How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow

By Brett & Kate McKay on Aug 16, 2017 11:33 am

For thousands of years, humans have used the bow and arrow for hunting and warfare. Today, you can buy bows equipped with devices and sights to help you aim accurately and hit a bull’s-eye almost every time they’re drawn. For example, with a fixed pin sight, an archer has a guide that shows how to adjust his aim to ensure he hits the target no matter the distance.

But ancient archers had to learn how to aim without sights. This skill — called instinctive shooting — requires years of trial and error to master. Through consistent practice, the body and mind intuitively learn how to adjust the aim of the bow to accommodate different shooting distances. Instinctive shooting is a lot like throwing a baseball or shooting a basketball. Once you’ve practiced these skills, you don’t really think about aiming when you throw a baseball to someone or shoot a basket. You just do it. Somehow your mind and body are able to calculate the right angle and force to throw the ball to ensure it hits your target, or at least gets very close.

Because of the mind-body connection inherent to traditional archery, ancient archers — particularly those from China — often used the bow as a philosophical metaphor. For example, Confucius was an archery teacher and used the practice as an analogy for wu-wei, or effortless action. To successfully shoot a bow and arrow intuitively, you’ve got to try not to try, because the moment you start trying too hard to aim, you end up missing the target completely. So it goes in life as well. 

The funny thing about instinctive bow shooting and this whole idea of trying not to try is that to get to that state, you’ve got to be intensely mindful and deliberate about it. You’ve got to try to try, before you can try not to try.

If instinctive archery sounds like something you could get into, but the last time you shot a bow and arrow was at summer camp as a kid, today we break down the steps of instinctively shooting a bow and arrow. With time and practice, your archery will hopefully hit a state of wu-wei, or effortless action.

How to Instinctively Shoot a Bow and Arrow

While it is possible to instinctively shoot a compound bow, the practice is most associated with traditional archery — that is, archery that uses recurve bows or longbows. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be showing how to instinctively shoot with a traditional bow.

Assume a Relaxed Stance

Stand with your shoulders perpendicular to your target with your feet shoulder-width apart. From here, you’ve got two options on how to place your feet. If you’re just starting out, a squared stance — in which both your feet are parallel to the shooting line — is the way to go, as it will ensure that you consistently set up in the same way.

After some practice, you might consider experimenting with an open/oblique stanceWith an open stance, the lead foot points towards the target. This stance is good if you’re on uneven ground, and it helps prevent you from overdrawing your bow. The downside is that because it rotates your hips towards the target, when you do draw back, you have a tendency to just use your arms instead of your back muscles.

If you’re a rank beginner, go with the squared stance.

Nock the Arrow

Place the arrow shaft on the arrow rest of your bow. Attach the arrow’s nock — the plastic, grooved part at the arrow’s end — to the bow string. Your bow string should have 1-2 nock locators that indicate where the arrow should be placed, and ensure that you consistently nock your arrow at the same place each time you shoot. If your string has just one locator, nock your arrow just beneath the bead. If it has two locators, nock the arrow between the two beads.

Grip the Bow Correctly

Place the bow in your non-dominant hand. You want the grip of the bow to rest right on the pad of your thumb. This placement will ensure that you don’t squeeze the bow too tightly, which would cause it to torque inwards, throwing off accuracy, and would also place your forearm in-line with the string; if you’re not wearing an armguard, it’s going to hurt when you release it.

A good cue to know if your grip is right is to check to see if your knuckles create a 45-degree angle to the bow grip. If your hand is in that position, you likely have the bow placed on the pad of your thumb.

Squeeze the grip like you’re shaking a hand. Not too hard and not too lightly.

How to Grip the Bow String

With your arrow nocked, and your bow hand gripping the bow correctly, we’re ready to grip the bowstring.

There are different ways to grip a bowstring but for the purposes of this article, we’ll be highlighting the Mediterranean method, as it’s the easiest way for beginners.

With the Mediterranean grip, we’ll be using three fingers — index, middle, and ring — to pull the bowstring back. The bowstring should rest in the groove of your top knuckles. The arrow’s nock should be between your index and middle finger. If that’s uncomfortable for you at first, feel free to put all three fingers beneath the arrow’s shaft.

If you’re just starting out, pulling a bowstring back with your bare fingers can be uncomfortable and even painful. Consider using a finger tab, which is a piece of leather that protects your fingers from the bowstring. You can also wear gloves if you want.

Prep Your Draw

We’re almost ready to draw the bow back. But before we do, we want to make sure the bow is in the right place for the most efficient draw. To do so, simply lift the arm holding the bow so that the arm is at shoulder height. Once you’re there, it’s time to….

Draw the Bow String Back

When most folks draw a bowstring back, they want to use their arms. This will only tire you out and cause you to under-draw the string — that is, not pull it back far enough. When you draw a bowstring back, you want to use your back muscles. Imagine squeezing your shoulder blades together. That cue will help ensure you’re using your back muscles and not your arm or shoulder muscles to draw the bowstring back.

Anchor the String

How far should you draw your bowstring? To your anchor point. An anchor point is a reference point on your face that you draw the string to in order to ensure that you draw it the same way each time. There are a few anchor points you can create. Your anchor point could be a spot on your nose. If that’s the case, you draw the string until it touches that certain spot on your nose. Or your anchor point could be your index finger touching the corner of your mouth.

Whatever you decide to be your anchor point, fix it in stone and consistently draw your bowstring until you’ve reached that spot.


Aim the point of your arrow at your target. Don’t overthink the aiming. Remember wu-wei — try not to try. The harder you try, the more elusive your target becomes.

Release and Follow Through

Keeping your bow arm steady, simply push your fingers on the bowstring out of the way of the string. The string will snap forward and your arrow will start to fly.

But shooting an arrow doesn’t stop at the release. Just as you must follow through when throwing a baseball to accurately throw the ball, you need to follow through with your arrow release. After you’ve let the bowstring go, your draw hand should continue moving backwards until it reaches the bottom of your ears. This movement will also naturally cause the bow to tilt forward a bit. Let it. This follow-through ensures that all the energy in the bow is transferred cleanly to the arrow.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Well, there you go. The basics of instinctively shooting a bow and arrow. Like any skill, you’ll get better at it the more you work on it. With enough time, you’ll eventually reach a state of effortless action with your archery, and who knows, perhaps a little of this wu-wei will carry over to the rest of your life as well!

The post How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

How to Cast a Spinning Reel: Your 60-Second Guide 

Beginners new to the art of attempting to catch fish will likely have their first experience with a standard spinning reel and rod. It’s an ideal set-up to go after the type of fish typically found in freshwater lakes and rivers, and it offers a lot of versatility when considering what types of tackle you’d like to put at the end of your line. But even if you do your homework to get the right bait or lure on your line, it won’t do you any good if you can’t cast it properly. Learn the fundamentals of properly casting a spinning reel and you’ll find that migrating to other styles of fishing, like fly fishing, is far easier.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

Source: How to Cast a Spinning Reel: Your 60-Second Guide | The Art of Manliness

How to Make the World’s Best Paper Airplanes

world's best paper airplane instructions

There are many skills fathers should pass on to their children: how to ride a bike, how to skip a stone, and of course, how to make a paper airplane. When it’s time to show your kids how to fold a humble piece of paper into a soaring jet, don’t stumble around and hastily construct one from the poor memory of your youth — one that takes a disappointing nosedive as soon as it leaves your fingertips. Instead, teach them the art of making a plane that can truly go the distance.

The three designs below are tried and true (you wouldn’t believe some of the science behind paper airplanes) and are perfect beginner, moderate, and expert level models to play with. They go in order from easiest to hardest, so there’s something for every age level — including adult; don’t act like you’re not going to try these out in the break room.

The Bulldog Dart

This paper airplane is a warm-up of sorts. It’s simple, requires few folds, and flies well. It’s just not going to win you any contests or style points. If it’s your kid’s first time making a real paper airplane, this is a good place to start.

world's best paper airplane instructions

First you fold the paper in half lengthwise, and then unfold. This initial crease is simply a guideline for the next folds.

world's best paper airplane instructions

Fold the top two corners down so they meet the center crease. This is the classic way to start a paper airplane, and probably what you first learned as a kid.

world's best paper airplane instructions

Flip the plane over, and fold the corners in again to the center crease. You want the diagonal line coming off the top of the plane (on the left side) to be lined up with the middle (like on the right side).

world's best paper airplane instructions

After both folds are completed.

world's best paper airplane instructions

Fold the top point down so that the tip meets the bottom of where the previous folds come together.

world's best paper airplane instructions

Fold the entire plane in half, in on itself. This creates the snub nose, which gives the Bulldog Dart its name.

world's best paper airplane instructions

Fold the wings down so that you’re making a straight line across from the top of the snub nose. Repeat on the other side.

paper airplane bulldog dart

The finished Bulldog Dart. This flies better when thrown at lower speeds. Your tendency is to launch it, but the heavy nose will just fly it into the ground. Give it a softer throw and you’ll have better luck.

The Harrier

This is a slightly more advanced paper airplane. There are a few more folds, and it flies a bit better than the above Bulldog Dart. This is the perfect middle ground between simple and complex recreational paper aircraft.

paper airplane harrier folding instructions

Start the same way you did with the Bulldog. Fold in half lengthwise and then unfold. Again, this center crease is just a guide for future folds.


Fold the top corners in so they meet at the center crease.


Fold the entire top down so that it resembles an envelope. Make sure you leave a half inch or so at the bottom — you don’t want the top point to evenly meet the bottom edge.


Fold the top corners in so they meet at the middle. There should be a small triangle tail hanging out beneath these folds.


Fold that small triangle up to hold those previous folds in place.


Fold in half, but make you sure you fold it outwards on itself, not inwards. You want the previous triangular fold to be visible on the bottom edge.


Fold the wing down so its edge meets the bottom edge of the airplane. Repeat on the other side.


The finished Harrier. It has cool pointed wings and has great stability because of the triangle on the bottom.

The Hammer

While there are far more advanced paper airplanes, this one, in my opinion, is the perfect balance of complexity and accessibility for the Average Paper Airplane Joe. It has far more folds than the previous two models, and also flies the best and farthest. Pay attention with this one, folks, and the payoff is well worth it.

paper airplane hammer folding instructions

This one starts a little differently than your average paper airplane. First, fold the top left corner all the way down so it meets the right edge of the paper. You’ll then unfold, as this will be a guiding crease.


Repeat the same thing with the top right corner and unfold.


You should end up with an unfolded sheet of paper with two creases forming an X.


Now, fold the top right corner down so that its edge meets the crease that goes from top left to bottom right.


Do the same with the left corner. The top left point should exactly meet the diagonal right edge of the airplane.


Fold the plane in half in on itself, then unfold. You’ll use that middle crease as a guide.


After you’ve unfolded the previous step, fold the top down so that its edge meets the bottom edge.


Fold the top corners down so that their points meet at the middle crease.


Unfold — as with many steps in making this airplane, these creases are a guide.


Now take what was the top edge that you previously folded down (3 images back) and fold it back up at the point where its edge meets the creases from the previous step.


Fold the corners in yet again so that their edge meets both the edge of the top flap and the crease from two steps ago.


Both corners folded in, meeting both the top flap and the previously-made creases. These are ultimately the wings.


Fold the wings in once more, this time simply folding along the crease that you already made. After this step your plane should have straight lines down from the top to the bottom.


Both wings folded in again; straight edges from top to bottom.


Fold the top down from where it meets the top of the wing flaps you created in the previous step.


Fold the whole thing in half outward. You want all the paper flaps on the outside of the craft. At this point, folding can become a little tricky because of the thickness of the paper, so take extra care in making good, clean folds.


Fold the wings down so that their edge meets the bottom edge of the plane. This creates a small snub nose. Again, this can be a tough fold, so be precise and take your time if you have to.


The finished Hammer. This bad boy flies like a dream.


How To Start A Fire Using Only A Bottle Of Water

Here’s a technique you can use to start a fire for survival if you having nothing but a water bottle and a bright sunny day. If you like survival and fire-making techniques, this video is a must see!You’d think water would be the last thing you could use to start a fire… apparently not!

This could straight up save your life one day if you find yourself in a survival situation. Some may call this life engineering, for something so simple it is incredibly useful.

So there you have it! Now if you’re stuck out in the wild somewhere without any matches you’ll know what to do to keep warm.

How to Stop Saying Um


Becoming Well-Spoken: How to Minimize Your Uh’s and Um’s

In the pursuit of becoming a better man, becoming well-spoken is a task that should not be overlooked. How you speak is a huge component of the impression you make on others, and thus your potential influence on them. People will form judgments about your education, intelligence, background, and personality simply based on the sound of your voice and the language you use to express yourself.


Being well-spoken encompasses a lot of traits:

  • Creating well-formed sentences
  • Being articulate
  • Having a large and diverse vocabulary
  • Speaking clearly (not mumbling)Having a good pace, tone, and intonation (not too loud, fast, or monotone)
  • Being fluent – words come easily to you
  • Being able to explain things easily
  • Being straightforward and meaning what you say
  • Being thoughtful and courteous to the needs of the listener
  • Using little filler and empty language


We hope to cover all of these traits eventually, but today we’re going to concentrate on the last item on the list: removing the filler — particularly the um’s and uh’s — from your speech.  Continue reading…

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How to Install Flame Throwers to a Car

By Chris Carlson Hot Rods

Have you ever wanted to make your car shoot flames out of the exhaust? Well now you can with this DIY video showing you how to install them. Never thought it was that easy too!

This video shows you step by step how to install flame throwers on your hot rod. We used a kit from Speedway Motors to install them on a 1965 Thunderbird for the Carlson Girls.