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Two Ancient Bows Square Off in Smithsonian Experiment

European Longbow or Japanese Yumi. Which bow is the best?

A few archery history buffs out there should appreciate this Smithsonian experiment. Using today’s precision technology, the organization attempts to compare the effectiveness of two popular ancient bows: the European Longbow and the Japanese Yumi.

This interesting experiment allows us to learn more about the weapons we use, the weapons of other cultures, and about archery history. The overall historical arch of weaponry is fascinating to learn about, as the same trends circle around.

This comparison highlights two concepts: the basic differences between recurves and longbows, as well as the different styles of archery from around the world. What we see proves what many may have already known: recurves transfer more energy to their arrows due to their design. Also, a heavier arrow is a more deadly arrow.

One cool thing about this experiment is the real life application we gain from it. The same principles that applied to the ancient bows in the footage still apply to our modern traditional bows. In a sense, while shooting traditional bows, we are really getting the exact same experience as those who shot ancient bows.

Another interesting portion of this lies in the different shooting styles of the two archers.

What most people in Western cultures don’t realize is that many Asian cultures mastered the bow as well, but many also practiced the thumb release. Both a Mediterranean release and a thumb release are effective, it is just interesting to see different answers to the same question.

However you look at it, archaeologists believe archery history dates back to around 60,000 years ago. Throughout time, many people have put their own twist on the same idea. Our modern compounds are merely the next step in the same path.

Looking back on these bows makes one wonder; where is the future of archery headed?


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Two Ancient Bows Square Off in Smithsonian Experiment