If you’ve always had secret ambitions to let your inner Robin Hood loose, archery is definitely a sport to try out. One of the oldest known arts still being practiced today, archery is all about the skill of using a bow and arrow to hit a fixed or moving target. Used historically for hunting and combat, modern day archery is now a sport practiced both recreationally and competitively.
Origins of archery
While archery dates back to the Stone Age, the earliest people known to have used the bow and arrow were the ancient Egyptians, who practiced archery in hunting and warfare. Evidence of archery has also been found throughout the world, from cave paintings of prehistoric hunters in Europe, to Egyptian hieroglyphics to historical records in China and Japan.
Some of history’s most famous archers include famed marksman William Tell, who successfully shot an apple off his son’s head, as well as Robin Hood, the heroic outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Chinese folklore also tells of Hou Yi, a legendary archer who shot down nine of the ten suns in the sky, saving his people from terrible heatwaves and drought.
With the advent of better battle weaponry however, the humble bow and arrow soon took a back seat to swords, guns and cannons. Instead of the battleground, archery made its mark in the sporting arena, with tournaments carried out as early as the 15th century. Despite its popularity, archery was only introduced as an Olympic sport in 1900.
I want to be an archer
If you’ve never picked up a bow and arrow before, don’t worry as most students learning archery are complete beginners. Instructors are patient and will explain the dynamics of the sport, as well as the proper form and position to assume in order to hit your target. Targets are marked clearly with ten evenly spaced concentric rings, with score values ranging from one to ten.
“Hitting the target on the bulls-eye, which is the inner most circle gives you ten points,” says Frankie Hoong, an instructor at the Archery Club of Singapore.
Target boards typically have five colours, yellow or gold being the bulls eye, followed then by red, blue, black and finally white. “Moving outwards from the bulls eye, the score then goes in descending order, depending on which colour you hit,” he explains.
There’s no need to invest in any equipment but most archers wear an arm-guard to protect the inside of their bow arm, which will be provided at all schools. This is particularly important for beginners as the force of the bow-string post release may cause bruising, especially if you’re not used to handling a bow.
If you’ve decided to give archery a go, there are many schools and associations that offer classes for beginners. You also have the option of individual/private or group lessons, depending on which school you pick and what your preference is.
Archery Club of Singapore(ACS)
The Archery Club of Singapore (ACS) offers private and group lessons, as well as classes for schools and corporations. Situated at Punggol, ACS also organises regular shoots and competitions.
Archery Club of Singapore is located at Punggol Angsana archery field at the junction of Hougang Avenue 6/8. Tel: 9455 1809 / 8198 9871. Do call ahead to make an appointment before heading to the field. www.archeryclubspore.com
Archery Association of Singapore (AAS)
The Archery Association of Singapore offers archery courses through its various affiliates, located all around the island. So instead of trooping to a school on the other side of Singapore, simply head to the AAS website to look for a club nearest to you.