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Desc:Simpsons artist critiques 'The Fastest Archer in the World' videos; comment drama ensues.
Category:Educational, Military
Tags:skepticism, archery, HISTORY!, Lars Andersen, Anna Maltese
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Comment count is 33
Old_Zircon - 2015-03-07

Is this worth 15 minutes? Youtube keeps recommending it, but the thumbnail and channel name make it look awful.

Jet Bin Fever - 2015-03-07

haha, it's not so bad really. Just your typical "let me list a bunch of ways I think something is incorrect" videos, of which there are a gazillion on youtube. You're absolutely right about the thumbnail and channel name.

EvilHomer - 2015-03-07

Yeah, the guy owns the channel is pretty obnoxious. But it's a good video, well-argued and informative, and from what I understand, the woman who narrates it is not responsible for the douchey visuals. Plus, Ms Maltese is delightful - intelligent, attractive, really good with bows, and one of the lead character layout artists for The Simpsons (Season 10 onwards, but still).

Apparently Lars Andersen ( http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=141877 ) is now a Big Fucking Problem in the online archery community, so this is probably the most professional critique of his work that you'll find.

Old_Zircon - 2015-03-07

Reasonably entertaining so far, but it cites Mythbusters as an authority and the brief, incidental stuff about pre-renaissance art is, well, better forgotten. Ancient Egyptian art definitely looked that way because of lack of reference materials, a a complex and highly formalized symbolic framework had nothing to do with it.

Old_Zircon - 2015-03-07

On the whole though I'm down with this, she should find a different editor who can do her justice because she seems to really know her shit, outside of art history.

Old_Zircon - 2015-03-07

Also the music makes me want to die.

Bort - 2015-03-07

"really good with bows"

Video please? Because she does make the point in this video that archery is about what works, and if Lars is significantly better than she is, well.

EvilHomer - 2015-03-07

I cannot find any videos of her archery. However, here is an older video, in which she does kung-fu fire twirling whilst dressed as a belly dancer:



Bort - 2015-03-07

Fair enough, on the day Lars Andersen claims to have rediscovered an ancient type of baton-twirling, I'll pay more attention to her. In the meantime I will enjoy Lars's videos more than hers.

EvilHomer - 2015-03-07

Well, her central complaint is about the *historicity* of Mr Andersen's techniques, not about his level of skill (indeed, she gives him props a number of times over the course of the video). As such, it does not matter which one of them is the better archer; her argument is just as valid whether she's the greatest archer in the world, or a complete beginner who's never shot a bow before.

Think about it this way: if the debate was over, say, who is the sexier Simpsons-animating fire dancer, then clearly Ms Maltese would win by a significant margin. However, if Ms Maltese made a series of historically spurious claims about fire dancing or The Simpsons ("fire dancing was invented by Yugoslavian beatniks in 1987", "Season 19 was the best season of The Simpsons), then Mr Andersen could nevertheless come out on top.

Bort - 2015-03-07

I guess I can't bring myself to much care, because I took Lars's historical speculation as just that. The main thrust of his thing is that modern target shooting is not conducive to the feats attributed to archers of old, while his methods are conducive, which he backs up by actually performing some of those feats. Which doesn't prove that he is using the techniques of archers of old, but it suggests he's on to something, and that's sufficient for my purposes.

EvilHomer - 2015-03-07

Were they feats attributed to archers of old, though? This is a question raised repeatedly by Ms Maltese, using specific examples drawn directly from Lars' own videos (points 1 and 12, for example), and she debunks them all. Just what situations his techniques are conducive towards is left more or less unsaid by Lars, and whether they'd be conducive to ANY military situations is very much a matter of debate, addressed not only by Ms Maltese, but also other HEMA researchers, Matt Easton and, IIRC, Lindybeige amongst them. (the most common complaint being, of course, the draw weight.) So there's really two overarching problems here: are his claims historically accurate, and from a purely physical standpoint, is he onto something with these techniques? (a third problem, are Lars' techniques really as novel and revolutionary as he claims, ties these two matters together)

Lars is an awesome archer, but I'm afraid that both questions raise a host of problems for him.

note - one thing that Ms Maltese and others have neglected to address is the scene in Lars' video in which he is shown puncturing a suit of chainmail with his arrows. This is a very important scene, and much is riding on it so far as the matter of conducivity is concerned! Now, the question *I* would ask is - what sort of chainmail is Lars shooting at? Is it riveted, welded, or butted? I strongly suspect that he is firing at butted chainmail, as this is the cheapest and by far most common type of mail available today, and surprisingly few people - even many historians - are savvy enough to know the difference. Using re-enactment grade butted chainmail is actually a fairly common error in experimental archeology weapons-testing, and it would more than explain how Lars was able to "pierce" "armor" with a half-drawn, child's-strength, speed shooting bow.

Bort - 2015-03-07

Bur Lars has never claimed to actually be a military archer, so I find the complaints about draw weight pretty spurious: it's not hard to imagine a guy in better shape (because he actually trains for war) to be able to perform similar feats but with a stronger bow.

That said, the clip with Lars mowing down targets while on roller blades always makes me think of Emperor Basil II's feared elite roller blade archer squad, the terror of the Bulgars. I hear they used to celebrate victory by playing street hockey with their victims' heads and drinking Jolt Cola.

EvilHomer - 2015-03-07

He claims that his techniques were historical techniques, used by military archers in the past; *he* may not be a military archer, but if his style of shooting is insufficient for military purposes (any sort of military purposes, because as Ms Maltese repeatedly points out, one of the biggest problems with Lars' theory is the vagueness of its place in history), then his claims would quickly unravel.

The problem of draw weight isn't just one of training - and by all accounts, Lars is a HIGHLY trained archer, probably better trained than the majority of ancient archers, even! The problem of draw weight is one of physiology; you simply cannot fire a full-pound warbow at the same speed as a plinky little speed shooter's bow. Lars admitted this in his videos; his response was to poo-poo the concerns over draw weight, and suggest that low poundage bows could be fired Andersen-style, and still prove effective on the battle-field.

He has not demonstrated this. All he has demonstrated is that arrows can pierce modern butted chainmail, and that is unsurprising, because butted chainmail is extremely weak and fragile... which is why it was NOT used in warfare, in Europe or the Near East! For a proper test, Lars would have to shoot his arrows at riveted chainmail laid over a gambeson laid over a flesh-analogue, and be able to penetrate more than two or three inches of the flesh.

Bort - 2015-03-07

"The problem of draw weight is one of physiology; you simply cannot fire a full-pound warbow at the same speed as a plinky little speed shooter's bow."

Of course that is the case, but it's not about the same archer using two different bows, it's about a stronger archer using a comparably stronger bow.

Wanna see Terry Jones talking about Parthian tradition and physical training? Of course you do:


Bunch of guys at a House of Strength doing a watered-down Parthian exercise regimen. I don't see Lars as being able to do this stuff, particularly where they're tossing those clubs around like they're nothing. And these guys, in turn, are probably a mere shadow of the Parthians of old. It would not surprise me to learn that an actual Parthian (or Mongol or Hun or whatever warrior archer you care to name) could draw an 80# or greater bow as easily as Lars does his.

EvilHomer - 2015-03-07

They don't look particularly buff (bet you ten bucks your average Coastie could take 'em), and at any rate, we know from bone studies that ancient people tended to possess LESS physical strength than us moderns, on account of their poor nutrition and propensity for childhood disease. It's also worth pointing out that Parthian archers were exceptionally well regarded; even if it were true that Parthians were able to fire bows as quickly as Lars (and I see no reason to think this to be the case) then that still leaves us with every other archer on the planet unaccounted for. It is highly doubtful that even the best archers could fire a proper warbow with the sort of speed Lars is claiming; the idea that such shooting was at any time *commonplace* and *universal*? Beyond absurd!

There are plenty of people today who have back and arm muscles which are more than capable of drawing massive bows. Give John Cena or Brock Lesnar a Parthian composite bow and tell them to fire it as quickly and accurately as Lars does, at a range commensurate with Parthian tactics. If even they can't do it, then the entire theory is sunk.

Syd Midnight - 2015-03-13

Lars Andersen is cool to watch and he is obviously very skilled at what he does, but after a few minutes of brags about him being the worlds best most historically accurate I wanted to see how Legolas there performed against a few dozen screaming drunken armored maniacs who are skilled at running up to the people shooting arrows at them and chasing them down and beating them to death with clubs and fists before passing out from blood loss. Cause in a battle he would have an awful lot of those guys coming after him, especially living as he does next to Sweden, Germany, and Norway.

Jet Bin Fever - 2015-03-07

Ah oh, an intelligent, pretty female on the internet! Let's call her a cunt and a whore and send her death threats! How DARE she comment on our precious archery community.

oddeye - 2015-03-07

women don't even use bows historically!! "Brave" was nothing more than PC bullshit

Cena_mark - 2015-03-07

I'll bet 90% of archery chicks only got into it because of Brave or the Hunger Games.

Old_Zircon - 2015-03-07

Butbut Yahoo answers

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071224180219AAw 9mRt

ashtar. - 2015-03-07

I'll listen to her opinion when she cuts off a boob in order to draw a bow more easily, like the Amazons of old.

ashtar. - 2015-03-07

Should have looked at OZ's link before hitting post.

jreid - 2015-03-07

She makes a lot of great points but I could only finish half of it because of the general smugness about it all. Especially this smug ponytail asshole:


Old_Zircon - 2015-03-07

Capital "s" Skeptics in a nutshell.

Often correct but even more often insufferable.

Bort - 2015-03-07

I flipped through some of it and I felt like the complaints mostly consisted of:

- Lars makes historical claims that are speculative.

- Some of Lars's stunts (such as catching arrows) couldn't be done under all circumstances.

- Over-literal interpretation of his words (such as how archers back in the day didn't stand still -- I think Lars's point was that standing still wasn't something archers were trained to count on).

All of which I file away under "being needlessly shitty".

oddeye - 2015-03-07

her problem seems to be more with people taking his video as "AMAZING! You won't believe how this guy RUINS archery in Hollywood!" level sensationalism so she's picking holes in some of his generic and vague backgrounds as to why he shoots some fucking artows the way he does.

Also she is a sexy woman so I could only think of those arrows as dicks and couldn't concentrate on what this dirty bitch said.

Bort - 2015-03-07

Maybe that's it -- I'm content that this guy does cool stuff, and I don't see him as the Charles Darwin Of Archery. The pushback seems unduly harsh for a guy who is, let's face it, pretty darn good.

Change - 2015-03-07

when i watched the original, i thought he looked like a prancing dork

did they explain why he was a prancing dork in this video?

Binro the Heretic - 2015-03-07

Brevity is your friend.

Mother_Puncher - 2015-03-07

She did a very thorough and informative takedown of a history revisionist nerd who, if he didn't have a bow, would be showing the world his bad ass lost sword techniques in a trenchcoat and JNCOs while citing anime as a source.

People on here can complain about her "smugness" but the fact that this dude is making such bold claims and revising history while having lots of people believe him is shitty in itself.

I also have a soft spot for people who use recurves.

Old_Zircon - 2015-03-07

That the dude in question sucks is a given.

Gmork - 2015-03-07

"The archery itself is entertaining, more or less."

I've never met someone who qualifies a statement with "more or less" who wasn't a complete asshole.

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