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Well, tried out the new bow today in class. Much amusement was had by all. It is a little too much weight for me, for sure. I'd been told to find a weight you're comfortable with and then get the next highest from there and grow into it, so that's what I did...

Thing is, everyone expected that to be 35-40 pounds max. And drawing a bow rated as 50 pounds at 28", with a 30" draw, I'm pulling about 60 pounds.

Which, to the disbelief of my coach isn't really a problem for my back. No, the back isn't having any difficulty. The hard part is that because of the higher rating, I've had to change my grip for this bow from a Mediterranean grip (one finger over, two below the arrow) to a three-below grip. Reason being is that the force exerted on the string is so strong that the release has too much left-right vibration when I pull the string with the crooks of my first knuckles. I need to use my fingertips instead, and that I can only do reliably with three fingers working in tandem. And in that position, my wrist starts to shake, not being used to that much strain.

But most challenging of all, this means using a completely different anchor point. I knew that I would be shaky on the string arm at first, but trying to find a new anchor point, I"m finding really difficult. So far, I'm settling into one where my thumb traces the jawbone, and the top finger is just over the ridge of my chin, but I'm finding it hard to reach consistently in one clean motion. My hand keeps wanting to move to my old anchor point, the one I've used every time up to now. So, it's a matter of re-learning archery for a few weeks.

But I'm otherwise very happy with the bow. It's beautiful, responsive, and quiet. Who knows? Maybe I will grow into it. My finger-pads are already starting to callus over and I've only used the bow for two hours.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
I am enjoying these archery posts. :)
Jun. 3rd, 2011 05:30 am (UTC)
Me too. Useful worldbuilding stuff in this one -- you character travels to a different region where the bows are larger/smaller. Needs to learn new grip.
Jun. 6th, 2011 11:46 am (UTC)
There's an interesting anecdote about reflex bows. Theory is that the reflex bow was not in broad use in Ithaca until about the time of Homer, so Penelope's bow contest has to do with people being unfamiliar with how to string a reflex bow, not about Odysseus' greater strength.

Since it's cleverness, not brawn that he's known for, this rings true for me. In any case, the technique of bracing the bow on your thigh while seated in order to string it, rather than bracing the bow on your foot while standing before bending it to string it, is the real "trick" that Odysseus pulls on the suitors.
Jun. 6th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
You ought to try it. It's great semi-meditation with a useful skill resulting.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 10:24 am (UTC)
Very, very interesting. I'd also love to read mo' 'bout it.
Jun. 6th, 2011 11:52 am (UTC)
Right-o. Further reports as events warrant. At this point, I'm settling into an anchor point right on the chin, so that the nock guide touches the cleft of my chin. Still working on keeping the fingers steady, though, which is where practice is going to have to come into play.

But it's the weight training that's keeping the strain off my back. I've been using the shoulder press for three years now, to strengthen the deltoids and trapezius muscles, which has come in handy. I do thirty reps @ 200 pounds, so the bow itself is a piece of cake. But the brachials aren't up to that level of strain, yet. Any suggestions?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )