Archery skill measured in Legolases.
December 6, 2012 6:24 PM   Subscribe

I have a gub... err gun.
posted by Max Power at 6:31 PM on December 6, 2012

There was a blog post a while ago comparing movie archers according to their realism, and I remember that hawkeye in the Avengers got really low marks for shooting an arrow while falling but without extending the bow fully, and here Lars uses pretty much the same stance.
posted by dhruva at 6:43 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Narrated by Dr Sbaitso.
posted by robcorr at 7:06 PM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

That video is worth it just for the awesomely awkward translation.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:10 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is great ... and a valuable history lesson. Every "modern" era just knows it's superior to the past. If we can't do it, then obviously those "savages" couldn't do it either. But then, their lives depended on it.
posted by Twang at 8:10 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

My archery-knowing friend's comments, dropping here because I thought it was interesting to get his perspective:
This is basically the technique he's using, exclude the squats. He holds the arrows in his bracing had (hand holding the bow) wich is much faster then pulling from a quiver on the back or side. It's real old, like off the top of my head 3k to 4k years or older. This style was used in parts of Asia and the middle east. This video also shows the archer using the thumb release technique wich was just rediscovered recently. I can't tell if the guy in this vid is using this or traditional three finger release method. Regardless, his form isn't a new style, but actually very old. It doesn't look as cool so it doesn't get much movie play. If you do a search for thumb release archery I'm sure there are YouTube vids for it. I actually want to get another bow that would work with it just so I can practice that form.

The point [of the arrow breaking the chainmail] he used was specifically designed by the Britons for popping chain mail links. He only had an inch of penetration at the most after that. Pulling back to the ear is also a brit thing. Every style has its advantages. What hunters do today with high end compounds is great for its intent. They/you are trying to be accurate withing an inch or so. The Britons with their war bows would send volleys through the air at the general area of the advisarys army. Pulling back to the ear gives you more power per draw weight/arrow weight combo, but also kills your accuracy. Not a big deal for what they did. They also used 90 to 200lb bows for this. This guys style is very good at sending lots of volume at fairly close targets fast. The Mongol horse back archers used the same form, as did the Turks. Their bows tend to be lighter for speed and accuracy cause the object was to put a man down or hinder him and move on to the next target fast. One horseback archer could render dozens of opponents in a minute. Their accuracy didn't have to be within an inch or two to get the job done, more like withing three or four. Point is every style has its use, I wouldn't say any are better or worse.
posted by Anonymous at 8:26 PM on December 6, 2012

Huh, schroedinger's friend's remarks square with my reaction, which is that he's just using a low-power/high-speed horsebow technique rather than the British Isles longbow technique that has a lot more cultural cachet in the western world. I'm a little dubious about it having been "forgotten," mostly because I've been reading SF stories about near eastern horse archers since I was a wee thing, but I suppose it's plausible that no one has really tried it in any organized/publicized fashion in a while. (Or possibly no one in the West has gone looking into those cultural enclaves for archery tips.)
posted by restless_nomad at 8:31 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

> He holds the arrows in his bracing had (hand holding the bow) wich is much faster then pulling from a quiver on the back or side.

The video in the post is a bit confusing to me, because the only place he seems to give good slow demonstration (~2:48) he's seems showing off a few different ways of holding the arrows from "China, Turkey, Persia" but they all have the arrows held in the hand holding the string rather than the hand holding the bow? Where he's jumping and shooting at 4:00 also gives a clear view of all the arrows being in his string hand. Not that I'm pretending to know anything about archery; I'm just trying to understand the description.
posted by adamt at 9:29 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am reminded of this video of a Russian girl shooting arrows that was maybe also on the blue?

This guy doens't reach for a quiver, but as previous commenters already said, as a non-expert I detect a general similarity in the whole "low power high speed" approach.
posted by anateus at 9:30 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

archery geekery yes
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I think it's also worth noting this style jibes a lot more with the drawings of archers you see in medieval texts. Or to quote another friend, "I always figured the old pictures were just wrong and the archers actually did pull the bowstring back to their ear, because you know, ancient illustrators kind of sucked."
posted by Anonymous at 10:40 PM on December 6, 2012

Wow. Just wow!
posted by vac2003 at 11:20 PM on December 6, 2012

The jump and shoot towards the end is really impressive to me. I can't even hit with a recurve standing still.

I wish I could take a couple years and study this. Unfortunately, you know, job.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:21 AM on December 7, 2012

This is very interesting. Thanks for posting, cmoj! I also really enjoyed the video of the Russian girl and the commentary from schroedinger's friend.

This seems to be the polar opposite of kyūdō, Japanese archery, although I noticed that the gentleman in this video also held his spare arrow in his drawing hand.
posted by daisyk at 4:26 AM on December 7, 2012

This is basically the technique he's using, exclude the squats. He holds the arrows in his bracing had (hand holding the bow) wich is much faster then pulling from a quiver on the back or side.

As far as I can tell, this isn't quite so. It seems clear to me that he is holding the arrows in his string hand (drawing hand?), not his bracing hand.
posted by slkinsey at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2012

Not to mention, the archer holding arrows in the bracing hand has to make two distinct motions for every shot, where Lars makes one.

This is fascinating. I love the idea of simply believing ancient claims and figuring out what it would take to achieve them rather than dismissing them as hyperbole. It reminds me a of a Shakespeare troupe (Freight Train Shakespeare?) that took the line from Romeo and Juliet literally (this play "is now the two hours' traffic of our stage"). Most modern productions run three hours, even with cuts.
posted by zanni at 6:46 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

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