What Is Traditional Archery?

Seriously? You’re asking this? OK fine. As the name suggests, obviously traditional archery encompasses anything that has little to do with the modern adaptation of the sport. For instance, traditionally archery was used for hunting or warring purposes. And not to be a fancy schmook by hitting a colourful target board. But of course, that might not be a good enough explanation for you. So here’s a more elaborate breakdown. Maybe, just maybe you’ll begin to understand what traditional archery is.

No fancy pansy bows

It’s basically like how your granddad does it. “In my day, we didn’t have a fancy recurve bow. Or a shield cut fletching. All we had were good old reliable longbows that got the job done.”

And then they’d rattle on by saying how these old school bows would hone their technique to perfection. And they’d even boast a little, saying that they could shoot 4 pigeon down with just 1 arrow. Y’know, exaggerated claims like that.

Whatever your opinion may be of these stories, they’ve captured a part of the essence of traditional archery. Because one crucial aspect definitely is the design of the bow. And while people may say a bow is merely an instrument, that’s where they’re dead wrong. If you want to master any art, much like archery itself, you have to make the bow an extension of your hand.

And that’s practicing with a longbow is actually one of the best ways to improve. You won’t be able to use those sneaky stabilisers and all those for-wusses-only add ons.

Bloody wars

No I’m not being venting my angst. I literally mean bloody here. Picture this: Arrows swoosh across the battlefield; each heading for a specific target. And while some lay harmless by the side, others have hit the mark. And now there are a few more gruesome deaths. Some have arrows between their eyes. Others were unlucky enough to have their eyes pierced. Another suffocated and lost too much blood at the same time after an arrow struck his throat.

In a nutshell: a blood bath.

Archery has traditionally been a warring tool. And much like the sharpshooters and snipers of today, the purpose of the archers was to take down their enemies with the privilege of having cover.

The advent of a slightly more powerful weapon, le gun, drove loads of archers out of work though.


Food. We all love a good meal. Traditionally, tribes have used a team of archers to hunt down various animals to fill their stomachs. Amidst all the chanting, they have actually managed to prove their worth. How so? Check this out.

An Indian archer was actually scouted by the national team after they discovered him killing animals with ease. The guy went onto win a bunch of medals for the country as well. Impressive? Hell yes!

Besides this, various tribes in Australasia and Africa have managed to survive till today.

So yes, while archery might be all about hitting an ugly looking target today, traditionally it has been absolutely nothing like that.