Almost all human cultures have developed the bow and arrow, primarily as a tool for hunting and secondarily as a tool of war. In Second Life® there are many opportunities to engage in archery. An archery experience can be obtained using a modern, compound hunting bow, a long, war bow as used in medieval England, or a swan-like, Japanese bow, called a yumi.
To actually shoot an arrow in SL, one needs to find a sim with a suitable location to shoot and acquire a bow. The easiest place to start is a target range. There you will find a free bow and the programming that lets you aim and shoot at a target. An example is the archery range at Elven Forest (SLURLs for all locations are listed below). At the Elven Forest range they will give you a bow and you can practice shooting at various moving targets. The system keeps score and they hold competitions on occasion.
There are role play sims that offer simulated combat using several combat scoring systems. One example is the New Realm of Minas Tirth. Here you role play a character and can engage in contests and combat, where many weapons are used in addition to the bow. Combat sims usually require one to buy fairly sophisticated equipment and to learn involved rules and roles. Once immersed however, these realms offer great fun.
Japanese Archery (also called Kyudo) uses an unusual asymmetrical bow and is generally regarded as a meditative practice. Kyudo is based on kyūjutsu (art of archery). The Japanese bow was developed for hunting and war, but in current times the spiritual practice is its usual function. Archery is considered to be a discipline leading to a calm and focused mind. It is approached in the same way that the sword or tea ceremony is approached. That is, the mechanical components are secondary to the mental. In Western countries, we have converted Eastern practices like Judo or archery into sports, whereas in the traditional Japanese culture these are Zen paths.
I found one sim that offered the meditative archery experience: Kyuudo Dojo. It is a formal group and you need to join them and get a suitable bow and costume. They offer a developmental path from beginner to expert. Full information is available at the dojo.
Of course the archery experience in SL is limited since one cannot actually pull back the bow or feel the arrow twang off towards the target. However, competitions offer a “gamer” experience where eye-hand coordination is important and one can always find a quiet sim and spend some contemplative time with the bow and arrow.
- Elven Forest
Landing point: Elven Forest (240, 217, 22).
Archery range: Elven Forest (38, 180, 1501).
- The New Realm of Minas Tirith.
Landing point: Madagascar (92, 174, 940).
Information Center: Madagascar (128, 128, 0).
- Kyuudo Dojo: Milarepa (41, 152, 44).
- Dynamic Archery, owned by Restless Swords sells archery ranges, huntable animals and lots more, all related to medieval weapons and lifestyle. He sells the archery range that is found at the Elven Forest. Exotic Forest (196,191,1501).
- If you are interested in reading about archery, there is a wonderful series about a medieval archer. It is a three book series by Bernard Cornwell: The Archer’s Tale, Vagabond, and Heretic. These concern the almost magical skill of the English longbowman during the Hundred Years War in the fourteenth century. I do not know of any tales dealing with the Japanese bow and it’s more ceremonial use, but I’m sure some must exist.
- There is a short film about Japanese archery on YouTube. It is called, ONE SHOT. ONE LIFE – Preparing for 8th Dan Kyudo Grading from Empty Mind Films.
- Note: Main photograph taken at Minas Tirth. The bow and arrow are from Dynamic Archery. The target in the banner is from Tarek’s Design (Marketplace item # 4314950).
Written by Deepthinker Oh
What is ManiStyle? ManiStyle is a monthly column that explores an idea, a style, a trend or a realm in SL and gives you some links to go explore and draw your own conclusions. MANIERA SL expresses an outlook on life that is part Vanity Fair and part Rolling Stone. In ManiStyle, we introduce you to our take on life and ask that you share your views and reactions.