Archery Stories | Struggles & Successes
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Archery Stories | Struggles & Successes

August 13, 2019


Hello everyone. This is NUSensei. In 2016, I ran a competition in which I invited
archers from around the world to share their archery stories, highlighting their struggles
and their successes. Three winners were selected, and each received
a Shot Trainer from Astra Archery. Now that we are in a new year, I would like
to take the opportunity to share the stories that represented the passion and inspiration
of the archery journey. Our first story comes from our primary sponsor,
Tyler Benner, founder of Astra Archery and co-author of the book “Total Archery: Inside
the Archer”. Tyler was a natural at archery, training at
a local private club in rural Pennsylvania and later at Texas A&M University under US
Olympic Coach Frank Thomas. However, a bicycle accident resulted in a
shattered shoulder. For seven months, Tyler could not lift his
arm over his head or exert any force. Tyler underwent surgery to remove part of
his clavicle and reattach many ligaments. Tyler began shooting again barely 3 weeks
after the surgery. 5 weeks later, he was competing at the 2004
College National Championships. With his skills developing again, he was able
to pursue his archery goals and trained with US Coach Kisik Lee at the US Olympic Training
Centre in San Diego. In 2015, Tyler experienced another life-changing
discovery after learning that his feet had become deformed due to narrow footwear, and
spent the follow years undergoing rehabilitation, relearning how to stand, walk, run, and shoot. Tyler continues to conduct seminars in teaching
archery, and has designed his own chairs for improved posture and comfort. Tyler loves transitions as an archer. He believes in embracing the beginner mindset
and tackling the challenge of shooting as though it is all new. The challenge of archery has been getting
to know mind and body and going through setbacks, wrong turns and mistruths. Raymond started shooting two years ago. A riding accident in 2014 left both of his
legs paralysed. Unable to enjoy horse riding, he continued
his archery exercises. With help from his physiotherapist, Raymond
has been focusing on improving his back muscles, arm strength and posture. He currently shoots using a stool for assistance,
and hopes to be able to stand straight enough to shoot without one. Tom, from Mexico, enjoys archery in a park
with a group of friends. In a country with a minimum wage of $4 a day,
bows like the Hoyt Buffalo are out of reach. Instead, Tom practices with his PVC bow and
has made his own arrows and accessories. As a Christmas present, he bought himself
a Jandao recurve. However, the park administrators banned the
group from using the corner of the park to practice, and the group was only able to make
an arrangement on the condition that they only use blunt arrows and PVC bows. Tom is aiming to save up enough money to buy
a car so that he can drive out of town to find a safe place to shoot with his friends. Nicole is a high school senior with aspirations
to make the National and Olympic teams. Over the past year, she has been training
for the nationals using heavier limbs. However, she experienced increasingly severe
shoulder problems, resulting in a numb, tingly feeling in her arm. She was diagnosed with shoulder separation,
medial scapular winging and an impingement. Impatient and terrified of losing the use
of her shoulder in archery, Nicole maintained her commitment to the sport through the use
of a mouth tab. This simple tool allowed her to go through
her recovery period. She is now able to shoot again with both hands,
though still fighting through pain on some occasions. Her scores have improved since, and she is
now training for a national team qualifier event. After facing the daunting prospect of losing
everything she had worked for, Nicole has learned that one’s value does not lie in physical
ability, and you can’t let your circumstance define your reality. Chris began archery as a teenager, finding
joy and thrill and wanting to compete, happy with his good results. However, during a school exercise, he fell
from a trampoline and injured his shoulder. He was unable to lift even a pen without agonising
pain. In recent years, Chris has regained some use
of his arm, and dusted off his old, broken bow. After returning to his training and picking
up a new bow, Chris finished 2nd in his club competition after a 10-year hiatus. Chris wonders why he even left archery in
the first place, and now it has helped him recover his fitness and confidence. Chris’s moral is that if you start to fall,
pick yourself up and you will be back on top. An injury may hinder a passion, but it should
never destroy a dream. Wai left Hong Kong to study in America. He was a passionate archer in Hong Kong, but
found it difficult to maintain his training. His school had an underdeveloped archery team
and he did not have the means to seek further training. In a Skype conversation with his childhood
friend, he was embarrassed to admit that he had dropped his archery career. Chastised by his friend and encouraged to
take the opportunity while he could, Wai was inspired to look further, finding a JOAD team
and a retired Olympian to coach him. The lost time was crippling to Wai’s development,
and he was unable to prepare enough for the state and national events he needed to make
the national team. Wai has since helped develop his school’s
archery team, helping his members obtain equipment and prepare for bigger events. Wai’s message is to persevere and be diligent
in achieving goals. Zac picked up archery at YMCA Camp Ernst in
Kentucky when he was 10 years old. He began working there in 2008 and, as part
of his many exciting responsibilities, runs the archery program. He obtained a USA Archery certification to
teach archery at camps, and through this he became inspired and motivated to develop his
own learning. Using his instructor training as a foundation,
Zac began to learn from many sources, reviewing videos online and bringing many questions
to his archery shop whenever he has the chance. His biggest struggle was in learning not to
imitate other people, and instead find what is most comfortable for him. Above all, Zac is proud of being part of the
archery community. In his words, Zac has “never met such a
friendly community of individuals”. And now the three main winners. Bảo, from Vietnam, is a 17-year-old who
has been obsessed with weapons. From a young age, he made bows using firewood
and rubber bands with arrows made from straws. Since then, he has learned to craft PVC bows
for himself and his friends. Using an arc welder from his father, Bảo
began to use steel in his designs. Since then, he has made a compound bow, a
stabiliser system for his recurve, and a crossbow. His most recent bows show a very impressive
level of craftsmanship. He has just started selling bows and is using
the money to develop more affordable bows to spread through his country. Despite numerous failures, Bảo has maintained
his creative spirit. His message is to try, try more, and success
will come. He hopes that archery will become cheaper,
safer and easier to access. Bob is a 78-year-old ex-serviceman who lost
most of his sight in service. While undergoing rehabilitation, he was encouraged
to try archery. Apart from overcoming his visual handicap,
including the loss of most useful sight in his right eye, Bob transitioned to shooting
left-handed. He proudly maintains his archery equipment
and makes his own strings. He acquires target distances by learning the
number of clicks required to sight his optics, assisted by his 76-year-old wife, Lorna. Bob enjoys 18m indoor rounds and 40m field
rounds with Lough Cuan Bowmen. In Bob’s words, “Life does not get any better
than this”. Timo, from Finland, shares his experience
as a parent raising his archery-obsessed 5-year-old daughter, Mette. Her love for archery was ignited by Princess
Merida in Disney’s Brave, and at 4 years of age, she was putting together bows using sticks
and strings, and miniature bows for her Barbie dolls. She learned to shoot by looking at frames
from Brave. Visiting the local archery club, Mette was
by far the youngest archer. The instructors expressed doubts about her
ability to safely shoot a bow, but when handed a 22lb flatbow, she drew and anchored perfectly. For Timo, nurturing Mette’s passion for archery
has been a bonding experience. As a parent, he has found it challenging to
involve his children in sports that they can enjoy equally. He has become involved in archery himself,
taking him away from the chains of his desk job. In Timo’s words, “my Princess Merida makes
me feel like a King.” Congratulations to the three selected winners. Your stories were truly and uniquely inspiring. Thank you to everyone who came forward to
share their struggles, and hopefully this inspires you to build on your goals and go
further in your personal journeys.

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  1. Nice video. Just wanted to give a general verbal thumbs-up to your channel. I've recently gotten obsessively into archery, and I've been teaching myself (inasmuch as that's possible – I'm at least hitting the target every time now, instead of hurling arrows into the backstop…). I've been shooting barebow recurve, because the simple elegance of it appeals to my sense of history and tradition, but I've taken almost all of my technique from your (many) videos. It feels a little weird to be shooting a more traditional bow based on such a modern style, but I'm a scientist — structural biochemistry — and your emphasis on form, anatomy, consistency, and precision really click with my professional fussiness. Keep it up!

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