With time various topics, most connected to the 'ancient ways,' will be covered. Some of these might be controversial in nature - you're most welcome to contribute.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Horseback Archery: Anchor Point

For those not familiar with archery, the anchor point is the point to where you pull back the hand that holds the arrow - normally the corner of the mouth or bone of the jaw.  The theory is that it is one fixed point, if practiced continuously, that will always stays the same.  Together with other 'fixed points' - the arrow rest on the bow and the nocking point on the string, it improves accuracy.

My horseback archery venture is a solo event - something I must figure out for myself, as there is not much available where I live.  Thanks to the help of a very helpful man, James Menehira, I got my hands on a Mongolian bow, a valuable book written by Kassai Lajos himself and other bits and pieces of information.

As a child starting out with a bow, hunting fast moving fish, birds and small game - I was never aware of an anchor point.  In fact a fixed arrow rest or a fixed nocking point (where the arrow fit on the bow string) was non existent as well.  This type of shooting which requires speed and instinct does not need these 'fixed' features.

What is interesting is that a high anchoring point, or maybe even a fixed anchor point does not work well for horseback archery as well.  According to Kassai Lajos, the master of horseback archery, a high anchor point is to far removed from your center of gravity on a moving horse.  This makes sense to me.

Since I started to shoot modern bows, compounds and recurves (with fixed points) - I adapted to the high fixed anchor point way of shooting.  I have been shooting the Mongolian bow in this style as well .... until today.

Since shooting the Mongolian bow - I taught myself to shoot both left and right handed, as the absence of a fixed arrow rest allows for it.  This is unusual, as all shooters (bows, rifles and hand guns) have a dominant eye - I'm left eye dominant, thus a left hand archer (arrow in left hand).

While shooting left handed today (my natural side), it took me 3 arrows to adapt to the lower anchoring point.  What is interesting, is that I struggled on the right hand side - it took me about 30 arrows to sort of get it right.

I have no idea whether it is going to interfere with my accuracy with the other bows.  I guess I'll have to decide whether I'm going to shoot with a high or low anchoring point.  If I study the video clips and photos of other horseback archers - it seems as if many of them shoot from horseback with the higher anchoring points.

I started horseback archery training, but from a slow moving horse.  I feel I shouldn't push it - there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.  I guess I'll learn soon where my anchor point should be.

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