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The Heritage Of Traditional Archery—— The Archery
浏览次数:370次 更新时间:2020-06-03

Photographed by Wang Zhihui



 


Liu Zhencun, he has learned archery for eight years, a well-reputed King of Archery, and also known as Mr. Zichen. When he teaches, he always quotes from great books and makes his audiences amazed. His profound understandings of the ancient books show up when he easily answers questions of contestants during recess at competitions.

 

When you pull the bow, let go of the pressure on your thumb gently. Then it is the time, and your thumb will not be able to hold on to the bowstring anymore as if it is drawn by force of nature. The arrow will be released like lightning as smooth as the snowfall from bamboo leaves.

——Zichen’s understanding of Zen in the Art of Archery


  



One Outside: Can you share that when did you start to have an interest in archery and how?

Mr. Zichen: As the same as most people, the first time I got in contact with archery was when I was little, I made a bamboo bow. It was the most simple bow and arrow, but it carried my childhood’s unlimited heroic legends. I interacted with archery officially in 2012, and I was lucky to study from Mr. Li Tieyou, a famous Chinese traditional archery master. Archery pulled me, who used to love playing online games and addicted to the virtual world, back to reality. I quit internet addiction, which made me healthier, regained my vision, and had a better psychological condition. Raise the bow times after times, let me see the inner selves, and re-think about myself. That’s the meaning of traditional archery, if one miss, one should think what he did wrong. I gradually fell in love with studying though conclusions and thinking. Though I had won many championships, maintain several national records, I thought I shouldn’t be satisfied with my score, and hoped to learn archery systemically. So I signed in the sports training major of Beijing Sport University, improved my knowledge of archery through thirty-six classes such as sport psychology, exercise physiology, exercise anatomy, and sports injury. As I learned more about archery, I was impressed by how profound Chinese traditional culture is, and I started to study Tao Te Ching, Huangdi Neijing, The Analects, and other classics. I draw wisdom from our ancestors to enrich my spirit world.

 

One Outside: Why did you choose the traditional bow out of all those kinds of bows? What’s the charm of the traditional bow in your opinion, and what’s the connection between it and Chinese traditional culture?

Mr. Zichen: The traditional archery is an essential piece of Chinese traditional culture; it is irreplaceable. I used to practice compound bow and joined compound bow competitions. Then I have taught the recurve bow and others in the archery range that I open. I love archery, not one specific kind of bows, and every bow has its own culture, fun, value, and meaning. Laozi said, “ if one has an idea, one can learn other things; if one doesn’t, everything ends.” The idea is direction, and other things mean methods. Whether it’s Laozi’s idea that idea and other things are equally important or Mr. Yangming’s idea that conscious and actions are unified. Those are traditional archer’s pursue and the demonstration of Chinese traditional culture. I prefer traditional archery, possibly because its simple meaning has something to do with the life attitude of Chinese people.


 




One Outside: There are more and more people paying attention to traditional archery, what’s your vision for the future development of traditional archery?

Mr. Zichen: Traditional archery served an educational purpose during Xia and Shang dynasties. Throughout history, every class gave archery much educational meaning and philosophical notions. Traditional archery is a crucial part of Chinese traditional culture, and it is also a perfect carrier of Chinese culture. Traditional Chinese archery has survived thousands of years’ test, and it didn’t vanish, which proves its reason and greatness to exist. I am hopeful for the development of traditional archery, especially the education of archery, which is one of the Six Arts of Confucianism, it will bloom prosperously among the education of modern teenagers.

 

One Outside: You are accredited Mars-level master in the archery circle, and have won countless prizes. What’s your trick? How do you practice daily? How to do the best during a competition?

Mr. Zichen: As my archery ability improves, my understanding of archery’s meaning has transformed. I have participated in national archery competitions regularly in recent years, and even some international ones, and I have had some achievements. Traveling around and competing under tremendous stress is exhausting, but I felt satisfying. I stood on the final battleground many times, and I have won, lost, been happy and disappointed. I often conclude the reasons why I fail, keep learning new skills, and improve during tests. Now when I look back, no matter what place I was at, the competitions sharpened my heart and intellect. So I advise fellow archers to join archery competitions, communicate on the match ground, and train your mentality. The improvement will be noticeable. But they need to notice that it’s preferable to train hard and relax during competitions.

 

One Outside: Is there any magical equipment that can help archers aim better? Except for steady necessary skills.

Mr. Zichen: Thumb ring influence aiming the most except necessary skills. A right thumb ring interferes with the string less when one releases it. It depends on the interference of the thumb ring to aim or aim bull’s eye! It’s delusional to think that the same intervention means one can aim. A right thumb ring can lower the effect of interference and makes one aim better.

 

One Outside: Attitude is critical to matches, how do you adjust yours?

Mr. Zichen: My personal comprehension is that people pay too much attention to practicing the outside. It is not wrong to pursue power, speed, and aim, those qualities can be achieved through exercise. However, not many people seek their inner peace. I think people should make time to find inner peace while pursuing outside goals. They can do that by listening to calm kinds of music and enrich their psychological world. Once they are concentrated, they are quiet.


  





 


One Outside: What’s your advice for beginners who just start archery, especially traditional archer?

Mr. Zichen: I have been practice traditional archery for years, but I am used to short stretch because I had practiced compound bows for sometimes before I got in touch with traditional archery. Then I have taught the recurve bow in the archery range that I own using short stretch as well. After years of learning and experience, I think short stretch is easier for starters to practice; it is suitable for bone support and management, has a more scientific training system, and promote archery better. I suggest beginners study from professional coaches, learn the essential warm-up, basic archery rules, basic archery movements, basic equipment; practice linear force, symmetrical force, and rhythm. If one doesn’t study the necessary knowledge and rush into shooting, after a while, sports injuries will come, such as shoulder pain, wrist pain, knuckle pain, arms will be swept by strings, troubled breathing, chest pain, lost control of the bow, and fast speed. It is hard to get rid of diseases caused by archery once one got them, and it will be too late to regret it!

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