THE bow is an essential piece of equipment in archery, available in various configurations.
From traditional bows to modern innovations, archers use them in both competitive and recreational archery, each with its own history, characteristics, and significance.
The traditional bow represents the simplest form of this ancient sport, and some bows from the Western hemisphere, like the iconic English longbow, are still used today.
Consisting of little more than a piece of wood and a string, the English longbow was a formidable weapon in mediaeval England.
While modern versions, such as laminated bows with a carbon-fibre core, offer contemporary twists, skilled archers can achieve remarkable accuracy and precision with the longbow.
In Asia, practitioners of Kyudo predominantly use iconic bows like the yumi from Japan.
With roots dating back hundreds of years, Kyudo is a martial art with a global following.
Archers are graded based on their form, and annual competitions in Japan determine the champion archer.
Additionally, bows from China and Korea, like the renowned Mongol horse bow, are popular in traditional archery.
During the annual Nadam festival in Mongolia, horseback riding, archery, and wrestling take centre stage.
The Mongol horse bow, shorter than its European counterpart, is a highly effective weapon for cavalry.
The bow became a standard component in modern competitive archery as time progressed.
The reintroduction of archery at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games witnessed the birth of the modern recurve bow, a three-piece takedown archery piece still in use today.
Its name derives from the curvy shape of its limbs. Contemporary iterations like the International Limb Fitting (ILF) system allow archers to use short, medium, or long limbs for their bows.
Draw weight, measured in poundage, is a key consideration for ILF bows. Beginners and young archers typically start with lighter poundage and gradually progress to heavier draws as they advance in the sport.
Archers can enhance accuracy and consistency by incorporating accessories like sights, bow stabilisers, clickers, and kisser buttons into their recurve bows.
World Archery recognises recurve bows as the standard form in domestic and international tournaments.
Another bow gaining popularity is the compound bow, distinguished by its pair of wheels that assist with heavier draw weights.
It features a “let off” mechanism to aid aiming when fully drawn.
The cam wheels provide mechanical leverage and minimal resistance at full draw.
To release the arrow, archers employ a trigger-activated bow release.
The compound bow excels in accuracy and offers considerable power for long-distance shots.
World Archery acknowledges target compound bows and sanctions their use in international tournaments.
Lastly, there is the crossbow, a simple gadget mounted on a gun stock that releases bolts using a trigger mechanism.
Unfortunately, crossbows are classified as “Scheduled” weapons and are illegal in Malaysia.
Whether it’s the timeless longbow, the elegant recurve bow, the technologically advanced compound bow, or the prohibited crossbow, archers have various options to suit their preferences and needs.