On Shooting: Keith Harding, Archer
February 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
Tell me how it makes you feel. Why you like it.
Nobody has asked me this question before, and I must admit I’m not too sure how to articulate the answer, but I’ll have a go.
I think, maybe, it’s where I’ve been shooting for so long, and it sounds a bit clichéd, but to say “it’s a part of me” is probably an understatement. Throughout my life I have subjected myself to certain torments (you may recall the conversation we had when we last met? yeah, the one about ‘the state of the world’, that’s a typical example). There are two activities that I can definitely say mute all the noise and distraction in my head, one of which is archery (the other is Tea). For the past two years or so the activity has been more of a challenge; change of technique requires an acute inward focus, as I have been learning to use muscle groups I had previously not used. This has made it quite strenuous, both physically and mentally. But I have made progress, and I look forward to the summer; long days of peaceful, calm, mostly effortless shooting, and hopefully with good results!
I quite like the dynamic contrast too:
Drawing and shooting the bow, from the archers perspective, is quite calm with fairly little motion. It is also, time-wise, a fairly slow process: making a shot takes 6-8 seconds. It’s important the shooter should remain calm and as motionless as possible until the arrow strikes the target. In summary, the archer: play-dough/modeling clay; easily distorted, and effected by the elements/external influences, even with a flawless appearance.
Upon releasing the string the arrow accelerates to around 200 feet-per-second (136-ish miles-per-hour) faster than you can blink. It will cover 70m in approximately 1.5 seconds. The bow can perform this action for countless shots, as reliably as you can make them. In summary, the bow: tooling steel/a ceramic; solid, and flawless in performance.
Any fault will be from you, and the only thing you can question is yourself (most of the time). So, you have to think hard, with inward focus, and control your actions, but not try too hard. No fear, no desire, just peace, calm, strength….. and uncontrolled, free, explosive power.
Archery: Quenches the thirst in my soul, and gives me peace of mind.