raditional Chinese archery is seeing a revival by martial
arts enthusiasts. This section of the Chinese Swords Guide
will be devoted to the history, art, resurgence, techniques
and equipment of Chinese archery.
Bows and arrows were once part of the military arsenal of
most parts of the world. Although China developed guns very
early, their armies continued to use archery as a main
defence right into the 1800s. Guns of the time were still
quite slow to load, while the bows used in Chinese archery
were fast loading, powerful and portable. They were not
cheap to produce. The Manchus had developed a recurve bow
made of horn, glue, sinew and wood. This took considerable
time and craftsmanship, with some parts taking many months
Today, some wonderful new archery products have been
developed in the style of the Manchus. Hand crafted bows are
available in a variety of draw weights suitable for
beginners through to advanced archers.
For a few hundred dollars, those beginning archery can
acquire their bow, string, a set of bamboo arrows and an
archery thumb ring. The target might be as simple as a bale
of straw from the local plant nursery. Interested people can
ask about archery products here email@example.com
To shoot in the traditional style of Manchu archery, some
instruction will be necessary and those who know how to pass
on this knowledge are becoming more numerous. While modern
western style bows are a complex composition of sights and
counterweights, the bows used in this style of reflex
archery are a simple recurve design. There are no sights or
markers. It is instinctive archery based on the connected
body principles of Chinese martial arts. Many of the
techniques learnt practising Chinese swordsmanship and empty
hand arts can be successfully employed in Chinese archery.
Once learnt, the archer can use his skills in mounted
archery, standing target archery, competition, or archery
games. Anyone can learn but we all need to be aware of the
potential danger. Bows and arrows are a real weapon, best
practised on a designated archery range, or at least in an
area set up to catch stray arrows and prevent any danger to
people or property.
This section on Chinese archery will be added to over the
coming months and years. If you wish to contribute an
article, please use the form near the bottom of the page.
Variety of arrowheads
Some Manchu arrowheads were made of folded steel.
Hunting arrowheads were often shaped to make them spin
better in flight. Broad arrows were used in
hunting large game and in warfare.
Note the large amount of twist in the arrows' feathers,
meant to quickly stabilize the large flat heads.
This is a high quality nock. They weren't all so
decorative. This arrow might be fired once and never
found again, but the armourers took pride in their work.
Equipment for Chinese archery all had to be hand made.
This quiver is from Scott M Rodell's personal
collection. Quivers usually had quilted fabric or felt
inside to hold the arrows upright.
is a Facebook page for Chinese Archery. As I write this,
there are over 800 members sharing pictures, history,
experiences and equipment ideas. If you enjoy this page,
you'll love it over there. Come and join us.
This new article by Sifu Scott M. Rodell explains the
Unlike target archery, Qing era Manchu archery was a
martial art. In practical terms, what that meant for the
archer, was that he trained to shoot at a target that
was shooting back. And that target, constantly changed
its position. So just as Bannermen on the battlefield of
Qing China, those practicing the Manchu style of archery
must draw, nock and shoot without ever taking their eyes
off their opponent. In this lesson, we are going to look
at the steps used in Manchu archery to draw and nock an
arrow. This method is the same for both mounted archers
and those on foot..... for
the full article click here.
Lesson 2 How
to use a Manchu Archery Thumb Ring
The technique is quite different from European style
finger pull archery. Manchus, Chinese and Koreans all
used different style of thumb rings. Click the link
above for the full article.
Qing Archery - The Manchu
This excellent article, written by Scott M Rodell, gives a
concise history of Chinese archery and teaches the beginner
some basic technique.
If you would like to add an area of expertise on ancient
Chinese archery, swords, military, other weapons, or
anything that would fit in this martial history section,
click on the link below to return to martial History and
enter your article on the form at the bottom of the page.
If you have an addition or correction you would like to
offer for this page on Chinese archery, use the "Contact
us" form on the menu bar.
Do you have an article on Chinese Archery to contribute?
We'd like to hear from you. If you have a well written historical piece, a story of your own training or other related subject, please feel free to subnit it to this page. All articles will be checked for relevance and edited for spelling and readability.