Friday, February 26, 2016

Make mine extra, extra wide: Brooks Addiction Walker

Curse of the wide-footed man...

It really sucks to have a pair of wide feet with high arch.
During my early years, I struggled with footwear brands like Nike and Adidas. The shoes fit badly and by the end of the day, my feet hurts.
Later, I found solace in New Balance, a US-based athletics shoe company that makes extra, extra wide sizes for their shoes.
I started wearing these in the mid-80s. But the brand faded into the oblivion until they came back in the late-90s.
My last surviving pair of New Balance 4E (EEEE for extra wide) shoe is the New Balance 1540 which was made in the USA.
It's now been downgraded to my gym shoes and is one of the most comfortable and stable shoes I have ever owned.

The search continues...

It's been three years since I had good shoes and what's left of them, were heavily worn and seasoned soles.
Just by walking alone I had clocked-in more than 3,000km with my New Balance 990v3 and 1540. 
I tried Asics shoes. They make very good running shoes with gel soles. But to no avail. The New Balance stores in Malaysia hardly stocks 4E models. I was in despair but when a sales guy made mention of the Brooks boutique in the Curve shopping mall, there was a glimmer of hope...

Brooks Addiction Walker - there's none other...

I went to the Brooks boutique in the Curve with very low expectations of finding any 4E shoes.
Well, lo and behold! Sitting on the shelf, was a pair of Brook Addiction Walker.
It's built in leather and has a very subtle appearance.
After working out the price, it was worth the trip.
The shoe fits like a glove and what I love about it, are the features.
There's a gel-lining on the insoles which makes it pretty comfortable if you stand a lot.
I love how stable and sturdy the shoe is and its ability to maintain traction on wet surfaces.
The leather upper makes it really stylish. I wear this to work every day since I purchased it in November last year.
I am also pretty impressed by the shoe's energy returning midsole technology. Having worn it on an average of 16 hours a day, I have little to complain about it's fit, quality and finish.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Weekends at the new range...

We've been having fun shooting at the new range. Basically, we're there every Saturdays and Sundays. 
No fees, no annoying archers. Just fun! 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Teaching, a true nobility...

There's hope for humanity...

I've been working for half my life.
And in the journey, I've met good and bad people.
Event in middle-age, I am still making friends. And of course, friends fall out of favour after some time.
I thrive on sincerity and these days, such qualities are hard to come by.
Which brings me to the subject of Mr KP Lau, my former schoolmate.
I've known him for more than 35 years. Mr Lau is a teacher by profession and has four children.
He may be a bit naive when it comes to certain things, but holds no reservation when it comes to passing down knowledge, even to a complete stranger.
What I like about Lau, is his unquestionable willingness to share his knowledge. Point in case - archery.

Lau teaching a kid in my neighbourhood about archery

Picking up arrows on a target butt after a try-out
I watched from a distance as Lau taught a kid from my neighbourhood on how to shoot an arrow with a bow.
He used his son's target recurve bow for this purpose.
On any given day, guys with bows will slap a bill for the boy's father for the "demonstration".
To Lau, it's not about the money, but rather the spirit of sportsmanship.
And for that, he had earned my respect!

Nock on!

So close, yet so far... 

There is a piece of land outside my gated community. It has a tall slope and is enough to accommodate three shooting lanes for archery.
Every day, I walked past this vacant spot and wondered if it would make an excellent place to hone my archery skills.
Michelle, my wife made mention of this many times. 

Archery and politics...

Traditional bows are not welcomed at places such as the Keramat Archery centre that are endorsed by the National sports council.
The last time I was there, some old ass ex-army dude gave us a lecture about the "dangers" of bows without archery sights. 
He went on to belittle traditional archers and later, revealed himself as a coach.
Word went around, we got kicked out of the Keramat centre.
Later, Michelle and I shot at the Kg Pandan sports centre. It's RM10 an hour for a target butt and we had to book the lanes for a minimum of two hours and pay in advance.
Last year wasn't a great year for me.
And even in Kg Pandan, it was Compound bow vs Recurve bow. Factoring-in the travel distance and how often we could go there to have a go at archery, I totally gave it up.

This time, it's home ground!

I must say that having overlooked the empty plot of land and it's advantage in terms of setting up a shooting range, the sloped area was in every word: "perfect".
I transported my target stand and butt to the site, set up my bow and started shooting away.
It's been a while since I shot my Martin Panther #45 takedown recurve bow. 
It sat in the hard case and when I checked it, everything was in pristine order.
I set the target at 25-meters and let go 10 arrows onto the bud.
Since the Monster Chill tournament in Malacca last year, I still haven't lost it.

Having a go at the 25-meter range

Putting arrows down range

My grouping on the target butt
Shooting with friends

The Chinese New Year break was long enough for me to plan my leisure activities.
I made arrangements with my former schoolmate KP Lau who is a teacher to join me at the site.
He came with Joshua, his youngest child to give it a go at the new range.
It was perfect as the site was empty in the morning.
Lau came with his Korean Horse bow while Josh, the 11-year-old shot with his target recurve bow.
We were also joined by Jeffery Chang, our old friend at the shooting session.

With my buddies

Jeffery having a go with a Mongol bow

Lau and son

Young Joshua is training for a district meet next month

Michelle at the range

Shooting at 10-meters

Nothing goes to waste...

The new range and it's ideal location will be a regular fixture for me.
I will shoot on weekends especially on Saturday mornings to hone my instinctive shooting skills.
So far, I have managed to put all my arrows into the circle with little mistakes made on my aim and release.
And as a follow-up, I built a new target stand out of discarded timber from a home renovation nearby. The recycled timber was put to good use and with this new shooting range, I hope to make the best of it.