I'm going to preface this post with this statement: I was encouraged to repost this here, by someone here, from another site where the replies lacked...shall we say, support.
I'll also add, it's not intended to sway or malign anyone's definition of Traditional. Only to share the viewpoint of a well known National Champion and his wife, who both dedicated their later lives to furthering the sport of archery.
It's an open letter, written to the National Archery Associations of the day, during a time when compounds and string releases were just starting to make their way onto the national competition scene (1971).
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NATIONAL ARCHERY ORGANIZATIONS
Early in the Fifties, a hue and cry went up protesting the use of aluminum arrows. "They aren't archery!" adversaries maintained. "They'll ruin the sport, because they'll assure higher if not perfect scores. The archer shooting wood arrows won't have a chance. "As is inevitable with progress, however, the aluminum arrow proved itself. It became accepted throughout the world because it was more accurate and afforded the new archer more success in less practice hours. The aluminum arrow was not panacea or a pot at the end of a rainbow. The archer had to have a steady bow arm, a good release, and had to learn to aim.Bowsights had their share of troubles, also. The first national ruling allowed but one fixed pin. Gradually this evolved into the sliding site which was grudgingly approved and over the years has developed into some of the most sophisticated sighting devices known to man. Much of this was in conjunction with allowing marked distances on the field range, another change that was a bitterly fought.Site accessories were in for their share of criticism. Levels, Bubbles, and other leveling devices were considered "unfair" advantages. Even the kisser button got in the line of fire although many years ago a string knot was used in the same way without protest.The clicker raised even more dust. It was outlawed for barebow shooters until someone like Chuck Saunders developed one that couldn't be used as an aiming aid and finally was accepted.The point is this: Every " help" in archery has always been actively resisted by the purest, whoever they are. Yet archery should be for everyone no matter what type of equipment they shoot, from a crooked stick to the most highly developed and engineered equipment there is.It is curious that the essential argument against the "release aids" and the compound bow is that these things enable an archer to achieve levels of success that in other eras is could have been achieved only by months or years of practice. Now, with these aids, a new archer can become reasonably proficient in a few months. Is this bad? The name of the game is to be able to hit the target and nothing is more discouraging to the new archer then not to be able to do this. As a matter of fact, many older archers have returned to the sport since the development of releases and the compound bow.There was a historic discussion between Howard Hill and Rube Powell many years ago wherein Howard vowed in his inimitable southern accent regarding recurve bows, "I wouldn't paddle a canoe with one of those!" Yet he finally relented and produced his recurved "Typhoon".There has been far too much emotional reaction and far too little intelligent facing of the facts. All the national archery organizations have somewhere in their constitutions a pledge to further and promote archery. When any of these organizations put out a ruling which discriminates against any archer's equipment they are 1) negating their own constitutions; 2) discriminating against one group of archers; and 3) actually performing an act which could be considered a "restraint of trade" which is against the United States Constitution.It is difficult to believe that the duly elected officers of the national archery organizations could be so short-sighted and completely against progress. They are duty-bound to promote and encourage archery but by their recent arbitrary rulings regarding release aids and types of bows, they have turned their back on hundreds of their members.If, with these innovations, and archer can achieve earlier and long-lasting success, this should be applauded and commended not censored and punished. These ruling smack of a tremendous amount of sour grapes on the part of the perpetrators.In every other sport "Freestyle" means just that: FREEstyle. When you hobble it with meaningless and discriminatory restrictions it is no longer free.Considering the release aids, if the national officers think this is something new they don't know much about the history of archery. The ancient Chinese and Japanese used not only thumb rings but a variety of strap releases such as present-day flight shooters use. In 1941, Frank Eicholtz developed his Bow-Loc, a one-piece ledge release that many hunters and archers are using today....thirty years later. As a matter of fact the Bow-Loc supersedes all the present day one piece ledge releases and has never been protested at any tournament.There is a strong possibility that, under the present idiotic rulings, The archers involved will form their own Association and withdrawal completely from the existing ones. Since organized archery is spread too thin already and what this country does not need is another National Organization, it is strongly and respectfully suggested that the national organizations review their decisions on release aids and compound bows and come to a more acceptable decision. ----Rube and Mary PowellI support getting along with everyone who calls themselves an archer. Here in San Diego, we have a very healthy Archery Club that welcomes all styles of archery that's legal under the state, and we all enjoy competing and socializing on the same range. We make fun of each other but we're genuinely all good friends. Most, if not all, promotes the sport, whether it happens to be Traditional, Olympic, Compound, or any of the various styles practiced in Asia or beyond.
Jim, being around and an NFAA member at the time this was written I can recall the uproar the ”new devices“ like the release caused. I sat in a local meeting of clubs where the subject of binoculars was being argued about. I can recall the push in the late 70’s to have more than 5 pins on a sight to shoot “bowhunter“ class in NFAA. Personally being “new” to organized archery I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Then agian I was not really that competitive.
I know some folks get wrapped up in “traditional archery” to the point of no return. I like old camo, old bows, wood arrows, but I also believe our equipment can be better. Modern material, some tweaking of designs have already made our bows, arrows, broadhead, etc more efficient and effective. This is especially true with the trend towards lower bow weight for hunting. As for competition I know there are rules, like them or not. Only way to change them is get involved with the rule making.
“Take the good where you find it, be honest with yourself, and let the results be your guide.”
Jet Wolverine 69@28, Kramer Autumn 62@27, Jet Leopard 63@28, Howard Hill Wesley Special 57@27, Jet Warthog 69@28. Two Tracks Echo 60@27.
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