Saturday, 5 July 2014

Woes of Bhutanese Archers

The range decorated with flags and the players in their national attire – gho, are all geared up to begin the match. With latest lethal equipment in hand which is used by the Americans for hunting are used here for archery match. 

The game begins after offering ‘marching’ and shouting like jackals. And the dancing and the shouting and singing goes on morning till evening. I could not help to wonder how they could go on in the sun shouting and wasting time the whole day? Don’t they feel bored? Don’t they feel tired? Don’t they have any other work other than that?

Those questions all vanished when I learned the game. I bought a second hand bow and assorted arrows of varied sizes all made in USA and learned how to shoot. There were no coach for me. I tried to get some information from the web and learned how to shoot. Only advice for me came from the vehicle mechanic of my organization who played before. I tried to copy from the veteran shooter but that failed because all of the senior players have their own style of shooting. Some use four fingers to draw the bow, some use three and some only two. The use of trigger is not allowed here in Bhutan.
After a month or so I picked up the game fairly well and was shooting well too. One day I dry fired the bow twice. I did not know what happened. But my fellow players told me that I have not nocked the arrow properly. Later I came to know that I have learned the ways of shooting for that of recurve bow and not for the compound bow – thanks to learning how to shoot own my own through internet.
I had to unlearn and learn again, how to shoot the compound bow. In compound bow the kisser button need to be touched at the corner of the mouth. But I was shooting with kisser button in the center of the mouth. While doing that the nock of the arrow got pushed by me chin and it got released from the nock point that’s how it dry fired.

The new woes for me is from where to aim. In Bhutanese archery the use of sight and trigger are not allowed. So learning from the pro of the western world is out of question here. Shooting an arrow properly is of no problem. But hitting the target consistently is a big problem for the archers here. That’s because of the fact that there is no aiming sight on the bow. Therefore until the time an archer knows how to take an imaginary sight for aiming at the target, we can never be a perfect shooter. That’s why – archers here say, “every archers has its day”. One can never be consistent here. Those seeded archers are the one who can imagine or found the point from where to aim at the target. And I guess that depends from archer to archer. 

For me, I m still in the process of finding that point from where to aim. It had been almost three years now and I m still not able to get that imaginary sight. And I think this is the greatest woes of all the archers in Bhutan. Until then well - every archer has its day – and try to make it ones day by offering ‘serkem’. (If I find out how to take an aim I will share it here)