Archery is known throughout the world. You can find historical references to it in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, but thanks to pop culture it is gaining popularity.
Ken Wilkins, owner of Archery Traditions of Oklahoma in Yukon, has had a passion for archery and bowhunting for most of his life. He says due to movies like Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Hunger Games and TV shows like Arrow and The Walking Dead, archery has become a favorite pastime for many people.
What drives people to the sport isn’t important, according to Wilkins; rather, most discover they truly like it and want to learn more.
“The thing is, once they come in and experience it, they enjoy it and stick with it,” he says. “I’ve had very few people decide that they don’t want to continue to do it.”
Archery is for everyone. It teaches patience, focus and control, Wilkins says. He recommends for anyone interested in archery to start learning on a traditional bow (recurve or longbow) to get the basics down before moving to a compound. You also want to have an introductory class because, if you learn incorrect form, it is hard to correct that later. For kids, the recommended age to begin is 6, depending upon the child’s maturity.
Bow and arrow, used for a multitude of reasons since ancient times, are some of the oldest art forms still practiced today, and traditional archery is itself artistic, Wilkins says. While all bows take practice, using a compound is more like using a gun with fixed sights, while a recurve or longbow requires learning to judge distances and angles.
The sheer enjoyment, stress relief and relaxation are what many people like about archery, but some are driven by other reasons. Pandora Figueroa gained interest in the sport after watching her favorite anime, which features an archer. Her husband, Daniel, recently bought her a recurve bow for her birthday.
“We are nerds, so we like the idea of being good at it, having that random skill,” she says.
Figueroa plans to take classes to learn basic form and improve her technique, but, for now, she is happy hitting the range and firing off a few arrows.