It is generally accepted that, overall, the best archers in the world are from Korea. In fact, of the top one hundred men archers (Olympic style,1992), almost thirty were Korean, and of the women the number was almost sixty.
Korea has had, without interruption, archery for thousands of years. The bow was primarily a military weapon, used to help unify the peninsula over 1,300 years ago, and later to repel Japanese invaders in the late sixteenth century. Even during the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945), archery was a popular athletic event. Today it is enjoyed by thousands of Korean men and women.
The central point of the archery grounds is the pavilion hall, called a JUNG in Korean. However, not all jungs will actually have a building; sometimes it may be in name only. Whether or not there is a building, there will always be a sign, written with the characters JUNG GAHN (literally, ‘Righteous Room’).
An archer will bow to the Jung Gahn when first arriving at the jung. Also, just before an archer makes a first shot, he/she will give a slight bow to the target saying “Kuk Sool Goong Yuhn Sup Ham Ni Da which means, ” KuK Sool Archery practice, shooting at a short range target.” If other members are present, they would reply, “ma ni ma chu sayo”, which means, “Have many hits.” A novice archer would also bow to the target after the first hit of the day, while advanced archers would not.
During the first end of shooting, the order would go from left to right, and alternate at the next end. An end is when the first archer shoots one arrow, then the second archer shoots one arrow, etc., until each archer has shot five arrows.
In Korean archery, formality is everything. An archer will not go to practice in old, dirty clothing, but will wear clean, nice clothes. The reason being, if you look unclean, your mind will be unclean, but if you look organized, that is how your mind will be. As in all types of archery, mental attitude is very important. One very important precept in Korean archery is JUNG SHIM JUNG GI. It means “Straight Mind Straight Body.” If you don’t have this, your shooting will probably be off.