History of Archery

When the Chinese introduced archery to Japan in the sixth century, it had an overriding influence on later etiquette and techniques. One of Japan’s martial arts was originally known as kyujutsu (the art of the bow), now known as kyudo (way of the bow).

Modern Kyudo is practiced primarily as a method of physical, moral, and spiritual development. After certain ritual movements, the archer moves to the shooting line and shoots from a distance of 28 meters at a target 36 cm in diameter set in a bank of sand that is roofed over. The bow used is 2.21 metres long and made of laminated strips of bamboo and wood.

In the Greco-Roman period, the bow was more used for personal exploits or hunting, rather than warfare.

Archers are frequently seen on pottery at that time. The Parthians were horsemen who developed the skill of swivelling around in the saddle and could shoot backwards at full gallop.

Middle Eastern superiority in archery equipment and technique continued for centuries. With bows like those of the Assyrians and Parthians, Attila the Hun and his Mongols conquered much of Europe and Asia, and Turkish archers threw back the Crusaders. The Asian and Turkish bows were highly efficient and the record shot with a composite Turkish flight bow was close to 900 yards, far beyond the capability of an English yew bow.
The popularity of archery is reflected in the many ballads and folklore, such as for instance Robin Hood, to name the most famous one.