For thousands of years, the bow and arrow was used for war. Those days are long gone, and most people today only know of archery through TV and movies. However, as the Danish archer Lars Andersen has proved, Hollywood archery has very little to do with actual war archery. By making use of ancient and medieval sources, Lars is revealing techniques lost for centuries and showing off some incredible archery shots.
Lars Andersen originally started using bow and arrow to fight in pretend battles during larps (live action role play) events, where he played a soldier in a medieval-inspired army. While larps can be about anything – the Danish/Polish Harry Potter inspired larp College of Wizardry (cowlarp.com) recently got world wide media attention and there wasn’t a rubber sword in sight there – many larps take place in fantasy worlds inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. And it was at one of these larps, that Lars started to learn to shoot fast while moving.
”Many people have accused me of being fake or have theories on how there’s cheating involved,” Lars said. “I’ve always found it fascinating how human it is, to want to disbelieve anything that goes against our world view – even when it’s about something as relatively neutral as archery.”
The fastest archer alive
In 2012, Las Andersen released his video ”Reinventing the fastest forgotten archery”, where he showed how he had learned to shoot from old archery manuscripts. Using these old, forgotten techniques, Lars demonstrated how he was now the fastest archer on the planet, and after its release, the video got 3 million hits on Youtube in two days.
A new level of archery
Since the 2012 video was released, Lars has studied and practiced, and he is now able to fire three arrows in 0.6 seconds – a truly stunning feat making him much faster than the legendary fictional archer Legolas (played by Orlando Bloom in the Lord of the Rings movies). By testing his skills against moving targets in pretend play larp battles using soft, blunt arrows, Lars has been able to do something many historians are impressed by – testing theory in simulated reality under safe (and fun) conditions.
”At one of our combat archery tournaments last year, I ended up in a one-on-one duel against a friend. Every time he shot an arrow at me, I’d shoot it out of the air with one of my own. After five arrows, he just gave up in good-natured disgust. Sure, it was showing off, but it was also a lot of fun!”