Tag Archives: traditional archery

A Reflection on Flection

By Allan Gillis

Flection (or flexion) is defined by the Oxford as “The action of bending or the condition of being bent, especially the bending of a limb or joint:
‘flexion of the fingers’…”


It is a marvel of ancient technology that man was able to learn to successfully bend tree limbs into what would become magnificent tools for hunting and formidable weapons of war.  The later innovation of the layering and lamination of different woods that would lend both flexibility AND strength to the bow was significant as well.  That primordial bending of a piece of wood to capture (and hold) that kinetic energy until release was something that to this day brings so much enjoyment to this – your humble (but, devilishly handsome) blogmeister.  Its kinda like golf.  I hate golf – but I love the repetition and muscle-memory exercises of traditional archery!  It is actually very relaxing.

my two favorite bows

These are my two favorite bows.  The one on the left is a custom Hickory recurve that has a sweet Kodiak leather grip and is set up for left-eyed shooters like me.   One shoots with one’s “dominant eye” as opposed to being merely left or right-handed.  It is the dominant eye that finds the mark/target and follows the arrow through to release.  This is a 60″(60″ tall – unstrung) – 55# bow – that in our parlance is how we measure the height and the amount of weight (in this case 55lbs) one pulls in order to get the nock of the arrow to a comfortable spot on our chin before release.  The cheaters are the modern “compound bow-shooters” who rely on a more modern/sophisticated series of pulleys and strings to actually HOLD that weight in limbo instead of bearing it as we do in “traditional archery”.  With this traditional bow, the archer must hold the weight until the desired mark is found and is satisfactorily within range – and then smoothly release the weight/tension on the bowstring – sending the arrow to it’s mark.

The bow on the right in the photograph is my Bear bow – their “Grizzly” model.  Bear Archery has been building bows and selling archery equipment since the early 1930’s.  This is my 58″ 55# Bear recurve – with a Brown Hard-Rock Maple riser and Clear Maple and black fiberglass limbs.  It is smooth, smooth, smooth…like a baby’s bum!

Here is some practice results with the “wild boar” target my son got me for Christmas last year.

after some shots

You’ll notice too many belly-shots.   Not a good thing to do to a wild pig…  unacceptable – not humane hunting.   So, I must get better and practice more ‘instinctive shooting”.   Here are my latest results:

nice grouping!

Perfect grouping!    Ready for Hog Season!   …nothing like a pig-roast with a animal brought down with a man’s own bow!  I must admit, when I’m tired of the boar target, I use another target that I call the “The Intruder”.  The Intruder is an imaginary rampaging-Muslim clamoring over the Vatican Walls to kill our pontiff and make the holy basilica a mosque.   I am (in my game) a member of the Swiss Guard …and I assure you that I’ve sent The Intruder directly to meet his virgins – many, many times over!