Hey FC Parents and Archers,
The ability to stay still – what a rare skill these days. The world at our fingertips, anytime and anywhere but without stillness how do we reflect on what it all means? Time slows, understandings grow, and knowledge builds when I shoot my bow. I hope and wish that all students learning archery at FightClub find these things too.
Olympic Gold Medalist in Shooting Peter Wilson wrote about this very subject not to long ago ….
The Power of Stillness
by Olympic Gold Medalist in Shooting
The word ‘sport’ conjures up images of athletes pushing, grunting sweating or panting in a bid to get faster, higher or stronger. But some prize stillness – both in mind and body. I’m talking about the mental sports like archery.
The arm pumping or leg lunging movements of sprinters or footballers are distilled into a slow, almost imperceptible squeeze of a trigger. It’s not about kilometres or even metres of movement but millimetres. Maintaining this kind of physical stillness in the heat of competition requires serious mental control. The heart is pumping but adrenaline is the enemy.
A raised heart rate may cause a slight shift in arm position but also a momentary mental drift and the focus is lost. I’ve worked with a few archers shooters and the zen-like state they aim to reach is remarkably similar to that of meditation. A shooter may take 40 shots in a match but the shot being taken is the only one that matters – it’s the very essence of here and now.
If the shot before was bad the mind frets about the future score. If the shot was good the mind anticipates success: both are bad.
The yogic sage Patanjali wrote ‘yoga is the stilling of the thought waves of the mind’ in his Yoga Sutras. Yoga has a vast range of techniques to reel in a jittery mind easily adapted to the mental sports. Breathing exercises used both pre-match and in between shot cycles, to pre-shot visualisation and meditation. Mindfulness is also useful as it teaches us to stay both alert but anchored to the present moment.