The bow and arrow is not a new concept. In fact, historians have found evidence of its use as early as 9000 BC. Historically, the bow and arrow were used as a weapon in hunting and in battle. Times have certainly changed. The bow and arrow is now mostly used as a sport, either professionally or recreationally.
Archer Ant Kay from Nottingham Road was only five years old when he made his first bow and arrow. “Back then, life was different.
Children played outdoors right up until supper time. I made my first bow and used various things I found in the bushveld to make arrows. I think every child needs a bow or a crossbow in their lives. It gives a sense of ownership and control. It also gives them a sense of responsibility to decide where and how they will be using it. My father was always busy building and repairing things. It taught me that there are no shortcuts in life. It also taught me that you need patience in order to repair things, as opposed to simply replacing them.
Their joy reminded me of the bow I made as a child and the hours of adventure and play it brought me
I feel this way of thinking is slowly disappearing; it is far too easy for people to simply throw things out rather than repairing them. Everything has a story, every cupboard and every table.”
Ant was a teacher for most of his life. “I was a woodwork teacher for primary school children. It was a great privilege for me to work with children and teach them how to make useful things, work in fine detail and to show them creative ways to make things that could benefit them in the future. On occasion, I bump into old students who have gone on to become engineers and carpenters. I can’t help but be proud that I played a small role in developing that passion in them.”
He decided to make something different in class, and this spontaneous action would change the course of his life. “I wanted to make something different in class and ended up making a crossbow that shot suction cup arrows.
The children loved it. Their joy reminded me of the bow I made as a child and the hours of adventure and play it brought me.”
There are so many benefits to archery. It’s a good way to relieve stress, and work on hand-eye co-ordination and posture. Learning the technique is all about patience and focus.
His dedication to the sport of archery grew and soon he became involved in archery as a school sport. “There are so many benefits to archery. It’s a good way to relieve stress, and work on hand-eye co-ordination and posture. Learning the technique is all about patience and focus. Once you have the technique covered, you can add your own style;
Archery is a graceful sport and it’s a serious Olympic sport, so people can learn it for various reasons. It can be lots of fun as well, with elements of light-hearted competition.”
There is a sense of accomplishment when you hit the bull’s eye for the first time.
“It takes practice and dedication. The key to archery is not to focus on the target, but to rather focus on your technique. As long as you keep trying, you will succeed.”
When he retired from teaching, he dedicated all of his time to archery. “You give so much of yourself as a teacher, so I decided I wanted to focus on something else.
Life is good here, I feel blessed for everything I’ve had in life.
I now make bows and crossbows and teach people from all ages to shoot. This way, I can broaden my horizons, meet all kinds of people and enjoy passing on what I know about archery.”
He has called Nottingham Road his home for over 20 years. “For me, Nottingham Road is a brilliant place to live. The fresh air, the birds, beautiful clean dams and our village community is so supportive. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
When he retired, he got himself a space at The Junction next to a small dam where he teaches both children and adults. “Life is good here, I feel blessed for everything I’ve had in life. Our two sons grew up to be successful, one as an international photographer and the other a financial advisor.
My wife was a wonderful, caring mother and a fantastic companion. And I have the opportunity to touch lives and teach people things that could somehow make their lives better. Nottingham Road will always be home.”
Get It Northern KZN & Midlands October 2018