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Zen and the art of archery.

Zen and the art of archery.
May 17, 2013, 03:30:19 AM
I moved my archery target, a few days ago, from the garden, out into the woods, to gain more range and tidy up the garden. I can stand off up to seventy yards now.
That's a good long way, for a longbow, and still be able to hit reasonably accurately, although it would be nothing special for a compound bow. But I only have a recurve and a longbow, being the traditionalist I am.

Straw bales are a great arrow-stopper, although it remains to be seen if the deer will eat them.
Over the bales I have a two-foot-square hessian bag full of synthetic roofing paper, all screwed up into a fairly solid medium, inside the bag. And a nine-inch roundel marked on the front for an aiming point.

I hadn't shot an arrow in many months, but, astonishingly, my first arrow hit the bull, at about sixty yards.
This is astonishing for a number of reasons, but it is a phenomenon I have seen several times. That first arrow is, more often than not, the most accurate one of all. And why would that be?

I can only surmise that the first shot is concerned only with finding the range, elevation-wise, and by not caring where it hits, it unintentionally gets to be the best shot. I couldn't believe my eyes. The second shot was almost as accurate, about two inches right. And all following shots fell into the predictable groove of reasonably accurate, in a loose group, with one or two low misses.

Zen, at work. Dispense with desire, and unlikely results occur.

Squawk!

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 17, 2013, 03:42:29 AM
I'd definitely back you up with that assertion, as I've experienced this phenomenon quite a few times myself. "Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of men's desires, but by the removal of desire".

Then again, if you have no desire to hit the bulls-eye, why judge such a shot to be better than missing the target entirely? One of life's little paradoxes.
Just a walking corpse.

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 17, 2013, 03:54:40 AM
Haha :)
That's the spirit.
Archery is all about accuracy. If you aren't interested in being accurate, then there is no point to it.
What I was talking about is the desire to be accurate, versus being accurate without the desire to be.
A fine point, but fine points are what makes stuff like this interesting.
Accuracy is the goal. Desire for accuracy is not.
As you see: there is no need for the desire. It can only hinder.
Squawk!

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 20, 2013, 06:01:33 AM
My toy recurve bow is too light on draw weight to take advantage of anything over forty five yards.
The arc the arrow makes, becomes a ludicrous drop-off past that range.
There seems a direct correlation between draw weight and accurate range:
35lbs = 35 yards.
40lbs = 40 yards.
55lbs = 55 yards.

In the glory days of 1415 AD, most longbows were around 200lbs at full draw, and the skeletons of medieval archers show severe bone and joint deformation to prove it. Hence the massive range: 200 yards, or more.
Very few modern day archers have the musculature to pull such a bow, and it is now rare to see any longbow over 60lbs.

Muscle-rebuilding continues. Within reason.
Squawk!

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 20, 2013, 07:46:37 AM
Precision is all
Not accurate desire
A crow with a bow.

-A Haiku :)

It's all about hitting the spot between pretentiousness and silliness. I think I did okay.

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 20, 2013, 08:04:47 AM
At first, the haiku didn't fascinate me much. The commentary changed that. Hitting the precise spot between 2 axes seems to be the common thread that links archery and poetry.
Just a walking corpse.

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 20, 2013, 06:31:38 PM
Crows don't do haikus. They run more to limericks...

There once was a crow with a bow,
if you didn't, before, now you know.
It would fly like an arrow, not at all like a sparrow,
and thereby did not shoot its toe.

Squawk!

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 20, 2013, 08:38:44 PM
At first, the haiku didn't fascinate me much. The commentary changed that. Hitting the precise spot between 2 axes seems to be the common thread that links archery and poetry.

Sort of related: Are you familiar with the idea of the coincidentia oppositorum?

Quote
The term is also used in describing a revelation of the oneness of things previously believed to be different. Such insight into the unity of things is a kind of transcendence, and is found in various mystical traditions.

Bad source but the point is there

crow: I always associated limericks with the art of drinking, and by extension, double-sight. But what do I know? I see you used the rhyme 'crow with a bow', though. The catchiness of that was my poetical inspiration.

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 20, 2013, 08:42:59 PM
Some folks need to drink in order to paddle in life's absurdity.
Crows are absurdity. They see little point in drinking.
Squawk!

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 20, 2013, 10:00:13 PM
Not drinking?! Now that is absurd.

Sincerly
A scandinavian

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 23, 2013, 06:04:39 PM
I moved my archery target, a few days ago, from the garden, out into the woods, to gain more range and tidy up the garden. I can stand off up to seventy yards now.
That's a good long way, for a longbow, and still be able to hit reasonably accurately, although it would be nothing special for a compound bow. But I only have a recurve and a longbow, being the traditionalist I am.

Straw bales are a great arrow-stopper, although it remains to be seen if the deer will eat them.
Over the bales I have a two-foot-square hessian bag full of synthetic roofing paper, all screwed up into a fairly solid medium, inside the bag. And a nine-inch roundel marked on the front for an aiming point.

I hadn't shot an arrow in many months, but, astonishingly, my first arrow hit the bull, at about sixty yards.
This is astonishing for a number of reasons, but it is a phenomenon I have seen several times. That first arrow is, more often than not, the most accurate one of all. And why would that be?

I can only surmise that the first shot is concerned only with finding the range, elevation-wise, and by not caring where it hits, it unintentionally gets to be the best shot. I couldn't believe my eyes. The second shot was almost as accurate, about two inches right. And all following shots fell into the predictable groove of reasonably accurate, in a loose group, with one or two low misses.

Zen, at work. Dispense with desire, and unlikely results occur.

I have often noted a similar phenomenon while fly fishing.  My casts upon hitting the water are often things of beauty, tight loops unfurling just so the fly kisses the water within inches of the opposite bank.  My casting stroke then usually deteriorates as my mind enters the equation.  I become concerned with a thousand little peripheral things—line manipulation, where I want to bring the fly to life, where oh where are the goddamn fish, watch out for that overhanging laurel.  Casting becomes work, and I try to compensate by carefully aiming my casts, trying to impose my will upon both my body and the surrounding environment.  This rarely works, and usually results in lost tackle and missed strikes. 

My stroke usually returns just about the moment that my mind, numbed by failure, retreats to a less willful and more contemplative state.  I find myself mesmerized by a particularly lovely swirl of current, or a bird I've never seen before.  Is that a mink?  A brown trout rushes from a dark undercut to grab the fly, but most of my mind is elsewhere, conveniently out of the way as my body does all the right things that it couldn't do just minutes before. 

They're really quite lovely.


Re: Zen and the art of archery.
May 23, 2013, 06:53:19 PM
YES!!!
That's it :)
Squawk!

Re: Zen and the art of archery.
June 11, 2013, 03:07:35 AM
I stood back 55 yards with a 35lb. recurve, today, knowing it was too far.
Didn't aim, just looked at the target.
Wheee. Plop. The arrow ran out of juice and hit the ground six inches in front of the target.
Adjust for range. Wheee...
The arrow hit the target, somewhere low.
Adjust again, let loose. I didn't see where it hit, and gave up, going to collect the arrows.
That last one hit square in the bull, at an absurd downwards angle, at the very end of its range.
All without consciously aiming.
I couldn't see that last arrow, and where it hit, because the bull is black and my eyes are poor.
What a shock to see it right where I had never expected it to go.

I've decided what I need is a 45lb. recurve. As light in heft as possible.
And some broadheads, because you never know when you'll need them, and the island is inundated with deer.
Meanwhile, while I have no intention at all of hunting, fawns are about to drop.
Spotty delights that sometimes wander right up to me, because curiosity is everything.


Squawk!