Some 90 noted archers from a total of 37 different countries of the world are competing with one another at the 3rd World Archery Festival in Yecheon on Oct. 13-16, 2017, including China, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Peru, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States (see list at the bottom of this report).
This year, the Festival is attended by many VIP guests from various countries of the world.
At a quick glance, the following noted personalities were noticed from the list of participants. Offhand, there was Chairman Bilal Erdogan of the WESF of Turkey (who is the son of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey. There also Chairman Mehmet Fatih Kalender of the Association of Archers of Turkey.
From Indonesia comes Chairman Utut Adiauto of the National Assembly Culture-Sports Committee and France is represented by Mayor Bruno Fortier of the Crépy-en-Valois City with City Counsel Member Julien Pichelin.
From Bhutan comes Minister Dawa Gyelsthen of Culture and Domestic Affairs with Chairman Lyonpo Kizang Dorji of Archery Association of Bhutan.
From Turksoy comes Vice Chairman Firat Purtas of National Assembly of the country.
At the invitation of Mayor Lee Hyun-jun of the Yecheon County Government, The Korea Post media organizes a tour for the ambassadors and spouses to attend the opening ceremony in Yecheon on Oct. 13, 2017.
Building on its two-year experience, the Yecheon County, one of the principal local autonomous entities in the southeastern province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, hosts the Festival on the theme of ‘Bow of Yecheon, Arrow of Cupid.’
The archery festival will feature a variety of exciting programs associated with archery culture, including experience of shooting bows and arrows of many different countries including Korea, bow hunting, bow-based survival game, and recreations. During the Festival, the Yecheon County government will also host the inaugural meeting of the World Traditional Archery Federation set to be held on October 16, 2017.
Programs of the Festival in 2017 will also include an exhibition of world bows, arrows and archery culture, contest of crafting bows and arrows, student contest of shooting Korean traditional bows and arrows, martial art performance and bow-associated performances. Through these programs, visitors can enjoy a variety of experiences, such as experience of shooting Korean traditional bows and other countries, including bamboo bows, wooden bows and cross bows.
As part of its effort to promote the world archery culture, the County will host the inaugural meeting of the World Traditional Archery Federation during the period of the Festival to share unique archery cultures of different countries and establish an international network of archers.
The host also invites associated international organizations to the meeting, including the Intangible Cultural Heritage Center for Asia and the Pacific (ICHCAP), Turksoy and International Organization for Volkskunst (IOV).
Traditionally, Yecheon is famed as a central region of Korean traditional archery since a retired army general in the Joseon Dynasty moved into the County and handed down expertise and culture of archery to young generations about 300 years ago.
Today, around 70% of Korean traditional bows are produced in the County, and it is equipped with rich archery infrastructure including an international-standard archery field. Against the backdrop of this tradition and infrastructure, the County produced more than 100 talented archery players, including a dozen world champions, such as Kim Jin-ho, Kim Su-nyeong, Jang Yong-ho, Yang Seung-hyeon, Kim Seong-nam and Han Hi-jeong. These outstanding archers won championships in international archery games as well as those in Korea.
Moreover, the County successfully hosted the Summer Universiade Daegu 2003 as the venue for archery games in the Universiade, leading it to initiate the World Archery Festival in October 2014. As the Festival was so popular that the first one held in 2014 was taken part by over 150,000 visitors and tourists.
To foster the archery culture, the Gyeongsangbuk-do provincial government plans to build a national archery theme park in the County around the current Jinho International Archery Field in Yecheon. The park will include a museum of archery history, field archery courses, an archery experience hall and an archery education center.
According to Professor Thomas Duvernay of the Lansing Community College in the United States, the best archers in the world are from Korea. In fact, of the top one hundred men archers (Olympic style, 1992), almost thirty were Korean, and of the women the number was almost sixty.
Here are excerpts from his published view on Korean archery:
Why are the Koreans so dominant? I am no expert (I've always been told an 'ex-spurt' is a "drip under pressure"), but I have been involved with Korea and Korean traditional archery long enough to see that archery is part of the very spirit of the country and its people. First, we should look at Korean archery from a historical viewpoint.
Korea has had, without interruption, archery for thousands of years. The bow was primarily a military weapon, used to help unify the peninsula over 1,300 years ago, and later to repel Japanese invaders in the late sixteenth century. Even during the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945), archery was a popular athletic event. Today it is enjoyed by thousands of Korean men and women.
Bows: There are two types of bows used in Korean traditional archery. The first type is the modern laminated bow. Draw weights vary, starting at about forty pounds. The bow is about 46-50 inches long. Most have one inner layer of carbon, while others have two for a higher cast. The full-draw length of most bows is more than thirty-one inches, with the anchor point being about even with the shoulder.
The second type of bow is the traditional Korean composite horn bow. It is made of several materials. The core is bamboo, which is sinew backed, with oak at the handle. On the belly is waterbuffalo horn. The outer ends of the limbs are made of either mulberry or acacia spliced (v- splice) onto the bamboo. The glue is made from fish air-bladder. Over the sinew backing is a special birch bark that is imported from Northeast China. It is soaked in sea water (I understand for one year). It is applied to the back using diluted rubber cement (using benzene as the solvent).
The draw weights vary, but most are above fifty pounds. The cost for this type of bow is in the US$800 range. For the laminated bow, the cost is US$200-300. For most competitions, either bow may be used (bare bow only), but for national competitions, only the composite bow may be used.
Arrows: As with the bows, there are two types of arrows available. One is a carbon type. It can most often be seen at wet-weather competitions. The other, more common type, is the bamboo arrow. The cost of each arrow is about US$30. The fletcher can make about ten arrows per day.
Most of the arrow's body is made of bamboo, which the fletcher finds and cuts himself. The point is made of machined brass. The fletching comes from pheasants, and the nock from bush clover. The nock is secured with sinew and both nock and fletching are held on with fish air-bladder glue. In national competitions, only the bamboo arrow may be used. All bamboo arrows are custom- made. There are only ten traditional bowyers and twelve traditional fletchers in Korea (one of each is a friend of mine).
Thumb ring: Koreans use what some people might call the "Mongolian Draw," which uses the thumb and index finger to draw the string. This is different from the more familiar "Mediterranean Draw," which uses the first three fingers. A device (similar in use, but not in appearance, to a finger tab) is used, called a GAHK JEE in Korean, to hold the string. It is a teardrop-shaped thumb ring. It was traditionally made from ox horn, but today they will often be made out of plastic (from pool balls, usually).
Bow cover: A long cloth bag will cover the unstrung bow. This bag serves two purposes: bow cover and sash. When the bow is taken from its cover, the cover is wrapped around the archer's waist and tied. Arrows are twisted in the sash (points in, feathers pointing to the front). Only five arrows at a time are allowed.
Arrow case: Arrows are usually stored in the club house, in a temperature controlled box. However, when transporting arrows from one place to another (such as to and from meets), the Korean equivalent of a quiver is used. It is a tube, usually intricately detailed, made from one of several materials, such as bamboo, wood, or paper. Hand made, finely detailed cases, called JUN TONG in Korean, can cost from $50-500. However, many people will either borrow a case or improvise.
Archery grounds: The central point of the archery grounds is the pavilion hall, called a JUNG in Korean. However, not all jungs will actually have a building; sometimes it may be in name only. Whether or not there is a building, there will always be a sign, written with the Chinese characters JUNG GAHN (literally, 'Righteous Room'). Jung Gahn has various, interpreted meanings, depending on where in Korea you may live. One meaning might be that you will always be upright and righteous inside yourself. Another might mean to always have God within you. In any event, an archer will always give a slight bow to the Jung Gahn when he/she first arrives at the jung.
The shooting line will vary from jung to jung. One jung may have three targets with eight positions for each, while another may have only two targets with five to seven positions for each. Each position will be roughly one square meter (yard).
The targets (made of plywood, covered with hard rubber from an old conveyor belt) are located 145 meters (about 159 yards) away from the shooting line. The target is 2.67 meters high (2.9 yards) and 2 meters wide (2.2 yards). It is tilted 15 degrees back.
Etiquette: As I stated earlier, an archer will bow to the Jung Gahn when first arriving at the jung. Also, just before an archer makes a first shot, he/she will give a slight bow to the target saying "Hwal bae oom ni da," which means, "I am learning the bow." If other members are present, they would reply, "Ma ni ma chu sayo", which means, "Have many hits." A novice archer would also bow to the target after the first hit of the day, while advanced archers would not.
During the first end of shooting, the order would go from left to right, and alternate at the next end. An end is when the first archer shoots one arrow, then the second archer shoots one arrow, etc., until each archer has shot five arrows.
In Korean archery, formality is everything. An archer will not go to practice in old, dirty clothing, but will wear clean, nice clothes. The reason being, if you look unclean, your mind will be unclean, but if you look organized, that is how your mind will be. As in all types of archery, mental attitude is very important. One very important precept in Korean archery is JUNG SHIM JUNG GI. It means "Straight Mind Straight Body." If you don't have this, your shooting will probably be off.
For competitions, archers will wear white shirts, white pants and white athletic shoes. The shirt is usually of the polo style. The pants will usually be a comfortable cotton or blend.
One thing many foreigners have noticed is the absence of bow hunting in Korea. I wondered about that too, at first. While the Koreans very effectively used their bows in war in the past, their traditional teachings (primarily from Buddhism) discourage the use of the bow for killing. It is interesting to note, however, some of these same people will very happily take up a gun during hunting season (it should also be noted that Korea has strict gun control laws). With the bow, however, they feel there would be a "loss of balance" if they were to use it for hunting. But they are still very interested in American traditional archery, especially regarding hunting and Native American style (as they consider themselves kin to the first inhabitants of America).
Procedure: Handling the Korean bow is almost the same as any other with the exceptions of the way of holding the string, and the side of the bow where the arrow is. As mentioned earlier, the string is held withthe thumb and index finger (in a position like you were going to flip a coin); the arrow rests just above the thumb. If you are right-handed, the arrow is on the right side of the bow, and if left- handed, on the left side. The bow is generally slightly canted to the arrow side.
The stance is roughly at the two o'clock (ten o'clock for lefties) position, with legs shoulder-width apart. The draw is past the standard anchor point, all the way even with your thumb ring-hand shoulder. Shooting angle will depend a lot on the cast of your bow. Some archers may shoot at a 45-degree angle above horizontal, while others may have a more flat trajectory.
Scoring is simple. If you hit the target and your arrow did not break the plane of (go past) the target, it's a hit. At competitions, there will be a target judge with a flag to show what the arrow did. A circular motion shows a hit, straight up means the arrow went long, straight down means it went short, etc. There are both individual and team events at competitions. A round will be made up of three ends of five arrows for the individual event. The team event is decided by elimination (quarter-finals, semifinals, finals), with one end of five arrows for each team member in each event.
Ranking: When a novice archer makes his/her first hit ever, he/she will usually buy all the other members some refreshments. For the next three levels (two, three, four hits out of five), members would congratulate the archer. However, when an archer has a perfect end of five out of five, a semi- official honor is bestowed upon him/her.
Mohlgi: A perfect end of five out of five is called a MOHLGI in Korean. When you reach this level (make sure you have witnesses!) you are called a JUB JAHNG, which roughly means "ace." The time and date of this event should be noted (coincidentally, I achieved this level on one of the anniversaries of Ishi's* death--March 25).
The other members will give an elaborate, but short, ceremony, usually during the following monthly meeting. You will receive your MUHO, or your "MARTIAL PEN NAME." Usually it is picked by the director of your jung, and it should describe something about you or your background. For instance, my muho is CHUNG HO. Chung means 'blue' and Ho means 'lake'. As my home state is Michigan, the director of my jung found this to be a suitable name.
Official ranking: Several times each year, special competitions are held to decide members' official rankings. The ranking system is similar to that in taekwondo, as DON levels are used. Each member will have a total of 45 arrows to shoot (nine ends of five arrows). The first don will start at 25 hits, the next will is 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 35, 37, and the top, ninth don, is 39 arrows (a separate competition is held for each level, and only two levels may be reached per year). There are only two people in the world who are at the top level (one lives in the USA). A close friend of mine (and my mentor) from my jung, Mr. Bak Dong Sub, is the top shooter from my jung; his ranking is fifth don, a special level called Myeonggung, roughly translated as "famous name archer." Each don is represented by the Mugunghwa flower, known in English as the Rose of Sharon. Whenever a member reaches a don level, he/she will be presented with a bow cover, with the flowers embroidered on.
The author, Professor Tom Duvernay, can be contacted at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
VIP particiapnts from around the world:
Turkey: Chairman Mehmet Fatih Kalender of the Association of Archers of Turkey and Mr. Bilal Erdogan (chairman of WESF and son of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey).
Indonesia: Chairman Utut Adiauto of the National Assembly Culture-Sports Committee.
France: Mayor Bruno Fortier of the Le Pibalua City, City Counsel Member Julien Pichelin.
Bhutan: Minister Dawa Gyelsthen of Culture and Domestic Affairs of Bhutan, Chairman Lyonpo Kizang Dorji of Archery Association of
Turksoy: Vice Chairman Firat Purtas of National Assembly.
Austria: Peter O. Stecher, Michaela Wolf
Bhutan: Thinley Gyamtsho, Mr. Dorji Wangchuk, Mr. Sithar Tshering
Bolivia: Jorge Perales
Bahrain: Dr.Mohamed Nouiri
China: Jake Guo, Cai Zhi Zhong, Wang Zhi Guang, Feng Jin Yong, Fang Hui Qing, Piao Cheng Xu, Zhang Dong Hua
France: Raphael Rambur, Lafaurie Cecile, Bruno Badia-Canes
Germany: Jurgen Junkmanns, Petersen Maren
Greece: Taxiarchis Chassalevris, Smyroglou Erasmia
Hungary: Dr. Gabor Szöllösy
Indonesia: Irvan Setiawan, Adhi Ariebowo Maskirno, Sunaryo Adhiatmoko, Ernita Susanti, Dhanisa Restya Agung, Arsa Wening Arrosyad
Iran: Mehdi Khatibi, Ahmad Kazemi
Japan: Jiro Watanabe, Makino Yota, Masuda Munehiro, Tamada Morihisa, Norikazu Ito
Kyrgyzstan: Almazbek Akunov, Azamat Oruzbaev, Aida Akmatova, Samat Suerkulov
Malaysia: Almazbek Akunov, Azamat Oruzbaev, Aida Akmatova, Samat Suerkulov
Mongol: Munkhnasan Dunguu, Boldbaatar Sukhbaatar, Zorigt Mashbat,,, Davaajargal Khishigt, Sukhbaatar Jambaa, Lkhagvasuren Tsengel, Byambanaidan Nyam-Ochir
Peru: Patricia Olivos, Keyra Perales Olivos
Poland: Karol PISARKIEWICZ
Spain: Tawfiq Ibrahim Bottos, Omar Ibrahim Bottos
Taiwan: Jet Wu, Lee Han Cing, Chiu Hung Kai, Odin Yu Te Lin, Tung Kuei Hua, Chu Li Chien, Chen Chin Wen, Lu Wen Hua, Wu Wen Han, Tseng Ming Che, Shih Chi Li, Wen Shu Huan, Yang Jing Dian, Cheng Po Chun,Yang Bi Hua
Thailand: Thanat Moonjaroenporn, Master Kittituch Nakaew
Turkey: Murat Özveri, Harun Deniz
UK: Hilary Greenland, Richard Hornsby
USA: Candy Sall (Museum), Jacob Koppedrayer, Kathleen Iva Koppedrayer