Archery – Urban Sport of the Week

Every week members of the USC team experience a new activity in our offering. This week our sports explorers went to Hamburg to try out archery…

What is Archery?

One of the oldest sports known to man, archery is the act of shooting with a bow and arrow. These days we shoot at a target but back in the old days it was how we hunted for food.

What can you expect?

Mit Pfeil und Bogen is an archery studio in the centre of Hamburg. I expected a vast space in which we could fire arrows from hundreds of metres away. Surprisingly, the studio is about the size of a large apartment. There’s green tarmac on the floor and the walls are covered in netting and green ivy which gives it a jungle vibe. There are life-size plastic animals in one corner of the room and about 20 targets on the far wall.

How was the workout?

Peter is the founder of Mit Pfeil und Bogen and my trainer for the day. He hands me a bow and tells me to stand parallel to the wall with my feet shoulder-width apart.

There’s an art to holding a bow. Peter shows me where to place my fingers so as to shoot on target and how to pull the wire back past my ear with my elbow at a right angle. “The trick is not to think too hard and let go seconds after you pull it back. Your brain knows where to shoot – if you wait too long you’ll overthink it.”

I loaded an arrow onto my bow and followed his instructions. The arrow shot out and landed with a satisfying thwack on a different target to the one I was aiming at. “Great first try!” Peter said enthusiastically. I wondered if he realised I’d hit the wrong one. I tried again and this time I hit the correct target.

It’s surprisingly satisfying to shoot and hit a target. Peter explains “We all have a hunting instinct. Some people shoot a bow and arrow and something just clicks into place – they’re hooked.”

I understand exactly what he means. After I got the hang of it I wanted to keep shooting arrows forever. I noticed a father and his young son shooting together – Peter explained it’s a great way to spend quality time with family.

After a while Peter gave me a different bow – one that had a tighter string that would shoot more powerfully. I found it harder to pull back, but the arrow landed more forcefully.

“Here, try shooting from my one,” Peter said. His bow was a work of art, curved out of mahogany and embellished with his initials. I lifted the bow and tried to pull back the string. It was so tight I could barely move it.

“An arrow from that could kill you,” Peter said. I put the bow down.

How did I feel after?

I felt focussed and calm. To shoot well you need to totally clear your mind, so it’s very meditative.

It felt great to activate this primitive part of my brain that I never use. I don’t need a bow and arrow to hunt food; I live next door to Edeka.

The next day my shooting arm ached – a few more lessons and my right arm would be ripped.

Benefits of archery

It’s a great stress-buster. Clearing your mind and shooting at targets is meditative and restorative after a busy day.

As you train your shoulder and arms become very toned – shooting from Peter’s bow made it clear I’d need to get pretty strong if I wanted to be a real hunter.

It’s a great way to spend time with friends

Don’t forget to bring…

Wear comfortable clothes – Mit Pfeil und Bogen provide wrist support, bows and arrows.

Mit Pfeil und Bogen is unique as it is currently USC’s only archery partner. Make your way to Hamburg to try it out for yourself. And if you want to get a good back workout beforehand, try some of our functional training partners.

And take a look online at Mit Pfeil und Bogen for all their latest news, events and updates.

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