You were impressed by the mad archery skillz of Legolas? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet:
Published on 23 Jan 2015
The ultimate archery trick!
Prove that Hollywood archery is not historical.
Podcast about how I started archery:
An archers with a quiver on his back is a movie icon which is widespread throughout the world. But putting arrows in a quiver on your back is not a good solution. It is bad in motion and the archer cannot see his own arrows, as he has an enemy in front of him. He must focus on his quiver, which makes him vulnerable. Past archers often had different types of arrows simultaneously in his quiver but since the quiver is on his back, he cannot see which arrow he takes. Placing the quiver in the belt solved most problems, and if the archer is horseback, the quiver could be placed on the horse in front of the rider. These methods were the most common ways to use a quiver.
The round divided target:
The two dimensional target is not known from the past. Historical targets were not flat, but three dimensional.
Quiver, arrows in the bow hand, arrows in the draw hand:
I think there has always been an evolution in archery. Archers from even the earliest times have gone from using quivers, to arrows in the bow hand, and ultimately, to hold arrows in the draw hand. Going from the quiver to holding the arrows in the bow hand is not difficult, it can be learnt. You get the arrow in front of you, so you do not have to focus away from an enemy It is far better in motion, so there are many advantages over a quiver. There are today archers which are really good with this method. Keeping the arrow in the draw hand provides a wide range of benefits, but it assumes that one can draw and shoot in a single movement automatically. If you must use multiple movements or have to use your fingers on the bow hand to get the arrow in place, then it is far better to go back and keep the arrow in the bow hand.
I have for many years experimented with drawing with both hands simultaneously so while your hand with the arrow pulling the string behind, while bow hand is pushed forward, this providing more power on the arrow. when I 2 years ago made the video “Reinventing the fastest forgotten archery” I had seen many historic pictures of a low half drag, and then I thought it would be interpreted as past archers only drew the bow short, but today I think it is more likely that the images show a double draw,
To hit an arrow in the air:
I have currently tried 14 times (everything is filmed) For me this is the ultimate archery, which I until recently had thought was impossible. it can be done, but requires the handling of the bow and arrow to become completely bodily. you may not have time to aim or think, and you must first be completely convinced you hit, you see, “feel” the incoming arrow and shoot in an instant. do not attempt this I / we have been in doubt about wether this should be shown, because we were afraid that someone gets hurt if they try to emulate it,
I trained for many years and spent a really long time before I tried it the first time.
For several years, I along with my friends Peter and Ask also trained with harmless buffer arrows where I often have shot their arrows down and before we switched to proper arrows I had very safely hit 5 harmless arrows in a row. It will not be shot with a very strong bow (but it’s still dangerous) The arrow that fired at me is a light bamboo arrow with metal tip, I’ll shoot back with a heavy aluminum arrow so I’m sure that the incoming arrow flexes when they hit together. The archer shoots at me normally sits behind one large safety sheet, but in the video is filmed with the sheets pulled away, so you can see what is going on.
I hope to try again during the summer outside, with an HD camera in slow motion.
Do I hit everything?
I use a lot of time practicing, and it can take a very long time before I learn a new skill. For instance, when I got the idea of jumping to grab and enemy’s arrow before I land, it took me months to learn, where for a long time, the arrows would fly everywhere, until I learned to handle it.
Thanks for reading and watching my videos
It took a bit longer to get to me than I expected, but here’s Jim MacQuarrie leading off the debunking train:
Since apparently hundreds of sites have uncritically repeated its many preposterous and unsupportable claims, with the result that many people have asked me about it, I thought I should offer a detailed analysis.
The question really comes down to three separate categories; (1) the claims made in the narration; (2) the trick shots shown, and (3) Andersen’s actual archery ability.
We’ll start with the third. Andersen’s quick-shooting technique is obviously effective (if speed is the goal), in that he is able to fire a lot of arrows at a very rapid pace. It’s worth noting that the narrator goes to great pains to explain why shooting at close-up distances is so important and denigrates “warrior archers only shooting at long distances,” (just one of many totally false claims) in order to paper over the fact that the man obviously can’t hit anything that’s more than about 20 feet away. No doubt there are literally hundreds of failed attempts that were cut out of the carefully-edited video. His gimmick is speed, not accuracy, and it’s obvious to anyone who actually knows anything about archery that his complete lack of any kind of consistent form is going to require camera tricks and a lot of luck, which is exactly what’s on display here. He may in fact be the fastest archer in the world; he just shouldn’t pretend to be accurate.
The really egregious part is the staggeringly inaccurate, misleading, and hyperbolic narration, written by somebody with little-to-no actual knowledge of archery history and a willingness to distort facts to make a bogus case.
The narration actually skirts close to accuracy when talking about target archery. With the invention of firearms, archery made the transition from weapon of war to sporting event, and with that came codification of rules, refinement of effective techniques, and modification of equipment, all in pursuit of what was regarded as the most difficult attribute to master. Something similar happened when the martial art of swordfighting became the sport of fencing. In the case of archery, accuracy at ever-increasing distances was chosen as the goal to focus on rather than speed or trick-shots. Having acknowledged that, the narration than launches back into bogus assertions and ignorance.
The narrator declares that shooting at a stationary target is “something that was unknown in the past,” which is patently absurd; archers who hope to hit a moving target such as an enemy combatant were obviously going to practice on a stationary target, and the modern archery target is a natural evolution of the ancient method; the difference is that what was once basic training is now the end goal.
“If he wanted to shoot like the master archers of old, he would have to unlearn what he had learned,” the narrator tells us. If Andersen had ever actually learned anything from real archers before going on his historical quest, he would have had a lot less to unlearn. What he had learned is the usual collection of bad habits that self-taught amateur archers always display, many of which continue unabated in his new, allegedly historic techniques. He is a terrible archer who can shoot fast. He shoots very fast. He shoots very badly very fast.
His new technique is described as “simpler and more natural, exactly like throwing a ball.” This is accompanied by a shot of him throwing a ball very badly and awkwardly. He throws about as well as he shoots, but nobody would ever put up that segment and try to compare him to Major League pitchers, because most people know how to throw a ball at least enough to know that this is not a particularly impressive example of the skill. Another fun exercise would be comparing Andersen’s clumsy attempts at running and jumping to actual practitioners of parkour, martial arts, or gymnastics. Frankly, I’m surprised people aren’t mocking his awkward attempts at action shots, since to me he looks about as impressive and coordinated as the Star Wars kid.
Update: And here’s Elizabeth Bear guest-posting at Charles Stross’s blog.
Speaking as a mediocre archer in my own right, and as somebody who’s written three novels with a Mongol archer as a protagonist and done a fair amount of research on the subject of worldwide bow techniques…
That guy’s a really good marketer.
But he’s not actually doing anything we didn’t already know about, he’s not shooting in a manner that would be at all effective in combat or for the historically more common purpose of feeding his family, and his quiver-handling skills are worthy of the “before” segment of an infomercial.
I’d like to see him cut a sandwich with a regular knife! It might result in an explosion.
Anyway, back to Mr. Andersen. His draw is likely to be largely useless for killing anything larger or farther away than a paper plate. It’s any which way, and it’s insufficient for power. (Also, hunting and war arrows are, generally speaking, much larger and heavier than what he’s using there. E=MV^2, after all. Size does matter.)
Compare his release to that of Adama Swoboda (below), and see that Swoboda, even shooting fast, brings the bowstring back to his jaw. Andersen is shooting so fast that he doesn’t have time for a full draw.
His tactics, though — speed shooting and so forth — are suited to a shorter recurve (like a Mongol, Hun, or Indian bow), which is designed to be shot in motion and from horseback.
If you’re using a very heavy, penetrating bow such as an English/Welsh longbow, different tactics apply. For one thing, a heavier-limbed bow has a lot more mass, and accelerates the arrow in a different way. A laminated Mongol-style bow relies for its power on some gloriously advanced materials hacks involving laminating substances with different compressibility to one another and making them fight. They’re snappy, and because they are small the tips of their limbs whip back into position speedily. You can’t speed-fire a longbow that way, because the limbs of the bow are large, there’s more mass to be moved, and they derive their draw power from compressing a quantity of wood. (They also make use of the varied compressibility of different substances, by the way — but those substances are the heartwood and sapwood of a young tree. Nature provides the lamination itself!)
(And massed fire with the things is indeed withering!)