I’m drafting a story in which a young woman shoots an arrow from a bow, skillfully and successfully, in the final conflict. It’s set present day, and I need to explain briefly how she got into archery. If was/is in the SCA, would she have used a bow and arrow in her role? I’m not going to do a whole SCA reference, just have her mention it when asked.
How about this bizarre concept, she’s involved in archery. Lots of people are, SCA or not. FWIW I can’t recall seeing a woman with a weapon at any renaissance festival I’ve been to.
Yes, many people do practice archery in the SCA, and use it both in target shooting and in “combat”.
Thank you, Zsofia.
Just seconding what Zsofia said. That’s where I learned it. Where else was I going to learn how to shoot a longbow?
My wife briefly did combat archery, and she says it was a lot of fun… I do the full on combat, which is also fun.
for her birthday, I’m planning on buying my wife a longbow…
to summarize, yes, she could have learned archery in the SCA… do we get to read the story?
Tristan: If I actually finish it, yes.
If you’d like something a bit more mainstream, she could probably also have learned it in Girl Scouts. The Boy Scouts definitely teach archery (along with bowmaking and fletching), and I would imagine that the ladies would, as well.
I’ve been a member of an archery club, mostly using modern bows, but I’ve met longbow enthusiasts.
There are quite a few archers in the SCA and other reenactment groups - there are some groups entirely devoted to archery. (I was once on the French side in a reenactment of the Battle of Agincourt… being on the receiving end of an arrow storm is scary, even if it’s a small arrow storm and you know the arrows are blunt).
Of course, I’m British, and archery is sort of a tradition in this country… but I can’t believe it’s particularly uncommon in America (or other parts of the world). I don’t think archery is popular as a TV spectator sport, but that doesn’t much affect the number of people who actually do it.
I took archery in high school.
There is also a sizeable bowhunting culture in the US if you wanted the character to use more modern bow technology.
Well, my daughter’s interest in archery was sparked when she attended a party at ArcheryUSA. (I provided the link because it might give you some interesting information about children’s programs and competitions.) She had a lot of fun and asked to take a one week course through our local parks and rec. The following summer she went to camp and really got into shooting. Last fall she started taking classes at the range. She practices at least once, usually twice a week and hopes to start competing soon.
She has no interest in SCA herself, but the owner of the range is really into it. The SCA angle isn’t necessary, but it would certainly work.
To follow on from that, there’s even a sub-set of the bowhunting community that exclusively uses “traditional” bows – either English-style longbows or the shorter bows used by Native Americans.
Hunters do tend to be more male than female, but that’s been changing. If your female character is from somewhere relatively rural, where hunting is part of the culture, being a bowhunter is one option to provide her with a wide range of bow-handling skills (and know how to kill things too, which the SCA, to my knowledge, doesn’t really get into).
Thanks, all; I’ll keep this in mind.
Okay, since the main question has been answered, I’ll hijack now.
Steve Wright said:
Can you explain a little more about how this is done? I would think it could be hazardous even with blunted arrows. While I know you’re wearing armor that should help protect you, aren’t there openings like some face shields that could allow penetration? “You can take an eye out with that thing!”
Blunted arrows are really blunt, from my recollection. Like a tennis ball on the end of a stick. Even in medieval times, they did archery practice with blunted arrows so people could shoot both directions on a practice range, at least according to Connections.
In the SCA group I was in, we didn’t do archery. I’ve heard that it’s less common in the east coast.
Ummm. Don’t have a lot to add to what Telemark just said - the blunted arrowheads are very, very blunt.
The event wasn’t an SCA one, by the by, and didn’t meet SCA safety standards (which are quite stringent; if I were cynical, I’d say that, for the SCA, your protective gear has to be strong enough to stop a lawsuit). As I remember, I was wearing a kettle hat and a padded jack, and my strategy, such as it was, involved hunching down to make myself a smaller target, keeping my head down (i.e. no “Oooh, look at the nice arrow coming directly at my head!”) and trying to position the shaft of my bill hook to protect (ahem) sensitive areas. It worked; I didn’t get hit. Then again, it was a very small arrow storm.
I should, perhaps, say that I was active in re-enactment groups for some years (and would be still if I could only find the time), and my experience is that it’s comparatively safe. I’ve had my share of fat lips and bruises, but I’ve never received, or seen anyone else receive, any more serious injury. Granted, I’ve heard of worse (broken bones and such), but even so, re-enactment probably compares pretty favourably to things like, say, rugby. (Come to think of it, the absolute worst sporting injury I’ve ever received was in a tennis match. An opponent opened up with a really powerful, really, really long serve. It was way out, it would have touched the ground outside the court… if my [ahem] sensitive areas hadn’t been in the way. Now that was a bad day…)
My sister is in the SCA. She owns a longbow and knows how to use it.
So just watch your step, mister.