It was my sister’s 30th birthday and my Dad was adamant to take control, it’s what he does and we (kinda) love him for it (did I say love? Love actually might be a bit too strong of a word!). So this year for her big one, he had the perfect idea that he knew she would love, something competitive, something that requires skill, agility and a real sense of competitive spirit.
Yup, I’m talking about combat archery.
All armed with bows.
Fighting for arrows and to stay alive during the game.
Let the games… BEGIN.
Ok, so I’m building it up like it’s the Hunger Games but don’t worry, the arrows were foam, so no-one was actually going to die or anything. And although our lives weren’t in any real danger, our dignity was very much on the line. So we had everything to play for!
It became evident even during just the training that this was going to be a fight that no-one wanted to lose.
We all arrived early and signed in, ready for our briefing and introduction, which Tim talked us through. He kept it informative enough to make sure we understood, but had just enough humour to keep us engaged and entertained. It wasn’t too long either, Tim was keen to make sure we all had the opportunity to make the most of our time actually playing the game.
He split us up into teams, explained the games and boom – off we went!
Actually wait… let’s reign it back – we started off with some target practice. Wasn’t sure how important it was until I realised I had really bad technique and even though I thought I looked the part, my arrows didn’t seem to be so sure. Luckily the Combat Archery team are on hand, and were keeping a close eye, giving us the right direction we needed to ensure we could hit those targets.
With three teams, we rotated round on the battlefield, winners stayed on, and I’ll be honest, coming off was a blessing as it was TIRING.
I mean, I’m not the fittest person, we all know that – but even those at peak fitness we’re getting exhausted as this game is all about what you put in. If you want to spend the whole time sucking yourself in to fit behind a pillar and occasionally fire a wayward arrow, you can. If you want to embrace your inner Katniss Everdeen and race from side to side targeting the competition one by one, you can.
There wasn’t a single moment where we were bored. I mean, I was beginning to worry at just how seriously some people were actually taking it!! (They may have claimed they were just enjoying the game, but I saw the looks in their eyes…) .
Something that struck me about this, and I’ve never really experienced it before is how quickly you do just get stuck in. We were a big group and a lot of us had never met each other before but when you’re in a combat situation, it can sometimes be a struggle to start attacking people you don’t really know. Like paint-balling for example, it can hurt so you don’t want to necessarily inflict pain on a stranger (or maybe you do? either way I’m not judging). However with this, there was no real pain (so long as you wore your protective gear correctly!) so I was amazed at how quickly everyone bonded with their teams and got into the game.
All in all it was a brilliant activity to kick off my sister’s birthday. If you’re thinking of booking a couple of tips:
- Don’t wear anything warm – there’s no point, we all had hoodies on and ended up stripping down very quickly as the competition heated up
- KEEP YOUR PROTECTIVE GEAR ON – safety first. Nuff said.
- Oh and wear your protective gear properly – ask if you’re not sure. Turns out I got all confused being a left hander and put my arm protector thing on wrong and then ended up injuring myself with the arrow (nothing major – but think carpet knee burn on your forearm. Twas not fun). Now let’s be clear, this injury was definitely down to my own stupidity – but just raising it in case anyone else has my brain speed.
I say it time and time again, I’m sure my blog endings are beginning to sound like broken records but really we are so lucky that we have so many amazing new experiences to try in Manchester.
This one here though, isn’t something you need to do as a one off, oh no. This really is an activity that makes you yearn to get back in the arena and go again (especially if your husband beat you and you need revenge).
A great group activity. Perfect for parties. And I assure you with Tim and his team leading you through, you’ll be sure to have a safe and fun filled experience.
I suppose for those of you that are willing to give it a go, there’s only one thing left to say.
“May the odds be ever in your favour.”
(They better well be in mine the next time I go!)
*** Thank you to Tim and the team for looking after us ***
To book, visit their site – https://www.thearchertype.co.uk – you won’t regret it.