Archery is a traditional practice grounded in warfare. Prior to the invention of the firearm, the bow was often a significant trump card on the battlefield. Massed archers were able to rain a storm of steel tipped arrows down upon an enemy from range, often disrupting and countering any manoeuvres and turning the tide of battle. Asiatic archers in countries such as Korea and Japan practiced the use of the bow with a rigor reflective of martial arts. MFA-Archery captures this rigor through the utilisation of traditional equipment and techniques, combined with drills and theory based on modern archery. Furthermore, MFA-Archery moves beyond basic target shooting, incorporating drills and movements that develop an archer’s ability to move and shoot from a variety of stances and situations, thereby rounding out the martial aspect of the art. MFA-Archery embraces the concept of “precision before power” with archers developing their skills and accuracy on low poundage bows prior to increasing their power. As a Martial Art, there are skills to be achieved in order to grade to higher levels.
The style of bow used at MFA- Archery is an Asiatic Recurve Bow, commonly referred to as a horse bow. This bow shares many of the qualities of both the traditional Korean, Turkish, Chinese and Mongolian bows that have been historically used throughout Asia. The bow is a composite bow, meaning it is constructed from multiple layers of a variety of materials such as horn, wood, sinew and, in modern cases, fiberglass that have been laminated together to form the bow stave. The composite recurve bow was used throughout the Asiatic regions due to climate, available materials and purpose. As the bow naturally curves away from the path of the string whilst unstrung (rather than sitting at rest as a straight stave as European War Bows [commonly referred to as long bows] and flat bows do), it stores a significant amount of energy/cm. This means the bows could be made small which allowed for use on horseback. It is this feature that allowed the Mongols to dominate Asia and some of Europe during the reign of Genghis Khan.
Traditional arrows were typically made from solid wood or bamboo shafts, tipped with a bone, stone or metal arrow head and fletched with feathers. The tail end of the shaft was typically nocked to hold the arrow on the bowstring during draw and firing. Modern arrows are made from a variety of materials including carbon fibre, wood, bamboo, aluminium and fiberglass.
Combat Archery arrows are modern arrows tipped with a large foam head for safety.
Traditional European and modern recurve archers generally utilise a 2 or 3 finger draw in conjunction with a finger tab or shooting glove to protect the fingers and allow for a clean string release. This release can be further enhanced through the use of a mechanical release as used by compound shooters. MFA- Archery utilise an Asiatic thumb ring as utilized in Traditional Korean Archery. The use of the thumb ring and draw prevents the string from being warped like that of a finger draw as only 1 point comes into contact with the string. It also allows a cleaner release by having the string travel over a smooth, polished surface. They provide significant protection for the thumb allowing the archer to repeatedly draw the string without causing damage. Thumb rings need to be matched to the diameter of the archer’s thumb to prevent slippage and it is also recommended that they include a groove for the string to rest in.
The basic equipment is a Bow, several Strings, a Thumb Ring, and Arrows.
Archery Combat is a new safe and friendly archery sport that can be played indoors or outdoors. It combines elements from dodge ball, paintball, laser tag, and traditional archery. It blends the best aspects of these sports while adding the skill of archery. If you plan to become involved in Archery-Combat, then additional protective equipment is required as well as specialized foam-tipped Arrows. Initially, the Club has loan equipment for use by Students. Archery-Combat is a safe sport that can be played both indoors and outdoors, and is a year-round activity that everyone can enjoy. Enjoy with friends, family or workmates. Archery Combat is a great way to encourage our younger generation to get out and exercise and learn new skills!