One of my favorite hobbies has always been LARP, or Live Action Role Playing. I could write a whole blog on it and probably will at some point. But right now I want to focus on something I learned via LARP. My friend Diana was getting into archery as part of a character she was playing in our LARP and had taken a class on archery at the local Community College. I’ve always been vaguely interested in it myself so I took her up on the offer to stand in her driveway and learn from her one very hot summer afternoon, sip some cold adult beverages, and try to plug a target about 18 yards away.
Her bow of choice at the time was a tiny fiberglass bow that she got online. It was more style over substance. But it was her first bow and she loved it. It had a really low poundage of 25. That’s the most you can have in a LARP so the whole idea was for her to get used to the range and accuracy that it was capable of.
My French highway-man character at a LARP event
I, not being interested in LARP archery, (I’ve always been a swordsman) quickly started looking around for other options. More accuracy, more power, more gadgets. A cheap, 55 pound compound bow (See Featured Photo) from the 80s in the used equipment rack at our local archery store caught my eye and I tried it out to see what the difference was. I was hooked immediately. I grabbed it and upgraded it with a sight ring, arrow rest and stabilizer. Diana’s bow is more of a piece of art, involves a lot more sense and intuition. This thing the sight and stabilizer, designed to create a strong benchmark for targeting and dampen the vibration of the bow and remove all of the variables. It was more of a science and I liked it. Totally a matter of personal preference by the way.
I’ve since further upgraded to an even better, modern bow with all sorts of cool features. But one thing that archery still has in common for Diana and myself is how it sort of becomes a meditative practice. Whether it is the high tech, scientific shooting I’m doing or the zen stuff Diana is doing, you have to clear your head and focus on what you are doing. If you don’t, then the hobby has a way of demonstrating your error as your arrows sail around the target and you have to go fetch them. I shut the whole world out and completely focus on the target and my technique. Somehow my stress and tension subside, my new found activity, restores calm.