The history of archery sports is directly related to the early development of humankind. A few selected events are outlined in this chapter to help place archery’s historical importance in some perspective for the reader. The bibliography contains some excellent references on the history of archery sports.
Archery skill was of vital importance for the survival of humans for thousands of years. In this respect, archery played a prominent role in the growth and development of individuals, societies, and governments within nations.
The evolution of archery sports
Archery as an invention was as important to early human development as the discovery of the wheel and control of fire.
Learning part of archery
Ancient people learned how to use the bow and arrow effectively out of dire necessity. If today’s archer had to depend upon archery skill for personal safety, food, and animal skins, the motivation to attain great skill with the bow and arrow would be dramatically accelerated!
Primitive artists drew bow hunters on cave walls in many locations throughout the world. Many caves in Spain and southern France, in particular, have excellent examples of cave art with archery themes.
Ancient sculptors carved archer warriors in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East to honor them for their feats. The bow has been used by primitive tribes on all continents as a musical instrument. Many theologians, as an example, believe that David’s biblical harp was also his bow.
A bow can be plucked much like the bass fiddle, harp, and other string and scope instruments. Bows and arrows became a part of the culture, religions, and rituals of various ethnic groups throughout the world in a variety of ways.
Myths of archery sports feats
Archery feats have given rise to many myths throughout history. The mythologic literature of Greece, as one example, includes archery sports exploits by such famed characters as Apollo, Diana, Hercules, and Eros. The romance surrounding Wilhelm Tell and his crossbow skill is a part of both classic literature and music. The English had Robin Hood.
Ancient cultures in the Far East also had their archer heroes in literature written centuries prior to the stories about Robin Hood, Modern novelists and scriptwriters continue to rely upon and embellish these stories. A Robin Hood movie is usually produced about every decade either in Hollywood or England
Integral aspects of archery sport
Archery has been used as an integral aspect of religious ceremonies by numerous religions and sects in the past. The Assyrians concluded a religious ritual by shooting an arrow toward the sun. This same type of liturgy, The Sun Vow, was practiced by various Indian tribes on the southwest plains of America many centuries later.
The assumed mystical connection of the arrow rest with the sun, moon, stars, and planets figured prominently in many ancient religions and cultures, From the standpoint of ancient astronomy, the “archery connection” is seen in the naming of a few constellations.
The Zen Buddhists place great value on archery. The Zen sect does not recognize any dichotomy between “mind” and “body.” The Zen philosophy includes the concept that various exercises of the body (including such things as archery sports and some forms of the martial arts) can bring the practitioner into a state of one complete being.
Use of protective and other equipment of archery
Protective Equipment Archers should always use protective equipment on their fingers and arms. Not only does this eliminate discomfort, but it also permits a smooth and unimpeded release of the arrow.
But in the opening era of archery people didn’t use these tools. But with the days goes and the impact of the sports gone popular, people started to think about its safety as well, especially on the finger and eyes.
For the fingers, archers may want to use either the tab, the glove or the release-aid. Whichever you use, finger protection is essential if the archer is to avoid blisters which will lead to discomfort and a poor release
The tab is a small leather or smooth vinyl device which usually covers the first three fingers with a slot for the nock. Tabs come in a variety of shapes and are sized to fit any finger. Selecting the proper size and style will be a matter of individual choice.
Shooting gloves also come in a variety of styles and sizes. Gloves fit snugly over the first three fingers and offer an adjustable wrist strap for better safety in Archery sports.
Last few words
There are times when Buddhists hold the bow at full draw for many hours until they feel the union of “mind” and “soul.” At that time, Satori is reached. When the archer is no longer conscious of himself or the target, the arrow is released.