The bow was once a feared weapon used with deadly accuracy by master marksmen, but after the invention of gun powder and firearms, most ancient archery techniques were forgotten, and the lethal art became nothing more than a sport. Few people know this, but despite technological advancements, all of today’s archers are actually slower and less accurate than those of old All except one – Lars Andersen, a Danish artist who, thanks to his intense study of ancient archery and unique skills, could challenge even the mighty Elven archer Legolas to a test of speed and accuracy and probably best him. This guy is so incredibly good with the bow and arrow he doesn’t even compete in archery tournaments. They’re just not challenging enough for him.
Lars can shoot 10 arrows in just 4.9 seconds, which makes him the fastest archer in the world today, but that’s probably the least impressive feat he’s capable of. The man has studied countless books on ancient archery and learned that the Saracens who fought against the Crusaders in the Middle Ages were tested to see if they could shoot 3 arrows in 1.5 seconds. Today’s experts were convinced such a thing was simply impossible, but Lars believed that if the books were indeed correct, then there must be something wrong with modern archery techniques. After 3 years of training, he was able to master the ancient techniques described in the books and proved that firing 3 arrows in less than 1.5 seconds was very much possible. As the legend himself explains, “I discovered historical texts that [described] Saracens who fought with the Crusaders had a series of tests which had been preserved. For example, one test required, at a 60-bow distance, to shoot three arrows so quickly that the last shall be in the air before the first has hit. That is three arrows in one-and-a-half seconds. That motivated me to accomplish it”.
It is said that the Native American Chief Hiawatha could shoot 10 arrows into the air before the first one hit the ground, a feat again deemed as nothing more than a legend by most professional archers. In 2011, Lars proved them wrong again by managing to shoot 11 arrows into the air before the first one landed, thus setting a new world record. Apparently, the key is to master the technique of holding the arrows in the hand and shooting them with short, lightning-fast flicks of the wrist. This method was used in ancient times by master archers in China, Turkey and Persia. The difficulty of this technique and the time necessary to truly master it meant boys had to start practicing from a very young age.
A master archer should be able to shoot with either hand, from any position and without and fixed anchor point. Besides being able to do all that, Lars can fire arrows while moving backwards, jumping up and down and even while falling to the ground. “I aim without any kind of anchor point or fixed draw length, and I can switch the bow between both hands. Perhaps I do have an advantage because I am an artist, because I am really good at turning objects inside my head in three dimensions. It makes it easier for me to shoot a bow without having to use fixed points.” In order to perfect and maintain his shooting skills, Lars practices as often as he can. “When training on specific skill improvements, I practice almost every day. If I’m just maintaining skills, I shoot about four days a week”, the marksman says.
Aware that it would be a shame to lose these ancient techniques again, Lars has tried teaching them to other archery enthusiast, but eventually gave up, realizing his methods were flawed. “Should I one day teach again, I will make a program where the student may not have more than one arrow in their hand, until they have learned full control of this one arrow. And I will also try to create a system based on fixed points, instead of floating points because it was also a problem for those I taught”, he explains.
It’s through people like Lars Andersen that history can be not only taught, but also re-invented. Who knows what other remarkable things of the past are just waiting to be rediscovered…
Sources: Outdoorhub, YouTube