Archers: From Legolas to Katniss, Robin Hood to Hawkeye, they have become the stuff of legends.
While archery once was a skill of survival and warfare, it has been relegated to a sport and hobby for those seeking to feel half as bad ass as their favorite film and book heroes.
At one point or another in history archery was used by every culture, each with their own styles. With the advent of simpler weapons, the art and skill of archery faded into history, leaving behind legends and fairy tales. It may surprise you to find that, despite his inhuman like skill, even Legolas isn’t the fastest to draw a bow. The fastest draw in Middle Earth goes to Lars Anderson, and if you put him in black spandex he could easily be a super hero.
A historian by nature, Lars sought out the truths of the legends of archery. How did these archers fire ten arrows into the air before the first one hit? Or were these stories only legend? “I discovered historical texts that [described] Saracens who fought with the Crusaders had a series of tests which had been preserved. For example, one test required, at a 60-bow distance, to shoot three arrows so quickly that the last shall be in the air before the first has hit,” The Danish archer explained, “That is three arrows in one-and-a-half seconds. That motivated me to accomplish it.”
And accomplish it he did. In the video below, excuse the robot voice, a split screen of Anderson and our Elvin hero Legolas displays his real life skill surpasses even that of a computer-aided archer.
The trick is he never puts his arrows in his quiver, so they are at the ready as he fires his bow. Along with his short draw he no doubt leaves traditional archery instructors shaking their heads, but the proof is in the pudding. After years of practice, it doesn’t look like Lars Anderson misses a target.
Though he no longer competes, stating “Today there is no one in the world that can shoot half the speed as I do, so there is no reason to enter tournaments.” Anyone who has seen him shoot would have to agree.
Aside from his training, Anderson also credits his artistic nature with his success. “I aim without any kind of anchor point or fixed draw length, and I can switch the bow between both hands. Perhaps I do have an advantage because I am an artist, because I am really good at turning objects inside my head in three dimensions. It makes it easier for me to shoot a bow without having to use fixed points.”
Of course, his natural talent aside, Anderson still trains four days a week just to maintain his skill level. “I don’t even know how many I shoot. My friends at Lyngby Bow Guild (Denmark’s biggest bow club) tease me that I shoot 1,000 arrows. It probably isn’t that many, but I arrive with 60 arrows and I shoot them many times, so it is a lot.”
In the days of ancient archery, archers would start training as boys, all day every day. In today’s world of high powered weapons it’s hard to imagine a band of archers a threat, but Anderson has proved that the legends are true. Imagine that same band of archers able to fire eleven arrows at you before the first one hit. Gimli might argue it still only counts as one, but we must admit impressive is not a strong enough word for what Lars Anderson has brought back to life.
Image: New Line Cinema