Armin Hirmer is based in Malta and as well as being a Bearpaw dealer he is definitely one of the characters of the archery scene that you tend to remember. He has his own style of doing things and a fairly unique outlook about archery and the world in general. I recently decided to catch up with Armin to ask him a few questions about himself and Malta Archery. I also wanted to find out a little bit about his background at what makes him tick…
Kevin – Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed Armin. Lets start with a few questions if that’s OK? Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your archery background?
Armin – My first true contact with bow and arrow happened when i was 15. The junior boss of the architectural office where I was working at this time took me to his house. In the garden I saw a target so it prompted me to ask about it. Answer: Archery. he gave me a Brown Bear Bow, some arrows and said: have fun!
Kevin – Can you tell us about your favorite types of bows to shoot and why you like them so much?
Armin – Since about 10 years I am now into thumb release / mongolian release, my favorite bows are chinese and turkish bows. My first shot with thumb release felt so natural and logical, I felt like new born. Since then my way of the bow changed.
Kevin – How did you come up with the idea for Malta Archery and when did you set it up?
Armin – I worked as archery trainer in Germany, then I left for one year to go to Lebanon and I worked there as teacher for archery and taijiquan (definition here). When I went back to Germany I knew that the weather is not for me anymore, so I had a look on the map what the most southern point of the EU would be. I saw this tiny spot in the mediterranean sea called Malta and booked a one-way flight! The rest, as they say, is history.
I opened my first range here in Malta in April 2013 beside a football club in Pembroke. On a small island word of mouth worked well, so I grew quickly and after a few months I could already live from it. In 2014 I had to move with the range to Hal Lija – where we are to this day. In January 2015 I had the chance to open a small indoor range with shop in a mall in Valletta.
Kevin – Who would you say are your main customers?
Armin – Our main guests are Maltese people in all ages, from 7 – 80, many foreigners living here and tourists. Many individuals find their way, others come through team building events or charity events in contact with us, shoot their first arrows, become addicted and continue. In Valletta we have many tourists passing by, shooting some arrows and then they write from their home, that they found now an archery club or they ask where they can get the equipment, because they want to continue.
Kevin – Do you run any special events etc? What services do you offer your customers?
Armin – We have regular shooting times for individuals, we and we offer group sessions for team building, scouts, schools and so on. We offer everything related to instinctive archery, whatever our guests are looking for. Some are happy to shoot regular targets, some want to go deeper into Martial Archery and we have of course – we call it – Combat Archery, where they shoot with safety arrows against each other. And we have a shop in the biggest mall in Valletta, where we sell archery related products, build arrows, tune bows and so on.
Kevin -We’ve hardly scratched the surface of who Armin Hirmer is! Come on, tell us something about your background?
Armin – OK; here goes… Born 1965 in Bavaria, I grew up in a family with three siblings. At 15 I stared woking as a draftsman and at the same time started archery. Later I became an expert for building damages and took over the company of my former boss. I was married, no kids. After my divorce in 2001 I started more archery – I just didnt have enough time while married. Worked as draftsman for construction companies and went into marketing by accident. 1995 I started giving archery courses here and there. Since 2010 Ive been doing this full time. The word spread even to America, where 2011 the writer Carol Shoomack took note and wrote the book „The Archer“ about me (https://www.amazon.com/Archer-Carol-Cottone-Choomack/dp/1491815868/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1480253082&sr=8-16&keywords=the+archer+carol#customerReviews).
Kevin – What would you say are the aims of Malta Archery?
Armin – Basically to give the “modern educated” people a chance to get in contact with their own intuition, their own instincts – away from the common thinking“mind (ego). Simply open them up and then it is up them to continue. But at least they had a glance of themselves – their real selves!
Kevin – Wow, that sounds fantastic! What about you plans for the future?
Armin – Well, I want two more outdoor ranges on Malta, one in the south, one in the north and one range on the little sister island Gozo. We get more and more requests from people in Europe who want to send their groups here to Malta for archery and more. “While you walk the path will appear”, so we will see what else will come up.
My official company is EMPTY MIND ARCHERY. Under this name I will maybe offer soon a kind of franchise, for people who want to go the way of the bow and earn their money with it. As I have already shown that it works, it will be easier for a start-up to follow. No need to make all the same mistakes again.
Kevin – Many thanks for taking the time to talk to us today and see a little of your life. I personally really enjoyed hearing about your personal thoughts about archery. We all wish you the best for your future success!