LEARNING THE BASICS OF KOREAN ARCHERY

One of the fields that Koreans are strong at and are proud of is archery. However, a sports field called Korean Archery has some notable differences from what most people know as “archery,” such as difference in distance from the archer to the target and difference in required equipment, which leads to the ultimate difference in the way of learning and practicing each event. In order to understand the unique tradition and culture of Korea better, some HAFS students are learning Korean Archery as members of Korean Archery Club. This club, with Joonsung Kim as a junior captain and Dayeon Cheong as a senior captain, is one of the several sports club in HAFS. Members of Korean Archery Club meet up and practice every Tuesday evening and Thursday’s 7th and 8th period.

All of the members have been learning how to properly grasp a bow and shoot an arrow from Mr. Moon, the archery master and instructor. Mr. Moon emphasizes that the primary step to becoming an archer is to learn the proper position of grasping a bow. The basic posture after stringing a bow is to hold the dominant hand out in a position that is perpendicular to the ground, and turn it clockwise by approximately 30 degrees. When using the left hand, the archer should turn the bow counter-clockwise. Only after learning the right posture, students are allowed to move onto the next step. In order to shoot an arrow, it is essential to use a horn ring for the thumb, which is called ggakji in Korean. After putting on ggakji, the next steps are quite obvious – brace a bow, notch an arrow, and shoot it.

Learning the proper posture seems to be easy, but in fact takes a lot of time and effort. The reason is if an archer cannot acquire such condition, it is nearly impossible for the shot arrow to even land near the target. Therefore, as of now, only five people in the club are qualified to shoot an arrow. As there is no archery ground in HAFS, students usually go to the archery ground in Bundang together and shoot some arrows for practice. Some of the members, not only the members who can shoot arrows but also the ones who are still learning their postures, are practicing hard for the competition which is scheduled in July.

BY Naeun Lee ’18

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