Movies fire renewed interest in archery
Patricia Gonsalves is making it her mission to put the sexy back into archery, one butt at a time.
While Orlando Bloom's character in The Fellowship of the Ring may have been able to slay Orcs and Sauron's wolves with his longbow and arrows, he would have been hard pressed to hit a bullseye, says Gonsalves, who runs Lykopis Archery with her business partner Jason Holmes. Likewise Kevin Costner's Robin Hood and Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye in The Avengers.
But it's those very movies, along with this summer's blockbuster The Hunger Games and Disney's animated fable Brave which are firing renewed interest in the ancient sport that dates to the Stone Age. Gonsalves and Holmes say they're seeing new clients every week at the workshops and classes they conduct at the Boorman range in Sapperton. They're starting a youth program in November. They also teach at Acadamie Duello in Vancouver.
Too often Hollywood makes archers "look stupid," says Gonsalves, who's also working to fix its portrayal from the inside as the archery instructor for the new TV series Arrow. Directors and actors favor flash and panache over proper technique, but what they don't realize is a properly drawn bow and well-shot arrow can look sexy.
"It has this fluidity of movement," says Gonsalves, an archer for 30 years. "It's like a dance, you need to be calm, disciplined. When someone does it well, it comes across as a martial art."
Doing it well is about more than just hitting the butt, or target.
"People get target-obsessed," says Gonsalves. "But there's a connection with your own being, there's breathing involved, you have to concentrate. When you settle into it and the arrow goes where you want it to go, you can feel it."
Archery's newfound big screen glamour has attracted everyone from computer programmers to bus drivers to yoga instructors to a biker to their classes. An unexpected constituency has been gamers who want to bring life to their fantasy personas. Most just want to learn how to shoot an arrow; they're not interested in competing or hunting.
"It's magic," says Holmes. "This is as close to magic and fantasy that a lot of people are willing to get. They're happy just doing it."
Many of their clients may have had a taste of archery during high school or at summer camp, but that's as far as it ever went, explains Gonsalves.
"It's something they had one opportunity to do, but there was nowhere for them to continue to do it."
To learn more about Lykopis Archery, as well as a schedule of their workshops and classes, go to www.lykopisarchery.ca