Author Topic: Warbow technique  (Read 12566 times)

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Offline JABK

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Warbow technique
« on: September 25, 2012, 12:30:23 am »
Hello warbow experts.

This might be a question that has been answered already, and it that's so then I apologize for being redundant. 

I was curious about warbow technique.  I was watching Glennan Carnie bend into the bow on the Youtube machine and, aside from the shoulder rotation, it really just seemed like he was just being a regular bada** with that bow. (pardon the language, but that's the only thing I can think of to describe seeing someone bend a 130# bow.)  What else is going on there?  I can draw a 80# bow with the classical technique (straight bow arm, balanced stance, drawing to an anchor point, etc.) but I am thinking that, even though I am reasonably stout, I need to know a bit more about the idiosyncrasies of bending a heavy bow.  My plan is to make an osage warbow after getting my bowmaking skills dialed in a bit more.

Thanks,

Jack
There is no problem that cannot be solved with logic.  Or a bigger hammer.

Offline fishfinder401

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Re: Warbow technique
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2012, 12:55:27 am »
as i am not an expert i will leave answering this question to the experts, but i will direct you to look up the rolling loose on you tube, or you could watch my early videos and do the opposite ::)( i would say watch my newer ones but that wouldn't help much at all)
warbows and fishing, what else is there to do?
modern technology only takes you so far, remove electricity and then what

Offline Ringeck85

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Re: Warbow technique
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2012, 01:49:02 am »
I am not an expert either (and if I say anything particularly erroneous please call me out on it), but in general, a heavy warbow requires a stance that is deeper, wider, and involving more muscle groups than your average Victorian-era originated modern archery stance, which primarily focuses on the sport of accuracy at relatively close distances with lighter-weight longbows.
"
We don't know exactly how warbow archers used their weapons (as there are none around to show us or an unbroken, living tradition that preserves their teachings, like some traditional archery arts in Native America, the Middle East, and East Asia (granted even these do not stretch unbroken to the Medieval period)), though we have a few hints here and there in period illustrations and in rare Renaissance-era archery texts.  I'm amazed at how much more material there is out there for close combat of the same period as the warbow than for ranged ballistics, honestly, though it's hard to learn archery from just a book, and most warbow archers wouldn't necessarily have been from the most literate class of people.

The rolling loose mentioned is a modern method (afaik) designed to gain some range when shooting long distance, a common goal for warbow archers today (and as a sport back then, as targets/buttes could be as much as 300-400 yards away and the closer ones reserved for military use (afaik) !) as distance and long-range "accuracy" is a relatively easy way to measure the power of a shot.  Again, look it up or ask others for more info, I'm not the one to consult with there.

Also, English period literature, when it mentions warbow archery, uses the phrase "bending the bow" as opposed to "drawing" it, which was more continental Europe (the "Flemish" style being drawing with only two fingers; they must have had strong fingers or lighter bows to do that!).  You are pushing into the bow just as much if not more than drawing it back to your anchor point (which for a warbow arrow is farther back; it's what, usually on average 30.5-32" or the length of the arrow so that you draw it back to the base of the forged tip?)

I personally think that the Medieval/Renaissance archery stance and technique varied greatly from region to region and, inspired by period art, resembled fencing footwork/stance at the time more so than the modern archery stance with both feet at a 90 degree angle to the target. One thing you see in artwork is that their front foot is often facing forward (anyone want to chime in on that?), though this may be an element of Medieval illustration rather than realism; difficult to say. I also find some mentioning in the period of "stepping" while drawing, using your legs and hips to gain further strength in the draw and range in the shot, though Roger Ascham later berates archers of his time for "hopping around" too much.

Anyway, to summarize:
-longer draw length (the fullest length of the arrow drawn as possible, usually at least to your ear or past it)
-more body muscles involved in the draw (various methods: by bending into the bow, rolling loose, stepping method, being really strong like fishfinder  :P, or whatever works for you, etc.)
-slightly different stances than modern versions to account for different needs

I hope that is helpful, and anyone who knows better/more than I do about things I mentioned or didn't please chime in.
"It is how we choose what we do, and how we approach it, that determines whether the sum of our days adds up to a formless blur, or to something resembling a work of art."
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

(Ren', in Wytheville, VA)

Offline JABK

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Re: Warbow technique
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2012, 03:36:56 pm »
It would seem reasonable that "stepping in" to the draw would generate more power.  It makes me think of a fencing lunge, insofar as the power for the lunge comes from the back foot (or for that matter throwing a well-delivered punch), so too would you start the draw at the bottom of your body and expand from there.  That would certainly allow you to effectively use as much of your muscles as you could, I would think.

As far as early prints (ca 14th century), perhaps there is something to be said for placing the forward foot straight ahead, or at least cocked more in the forward direction.  This would seem to make sense given the tendency of the Medievael artist to depict subjects in a more stylized fashion (pre-realism era of art). 

But really, from what I've seen and read, aside from a few hard-and-fast rules, the technique seems to boil down to "however you can get it done."  Is this a reasonable statement?

Thanks for the info.  Perhaps we can get a compendium of warbow technique here.  ;)
There is no problem that cannot be solved with logic.  Or a bigger hammer.

Offline fishfinder401

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Re: Warbow technique
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2012, 03:55:02 pm »


But really, from what I've seen and read, aside from a few hard-and-fast rules, the technique seems to boil down to "however you can get it done."  Is this a reasonable statement?

i wouldn't say  that, because while there are many right ways to do it that are mostly equal and are chosen based of of personal preference, the wrong technique can seriously injure yourself, so make sure you do what idint and learn the right technique before going heavy.... i got lucky i wasn't hurt before i learned how to shoot corectly
warbows and fishing, what else is there to do?
modern technology only takes you so far, remove electricity and then what

Offline BoltBows

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Re: Warbow technique
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 08:27:24 am »
Not considering myself an expert, but I think the main ingredients are:
- A good solid stance, leaning towards your target, pushing the bow away.
- It  helps to also lean a bit forward, so you can pull beyond your ear without the string getting caught somewhere on your body
- Bend your bowarm a bit to prevent hurting/destroying your elbow joint (this is probably the heaviest bit).
- Keep your bowarm-shoulder low to prevent injury and 'bad' form.
- rotate your drawing-shoulder to get extra power because youre using more/stronger(?) muscles in that way.
- Hold the bow with your whole hand! It's not a modern recurve bow! (I found this because my underarm did hurt after shooting)
- When at full draw, your drawing-arm should be in line with the arrow.
- Correct me if im wrong, but i believe the phrase was: Bending IN the bow, which i interpretet as almost getting your torso between the string and the bow, again, leaning forward.
- Practice the technique with light bows! I once injured myself while experimenting with a heavy bow.. *sigh*
- Watch video's, for example this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oubMkIOpNKU&feature=plcp
- And of course it's never a bad idea to do a warming up before shooting.

Hope this helps!

Rapidfire
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Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Warbow technique
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2012, 05:51:17 pm »
@ Ringeck,  I find that the collected information on mediaeval and Renaissance archery  is surprisingly as complete as any information to be found on any part of contemporary archery. I also find that a comparison of shooting technique in Ascham’s Toxophilus and the French Lartdarcherie shows no contradiction other than nocking before or after taking one’s stand. My impression is that “bending the bow” refers to what we call bracing it rather than drawing it. I agree about the front foot facing forward , as in fencing. It is also mentioned in Arab manuals. @ Rapidfire,  I believe the phrase was “shooting in the bow.”  While advice was ti “shoot with strength of body”  instead of just using arm strength, shooting meant casting , so we find references to shooting javelins, while arrows were not usually shot by hand, but were shot “in a bow”.  Drawing arm in line with the arrow was also Saracen advice. Leaning a bit forward was also old time advice.
                                                                                                                         Cheers                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                             Erik

Offline BoltBows

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Re: Warbow technique
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 04:17:47 pm »
Yes you're right Erik! I mixed them up :) thanks for the correction!

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Offline JABK

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Re: Warbow technique
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2012, 12:13:53 am »
Just thought I would chime in again.  I was opening up some big double sliding barn doors the other day and the motion was a lot like drawing a heavy bow.  I can't really explain it, but I used the same (well, pretty close anyway) motion and group of muscles on one of my heavier bows and drawing it was tons easier.

So, I suppose we can say drawing a warbow is exactly like opening big barn doors.  Sir Ascham must be rolling over in his grave.

I know, I know, it sounded a lot better in my mind. :P

jack
There is no problem that cannot be solved with logic.  Or a bigger hammer.