Another Toxophilite

Toxophilite became established in the language as the name for a late 18th-century English archery society. The word derives from Greek toxon, which referred to both a bow and arrow, and philos, meaning “loving.” Today, toxophilite is a rarely used word but often occurs in vocabulary games and puzzles and in spelling bees. A more ubiquitous descendant of toxon is “toxic.” Toxic is an anglicization of Latin’s word for “poison,” toxicum, which originally meant “poison for arrows” and is a borrowing from Greek toxikon, meaning “arrow.”  from

In episode six of season one of Victoria (on PBS Masterpiece theatre), archery shows up as a plot device. The boys are discussing Duchess Harriet and Prince Ernest calls her a toxophilite to his brother Prince Albert.

I would guess this episode takes place in the year 1841. In episode seven, Prince Albert rides a locomotive which was likely 1841. In 1840-1841, George Hagar Hansard released The Book of Archery in London.

Although Merriam associates toxophile with English shooting clubs, it was most likely introduced by Roger Ascham in his 1545 book named Toxophilus with this introduction/explanation/apology:

I trust no man will be offended with this little book, except it be some flet-
chers and bowyers, thinking hereby that many that love shooting shall be
taught to refuse such naughty wares as they would utter. Honest fletchers
and bowyers do not so, and they be unhonest, ought rather to amend
themselves for doing ill. than be angry with me for saying well…. And
this little book I trust, shall please and profit both parts: for good bows
and shafts shall be better known to the commodity of all shooters, and good
shooting may perchance be the more occupied to the profit of all
bowyers and fletchers. And thus I pray God that all fletchers get-
ing their living truly, and all archers using shooting
honestly, and all manner of men that favour artillery,
may live continually in health and merriness
obeying their Prince as they should,
and loving God as they ought, to
whom all things be all
honour and glory for
ever. Amen.


Returning to the Range

A month ago, the younger one had withdrawn from the shoot.  We returned to practice this weekend at our outdoor range.  She proclaimed she was so excited to be able to shoot again.  And overall it went really well.  She was appropriately distracted by various bugs and a fearless little bird she named “Tinee”, but she completed more ends than I expected.  We were out there for almost four hours because the older one was getting ready for her second state games.

We worked on form, as every archer does during every practice, or at least that is what every practice has been for these kiddos.  Maybe Mackenzie Brown gets to do something else with her practice time at this point.

Understandably, her form was a little rough.  I decided to use Hudl Technique with her.  I was hoping to slow things down so I could see it.  I’ve used Hudl with the older one and I also wanted to make sure the younger one knew she was special too.

It was easy to see at 1/4 speed even if it is hard to see your iDevice with full sun.  I shared it with her and she felt like she could keep her bow arm extended and work on her draw arm elbow.

Meanwhile the older one was getting her site ready for 30-20-10 distances that the next tournament uses.  She was doing her sport and I didn’t have to pay too much attention other than recording her site positions.

Having a camera helps, but we also record them in her archery journal so that when we get to a tournament, we have backups.

She really likes this Shibuya site.  There are more expensive models, but this one works for her.  Since she started using it, we are both seeing more of them around, probably some sort of cognitive bias.   At Salt Lake, Steve Anderson spoke to the archers at breakfast.  Later, we saw he was shooting a Shibuya too.


There summer is winding down.  School starts again in a few weeks.  That means the outdoor season is winding down and the indoor season will be ramping up (with a lot of overlap).  I think the Byrds sing a song about this.

Outdoor 30

First outdoor tournament of the year for the older one.  She is a “bowmen” class and that means she really can’t compete in the big national tournaments that have Cadet and Junior programs only.  Technically, she can shoot in those older age divisions, but the shooting distance starts at 60 and you have to pull a pretty big bow to shoot that distance.  Locally, one (or maybe two) of the JOAD clubs has set up an outdoor series.  This includes shorter distances for the younger divisions, including 30 for bowmen.

Like all archery events we have attended outdoors, you have to deal with the sun and the wind.  This was no different.  Our car thermometer said it was 101.  She had ramped down lessons over the last month, so this was her first event in at least a month.  She shot outside at the park and she got reps in on the side yard.  She used her new Easton outdoor arrows.  She ended up in third place.

Next Bow

There is a JOAD Bow being sold by Lancaster.  Once you select the bow, you go to a configurator.  It’s more of a bow package than a specific bow.  The smaller one wanted a white riser and that is not part of the JOAD bow package, so we had to go a la carte.

She’ll be reusing the hand me down archery equipment bag, her hand me down tool kit, and her own quiver (they shoot opposite hands and can’t share bows or quivers).  All in all it looks something like this…


Rocky Mountain State Games

This was her first outdoor tournament.  Our trip planning over estimated the amount of time we needed to arrive at the facility, so we got to Memorial Park in Colorado Springs with plenty of time.  This park is huge.  The scale of the map will mislead you.  Outside of the velodrome is a green field large enough for several full size soccer fields.  That was the home for archery.


The range was set up for 40 bales or lanes.  Depending on the groupings, two to four shooters would be on each lane.  It was her first time shooting on grass – every where else we have shot has not been a manicured lawn.  Our friend, Sean, told us a canopy was the norm.  I’m glad he let us in on that secret.  We had a canopy and the extra time we had from arriving early was put to use by staking out some ground in front of the 30 yard bales.

Slowly, the field filled in with more and more canopies.  Some elaborate and larger than 12×12, but most were 10×10 and cooperated with each other.  Thus began the Rocky Mountain State Games.  I wasn’t sure if they rotated through the lanes, moved the lanes, or moved the targets.  We had been practicing a lot for 30 yards, but I wasn’t sure what those other distances were.  There’s a first time for everything.  This outdoor tournament certainly had a lot more categories than an indoor JOAD tournament which has only three styles and five age groups (more here on JOAD).  For NFAA, there are seven age groups and ten shooting styles.  This is confusing.  If you want to see the class system, check out this document.

We got started and it was going to be 30 arrows at 30 yards, then 20 yards, then 10 yards.  The summer sun started slowly, but was in full blaze by 10:00 AM and there would be a lot more shooting.  At this tournament, they moved the targets towards the shooting line.  She was going to have two official rounds of warm up at 30 yards, but none at the shorter distances.  We had documented her sight and had her settings for 30, 20, and 10 yards.  She was off and running.


Early in the day, shooting 30 yards.  “Woof” hat in place

Some of her archery friends were here and that put a smile on her face.  She was shooting well.  The first thing I noticed is that through the first 20 arrows or so, everything was on the bale.  That’s not exactly how practice at Bear Creek Lake ends up.  She was really shooting well.  I didn’t bring my binoculars and it was hard to see the arrows with four young ladies shooting at the same bale.  This was also her first time shooting on the 122 cm target.

Because of the strange number of shooting styles, it was never clear to me how many girls were direct competitors and I couldn’t tell by looking at their bows.  After the switch to 20 yards, it felt a lot easier to her.  She shot a 250/300 for that section.  Then the target moved to 10 yards.  This was sort of comical.  Everyone was shooting well.  I know at least one robin hood happened a lane over.  So many arrows converging for the yellow space.


She decided that a good song was Coldplay, “and it was all yellow”

I knew she was doing better than the girls around her.  Her scorecard told the tale.  She did all of the hard work at 30 yards and her scores from the 20 and 10 yard rounds just kept pushing her forward.  Very consistent across the 90 arrows.  The value of her practice time was showing.  In the end, she won easily by more than 140 points.  Her averages were 7 points per arrow at 30 yards, 8.3 points per arrow at 20 yards, and 9.4 points per arrow at 10 yards.  Across the day, she also shot 9 Xs.

She was smiling, proud, way too much sun, and worn out at the end.


A big medal for a big day.

Full results in this PDF.

Fourth Rotational and a New Personal Best

With activities spilling over from work, Dad was unable to attend the fourth tournament of the indoor season.  That turned out to work out great for her.

We’ll need to confirm once her scoring card is returned, but a few highlights of the day:

  • Every arrow was a scoring arrow (a first)
  • Every arrow was 2+ (a first)
  • She improved over her previous personal best by 1.1 point on average per arrow
  • She finished much stronger in the second half (a first)
  • She finished with tens in 3 of the last 5 ends (a first)
  • She overtook a competitor that was ahead through 3/4 of the event (a first)
  • Her second round qualifies for a blue JOAD pin
  • She secured a second place finish


I wanted her to play soccer and she was good, but I screwed that up.  Archery is a choice she made.  I am only trying to help her understand the sport (see my deep expertise in this post) and if she likes it, support her and maybe push her along if needed.  Still, it is archery and this is sort of a nerdy girl.  One grandparent thinks it is hunting.  Another grandparent thinks it is not a girl thing.  Yes, different generations, but it is part of her choice since she doesn’t come from a long line of archery enthusiasts.  At JOAD, I am surprised how many girls and how many left handers there are.

To confront it, we took the target and practiced at Grandmas house,  it went well.


Home Practice