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See above. Oh dear. Dear oh dear oh dear. Where do we start?

This production at the RSC is most notable, of course, for the fact that it’s using archery on the poster. I mean, archery is relatively incidental in Peter Pan (apart from Tootles). Clearly, this Wendy Darling-focused production is going to show her drawing a bow as a shorthand demonstration of her spunky individualism. It’s still all that Jennifer Lawrence’s fault, or something. But there’s something in the water. You can’t advertise any fantasy-based thing at the moment without someone drawing a bow, usually badly, on the poster. I mean, this Hobbit image (below) is on a cardboard DVD dump bin at the entrance to my local supermarket. A children’s production at a major theatre is picking up on it. Seems to have become a self-perpetuating meme.

And that’s all good. Bad archery is good for archery. 

 

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You can read about more of my bittersweet, mildly pointless moans about bad archery here. Thanks to Ms. Infinite Curve for finding the flyer. 

It’s been pretty quiet on The Infinite Curve for a couple of weeks. Have been trying to get outside in the suddenly-rather-nice English weather and shoot. Was going to make up / steal some sort of ‘Gone Shootin’ sign, but I forgot. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more frequent updates.

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ONE I really enjoyed this post from Crystal Gauvin about her tournament in Mexico. I like the way she really explains the how and why in some detail. An awful lot of reports about archery tournaments are just ‘this happened then this happened’, and it doesn’t grab you. Not here. Lots about what it’s really like to compete – with yourself, as much as anything else.

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TWO It’s the 600th anniversary of the Battle Of Agincourt, and they are looking for one thousand archers to recreate the greatest military victory for archers in history. (If you didn’t know about it, get reading). You’ll need an English longbow and thirty arrows though. I’m thinking about it. Seriously thinking about it. I mean, I like dressing up… Anyway, you can read much more about it here: http://www.azincourt2015.info/

THREE Bogensport dug out this awesome, and awesomely 70s picture from the Munich Olympics. Damn fine.

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FOUR
 Time for a re-run of this awesome Go-Pro video of an arrow in flight, facing backwards. Really wanna do traditional Korean archery sometime.

More soon…

 

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It’s a sad day for The Infinite Curve when Ki Bo Bae, reigning Olympic champion, and number two in the world, hasn’t made it onto the Korean squad for this year, after failing to make the top eight during the selection shoot this week. Perhaps even more surprising, Yun Ok Hee, last year’s World Cup champion and world number one failed to make the top eight too. This means neither is likely to shoot in the upcoming World Cup events or the Asian Games this summer. The top eight in women’s recurve included some better known names like Joo Hyun-Jung and Chang Hye-Jin, and the men’s list was pretty familiar. But there’s a big Ki Bo Bae shaped hole in the calendar this year.

It’s always difficult trying to pull information in English off the internet about Korean archers. I don’t think any of us who aren’t in the system have the faintest idea what it takes to get into, let alone stay in the Korean national team – it’s frequently described as ‘harder than winning the Olympics’.

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Even via the joys of Korean -> English machine translation, it’s pretty brutal. “Aces are eliminated, the Association recommends always talk [when] the national team players are out. Exceptions, but when you start putting it into a precedent. Principles as the existing players to get the stimulus, can be daunting to new players. Yun Ok Hee, and Ki Bo Bae also a star through such a process.”  Ouch. 

The fact that the Korean sports press are asking these questions seems to suggest that the archery public are going to miss Ki and Yun, and there is a perception that the KAA should find a way to get them onto the team. It certainly would be a blow to the Asian Games to run a competition without two reigning champions in the ‘majors’.  There is, however, a lot to be said for brutal transparency in sporting selection, given the opaque nature of the procedures employed by some archery NGBs and several other sports on a similar ‘level’ as archery e.g. this pre-London 2012 row over taekwondo.

Still, looking forward to that comeback in 2015, otherwise I guess it’s back to the bizarre entertainment shows. Unless it’s time for that previously mentioned move to London? We can dream.

 

 

on the line

March 28, 2014 — Leave a comment

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Click for full-size. Best shot I got at my inter-county championships last Sunday. All indoor archery venues should have a balcony….

 

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A few weeks ago I was contacted by Adam Cowming about Archery Mental Mastery, an ebook and MP3 program designed, in his words, to:

…contain all the techniques that an archer from a novice level right though to country or Olympic member could use to improve focus, reducing performance anxiety and creating a mind-set of a champion.

He asked me to review his program on this here archery blog with a view to a partnership deal. I spent a couple of weeks working with the material and some of his exercises. I found some of the material useful, but had a lot of issues with many aspects of it – mainly, that it was too general and not archery-specific enough. I sent him back a lengthy critique, and he is considering making changes. I’m not going to break it down in excruciating detail here now – suffice it to say, I would not recommend you buy this program if you were considering it, but this may change in the future. Stick with the 70s-jacketed ‘Understanding Winning Archery’  for now.

girls with bows pt. 27

March 26, 2014 — 1 Comment

Hasbro bow

Interesting article in the New York Times this week entitled Today’s Girls Love Pink Bows as Playthings, but These Shoot, about the rise of weapon toys for girls in the brave new Katniss / Merida world. As the writer slightly wearily points out, “it’s the same type of toy that has been marketed to boys for years, except these are mostly purple and pink.” Several manufacturers have brought or are bringing out versions of their ‘boys’ toys for girls, including Hasbro and Zing with its Air Huntress line.

The Nerf Rebelle isn’t even really a bow, of course – it’s more like a vertical toy crossbow. There is also an actual crossbow and a multi-barrel sci-fi gun, all firing soft ‘nerf’ slugs. You can get an extensive, dissembling insight into how these things are actually marketed at the blog My Last Dart:

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The Air Huntress is essentially a pink version of the same toy for boys. You can even see the two side by side here:

From the NYT:

Barbie, ever pretty in pink, has naturally gotten into the act with a Katniss doll that slings a bow and arrow in authentic brown. The action figure shelves at toy stores now display a Black Widow figure (modeled after Scarlett Johansson) alongside the new Captain America…. All of this is enough to make parents’ — particularly mothers’ — heads spin, even as they reach for their wallets. While the segregation of girls’ and boys’ toys in aisles divided between pink and camouflage remains an irritant, some also now wonder whether their daughters should adopt the same war games that they tolerate rather uneasily among their sons. The Rebelle line was introduced last summer, and a dozen more of the toys are on the way this year.

“Basically, I’m a total hypocrite because it’s a weapon and it’s pink, but they really enjoy it and it’s something they play together,” said Robin Chwatko, whose 3-year-old daughter got a Nerf Rebelle a few months ago after coveting her 5-year-old brother’s Zing bow.

Sharon Lamb, a child psychologist and play therapist who teaches counseling psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, says toys that stimulate aggression are healthy for children.

“I don’t see this as making girls more aggressive, but instead as letting girls know that their aggressive impulses are acceptable and they should be able to play them out,” she said.

But, she added, “What I don’t like is the stereotyped girlifying of this. Do they have to be in pink? Why can’t they be rebels and have to be re-BELLES? Why do they need to look sexy when aggressing, defending the weak or fighting off bad guys?” … At Zing, which started out making toys marketed only to boys, the idea for its Air Huntress line bubbled up from customers on sites like Facebook and Amazon — as well as employees who had read “The Hunger Games”.

Clearly, not much has changed in the toy world, or the retail sector in general, where ‘shrink it and pink it‘ remains the mantra for selling to American women. The manufacturers are, of course, merely responding to the cultural changes and their focus groups, and they aren’t going to start challenging stereotypes anytime soon. The actual benefits of actual archery for kids – discipline, control, confidence, strength – remain elusive with these plastic weapons. The difficult made easy. Still, for someone somewhere this might be a gateway to the real thing, and that’s still good.

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oh, katniss

March 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

Well, the DVD of Catching Fire is coming out, and I took this picture of one of the posters on the London Underground:

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…and she’s still doing that looping-her-finger-round-the-arrow thing in the publicity shot. Ouch. Of course, in the actual filming almost all the arrows are CGI’d on afterwards, because it’s too dangerous to actually fire arrows around on the set. Stage bows often use rubber bands instead of actual strings – which is probably the reason she can hold at full draw on her fingertips (above). Obviously the arrow was falling off the rest. But they could have put a clicker on for the publicity shot. Or, hell, a bit of tape would have held the arrow in place. Yes, it’s an improvement on the poster where she’s got her fingertip over the end of the arrow:

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And the well used publicity shot from the first film, which looks more like an M.C. Escher painting every time I see it. I mean, is the arrow superglued to the back of her hand or something? And her bow arm angle versus the arrow is very strange…

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I should stress that a) I liked the films (although the last act of Catching Fire really dragged) and b) they’ve done a ton for archery. My problem with most of the bad archery in ads and film is that it’s basically as easy to get it right as it is to get it wrong, and the general public recognise when something is authentic. Why get the publicity shots so wrong? I mean, they paid for Khatuna Lorig to train her how to shoot properly, right? That’s Hollywood for you though – get the headline story, and then… ah, whatever.