Longbow - the easy choice ?

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
don't think that one style is easier than the other, just different.
I agree. It is the word "Easier" that is confusing here.
For example, I think the longbow shot process is easier than that of a recurve or compound. I don't mean that in any disrespectful way; but it seems to have fewer parts to it. It's over in a flash compared to some of the styles that require a map to find out where the hand or elbow should go next.
I have watched many people shoot a compound for the first time. Some of those were not archers already; they bought a compound and wanted to try it out, never having shot any bow before. Without exception, they shot a pleasing group, once they had their draw length sorted to something like reasonable. There are aspects of the compound's make up that assist raw beginners towards a repetitive draw length and anchor position.
Give someone a recurve bow rather than an all wooden longbow, and they seem to instinctively take their time. That seems to equate to taking more care.Even recurve barebow is usually slower than the usual longbow
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
I don't agree with you that the shot sequence is easier on any particular bow. I shoot mainly English Longbow, but also dabble in AFB, Barebow, Recurve and Compound from time to time. I use the same basic shot sequence for all styles, if anything it's harder with the longbow because you have to get it right first time, due to the draw weight you don't get time to adjust, you get it right or you come down, or you miss. Where the difference is in my opinion is that you do have time with a compound, to adjust your aim, ensure that you have everything in the right place, and then increase the back tension until activating the release. The down side of this is with a longbow you need to maintain the focus for the 5 seconds of the shot sequence, but with the compound you need to maintain that focus for the whole 5 minutes. (Times may be a little out)
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Hi EB, I struggled with the word "easier". It doesn't really convey what I mean. I could replace it with "less time consuming" possibly; or more "natural" looking? I would really like a word that gets across the way it looks when watching someone shoot. Some compounds and recurves look " manufactured" less flowing.
I think longbow is more Robin Hood like. Give someone a longbow and they will try to draw it and make a fair job of it. Give someone a compound and they might ask, "What do I do with this?" Sometimes a recurve bow will be met with, " Where do I hold it?"
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
Hi EB, I struggled with the word "easier". It doesn't really convey what I mean. I could replace it with "less time consuming" possibly; or more "natural" looking? I would really like a word that gets across the way it looks when watching someone shoot. Some compounds and recurves look " manufactured" less flowing.
I think longbow is more Robin Hood like. Give someone a longbow and they will try to draw it and make a fair job of it. Give someone a compound and they might ask, "What do I do with this?" Sometimes a recurve bow will be met with, " Where do I hold it?"
Perhaps intuitive would be a better word then? - However when I give someone a bow - any bow - if they're not an archer I tell them not to pull it back as the next thing they'll do is let go of the sting. :D

(edited due to typo)
 
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geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
The intuitive would describe holding the bow itself, very nicely. Intuitive draw is better than easier, that's for sure.
Or perhaps what I mean is many will draw a longbow without stopping to think, as if they already know; possibly the Robin Hood effect.
 
If you want to be any good at these disciplines I would say: compound = hard, recurve = hard, Barebow = hard (any style e.g stripped recurve vs. American flatbow), traditional bows = hard
Learning anything is easy and can take only as long as you don't listen to the teacher.

Mastering everything is very very hard and will take as long as you have on this planet.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
" Mastering" is a nice word, I feel.
" Master craftsman" Master Bowman, Master mechanic, Master's degree.
I find the word "mastering" sometimes seems to imply control over; even completing something in a way.
He/she mastered that; then went to to try something else.
We reach a standard and can claim a recognition for it. We may still improve further, so the mastery level though very high, was less than perfect.
Riceburner, did you mean mastering everything? or should that be anything?
 
" Mastering" is a nice word, I feel.
" Master craftsman" Master Bowman, Master mechanic, Master's degree.
I find the word "mastering" sometimes seems to imply control over; even completing something in a way.
He/she mastered that; then went to to try something else.
We reach a standard and can claim a recognition for it. We may still improve further, so the mastery level though very high, was less than perfect.
Riceburner, did you mean mastering everything? or should that be anything?
Everything as in "Anything you try to master".

I'm also trying to say that a Master will know that there is always more to learn. ;)
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Nice. I like that. My guess is that not all will see a master as needing to learn more. From the point of view of any who are still struggling, masters of will appear to be perfection. If only I could be as modest as I am perfect.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
I mastered walking by the time I was three. Archery is taking a bit longer :)
Is that because it is more difficult or because you are older now?
Seriously, though, in the context of walking, mastering it is reaching a level that doesn't really need to be improved. Unless you want to compete.
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
A phrase I like, which I know is a cliche but it works. A master has failed more than the student has tried. I am a coach, and I have shot to GMB standard, but I don't consider myself a master, I still look up to the people who coached me, and the people who have achieved more than me. I honestly think that archery is something I'll never master, I get close every now and then, but then I lose it again.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
I think "mastery" might have different meanings, in detail at least, according to context.
When competition is involved it requires a greater degree of mastery, as each tries to out do the others and proficiency goes up. There are no limits after that. In archery, if lots of archers scored maximum points they would make the faces smaller. The GMB archers will always know they could improve; or at least feel they could with enough hard work.
Master craftsmen may need to pass a test to get their master craftsman certificate. That sort of implies that they don't need to get any better, rather they should keep up their standards.
 
Longbow- the easy choice?
I think that some archers do choose longbow because it is the easy choice. They learn on a recurve at the beginners' course and use one for a while as new club members. Then, they reach a point where they tell me they can't get on with all the " fuss about sights and stabs and doing it like this etc." They just want to shoot.
And when they shoot their longbow they do shoot lots of arrows in a short space of time compared to everyone else. Their shooting is like kids throwing stones into the sea, just for the fun of it. It's not the same as skimming flat stones across a pond, where you have to choose the stones with care and launch them with care, too. There is a freedom with throwing stones out into the sea;and it seems , for the guys I meet, their archery had a freedom, too. Most of them are happy and don't seem to want to improve their scores; their objective is to enjoy shooting arrows; hitting the boss simply saves them from bending down to pull arrows from the grass. They do enjoy getting golds, but missing it doesn't bring on the sulks.
Shooting like that is easier than shooting for high scores. Shooting for high scores can be done with compounds , recurves, and longbows. It's not the weapon that dictates how easy the archery is. It's the outlook of the archer. You can see recurve archers who just pop arrows off, with no worries about scores. You can find compounders who do the same; but they are quite rare. I think that's because the compound is usually chosen by archers who want to shoot groups. And they like how they feel when shooting the more complex machine. Groups are easier to get with compounds.
Notice I am not talking about winning competitions; winning a competition is always about being better than all the others.
The banter that goes around is nothing to do with disrespecting the longbow( or compound) archers. It is more personal than that. Some give out banter for the fun of it; some are more serious/ hurtful.For some, the banter is saved for their special archer; the one they don't like so much. Banter, like archery, has a few different styles.
It seems to me that much banter comes from some recurve archers who don't like compounds, because they say they are cheating; and accuse longbow archers of taking the easy option because they aren't good enough with a recurve. It is very easy for that to grow into a club ethos, when others join in just for the fun of it, and don't really care one way or the other.
Very thoughtful and mature posting Geoff. I agree entirely. Those who knock ELB should try it. I once had a comment from a lady archer (national squad, not saying which nation) to the effect that LB was alright but not for her, as it was not competitive! Well no, not against recurve it isn't.
 

English Bowman

Well-known member
Re reading your original comment, there is one thing I'd add about banter, there are some people who reserve the banter for those they know well and know that it's not serious. There are compound archers I know well who I will ask when they are getting rid of the training wheels, they'll ask me when I'll be able to work out how to use a sight, or something similar. Neither of us would make those comments to someone we don't know, and we both know that it's just in fun, and no one is upset by it, however, we are careful that we don't offend others as that's not on. We also both know that the other archer respects our style of shooting as we have had serious discussions about the relative merits of each style.
 
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