Kassai Lajos master bowyer, creator of the modern version of horseback archery was born on 16th September 1960. He started making his bows in the mid-1980s and was competing successfully in field archery. Then based on the work of Karoly Cs. Sebestyen and Dr Gyula Fabian, using modern materials and technologies, he reconstructed and as first one in the world started series production of the traditional Hungarian bow used in the age of conquering the Carpathian basin. According to his ars poetica“We are not to follow our ancestors, we are to follow what they were following.”



At the end of the 1980s, he established the rules of competition horseback archery and began introducing the sport first within Hungary, then all over Europe, the USA and Canada. He familiarised himself with zen archery in Kamakura, Japan, then travelled to Shaolin, China. He wrote his book called Horseback Archery which has been translated into English, German and Russian as well. For mentioned achievements, on 20th August 2003, he was awarded the Officers’ Cross, Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic by President Ferenc Madl.


To recognise his tireless work of creating value, keeping ancient Hungarian traditions alive and establishing and spreading the word of the sport of horseback archery in Hungary, on 15th March in 2016, the commemorative day of the Hungarian Revolution, President János Áder awarded him the Medium Cross, Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic. He’s won all competitions so far and has 5 world records under his belt. He’s the only person in the world capable of doing horseback archery for a straight 24 hours without stopping.


He managed to set his 4th world record on 5th December, 2009 alongside his trainees in the Budapest Sports Arena as he shot 12 disks of 12 inches diameter in 17.8s while on the back of a galloping horse. Watched by 8000 spectators in the same arena, he then broke this record on 4th December, 2011 by shooting 14 disks in 19.85s. Currently teaching in 16 countries, he’s a member of the Club of the Obsessed (a prestigious self-organised club for the highest achievers in non-Olympic sports).


On 8th January, 2011 the University of Physical Education accepted the plan of practical training for horseback archery worked out by Kassai Lajos and started the course as first in the world, as a result of which, you can get a university degree as a horseback archery instructor.


On 22nd January, 2012, the national day of Hungarian Culture, he was given his next medal and received the Knighthood of Hungarian Culture.


The Kassai-method in horseback archery was entered the National Register of Beneficial Practices for Preserving Cultural Heritage and in 2013, it was pronounced a Hungaricum.


His book called ‘Horseback archery’ has just been published for the 5th time. He writes down his ars poetica here:
“In essence, there are two kinds of people. Those of questions and those of answers. A man of questions is all about research, seeking answers and knowledge. A man of answers says his religion has already answered all questions, therefore he can retreat into the comfort of rites appropriate to his religion. My life appears to be a combination of the two. I have always wanted to try everything and always claimed that only fools want to learn from others’ mistakes and there’s nothing more important than personal experience. Knowledge is our only treasure that cannot be taken from us, while it is also the most aristocratic thing in the world. Now that I have reached the zenith of my life, I have reached a sunny clearing and left behind the tormenting jungle of questions and desires. Acceptance dominates the desire to change. Horseback archery, which used to fly me on a magic steed through space and time, has become a ritual for me that gives the framework for my everyday life. It represents science, art and religion to me. I have tried to learn as much as possible about that activity using reason, then tried to present it in an artistic manner to the best of my abilities, and by the time I got that far, I noticed it had become my faith.”





Short film: video

Kassai Lovasíjászat official FB

Kassai Lajos official FB

Kassai lajos YouTube

Curator's opinion

"Equestrianism is an important tradition in Hungary. For me, equestrian archery represents nature, tradition and the love of animals. Lajos Kassai revived the tradition of horse archery, made it a competitive sport and introduced it to the whole world. As a mechanic, bow making was only his hobby, but in the late 1980s he developed a system of competition rules for equestrian archery, then began to spread the new sport, first in Hungary, then in Europe, the United States and Canada. He summarized his experiences in his book Horse Archery, which has since been published in four editions, also in English, German and Russian. Currently, there are Kassai School based equestrian centers in fourteen countries, holding world cups regularly. Géza Kaszás made a film about his life and work titled The Horseback archer."

Candidates of curator

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