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Archery combat is a high-energy hit

August 4, 2017 GMT

With her comrades crouching behind protective barriers, and with arrows buzzing all around her, Kami Haider calmly walked out into no-man’s land, took careful aim and released an arrow.

It wasn’t a perfect shot, but it deflected off the ground and knocked out her target. Haider retreated, grabbed another arrow, then repeated her daredevil, no-fear strategy.

The 18-year-old from Rochester was competing in archery combat, a game offered at Archery Addiction, and she said she’d found a loophole in the usual strategy.

“Nobody goes for the obvious target,” she said. “If you walk right up into the open, usually everyone shoots right past you. You just gotta be aggressive.”

On Monday, Haider was among a large group of athletes from Crossfit Credence who played archery combat as a way to warm-up for the intense workout that would follow. Josh Rose, a coach at Crossfit Credence, said the two neighboring businesses have created a mutually beneficial arrangement -- and his athletes enjoy the game.

“Everyone loves it,” he said. “It’s a very active sport, as you’re ducking and weaving, kind of like dodgeball, only with arrows.”

Mike Haskin, owner of Archery Addiction, said the game can be a very intense workout. “In an hour, you can burn 300 to 400 calories, as long as you’re not just hiding behind the bunkers,” he said. “There’s a ton of running, ducking and dodging.”

And the Crossfit athletes add an extra twist, just to get a bit more of a workout. “In the normal game, if you get hit, you have to sit out until one of your teammates hits a target,” Rose said. “When we do it, if you get hit, you do push-ups or squats, then get right back into the game.”

Monday’s contest was a spirited one, with the competitors re-arranging the targets and employing several strategies to win the game. The workout itself was one goal, but clearly the participants were in it to win it.

“Some people don’t like to get hit, but you just gotta avoid the arrows and learn the strategy of the game,” Rose said. “On my team I have a couple guys aim at the targets and a couple guys who like to hit people!”

Haskin said he appreciates having the Crossfit athletes use his facility, but archery combat isn’t merely for serious athletes.

“Almost anybody can do it,” he said. “In a normal 90-minute session, we spend part of it inside, training people how to use the bows. Some people are very quick learners, and some people find it to be a bit more difficult, but for the most part it’s pretty easy. A lot of people have shot a bow at some point in their life, so you just have to help them get that muscle memory back.”

The arrows are tipped with soft foam, and the bows pull at a poundage that almost anyone can handle. “It takes takes a little more skill than paintball, but it’s a little more satisfying when you finally nail that person,” Haskin said.

Raizel Weinberg, who has been doing Crossfit for a little over a year, said this was the first time she’s touched a bow and arrow. “It was really fun,” she said. “I only got hit once or twice, because I was mostly hiding -- but I didn’t realize at first that the target was right behind my hiding spot!”