Lars Andersen’s newest video (embedded below) showed him jumping while shooting a bow, splitting an arrow on a knife, defensively shooting an incoming arrow, and catching an arrow then returning it in mid-air.

Now with over 25 million views and counting, it has been incredibly exciting to watch worldwide interest in Andersen’s archery grow.

“It is fun when a small hobby explodes in media around the world and many [people] want to reach me,” said Lars. “But it’s also a little scary how fast things go.” Andersen is a painter by profession, and his work hangs in Danish museums and galleries. A recent exhibition opened with the support and attendance by the Danish queen.

Archery is his hobby.

Many viewers of the rapid-fire videos are curious about his equipment. It looks quite different from modern archery gear. Andersen said that he has tried a great many different bows, including building some of his own.

“I built bows to mainly test different things. For example, I built two compound bows to see if [I] could, and one I built only [using] historical materials just to see if it was possible.” Andersen is always testing the limits.

Lars Andersen predominantly uses two bows today: a longbow custom-made in Estonia by Falco in collaboration with Andersen and a shorter, modern version of a horseman’s bow Andersen built himself.

“The smaller bow has a mounted half-wheel inspired by compound bows. It certainly is not historical, but it is small and works well for tricks. It is not as accurate as the Falco bow,” explained Lars. The arms of the smaller bow are optimized for fast shooting.

The new video’s stunts had many people scratching their heads and wondering whether Lars’ trick shots were the real deal.

“I trained really long with secure arrows before I was sure that it would not be dangerous to me,” said Lars. “It would be very strange for me to show a new video and not show what is the wildest I can, so the tricks came with. Of course, it makes more attention when something is extreme.”

Lars with his custom longbow.
Lars with his custom longbow.

Some detractors have criticized Andersen for what they see as “mocking” of modern archery. They couldn’t be more wrong in their take on the Dane.

“It isn’t an either/or,” said Lars when comparing modern archery and historical archery. “I think I can move the limit for archery in a single direction but it does not alter the ‘seriousness’ of other forms of archery.” Lars admires friends shooting very powerful, modern bows, and he is jealous of some people who have reinvented archery skills on horseback.

While most viewers rate the video very highly, some have critiqued the professionalism and quality of the video—in many clips, you don’t get to see close-up detail on Lars’ successful shots.

“I usually set up the camera as a tool for myself to learn—to see how I was improving,” said Lars. “A quality video with a high-speed camera would certainly be more convincing.” Most were impressed with Andersen’s tricks and skills, a small few called it luck. “There is no trick in the video that I hadn’t [performed] many times before, such as splitting an arrow or hitting an arrow mid-air.”

Other detractors are archers with modern equipment who cannot possibly shoot in the ways shown on the video.

Lars compares his two custom bows side by side.
Lars compares the shortbow and longbow side by side.

“Everyone can try switching and hold with a three-finger grip,” he continued. “It probably requires one month [of] study before learning how to adjust one’s aim in a different way to shoot.”

Trying to teach others in a serious way to emulate Lars’ technique hasn’t worked terribly well, but recently he switched to “playing archery” and it seems to be working much better.

“Just like you learn to throw a ball without being serious, just learning how to shoot has given some remarkable results,” Lars said. Some adults were hitting disc in the air within one hour, and jumping while shooting successfully. These people had never shot a bow before.

All of Lars’ historical research challenged him to recreate exceptional archery skills.

“Archery has a 60,000-year history, and it is very complicated and to tell in a short video. The purpose of the video was to get people to ask questions about historical archery.”

Andersen is currently writing a book on the subject.

K.J. Houtman is the author of the award-winning Fish On Kids Books series, chapter books for eight- to 12-year-olds with adventures based around fishing, camping, and hunting. Her work is available at Amazon and local bookstores. Find out more at fishonkidsbooks.com.

Images courtesy Lars Andersen

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  • PYROxSYCO

    I can’t remember where I found the video, but one person rips apart his video piece by piece. The premise of it was he was doing was trick shots and that although cool it was very little use in a practical situation. But the video is still cool.

  • NasaBri13

    yes but when are you actually going to need to use a bow in a “practical” situation. i find it interesting and almost more fun. i would only be worried if the zombies are here.

  • Dgui

    I got the Hots for a Bow.

  • Clay

    It is rare to see so much adversity to a person who is trying to demonstrate the skills he has. They find ways, unjustified in my opinion, to criticize every aspect of what he does in his video. I can only say that if he was hunting me in the wood running from tree to tree, I’d be pretty scared … and I’m no pushover.

    If all the so called ‘professionals’ out there are equal to him, or better,then why don’t they make a video or two showing that (those) skill(s) …. something easy, like grabbing an arrow in flight and returning it into a target. Just do it once and I’ll give you your Atta Boy or Atta Girl. Don’t worry, it can be a slow moving arrow and a big target. Just show me you can do it.

    Someone along the way commended something like ‘he may be the fastest shooting archer in the world but he isn’t the most accurate.’ Maybe if he slowed up a bit, like taking 3 seconds for a shot, he’d be more accurate. How much time do most people who shoot arrows at the range take, 10-15 seconds or longer. Watch the shooting a matches, you can go to sleep waiting for some of them to release the string. Guess what, he’s got 3-5 arrows in you and he isn’t standing still waiting for you to shoot at him.

    And combat archers of the past likely practiced on moving/swinging targets. If you were trying to shoot this guy, you’d better have practiced like he does or you’re going to be food for the dogs.

    And yes, he is demonstrating a method (shooting from the outside of the bow) forgotten by many and not even known by most of the weekend warriors. Sure, some have heard of it, but most haven’t. That’s his point.
    How many right handed archers at the meets are able to hold 3 arrows in the right hand and shoot them off with ANY DEGREE OF ACCURACY at any distance. Very, very few … and only a rare critic of his would probably
    be able to do it.

    Someone commented that he must have shot each scene a hundred times to get just one good shot. What is this? Make up the story against him as you go. Get some proof before you run your mouth.

    I’m very disappointed in the so called professionals. He’s trying to
    advance the sport by showing you can be more than a stationary archer.
    That you can shoot while moving, can shoot quickly and can improvise ‘on the run.’ I’d rather watch someone shooting from horseback than someone shooting stationary at 40 or 50 yds at stationary targets.

    I only hope he puts out more videos and is not put off by all the naysayers and their lesser skills.

    • Guest278

      @Clay -> I agree completely and I hope that Andersen makes a few more videos with HD resolution and extreme slow motions as well. 2 more points:
      1) I think Andersens video was meant to be seen by normal people and not meant as history lessons for archery experts. Therefore his explanations are short, simplified, easy to understand and … not totally correct. He is doing it the same way as teachers in school: They dont explain electrons by the exact quantum mechanic equations describing the probability wave distibution and propagation, but they describe the electron as a charged moving particle … which is wrong …. but a comprehensible description for somebody who does not have the knowledge to understand it otherwise.
      2) Andersens video got more than 36 million views … and views are money ! No wonder that other people wanted to jump on the bandwagon. Since they cant show similar impressive skills they simply point out what is wrong with Andersons video to get their share.

  • Andrew N. Smith

    I honestly don’t get the hate. I’ve been a traditional archer since I was 10 (shot my first deer with a 45# longbow) and I was amazed and impressed at his level of skill. We know for a fact the “stand still, take your time” archery came from Western archery during sieges and warfare in large open fields. So why are other archers so insulted when he shows the merits of the Eastern style of archery? They are different disciplines. They use different techniques and have different goals. Saracen archers rode fast horses and needed to shoot fast. English archers had more time to shoot and heavy bows to shoot long distances. It’s like comparing a rifle to a six-gun. Different weapons, different techniques and uses.

    • William-Stephen Taylor

      The Saracen bows were superior to the Longbow especially when shooting from horseback also while riding seated backwards.
      I’m a writer and one of my hobbies is archery.

  • William-Stephen Taylor

    He must have special arrows in order to nock them so fast.