Ancient archery skill rediscovered!

The legendary tales of archery are so impressive that modern archers believe they’re simply lies.

The stories told about the prowess of archers of yore were so many times better than the bow-and-arrow guys of today, that it just did not seem possible.

After all, with the development of carbon arrows, sights and scopes, lighted nocks and whatever, obviously archery is better now than it has ever been! Right?

Mmm. A Danish artist named Lars Andersen wasn’t so sure.

As this surreal video explains, he was able to teach himself lost archery techniques through a combination of research, dedication and creative, artistic, out-of-the-box thinking.

Today he calls himself The Fastest Archer in the World.

These are skills practised by the ancient Saracens, Turks, Chinese, Persians and the Native Americans. The skills of these warriors were documented. But modern archers could simply not get their heads around them. For instance, the basic test for a Saracen archer was to be able to fire three arrows in 1.5 seconds.

That meant firing three arrows laterally before the first one hit the ground.

Native American chief Hiawatha was reputedly able to fire ten arrows before his first arrow had hit the ground – roughly 10 arrows (vertically) in five seconds. By comparison, the fastest competitive archers can fire off 10 arrows is 13 seconds (Iza Privezenceva).

Lars realised that a particular technique had been lost in the mists of 800-odd years between the invention of gunpowder and the rediscovery of archery as a competitive sport. In the past, archers could fire arrows while holding several more arrows in their hands!

That modern thing where the archer shoots one single arrow, then ceremoniously draws the next single arrow from their quiver? It doesn’t have to be that way! And things can be a lot faster!

Using these insights, Lars was able to set a new world record by having 11 arrows in the air before the first one reaches the ground. Pretty much equalling the achievements of Hiawatha 600-odd years ago! And surpassing even fictional heroes like Legolas from Lord Of The Rings and those peeps from The Hunger Games!

By questioning the modern orthodoxy and investigating the ancient wisdom, Lars Andersen has discovered that contemporary standards and technology are but a fraction of what they were 200, 500, a thousand years ago!

By extension, you’ve gotta ask yourself, in our smug, contemporary self-righteousness, how much ancient wisdom are we overlooking? Are we really on a non-stop evolutionary growth path from primal barbarism to future greatness? Is it not possible that in some areas we have regressed?

How much other ancient wisdom has been lost?

One can only speculate.

In the interim, we have the example of Danish artist Lars Andersen to marvel at.


Writer, editor, ghostwriter, writing coach. I've been involved in 30+ book projects - for myself and for clients, partners and colleagues. Experience in marketing, PR, advertising, television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Former editor of FHM magazine. Currently Director, Editorial and Content at Ogilvy PR, Johannesburg. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). @hagenengler

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