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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/{{Brave}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arrow_split_2.jpg]]]]

Archery is all about precision. The standard archery contest (in both fiction and real life) involves a marked target, and points based on how close to the center (or bull's eye) the archer can place his arrow.

A common dramatic situation is one where TheRival shoots first, and hits the target right in the center. It looks like TheHero has lost the competition, until he shoots ''his'' arrow at the opponent's and splits it in half lengthwise.

A downplayed version of this is TruthInTelevision. It's not unusual for hollow-shafted aluminum arrows to "telescope" -- one stuck in the end of another. Most archery ranges that have been open any length of time will have some examples mounted on the wall, though it's considered more of a funny fluke than a feat of skill: It doesn't earn you any additional points, and after the first time it's mostly just annoying that your arrows get damaged. However, in order to really count as this trope, the second arrow has to split the first from nock to tip. This normally requires everyone (or at least the first archer) to be using wooden arrowshafts. Traditional arrows often have a horn nock that would deflect the second arrow unless it was removed, and in practice most hardwood arrows don't have such a straight grain that they would reliably split all the way down instead of breaking somewhere in the middle. The second arrow has to be made of something like hollow bamboo and specially prepared in order for the trick to work.

In the field, this is known as a shaft shot, sometimes called [[PersonAsVerb Robin Hooding]], since of course the feat was [[TropeMaker made famous]] by [[Myth/RobinHood you-know-who]].

This is a subtrope of ImprobableAimingSkills, and a SisterTrope to ShootTheBullet. Compare to WilliamTelling.



[[folder: Advertising]]
* One of Dos Equis' beer commercials show their new Most Interesting Man In The World doing this with ''thrown knives''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/GreenArrow'' #18, bad guy archer Komodo is shown effortlessly doing this during practice to illustrate what a superlative archer he is.
* Robyn does this in ''ComicBook/GrimmFairyTales Presents: ComicBook/RobynHood'' #7 while she is practicing so she does not become overly reliant on her magical bow Scarlet.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/PrinceValiant'' (Jan. 6-13, 2013) takes it over the top, with the challenger splitting ''every one'' of her opponent's arrows, no matter where on the target they are. Making an impression is apparently more important than winning the tournament, or else she would consider aiming for the center of the bull's-eye.
* ''ComicStrip/TheWizardOfId'': In one strip, Sir Rodney puts an arrow in the bulls-eye during a tournament. The King asks him if he can do it again. Rodney responds by splitting the arrow. When the King congratulates him, Rodney mutters that he had been aiming at the apple in the King's hand.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Disney's ''Disney/RobinHood'' has the title character shoot one of his own arrows mid-flight to change its course, resulting in it hitting dead center and splitting the sheriff's arrow.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'' this is how Merida wins the archery contest to avoid an ArrangedMarriage. Not only does her arrow split the other arrow, but it also [[UpToEleven goes straight through the target and hits the stand behind it!]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/KuboAndTheTwoStrings'', Beetle shows off his skills by splitting an arrow, then splitting the splitting arrow, then splitting the splitter splitting arrow, then splitting the splitter-splitting splitting arrow in rapid succession. [[spoiler:This is foreshadowing that he is Hanzo, who Kubo's mother noted was an incredible archer.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The TropeCodifier is the 1938 version of ''Film/TheAdventuresOfRobinHood''.
* ''Film/RobinHoodMenInTights'':
** Played with in the [[NotJustATournament archery contest scene]], where Lucky Luca does this to ''Robin's'' arrow.
--->'''Villager:''' He split Robin Hood's arrow in twain! (''whereupon one of his teeth flies off'')
** Robin's Patriot Arrow flies wildly around, before slamming into the target utterly destroying the other arrows.
* Robin's daughter Gwyn does this in ''Film/PrincessOfThieves''; splitting the arrow at 100 yards to win the tournament.

* In the second book of the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' series, Kahlan mentions her Home Guard gives ribbons for such shots (called shaft shots). A few had half a dozen ribbons, one had ten. She herself manages such a shot after some training by Richard... who, due to his magical powers awakening, ruined a hundred arrows in a single session.
* The ''Literature/TimeWars'' novel ''The Ivanhoe Gambit'' has a scene where one of the time-travelling heroes, standing in for Robin Hood, pulls off this feat using a high-tech arrow with a built-in guidance computer.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Both Alfred and the villain known as The Archer did this in ''Series/{{Batman}}''. In fact, they were both so good that they agreed that the first one to ''fail'' to split the other's arrow would lose.
* The ''Series/MythBusters'' took on the [[Film/TheAdventuresOfRobinHood Errol Flynn]] scene twice, and busted it both times. They suspect the arrow Flynn (or archery adviser Howard Hill) shot at had been tampered with -- their guest archer pulled the split off on the first try when shooting at a hollow bamboo arrow.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS34E3RobotOfSherwood Robots of Sherwood]]" takes this UpToEleven when Robin Hood and the Doctor keep splitting one another's arrows in the famous archery contest. [[spoiler: Though the Doctor later confesses to cheating with homing arrows.]]
* ''Series/MissionImpossible'': In "The Golden Serpent (Part 1)", the [[BodyguardBabes Bodyguard Babe]] of one of the villains is shown doing this while practicing with her pistol crossbow; to show how deadly she is.
* In ''Series/OnceUponATime'' "The Bear and the Bow," Merida does this several times in succession.
* ''Series/WhenThingsWereRotten'': In "The Capture of Robin Hood", it is the Sheriff of Nottingham who splits the arrow during the archery competition. Robin Hood bests by [[ImprobableAimingSkills shooting an arrow that curves around the target and knocks out the Sheriff's arrow by coming through the back of the target]].
* ''Series/TheManFromUNCLE'':
** "The Virtue Affair" contains a contest of escalating trick archery, including splitting an arrow.
** In "The Gazebo in the Maze Affair," Napoleon does this with ''darts'' in a British pub.
* Discussed in an episode of in the Danish series, ''Hjerteafdelingen'' (The Cardiology Ward). The doctors have arranged for a wise Indian guru to visit the patients in order to give them life advice and answer their innermost questions. One of the patients asks the guru about the classic Robin Hood example (he had recently read the story), questioning exactly why doing this stunt allowed Robin to win the shooting contest. The guru ruminates over the question for a long time and but is unable to come up with an answer, something that frustrates him so much that he eventually suffers a heart attack from the stress of it.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* The TropeMaker is Myth/RobinHood. While participating in the finals of an archery contest, Robin Hood's opponent (typically the Sherrif of Nottingham, but there have been others) shoots an arrow into the dead center of the bullseye. Not to be outdone, Robin Hood fires his own arrow, and splits his opponent's arrow in half down the middle. Most people will be most familiar with the scene from Errol Flynn's ''Film/TheAdventuresOfRobinHood'', but the story has been traced back to the 17th century ballad "Robin Hood and Queen Catherin". It became a popular part of the legend when Creator/WalterScott used it in ''Literature/{{Ivanhoe}}''.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''Tabletopgame/{{GURPS}}: RobinHood'' includes Robin Hood style characters for different settings. The WildWest version is a WhiteManGoneNative whose native name 'Splits Arrow' comes from performing this feat.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'', one of Hanzo's highlight openings shows him not only doing this, but splitting the entire target as well.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' had [[SecretRelationship Janet and Willy]] doing [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=615 this]] "fancy shooting", resulting in a draw on the last shot of a competition. It looks like they cooperated and rehearsed this "accident", of course.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* PlayedForLaughs in ''[[http://shirtoid.com/22888/fluke/ Fluke]]'' by Glennz.
* In the Volume 3 finale of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', Pyrrha [[ThrowingYourShieldAlwaysWorks throws her shield at Cinder's arrow to stop it]]. The arrow splits, but then [[SubvertedTrope reforms and keeps going once the shield has passed]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': Near the beginning of "[[Recap/AvatarTheLastAirbenderTheBlueSpirit The Blue Spirit]]" episode, the [[EliteMooks Yu-Yan Archers]] are shown at a firing range. One of them splits an arrow, then splits that arrow, and finally the third arrow in succession, so each is embeded in the other.
* Parodied in a ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' sketch where Robin Hood does this to the Sheriff of Nottingham's arrow and the Sheriff argues that this shouldn't mean [[GoldenSnitch an automatic win]]. (In its use in ''Ivanhoe'' it actually just means a tie; hitting a tiny target from a range is the real tiebreaker which Robin Hood wins.)
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/DaveTheBarbarian'' has Dave's girlfriend for the episode doing this during their FallingInLoveMontage, at which point they're doing ''[[ArtisticLicensePhysics underwater]]'' [[ArtisticLicensePhysics archery]].
* The opening credits of ''WesternAnimation/RobinHoodDaffy'' have an arrow flying into the centre of a target, followed by a series of arrows each flying into the end of the one before it. The camera pulls back to reveal that Daffy is shooting each arrow from less than an inch away.