Archery is like life

I have found shooting a bow to be completely addictive… I think about it when I am driving or while I am on a break at work. I have no sooner packed away my bow after hours of shooting when I start counting down the hours to my next day of bliss in the field.

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“You know what sucks about shooting your bow? … Nothing!” Cam Hanes

 

Today I shot my bow. I am new to archery. My third day loosing arrows, I am the definition of a novice. I love it.

 

I purchased my first bow almost a month ago; a modern recurve with a wooden riser – nothing special but ideal for a beginner. I have spent the best part of a day shooting every weekend for the last three weeks. I would love to practice more often, but work and a busy schedule coupled with the fact that I don’t have adequate space to shoot mean that I have to travel to the countryside and set up a straw target on a friends land at weekends.

 

When learning about my new pastime most people’s first reaction is to ask how or what got me into archery? Quite simply, it was The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. I first started listening to Joe about five or six years ago. I regularly had my mind blown by the various guests he had on his show. The podcast has grown massively in popularity in the interim and can take credit for popularizing a number of other podcasts due to the hosts of those shows appearing on the JRE. Some, such as Cameron Hanes, have even started their own podcasts as a direct result of Rogan’s influence.

 

It was Hanes’ regular appearances on the podcast that were the determining influence on my foray into archery. Though I have to give credit to the brilliant Steven Rinella for changing my perception on hunters in general, it was Cam Hanes’ approach to hunting that really caught my attention. Here was a guy who lifted weights, ran for miles in the mountains and shot his bow everyday whilst holding down a regular job. His main reason for taking on such a rigorous schedule is to ensure he will be a better hunter. His message is one of positivity, though he takes things to such a different level that no matter what you’ve accomplished in your day; watching a random Cam Hanes video on Youtube will likely make you feel like you need to do more.

 

I have found shooting a bow to be completely addictive. The night after practice I spend hours watching episodes of Nock On TV with John Dudley, listening to podcasts like Gritty Bowmen and Keep Hammering and reading up on archery techniques, competitions and history. I think about it when I am driving or while I am on a break at work. I have no sooner packed away my bow after hours of shooting when I start counting down the hours to my next day of bliss in the field.

 

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Comedian and recent convert to archery Duncan Trussell made an insightful observation on the similarities between archery and life. In essence, Trussell’s point was that your ego makes you shoot your bow the exact same way over and over again even though you are missing the target. In the same way a person follows their instincts when logic and outside information is telling them that the decision they are making is the wrong one, the archer is in a constant struggle to resist the temptation to blame the bow or the weather for a bad shot rather than facing up to the prospect that they are doing something wrong.

 

It is an art that is undoubtedly a useful tool for developing character. It is a discipline that demands 100% devotion to the fundamentals. There is no room for complacency or shortcuts. Attention to the task at hand must be total and absolute. In that moment before you release an arrow on its mystical flight there is no room in your head for other thoughts – mortgages, car loans and work – they do not exist.

 

Archery is simple, straightforward – even basic, yet at the same time it is complex, tricky and mult-layered. I don’t know where it will take me. I would like to compete in a competition someday, barebow and field archery have a certain appeal. I would love to hunt but it is illegal to hunt with a bow where I am from. In any case, be it a target in competition or a rabbit in a forest, I will not take a shot until I am confident that my arrow will find its mark. I am exited for the journey ahead and I am committed to becoming the best bowman I can be even with the current limitations on my practice. I feel that getting better at archery will stand to me as a writer, father and partner just as it will stand to me in life. To quote Miyamoto Musashi: “If you know the way broadly you will see it in everything”. Excellence in anything increases your potential in everything.

The Red Strand

“This place is bitter sweet. The beauty of it alone is something to behold. Add the memories that were created here and it becomes truly special. Happy memories, good memories, but also sad ones”

 

Today I visited one of my favourite places. My best friend and I hit the road despite the wind and rain. During the journey I questioned the logic of the two hour round trip when there was little chance of us even being able to get out of the car.

When we arrived at our destination I could see sand being carried up the beach and over the wall out on to the road by the wind. My windscreen wipers were hard at work, though I wasn’t quite sure wether it was drizzle or spray from the sea.

A camper van was the only other vehicle present, its occupants enjoying the view of the atlantic from within. I felt the car shake from the wind before I decided upon getting out. Shag it, we’ve come all this way, we might as well get out for a few minutes at least.

I offered my travelling companion some water after the journey, he declined. I picked him up and carried him onto the beach. I made sure we were a good distance from the road before putting him down on the sand. He seemed a bit taken aback by the strength of the wind but appeared to be revelling in the novelty of it all. He was here too last weekend, which was his first time on a beach. He pranced and ran and wagged his tail, looking at me in an effort to get me to chase him or throw a stone for him to retrieve. I chose the latter option.

I took a few photos and videos with my phone, uploaded one or two to snapchat. That seems kind of strange to me, using modern technology while in the rugged, wild beauty of the countryside. It somehow feels at odds with the reason I came here. One way to ensure you are not enjoying the scenery is to bury your face in a smart phone. I knew others would enjoy seeing the photos though, and I knew I would be happy to look back on them some day. But once I had the photos taken I put the phone away and continued throwing stones for my little buddy to fetch.

The wind was so strong that the stones wouldn’t travel that far as I walked towards the western side of the beach, and they would go so far when heading in the opposite direction that the dog would lose sight of where they landed. As I paced up and down I thought about the people who had shared this magical place with me down through the years. People who meant the world to me, but were no longer of this world, people who were still here but whose paths had taken them on a different trajectory to my own. I thought about the first time I brought my Fiancee to this place, and the handful of times she has accompanied me there since. I remembered another four legged friend, my grandfather’s nick-namesake, who passed a longtime ago and who I could’t remember being here with, but I reasoned that he must have been at some stage.

More recent memories came to mind as well. I thought about my training sessions here with my dad before I competed in a triathlon. I was way slower than him then, but I hammered him less than a year later, I doubt I could beat him now. Cherished time off from work spent here, regrets that there were times when I hadn’t visited in ages. Sad thinking about my grandparents, I could see my grandmother sitting on the wall as plain as ever, though this time she wasn’t really there, at least not physically anyway. I thought about the pub nearby where my grandfather, father and I used to go when I was small, where I had the pleasure of actually sharing a real pint with them when I had come of age. I was lucky I had my grandparents for so long.

This place is bitter sweet. The beauty of it alone is something to behold. Add the memories that were created here and it becomes truly special. Happy memories, good memories, but also sad ones because some of the people you’ve shared them with are gone. This is where I feel closest to those people. I think about them everyday, but here in this place it’s as though they are with me.

The wind battered me and the smell of the ocean filled my nostrils. The damp air is familiar to me, almost comforting. I have to give chase to my little friend who has decided to pick up some seaweed and run off with it, and I am happy that I can share today with him. I can only hope there will be plenty more good memories created in this place.

 

Padraig Martin

INTRO BLOG

“the main reason I got sick of writing for websites was the pressure from editors to come up with catchy, clickbait headlines”

Having set up Savage Media in the early hours of Monday morning, I feel like I should write something. It is now 1 am on Saturday morning and the site has been void of content for too long. I do not have my intended first article completed as of yet, so here’s an intro article for anyone who might visit the site in the meantime.

I am Pádraig Martin and this is my blog. I have written for numerous papers, magazines and websites, primarily on MMA and boxing with some GAA and politics thrown in. My main passion is fiction, but the constant online presence offered by the various sports websites kept me away from it for a while. Having had some success in short story competitions I decided that I would devote more time to fiction, and thus I stepped away from covering MMA for the past few months.

In truth, the fact that a lot of various editors/founders were making money while the writers received little to no reward played a part in my decision to step away from covering MMA. But the main reason I got sick of writing for websites was the pressure from editors to come up with catchy, clickbait headlines and SEO friendly articles, oftentimes at the expense of writing decent content.

Despite my decision to focus on fiction and short stories, I often feel the need to comment or add my opinion on news, sport and life in general. Sometimes, a writer just needs to write. So I set up Savage Media as my outlet; a space where I can write about MMA, current affairs or whatever is going on in my head without first pitching it to an editor whose primary concern is how many hits he will get for his website.

I hope to publish a blog before this weekend is out so stay tuned.

 

Pádraig Martin @paidimartin