For the purposes of anonymity, I’ll just say that I work in a place and last year a lady transferred from another place and started working with us. She had also started learning archery that month. It was her first lesson. She was enthused, I was enthused, and we talked and talked about it during lunch breaks. She explained about recurves and longbows and it went over my head, so I ordered some books.
I got Archery Fundamentals by Douglas Engh and I read it front to back. I had some understanding now. She completed her training and bought herself a flatbow and brought it into work. She had chosen to shoot barebow and was going to work up to a longbow, but had this £90 creature for now. I just ogled it jealously and had a try at pulling the string and then relaxing it again, because what you don’t do is dry shoot, which is to pull the string back and release without an arrow present to absorb all the energy. That’s how you break a bow.
She had wooden arrows as well. It was all very Robin Hood and I too wanted to learn about instinctive archery, where there’s no sights, no fiddly bits, just a bow and arrows, and you learn to fire at targets using your trained abilities and your natural instincts. So we perused some local archery clubs online and there was one just ten minutes from where I lived. £60 for 6 lessons of two hours each. Equipment provided throughout the course. All great, but it wouldn’t start until the end of March 2017, which was months away. I consoled myself by reading Traditional Archery by Brian J Sorrells.
She got her white badge. This was like a white belt (or perhaps yellow belt since you have to prove something to get it) in karate. She had shot at a target sufficiently well to score a certain number of points consistently and was now a white badge. The first badge. Yes, she physically got a small white badge with arrows on it. Jealous much? Yes. A tiny achievement in the scheme of things, but a huge step ahead of where I was – waiting for my first lesson – and it just made the wait more exquisitely torturous.