Introducing world record holder long range bow-shooter, József Mónus

Saturday, October 29, 2011

József Mónus was introduced into the exciting world of archery the first time, five years ago and five years later, he broke the 784 year world record in long range bow-shooting. He already planning to break his own world record the next year by shooting across the Bosphorus Strait.

Mónus doesn't consider archery as a sport, but rather a form of warfare. He has never had formal training in archery; he learned the art of archery by listening to his instincts and when he releases an arrow, he always knows that the target was hit or missed.

Mónus' story started in 2006 in Eger where he attended an archery competition. He felt a thrill was shooting through his body and the sight emotionally seized him. "I knew I fought here a long time ago. This primal feeling made me start practising archery" says Mónus about the beginnings.

Mónus -- a mechanical engineer by education -- says archery is not a sport; he practising the art of archery like warriors. When attending major competitions he calls his opponents fighters. "All want to fight. The Mongols shooting even when you go to the target to pick up your arrow. Everyone is motivated by competing against each other. You feel the proximity of the other fighters and their breath on your neck; then, comes the friendly handshake, although Mongolians are different even in this – if you defeat them, it is hard to withdraw your hand from their strong handshake."

For Mónus, archery is a way to explore Hungarian history including the military strategies of ancient Hungarian warriors.

"I'm very interested in what the bow looked like in the 10-11th century. If I think of our ancestors always the bow comes to my mind, first. I want to prove that it is possible to shoot almost inconceivable distances with the traditional bow. I would like to draw your attention to the story of a Turkish fighter who in the 1500s was able to shoot at the distance of 800 meters. Hungarians could do the same, but their achievements haven't been recorded. I would like to make up for that now" explains Mónus.

Mónus set his first world record in 2008 in South Korea taking part in the World Festival of Traditional Archers, which was part of the non-Olympic games. Twenty days before the competition started he released 1000 arrows as part of his preparations for the tournament. "I feel a peace of mind only when I know I prepared for the competition. The fighter, the bow and the arrow should be in perfect harmony" explains Mónus. According to the champion, a good fighter can shoot at any distance, but first, he must believe he can do it.

Mónus' achievements appeared in the media the first time in 2010 when he broke a long range shooting record set in 1226 by a Mongol warrior. Mónus improved the Mongol warrior, named Esunkhei (503 meters) world record by more than 5 meters (508.74). Esunkhei set up the world record at a Genghis Khan festival, in 1226.

"I managed to improve my previous 508-meter record set in 2010, in Bugac during Kurultáj; the new record was 603 meters; but, later, I broke that one too, by breaking the 704-meter target. I'm also proud that this year, during the Ancestors day celebrations I managed to hit a one and half centimeter flagpole two times from 240 meter distance, in front of three thousand people. In the first round, I needed four shots and in the second, nine shots to hit the target because of headwind that forced me to aim seven meters off target to be able to hit the pole."

Sometimes, weather conditions influence results. This September, at a long range shooting tournament in Utah, U.S. the dry, hot desert climate made Mónus's bow break. He was unable to use the 100 pound (45, 95 kg) tensile strength bow, instead he had to use the 54 pound bow, but even using that he could score world record result. In the unlimited traditional Turkish style, he set world record in 2008. But his best result was in the absolute strength class 300-meter distance “hunting arrow” category where he came close to Don Brown's world record.

"After the race the 80-year-old world record-holder, Lary Hatfield came to me to congratulate and tearfully said he had never seen anything like that before. I would like to go back to America, because there are four more categories in which I would like to see myself as a world record holder," says Mónus who made 600 arrows for the American tournament; he used those arrows a total of seventeen thousand times, but took only eighteen to the tournament.

The Hungarian team finished the race with a total of 12 gold medals and five world records, from which five gold and two world records went to his son 17-year-old László József Mónus who started practising archery in 2006 like his father. "He can shoot from any position, he does it instinctively, he was born this way. He can shoot like me, but we never compete against each other," says Mónus, then, he proudly recounts his high-school student son's awards, including the ministerial medals, the European championships titles and world records.

He won his last medal in a South Korean competition where the Hungarian team finished second. The competition followed the tradition of the Naadam-shooting school that dates back to the time of Genghis Khan. The Mongol chief used to amuse himself by shooting the heads of defeated enemy fighters who were partially buried in the ground.

The design and the weight of the arrows differ in each category says Mónus. It makes a big difference how many feathers we put at the end or in the arrow shaft and what kind of arrowhead we use. The heavier and thicker arrows can be used roughly to the distance of 500 meters, it can fly up to 300 km / h speed. Bows made from non-natural materials cost about 40-60 thousand forints; but Mónus is not required to spend money on his weapons as his friend Csaba Grózer makes all his equipment. He uses protective gears that his friend, László Váradi and his wife make for him. His arms covered by ancient Hungarian style protection shield that has a very important function during competitions, it minimizes the possibility of injury and gives a feeling of security says Mónus.

"This is a dangerous sport; result can be achieved only if you can lock the world out of your mind and see only the target. If anything diverts the fighter's attention for instance, worrying about injury, then one can't succeed. In the very instance, when I let the arrow go I know that I hit or miss the target" says Mónus whose nickname is "Wolf" that he has been received after his totem animal. So far, he has been wounded four times by broken arrows.

Mónus who is practicing in Hajdúnánás, Budaörs and Pesterzsébet also pays particular attention to his clothing that carries ancient Hungarian design elements.

For the immediate future, he has two major plans: first, he wants to hit a human figure shape target from 300-meter distance by using traditional bow; the other one is more ambitious, he wants to shoot over a distance of 907 meters for the memory of the Pozsony battle in 907 A.D.

The latter plan is scheduled for next summer in Turkey where he wants to shoot across the Bosphorus Strait. The original plan was to accomplish the world record attempt at the narrowest point of the strait, which is about 750 meters, but since then his plan has become more ambitious. In Turkey traditional archery is also very popular and his Turkish friends calling him for years to hold demonstrations in Turkey. "This is a challenge, a chance that one gets only once in a lifetime; this world record attempt will be a world-class event". This is for the time being only a plan, but seeing his enthusiasm we can be sure that the Turkish people will learn Mónus' name very soon.

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

All I can say is congratulations on your shooting, truly amazing. I also have met Larry Hatfield, during our talks he spoke of you. I enjoyed the story. Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

That is Amazing!!! I am a primitive archer, and make my own bows. But the farthest one of mine has shot is 70 meters. (I am still working on it)

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Unknown said...

I met him at the flight shoot in Utah. I end up breaking 2 flight records and 1 broadhead records.

Kevin Fleeman said...

Congratulations to József Mónus for his outstanding world record defeating the 784 year record. His consideration of archery as a warfare might make it possible. Awesome!

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