Unimaginably Talented Archer is So Skilled with a Bow He Can Split an Arrow – While It’s in Mid-Air
Danish archer Lars Andersen is kind of good with a bow.
If Katniss Everdeen, Legolas from Lord of the Rings, and Hawkeye of Marvel comics were to throw down in an archery contest, Andersen is so skilled that he could probably best them all.
Don’t believe it? Take a look at some of his incredible marksmanship. Not only is he able to hit targets from distance while standing still, he is revolutionizing modern archery by reinstating ancient techniques – and debunking some Hollywood myths along the way.
One example of a modern myth is the common portrayal of quivers carried on a war archer’s back. Such a way of carrying arrows would be a nuisance and a distraction on a field of combat in certain situations, because the arrows would fly out when running or if knocked down. Instead, many archers moving on a field of combat carried them near their belts.
Another thing that Lars discovered with his research is that archers hundreds of years ago often shot arrows on the same side of the bow as their strongest hand. This is different from the current practice of placing the arrow on the opposite side, which requires changing hand position.
Skilled archers could also grab two or three arrows at a time, and fire them in rapid succession. They could even fire them while running or jumping, as Lars demonstrates in the video.
Near the end of the demonstration, Andersen shows that the famous story about Robin Hood splitting an arrow with another arrow is not only a feasible thing for a highly skilled archer to do, but it can even be donewhile the arrow is in mid-air.
Such a display of marksmanship shows that people are capable of doing amazing things when they put their minds to it. Through hard work and dedication, it’s incredible what some talented people can do.
While most viewers were simply amazed by Lars Andersen's archery skills, others were skeptical. Was this "New Level Archery" created by digital manipulation?
Andersen faced similar scrutiny when he posted a video titled "Reinventing the Fastest Forgotten Archery" in 2012 and addressed those concerns in the press release that accompanied his 2015 video:
"Many people have accused me of being fake or have theories on how there's cheating involved. 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."
While Lars Andersen insists he did not use any digital special effects to create his "New Level of Archery" video, he did use some practical tricks. For instance, a light, slow-moving bamboo arrow was used in the portion of the video where Lars Andersen shot an arrow out of midair. Andersen also admitted it took several attempts to successfully film many of the stunts:
I have currently tried 14 times (everything is filmed). For me this is the ultimate archery, which I until recently had thought was impossible. it can be done, but requires the handling of the bow and arrow to become completely bodily. You may not have time to aim or think, and you must first be completely convinced you hit, you see, "feel" the incoming arrow and shoot in an instant. Do not attempt this. I/we have been in doubt about wether this should be shown, because we were afraid that someone gets hurt if they try to emulate it.
I trained for many years and spent a really long time before I tried it the first time. For several years, I along with my friends Peter and Ask also trained with harmless buffer arrows where I often have shot their arrows down and before we switched to proper arrows I had very safely hit 5 harmless arrows in a row.
It will not be shot with a very strong bow (but it's still dangerous)
The arrow that fired at me is a light bamboo arrow with metal tip, I'll shoot back with a heavy aluminum arrow so I'm sure that the incoming arrow flexes when they hit together. The archer shoots at me normally sits behind one large safety sheet, but in the video is filmed with the sheets pulled away, so you can see what is going on.
Do I hit everything?
I use a lot of time practicing, and it can take a very long time before I learn a new skill. For instance, when I got the idea of jumping to grab and enemys arrow before I land, it took me months to learn, where for a long time, the arrows would fly everywhere, until I learned to handle it.
As well, some of the other effects could have been produced not through digital trickery, but through non-obvious equipment preparation, careful selection of camera angles, and plenty of scene cutting:
Lars Andersen's quick firing can also be explained by some of the techniques he employs (and explains) in the video. For instance, he doesn't do a full draw on each shot; he holds the arrows in his draw hand instead of a quill and employs a technique called a "double draw," which means in addition to pulling the string toward him he also pushes the bow forward:
Archers from even the earliest times have gone from using quivers, to arrows in the bow hand, and ultimately, to hold arrows in the draw hand.
It is far better in motion, so there are many advantages over a quiver. There are today archers which are really good with this method.
Keeping the arrow in the draw hand provides a wide range of benefits, but it assumes that one can draw and shoot in a single movement automatically. If you must use multiple movements or have to use your fingers on the bow hand to get the arrow in place, then it is far better to go back and keep the arrow in the bow hand.
I have for many years experimented with drawing with both hands simultaneously so while your hand with the arrow pulling the string behind, while bow hand is pushed forward, this providing more power on the arrow.
Lars Andersen may have used some tricks in his "A New Level of Archery" video, but it does not appear the result has been digitally manipulated.