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    The Benefits of Practicing Clout Archery

    Clout Archery is a sport in which archers compete at shooting a "clout of arrows" as close to a target flag pole as possible, often at really long distances such as 140 or 180 yards away.

    For people new to clout archery (or when the field is shorter than desirable) you may want to use shorter distances such as 60, 70, 80 yards, etc. Or if you have a really large field available, you could even try shooting longer distances like 200 yards or more.

    The image below shows the results of 1 round of shooting with one of my archery students recently on June 4th 2022, shooting at a distance of 60 yards (180 feet). She got two clusters near the flag pole as you can see, nearly hitting the flag pole despite windy conditions that day.


    Which brings me to the topic of what makes Clout Archery something that is useful to learn:

    #1. Clout Archery is really good for archers learning how to adjust for wind conditions.

    #2. Clout Archery is very good at teaching people how to shoot long distances accurately, with the distances often being more than that used by Olympic archers (70 meters).

    #3. Because shooting long distances magnifies any mistakes the archer makes it forces the archer to be more of a perfectionist than shooting short distances in comparison.

    BONUS THOUGHTS

    Shooting such long distances can also be quite fun as there is a level of joy in watching an arrow fly so far and yet manage to land near the flag pole (or on rare occasions, even hit the flag pole).

    For extra fun you can also use whistling arrowheads.

    To make it easier to find your arrows (depending on the distance) you can also use wingnuts behind your screwed on field points so that when they hit the ground they dig in like an anchor and are easier to find. Alternatively, you can also use large (flu flu) fletching on your arrows.

    Clout Archery Lessons?

    Anyone wanting to learn archery (and specifically Clout Archery) can sign up for archery lessons in Toronto and mention that you want to learn Clout Archery.

    How to Fix Holey Archery Targets

     

    As time goes by eventually your archery targets will get holey (or fall down) in which case you either need to replace the material or repair it in some manner.

    Repairing Natural Tentest Targets

    In the case of Natural Tentest targets, like those at the Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park shown above, one way to repair the big gaping holes is to wait until one of the target butts collapses and falls down - often due to heavy rain and/or wind - and then you can use the broken fallen pieces of Natural Tentest to stuff the holes in the other targets.

    And for fun, you can also add a large water container to the target butt which collapsed so that people can still potentially shoot at something until that target's tentest is replaced.

    Repairing 3D Targets

    In the case of 3D targets (deer, raccoons, etc) that are popular with hunters one of the best ways to repair them is with foam, like in the video below. What brand or style of foam you use doesn't really matter, what is really important is that you don't overfill the holes you are repairing because otherwise excess material will leak out (as demonstrated in the video below). A "less is better" approach is best for that scenario.

    Repairing DIY Cardboard Targets

    The beauty of cardboard targets is that they're super easy to repair and cost effective. Just make a habit of saving any large pieces of cardboard from your home and/or workplace and you can easily just rip out any damaged pieces of cardboard from your DIY targets and replace with new cardboard.

    Best of all, the old cardboard is still recyclable so it has simply been reused before eventually reaching the recycling bin.

    Your cardboard archery target doesn't need to be fancy either (like the one in the image below). It simply could be a cardboard box which is filled with cardboard. Having a wooden frame is really unnecessary for most people's purposes. But once you have a cardboard target they're very easy to repair.



    Ikigai and the Archer

    About one year ago my colleague Steve Ruis wrote a blog post called "The Ikigai of Archery".

    Ikagai is a Japanese word which means "live reason" or "reason to live".

    Basically Ikagi is when you have something that helps you get out of bed in the morning and provides a purpose or meaning in your life is certainly helpful.

    Can archery be a reason to live?

    I believe so.

    Sometimes we just don't want to get up in the morning, but we force ourselves to do so because we have to get to work - often to a job we dislike.

    I am fortunate that I have a job I really enjoy and love to do. There are many people out there who wish they could quit their regular jobs and just do what they love to do.

    Even so there are definitely days when I am excited to teach archery and do some personal practice, and then there are other days when I have to go to work and I would rather stay home if I had the choice.

    I find the quality of sleep I got the night before is a factor.

    Same thing goes with my students. I can tell based upon their focus and the quality of their shooting whether they didn't sleep well the night before - or worse, if they're hungover, distracted by something, stressed or upset, hungry, etc.

    And yet they still got up and they came to their archery practice because it was something they wanted to do, because they deemed it important, and quite possibly they were excited about it.

    Thus in this case I think Ikigai is an excellent word, and an apt word. If archery can be the crutch that helps people get up in the morning - and in some cases to strive and find purpose in their lives - then so be it. Sometimes people need a crutch to help them to keep on surviving so they can find other reasons to live.

    I believe people can have multiple reasons to live, including an important one: Family. Speaking for myself then my wife and my son are two of my biggest reasons to live, but archery is another. As is writing. I have many reasons to live.

    For my students who are curious about the more spiritual sides of archery I usually recommend two books:

    1. Zen Bow, Zen Arrow
    2. The Unfettered Mind

    The 2nd book isn't actually about archery. It is about Zen Buddhism and swordsmanship, but also about being a good person who learns to manage their thoughts and emotions. So while it is primarily about swordsmanship, the principles described in the book also apply to archery.

    Years ago I even published my own book of poetry on the subject, a book called "Dreaming of Zen Archery". (The ebook version is $2.99 if you're curious about it.)

    So yes, I believe archery can be an Ikigai - a reason to live.

    It doesn't have to be your sole reason to live however, but it can be the crutch that keeps you moving forward until you find other reasons.

    Accepting New Archery Students for 2022

    Hello Toronto!

    Do you want to learn archery? Of course you do, you're here reading this aren't you?

    Well, the good news is that I am accepting new students for the 2022 archery season.

    Contact cardiotrek@gmail.com to book your archery lesson(s) today. When in doubt I recommend starting for 3 lessons for $200. See my archery lessons page for more details / discount rates / etc.

    So what's so special about my archery lessons?

    #1. I make them fun and informative. So you're learning, but you get to have fun while doing so.

    #2. I have been teaching archery so far for 13 years (and doing archery for 33 years). Suffice to say I have been doing this for a long time and have learned some of the best ways

    #3. I have published articles over the years in "Archery Focus Magazine", which recently released their final issue in November 2021. (My article "Gap Shooting: Aiming for Versatility" was included in the final issue.)

    #4. Browse my Archery Lessons Plan to learn more about the how each lesson is different.

    #5. One on one lessons. No group lessons. You get personalized attention from an archery coach and I tailor the lessons to meet my individual students needs.

    #6. I also teach people with adaptive archery needs. So if you're in a wheel chair or have other difficulties, not to worry, you can still do archery. Just email me to discuss your situation.

    #7. People over 65 get a 10% Seniors Discount and people from Canada's armed forces get a 10% Veterans Discount.



    Archery Student Pierces String on Moving Target

     

    Above is a photo of one of my archery students after she successfully pierced the string on a moving target. It was her 6th lesson.

    I usually start teaching how to shoot at moving targets on the 4th lesson or later, but actually splitting or piercing the string on a moving target is very rare. More rare than "Robin Hooding an arrow", which is when you pierce your own arrow in the end of the nock.

    How to make a Moving Target

    I find one of the easiest ways to make a moving target is to use an empty water bottle and dangle it from a string. The water bottle blows in the wind fairly easily, but not so easily that it is impossible to hit if you're good at it.

    When dangling the bottle from the string you want to offset it from the target. A broken arrow or a stick inserted into the target works well. If you do not offset the moving target then it will rub against the target and the friction will reduce how much the bottle moves about.

    How to make it easier...

    If you want less of a challenge you also use a larger bottle. Eg. A 2 liter Coca-Cola bottle is a great size if you want something less challenging. If you want to make it even easier pick a day to shoot when there is very little wind.

    How to make it harder...

    Cut the bottle in half. Or only use just the bottle cap. The moving bottle cap makes for a very difficult target to hit. If you want to make it even harder try to do it on a windy day.

    But not impossible.

    I did it twice in one day (back in 2015) when I brought a tripod and a camera to the archery range. The first time however the camera stopped recording so I didn't actually manage to record it. The second time however the camera did record it properly. Thankfully it wasn't too windy that day.

    Anyone wishing to book archery lessons in Toronto for 2022 should feel free to contact me. Better to contact me sooner to start booking your lessons.

     


    Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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