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.

Extreme Sports – Get your kicks this summer..

Summer’s just around the corner, encouraging some to dust off the tennis racket or rummage round the cupboard for the cricket bat. But for some in Britain traditional outdoor pursuits are just not enough. So how do extreme sports devotees get their kicks?

Extreme sports are about exhilaration, skill and danger. They do not normally involve teams and there are very few rules. People who take part use their skills and experience to control the risks. That control is what makes them sports and not just dangerous behaviour.images

Here are just some of the extreme sports which are popular in Britain:

Kitesurfing: a growing band of enthusiasts have been discovering the thrilling combination of kite, board and waves. These kites can be up to 17 metres long. Catch a gust and you’re motoring – up, down and across the surf.

 British Ladies kitesurfing champion Jo Wilson says: “It’s always an adrenalin rush. It’s unpredictable. You could jump 5ft or 35ft. You never know if you’re going to go up in the air, and your heart is just going boom, boom, boom all the time.”

Coasteering: this is exploring the coastline without worrying about a coastal path or finding a rocky cliffy cove blocking your route. You climb, dive, swim and clamber from A to B. There are about 15 operators in the UK offering coasteering.

Sky diving: traditional parachuting just doesn’t sound risky enough, does it? So now skydiving is the name for jumping from a plane and listening to your heart pounding as youhurtle towards earth before you open your parachute at the last moment. Once you’ve got a few jumps under your parachute you can throw in some extra risks, for example try a ‘hook turn’. Dean Dunbar is a participant of and his first sky dive was in 1998. Since then he’s been hooked on the buzz of the extreme, saying: “Every so often I have to go out and do something scary.”

Mountain biking: it’s been around so long that bikers are no longer satisfied with just going up and down a mountain. Nowadays thrill seeking mountain bikers want a big slope to go down very, very fast. “It’s pure mad, downhill,” according to Dean Dunbar. “People go to old ski resorts, take the chair lift to the top then bomb down – amazingly not killing themselves.”

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Learn the lingo with our brief guide on the vocabulary used


get their kicks
get a strong feeling of excitement or pleasure

extreme excitement

a paper- or cloth-covered frame flown in the air at the end of a long string using the power of the wind

motoring                                                                                                                 moving

the foam formed by waves on the sea when they come in towards a shore

an adrenalin rush
a strong feeling of excitement mixed with fear

the shape of the land on the edge of the sea

a small sheltered opening in the coastline, a bay

climb with difficulty, using both the feet and hands

beating heavily

move very fast

throw in

‘hook turn’
a fast turn close to the ground used to land at high speed

hooked on the buzz of the extreme
addicted to the excitement of doing extreme sports

thrill seeking
looking for excitement

bomb down
go down with great speed

Moto Trials Riding in a Scrapyard

As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and trials rider Adam Raga and hard enduro star Alfredo Gomez found themselves some trials riding gold in the scrapyard – perfect terrain for an all-out offroad adventure.

But not every dirt track is open to the public, so when Adam and Alfredo’s semi-legal freeride came to an abrupt halt, they had to make a break for freedom through the scrapyard and to the outskirts of town.

Surf Without Waves

motor surfboard

Surf Without Waves!  Wouldn’t you love to surf without waves? Well here’s your chance with the Onean electric Jet Board!

Strapping engines to things that weren’t originally designed to have engines is something of an American pastime, but a little company based in the Basque Country of the western Pyrenees has taken it to a new level with their jet boards. Rather than the more traditional wave power surfers use for propulsion, Onean’s Carver electric jet board uses a 4400W dual-core brushless electric motor and a high-efficiency axial water pump for promotion. The board itself is made with sandwich construction and a CNC-shaped EPS core, but when compared to surfing with a jet below your feet, that seems far less important. If, for whatever reason, you want to take things a little easy, Onean is also taking pre-orders on a wider, more relaxed cruiser called the Manta.


Conor McGregor knocks out Chad Mendes to win interim featherweight title 

LAS VEGAS – Conor McGregor backed up all the talk, but just barely.

The trash-talking Irishman sent thousands of his countrymen home deliriously happy by scoring an improbable knockout victory over Chad Mendes after enduring a ton of abuse Saturday at the MGM Grand in their bout for the interim featherweight title in the main event of UFC 189.

Mendes was a late replacement for champion Jose Aldo, who pulled out of the bout with a rib injury. Mendes is a wrestler, a totally different style of fighter than Aldo, and gave McGregor fits.

He opened a big cut outside of McGregor’s right eye in the first and spent most of the second round on top of the Irishman firing elbows..


UFC 189: Mendes v McGregor

Conor McGregor punches Chad Mendes during their UFC interim featherweight title fight. (Getty)

It looked bleak for McGregor, but when Mendes went for a choke, McGregor spun out. With time in the second round running down, McGregor fired a hard right and then followed it with a blistering left that dropped Mendes near the cage.

McGregor followed him to the floor and landed a couple of shots before referee Herb Dean jumped in to stop it at 4:57 of the round.

The place, which was filled with McGregor’s loyal Irish fans, erupted with an ear-splitting roar as Dean waved his hands over his head, officially ending the bout and giving McGregor the belt.

As Mendes was tended to by the officials, McGregor raced to the opposite side of the cage, grabbed the Irish flag and fell to his knees. He kissed the flag and appeared to be in tears. Later, his parents, his girlfriend and other family members entered the cage to embrace him.

“I can’t say the words to express how grateful I am for the support of these fans,” said McGregor, whose trash talk built the show into a mega-event. There were 11,000 people at Friday’s weigh-in and Saturday’s crowd was overflowing.


Chad Mendes (top) punches Conor McGregor during their UFC interim featherweight title fight. (Getty)

Chad Mendes (top) punches Conor McGregor during their UFC interim featherweight title fight. (Getty)

But it appeared for much of the fight he’d have to eat his words. Mendes won the first round on all three judges’ cards by landing his overhand right and using his wrestling.

His wrestling was even more dominant in the second, as he put McGregor on his back and dropped a series of crunching elbows on him.

But the wily McGregor, who had been criticized by some for being moved up too quickly by the UFC, showed the courage of a champion by not only getting up, but by finishing the fight.

Mendes was angry at the numerous insults McGregor hurled, but they embraced several times after the battle.

“He was training for Aldo and got a completely different match, a guy with a different style, on two weeks notice,” Mendes said. “The guy is tough. He talked, but he backed it up.”

The win sets up a champion-versus-champion fight with Aldo once the Brazilian is healed in what figures to be a massive event.

Until Aldo was injured, interest in the fight was intense and it only figures to build after this night.





Mendes’ wrestling put McGregor to the test but the Irishman survived and stopped Mendes in the second round.

Source: Conor McGregor endures beating, knocks out Chad Mendes to win interim featherweight title – Yahoo Sports