well said sister !!
but i would add a couple things .
often it just comes down to cost .....
from my experience , i shoot a 50# fiberglass laminate recurve , that i've shot for many many years , do to my arm length i over draw , so my actual draw weight on this bow is 62# , i had the pleasure of shooting a 70# bo d'arc long bow, it was a high $$ bow , but it pulled easier than my 62 # recurve, and was just as fast off the bow . unfortunatly as sweet as it was, it was way out of my below poverty level finances .
it has also been my experience that the cheaper wood bows,are usualy made from oak, and while they are period looking, they normaly dont seem to last as long as the high dollar , or recurve bows.
so i can't even say that they are good choices for more experienced archers , especialy since self bows tend to require much more closely ballanced and tweaked arrows .
while building interest in combat archery is a good thing, it for the most, requires different equipment , and different skill sets than standard target archery . ( examples: how to draw an apd arrow, how not to hit your hand with the apd,how to compensate for shooting a brick down range,with only a 30# bow , while putting it on target, and finaly for those kingdoms with face only rules, how to use your weapons form with much more skill and accuracy than most knights )( wonder how many of them would quit if they could only hit opponents in the face?? )
i am an authorized combat archery marshal , but can no longer even do that as my back has progressed to the point where i dont want to be carried off the field on a stretcher, or a shield , simply because i slipped and fell .
the new " tradition " of including a combat / ikcac round in some high lvl shoots , and " requiring all participants to bring their own combat gear "
( helm, gorget , and gloves ) weather or not they are combat archers in order to compete , also " chases archers away. "
i know from observation that there are many old knights and squires that dont fight anymore because they can't swing a stick as often or as long as they used to, so they sit around and cheer on their favorites, and go to circles, and drink and tell stories of how great they used to be , but they already have the armor and most of the skill sets to become really good combat archers , and show people how great they " are " not " were ."
yet we never hear about trying to recruit them?? instead of adding to the already expensive game we all play.
if people want to learn both skill sets , and can afford both sets of gear thats great !!
but not everyone can afford it .
3: periodness/ dropoffs
( yes you covered this already ; )
while some gentles are blessed with a large pouch, and people that sew for them, i rarely do, ( thanx to you , i actually have 1 tunic that has archers sleeves ) , but don't have more period garb , even though i have the pattern in my head for what i would like to be wearing .and don't say " barter " because the people that would barter new arrows or new bow strings are the same people i'm teaching to make their own . and untill spring / summer i won't have more than book knowledge on making bows.
anyway the point being , that experienced archers ( for the most part ) will slowly move towards more periodness as their skills and finances improve. but demanding they be period is just going to run them off to find a different group to shoot with.
in the northern region ikac's and ikcacs are normaly shot at practices , but this year weather and event schedules have really cut back on the available weekends , so participation has its ups and downs here, it may seem odd , but a lot of the places i've gone only have like 1/2 to 1 hour archery practices. then complain about other groups " long "shoots at events. it hasnt happened this year ,again do to health,weather, and events , but in years past we used to start archery practice at 2:30 and not stop till it was too dark to be safe. averaging 2 full adult ikac's a childrens ikac, 2 adult royal rounds, and a childs royal round , every practice.and 2 ikcac's would be run on the last sunday of the month .
( this was during the warm months , temps below 40 deg. f. tend to have us shoot a lot less ; )
which has helped many northern archer win shoots , because they arent tired of shooting after 1/2 hour .
ok , ill climb down off my soapbox now .
( thus ends this episode of leave it to blackmoon ; )
be safe, be happy, have fun
ld.arthur blackmoon , k.a.a.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 7:54 AM
Subject: [SCA-Archery] dropoff and 'period-ness'
I know that our group hasn't shot an IKAC for a couple of years, I'm
guessing. The reasons have varied. We hadn't had as many practices as
in years previous because of scheduling difficulties for one reason.
Another was that several of our regularly attending archers, myself
included, had suffered injuries or health issues that precluded
overuse of shoulders, standing for long periods, etc. The primary
reason, however, was that we simply lost interest because of the
amount of time that would go by from the time scores were sent in, to
when they were posted. It just didn't mean much to us if we couldn't
see whether our status changed. If you don't see growth, you get
bored and move on to other things.
Which leads me to the other topic...the use of non-period bows.
Yes you CAN buy a new period bow at a good price. Is it the best
choice for beginning archers?....From my personal experience....NO!
Our group has a lot of loaner bows that were graciously donated by
those who got archery going again in our group. They spent a lot of
time accumulating the equipment by going to pawn shops, second hand
stores, garage sales, and watching ebay. Most of the bows are in the
20# to 30# range. In the first couple of months, I moved through the
bows working my way up to the 30# bow. I thought that I was ready for
my first bow and wanted something more period in style.
I purchased a 30# oak longbow and learned to shoot off my hand rather
than a shelf, etc. I was terribly excited...for a while. To my
increasing frustration, my scores dropped and i could not manage to
get them back up even after several months. I have an eye problem
that is partially compensated for with glasses, but cannot be
completely remedied by any means at this time. This makes things
challenging enough already, with the new difficulties, I was getting
extremely frustrated. I considered quitting, but instead went back to
the loaner bows. With the recurve I was again able to hit the targets
consistently at longer ranges, my scores went up again, and I had fun
I have since progressed and purchased my second bow...again a recurve
and 42#. I was gifted with a 50# recurve a couple of years ago and
loved to shoot it, but was involved in a car accident which caused
some shoulder damage. A fall that reinjured that shoulder negated me
using the bow for nearly 18 months, but I have finally made my way
back to it. Someday I may try a more period bow again. I'd like to,
but my used recurves have been much more affordable than a new
longbow of like poundage. I think that I would probably do better
with a mongol or magyar style bow, but the cost of those is way out
of my range. Under-employment is a curse....but also a fact of life
for many of us.
I tell beginning archery students to stick with loaner gear for as
long as possible, until their ability outpaces the equipment or they
are sure that they want to stick with the activity. If they want to
purchase a period bow, I am honest about the differences they will
run into...the fact that a longbow of equal poundage will not get an
arrow downrange as quickly as a fiberglass recurve and that they will
have to relearn some of the things they have been doing....arcing
their shots more from farther distances, the fact that they are using
a shelf on their recurve makes things more simple. Shooting off the
hand can be very inconsistent if you aren't used to it. They can
install a shelf of a sort on their new baby, but whether or not that
is truly period is up for debate.
A week ago I ran a shoot where there were three young people (late
teens/early 20s) that showed up late in the day and wanted to shoot.
They shared one bow that had been purchased for one of them by his
mother a month previous. It was a lovely longbow...and 35#...far too
powerful for any of them. As this was a specialized shoot, there was
no loaner gear available. My marshals and I assisted them as much as
we could and each of them was able to get off a few shots before they
could no longer pull even a partial draw without their arms
I am sure that all three were sore for a couple of days. All were
encouraged to continue shooting in the future and to find a group
with loaner gear they could borrow until they could shoot the
poundage of their bow more easily. Will they continue...sadly, I have
my doubts. Even with our assistance, I fear that their frustration
level was probably extremely high. Should I have sent them away
without even letting them try the bow? Perhaps, but I thought that
some basic instruction and explanation of why the bow was 'too big'
would help moderate some of the frustration and keep from making them
resentful of a flat out 'no' when they asked to shoot. Had we
marshals had bows that were of low enough poundage, we would have let
them borrow them, but all of us were shooting in the 40-50# range.
If you give an archer a solid foundation, they will grow and continue
to expand their interest. When you see an archer using a modern
recurve, chances are, they are still developing as archers and as
members of the SCA. When they find themselves and are comfortable
with both their abilities and their level of personna and
participation (and if they can afford it) most will go on to a more
period bow. To restrict participation to only more period looking
equipment will decrease participation in archery to the point where
it will disappear completely in many groups. We can't afford that.
Encourage particpation and growth, both in archery skills and
personna development and you will see an increase in period
equipment. Pass down your outgown or unwanted equipment that is in
good condition to someone who shows an interest but can't afford
period gear. Keep shoots varied and interesting...that will help,
too. We are not all about scores, though all the talk about RR and
IKAC scores makes me wonder sometimes.
My two or three pence worth.
Lyneya de Grey
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