Archery is one of the oldest arts that is still practised today. This art, sport or pastime has been around for centuries and continues to prove popular with people all over the world. While originally, people relied on archery to hunt and fight, nowadays, archery has become a popular sport and pastime for people from all sorts of backgrounds. The earliest evidence that we have of archery are arrowheads made of flint which date all the way back to around 10,000 BCE, however, it is possible that humans were using bows and arrows even earlier than this.
Nowadays, archery has developed into a competitive sport, practised in countries all over the world and by people of all ages and backgrounds. Archery has become a highly contested Olympic sport, you can buy an archery set for kids and there are regular local, national and international competitions all of the time. There are archery clubs in big cities, small towns and there are indoor and outdoor ranges all over the country where you can try out this fascinating sport as a newcomer or fine-tune your skills if you are a seasoned pro. Archery has come a long way over the many centuries it has been in existence, it has been intertwined with the history of humanity as far back as we can remember and continues to be a popular sport and pastime in the modern-day.
Continue reading to learn a little more about the history of archery and how it has developed to become the sport that it is today.
Earliest Evidence Of Archery
Ancient evidence of the practice of archery has been found all over the world. The very earliest proof that has been uncovered dates back to the late Paleolithic period, sometime around 10,000BEC when the Egyptians and other nearby cultures used bows and arrows to hunt and to fight in battle. In Chinese history, there is evidence of archery existing as far back as 1766BEC, during the Shang dynasty. During this time, a three-man team would ride in war chariots, one who served as the driver, another that carried a lance and an archer with a bow and arrow would be the third. From 1027-256BEC, throughout the Zhou Dynasty, nobles in China began to attend archery tournaments, signifying the emergence of archery as solely a competitive pursuit.
Further Development Of Archery
Archery was brought from China to Japan in the 500’s where shooting techniques and etiquette was developed. The Japanese martial art of Kyujutsu, which means “the art of the bow”, known as Kyudo, “way of the bow” nowadays, was introduced. This martial art focused primarily on developing physical, mental, moral, and spiritual attributes as it still does today.
During the Greco-Roman period, archery was used primarily for hunting and rarely was used in battle. Pottery that has been discovered from this time period often depicted archers, bows and arrows, highlighting the importance of this art in the lives of the people during this time period.
However, archery soon becomes an important skill on the battlefield. Horseman known as Parthians were skilled archers that were able to spin around in the saddle while travelling at seed to shoot backwards at their enemies. Archers were pivotal in warfare moving forward allowing the Mongols to take control of much of Europe and Asia, it enabled the Turkish to fight off the Crusaders and became an important fighting tactic on battlefields all over the world for centuries after.
Becoming An Olympic Sport
Fast-forward centuries later and archery became more of a recreational sport than a tool on the battlefield. It officially became an Olympic sport in the 1900 Olympic Games which were held in Paris from May 14th to October 28th in the game’s second iteration. It continued to feature in the Olympic games in 1904, 1908 and 1920 before being removed from the schedule for fifty –two years until it reemerged in the roaster in 1972. Since then it has remained an Olympic Sport with both men and women competing in individual and team events at thee games.
Para archery was introduced at the Paralympics in 1960 and has been a part of the games ever since. Men and women compete individually and there is also a mixed team competition, which was introduced at the Rio gamers in 2016, replacing the previous three-athlete team event.
Give This Ancient Art A Try At Your Local Archery Club
Archery is a fascinating sport that has been part of the human identity for centuries. It requires focus, concentration, strength, balance and excellent coordination. If this sounds like something you would be interested in giving a try, be sure to search for a local archery club near you and sign up for lessons. The archery community is very welcoming and you can be sure that you will get all of the help, advice and assistance you need to get started in this fantastic sport.