese characters as Korean
'goong do' (Way of the Bow, or archery). In Korean archery, accuracy is
important. Also, the subject was on 'the best archers,' not necessarily
the prettiest. Some of the threads spoke of the Japanese archer's
abilities. So, no, I don't think I missed the point at all.
Again, each to his/her own.
I believe that the Mary Rose longbows weighed in at up to about 140 lbs (I'm
sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong).
Remember, the people shooting them practiced from an early age, and shot many
arrows every day. They also suffered spinal damage and deformation because of
Angus Duggan, Harlequin Ltd., Barrington Hall | 40lb 68" Hoyt Radian, 30.25"
Barrington, Cambridge CB2 5RG, U.K. | ACE 470, ACE UHR rod & twins,
http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/ajcd/archery/ | J-bar, Buchanan Gizmos,
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Hmm, I can see no real contradiction here. Accuracy is extremely
important in Kyudo, and that applies to both the sequence of movements
(the hassetsu) /and/ to hitting the target. /Both/ aspects have to be
met. If (and only if) the technique is precise and dynamic the target can
be hit constantly, and at this level of precision shooting will also be
beautiful (but definitly not 'nice').
The interesting thing about kyudo is that precision is not obtained by
refining and tuning the equipment, but by developing the archers ability
to perform precisely coordinated movements. Even a subtle failure of
concentration can spoil that complex coordination. This is a task for a
livetime - and after 60 years of training You can be better (more
precise, more hits) than anyone with 20, 30 or 50. A good way to grow old
with a sport (or whatever You want to call it), I think.
>D.B...@surrey.ac.uk (Danny Banks) wrote:
>>Round about 100 / 110 lbs I can believe. Surely only an exceptional person
>>would be able to draw 166 ?!
>Perhaps not too much of a feat. I am no he-man, but I can pull up my 155 lbs to a
>bar seven times in succession, without pausing to nock and arrow, aim or fire. I
>don't really have more muscles available to do that than to pull a bow: but I need
>different muscles to do the bow, and they are not properly trained.
I don't disagree with your basic point, if this ever becomes the basis of a
serious competition, we will see some big numbers. On the other hand your
pull up example is missleading because if ever you pull 155 # bow, your right
arm, if RH, will be pulling 155#, while in the pull up example each arm is
only required to pull up half the weight. People who can do 1 arm pull ups
are "real he-men".
Jeffery E Reader
May cultures possessed war bows with a draw in excess of 100 lbs......
The English, the Turks, the Mongols etc......
I recall reading somewhere that the Turks made at least one bow with a draw
somewhere in the 600 lb region.........
North American bows tended to be of a lower poundage (in general) because of
the lack of armour development.........
If you really wanted to I bet you could make a bow from modern materials (and
of reasonable physical dimensions that you might be able to shoot it if you
were strong enough) with a draw weight in excess of 1000 lbs.......What do
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>It is also important to note that those men of old that pulled very heavy
>bows were used to that. They built up to the heavy weights and shot that
>way for long periods of time. Today, given the right amount of time and
>training, I have no doubts that people could pull bows of over 100 lbs.
>It would probably take more time than they would like to invest though.
Garry Sentman has pulled over 150#, Dick Palmer has also set some records.
The bottom line is that unless you need to shoot arrows weighing 3 x what we
currently do, say for Elephant, there isn't any reason to go over 100#
>I have a little question regarding the Japanese or Korean bows or any kind
>of traditional bow such as American Indian bows. Are these bow as strong
>as the modern hunting bow? What is the average force can they create (in
>pounds) The strength and speed of an arrow from a 50 lb modern bow is
>quite impressive. I don't know if hand-made bows can generate such a
This may not be the difinitive answer but I did some chronographing with
some of the bows I've made awhile back just to satisify my own courisity.
55# maple and fiberglass laminated 68" longbow 450gr arrow (3 5" feathers
58# 62" siniew backed osage flat bow same arrows 160 fps
65# 68" hickory flat bow 585gr arrows 170 fps
66# 74" Yew english style long bow w/ rawhide backing and horn knocks
same 585gr arrows 180 fps
65# 62" sasafras and fiberglass laminated flat bow 585 gr arrow 185fps
(Also look at Robin Hood. Wasn't he meant to have split his fist arrow
with his second during a competition at Nottingham?)