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Katniss and Brave’s Merida Put Archery Workouts on the Map

By Chrissa Hardy for HelloGiggles.com

It’s 2012 and finally werewolves and vampires are stale enough to take a step back and make way for humans again. Not just any humans though. Arrow-shooting, bow-wielding, masters-of-archery humans. The Year of the Dragon is apparently also the year of the Archer. This sport has been around for thousands of years and thanks to the ferocity of Katniss, the spunk of Merida, and flash of Hawkeye, it looks like it’ll stick around just a little bit longer.

Katniss is fierce, independent and her focus is unwavering. To keep up with the advanced skill of her character, Jennifer Lawrence trained with US Olympic Archer Khatuna Lorig. Lawrence trained in 15 one-hour sessions with Lorig and continued her practice on her own by shooting 80-100 arrows per day to improve her technique. After seeing the film, Lorig was extremely pleased with Lawrence’s form and hopes to work on the upcoming films in the franchise.

For now though, Lorig can shift her focus to the London Olympics, beginning on July 21. She just qualified for the US women’s team last week. “Kings and queens played this sport and I would like to see this sport have more people be interested,” she said to ABC. “It’s a fun sport. Anybody can do it. Age doesn’t matter. That’s the beauty of it.”

Then of course, there’s Merida, the Scottish heroine of Pixar’s “Brave” (in theaters now). Perfect form for this little princess! Merida wins her own hand in an archery competition comprised of three potential suitors. She insists on creating her own path, all while maintaining a straight and flat elbow with the perfectly poised bow string resting against the corner of her mouth.

If Merida and Katniss were to compete in an archery face-off, who would win? I honestly cannot decide. Instead of envisioning the two ladies as enemies, I think I would rather picture them joined as a fearless duo taking on an army of ill-prepared and under-estimating men. That’s more fun, wouldn’t you agree?

Archery ranges everywhere have seen a major uptick in interest. Lanes are getting booked to capacity and first-come, first-serve classes are filling up hours ahead of time. Range owners are having to adjust their schedules to make room for all of these eager, beginner archers. And they are loving it! Finally, this sport is getting the recognition it deserves. As a beginner, you can learn the basics in safety and technique for a very minimal fee. Some ranges even offer a free first lesson which includes the equipment rental and target! If you are interested in archery, check out the ranges near you.

Personally, I’ve fallen in love with this sport, and while it may take time to improve my accuracy and skill, I’m in it for the long haul. It’s thrilling, empowering, and a fantastic survival skill to learn. Not to mention, archery makes a pretty great calorie-burning workout. A 125-pound archer can burn 195 calories in a 60-minute shooting session! I highly recommend it.

Check out these other archery-related articles at HelloGiggles.com:

Bullseye: Pull Back, Aim, and Release Your Inner Archer

How I Would Win the Hunger Games

Aunt Flo: The Character Left Out of the Hunger Games

Chrissa Hardy is former New Hampshire-ite living in Southern California. She often fantasizes about becoming a Parkour master and using it as her main form of transportation. For now, her favorite fitness activities include running, yoga and archery. If she didn’t have regular access to cinnamon or Sriracha, she would be extremely cranky.

July 3rd, 2012

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