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Concentration

30 Jan
The Dot is one of the most basic forms of concentration exercise.

The Dot is one of the most basic forms of concentration exercise.

I’m going to take a departure from my usual fare and talk about one of my other passions. No, not fishing. The water is to ‘stiff’ right now for that. Unless you’re one of those people who think sitting on a bucket in -50 degree wind chills looking down at an eight inch hole in the ice waiting for a really stupid fish is fishing, I do not!

Nor, am I going to discuss the nuances of crafting a fine hunting knife from a piece of steel and a few scraps of wood and brass. Though that might be a good topic for a post some other time. Today I want to talk about archery and why I love it so.

I am a traditional archer, which means I shoot a longbows, recurve bows, or primitive (self) bows. I have owned and shot the modern compound bows with wheels and cams and sights and such. But, I found that I like the simple “Stick and String”.

One of my recurve bows.

One of my recurve bows.

It started at a young age. My father would come home from work and even before dinner, the family would go into the back yard and shoot at a paper plate target pinned onto several straw bales stacked upon each other to form a backstop. We would spend hours in the evenings and weekends as a family shooting for fun. I the fall we would go to our vacation property in Wisconsin and bow hunt for the elusive White-tailed deer. Before I was old enough to go out on my own, I would tag along with Mom. Yes, my mother was an avid bowhunter long before it was fashionable for women to do so. She would find a place to stand along a likely deer run and sit me down at the base of a nearby tree to wait. usually, I would fall asleep. In high school, I gave up archery in favor of football and I didn’t take up the bow again until after I was married.

So, why does the ‘mystic flight of the arrow’ compete with my writing and fishing? They actually have a lot in common. The most important commonality is, for me at least, they take concentration. Different forms of concentration to be sure. But still the mind is exercised and stretched. During the ten to fifteen seconds of my archery shot sequence, I can not allow anything other than the shot to enter my mind. During the last few seconds before I release the arrow, there is only the small dot on the target. there is nothing else. only the dot. Where the arrow will ultimately strike. If I allow outside thoughts to enter in, the shot will be off. Once the arrow hits the target, my mind can relax until I am preparing the for next shot.This process of concentrate, relax, concentrate, relax, does a wonderful job of removing stresses of the day, calming the spirit, relaxing the body, and focusing the mind.

Look at the eyes, even after the shot. Concentration!

Look at the eyes, even after the shot. Concentration!

Then there is the satisfaction of watching the flight of a perfectly shot arrow. The unerring, arching path as the colorful feathered fletching rotates the shaft. Smooth arching flight. Over again and again. Each arrow carries with it negativity and stress. The perfectly shot arrow will always make you smile.

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33 Comments

Posted by on January 30, 2014 in Traditional Archery

 

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33 responses to “Concentration

  1. Eagle-Eyed Editor

    January 30, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Interesting post! Archery was one of the options in my high school physical education classes and I took it because it was so fun.

    And I’ve read that archery is catching on among young women. This is due to The Hunger Games novels and movies, since the main character, Katniss Everdeen, is a hunter who uses a bow and arrow.

     
    • Dennis Langley

      January 31, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      I’ve heard that too. It’s nice to see regardless of the reason. It’s a great activity for singles, couples and families.

       
  2. Jade Reyner

    January 30, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Hmmm… although, I am not sure about shooting deer. Call me a softy… 😦

     
    • Dennis Langley

      January 30, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Interesting. Jade has revealed a soft spot. But I will not take advantage…today. 🙂

       
      • Jade Reyner

        January 30, 2014 at 9:28 am

        Ha ha ha… I have many soft spots. Most are filled with a squishy fatty substance.. 😀

         
      • Dennis Langley

        January 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

        I will not comment further as ANYTHING that I would say would get me in a lot of trouble regardless of the direction I chose to take the conversation. Have a great day! 🙂

         
      • Jade Reyner

        January 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm

        Ha ha.. sensible man! Whoever said that men didn’t know when to retreat… LOL. 😀

         
      • Dennis Langley

        January 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm

        He who fights and runs away… Lives to fight another day!

         
      • Jade Reyner

        January 31, 2014 at 3:56 am

        Excellent advice.! Just don’t forget to pop back now and again! 🙂

         
      • Dennis Langley

        January 31, 2014 at 6:55 am

        That’s the nature of guerrilla warfare. Hit and run. You never know where I might pop up next.

         
      • Jade Reyner

        January 31, 2014 at 7:31 am

        Just don’t go hitting your head. 😀

         
  3. char

    January 30, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I never thought of archery being relaxing like that. But it is its own form of Yoga or meditation, it sounds like. You make me want to try it.

     
    • Dennis Langley

      January 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Excellent. We can always use more archers. It gives a good upper body work out too.

       
      • char

        January 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm

        Then I’d probably be super bad at first. I have weak arms (like a Tyrannosaurus Rex…ha ha)

         
      • Dennis Langley

        January 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

        You can’t get out of it that easy. Everyone is bad at first. However, there are bows built light enough for small children. So…when do you want to start. 🙂

         
      • char

        January 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

        Maybe I’ll have to go with my son when he finishes up his archery merit badge. He’s supposed to teach me a new skill and was trying to get away with teaching me how to play Minecraft on the computer. I opted out of that one. So maybe I’ll have him teach me how to hold a bow.

         
      • Dennis Langley

        January 30, 2014 at 4:14 pm

        Sounds like a plan. Archery merit badge is not trivial. A lot goes into that one.

         
      • char

        January 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm

        Yeah, he didn’t complete it at summer camp, so we need to get to a range and get that done.

         
      • Dennis Langley

        January 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm

        Tell him there’s an Eagle Scout in Minnesota that’s interested in how he does.

         
  4. 4amWriter

    January 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I dated a guy who was big into archery. He took me out to a sand pit for target practice. I was lousy, until he wrapped his arms around me to show me how its done. Oh yeah, that helped my aim! 😉

     
    • Dennis Langley

      January 31, 2014 at 6:52 am

      LOL! That ‘a it. Keep your eye on the target. 🙂

       
  5. Dyrewulf

    January 31, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Reblogged this on 323 Archery Shoot and commented:
    This is why I keep a recurve: there are times when I just want to shoot, without worrying about a sight, mechanical release, etc. etc. I just want to pick a bow up, get my bucket o’ arrows, and shoot for a while.

     
    • Dennis Langley

      January 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks for the reblog. Some times simpler just feels right. 🙂

       
      • Dyrewulf

        January 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm

        Yep, more fun, less stress… I still want to get my skill level up to the point where I’m comfortable hunting with traditional equipment.

         
      • Dennis Langley

        January 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm

        Instinctive shooting is all about muscle memory. Check out my post on the Bridge Method. It works.

         
      • Dyrewulf

        January 31, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        I shot all instinctive from 1975 to 1988 – won a lot of competitions – I just have to practice, practice, practice 🙂

         
      • Dennis Langley

        January 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm

        Ain’t that the truth!!! Have fun.

         
  6. Matthew Wright

    January 31, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Archery is an awesome skill. Seriously demanding. And cool.

     
  7. Dennis Langley

    January 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Agreed. It’s similar to golf in that it can be VERY frustrating. But when it comes together, it’s magic. I was lucky that my father started us off at an early age.

     
  8. Pete Denton

    February 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Excellent post. I’ve always fancied having a go at archery. You make me want to do it even more now! I can see how this would be with your concentration. Nice to have such clarity even if only for a short time.

     
    • Dennis Langley

      February 3, 2014 at 7:01 am

      Now if I could have that clarity long enough to finish a novel, I’d be set. 🙂

       
      • Pete Denton

        February 3, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        Hahaha something to aim for, excuse the pun!

         
      • Dennis Langley

        February 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm

        Exactly right! 🙂

         

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