As many of you know I am a consummate archer, specifically with a longbow. About 2 months ago I was watching a vid on YouTube from Archery Adventures when the next video was on a Korean bow by some guy I never heard of. Out of sheer curiosity about Korean archery I watched out. The gentleman in question was one Armin Hirmer, a German living in Malta that is a Taoist & specializes in Asian archery. As preposterous as that may sound he is engaging & knowledgeable; I found myself watching several (actually quite a few) videos back to back. In fact he made Asian Archery sound like allot of fun & the wheels began to turn.
One of the cornerstones of Asian archery is the thumb release, a style I have never tried wherein the arrow is placed on the apposite side of the bow (right hand side for right handed shooters) & the string drawn with the thumb instead of the fingers. I have an old ambidextrous recurve that I trained my kids on so I got it out & decided to try my hand at this "new" style of shooting. Now I fancy myself a pretty good shot with a bow so when I released the arrow at my target 10yds away (4'x4') & the arrow struck in the lower right corner, 5 more arrows followed with me aiming dead center of the target they made a nice tight little group about 18" low & right. I was vexed & decided I need to learn more!
I started studying other sources, watching vidoes & bought the book Chinese Archery by Stephen Selby (which is quite good & I heartily recommend to any archer even if not interested in this discipline). I picked up a number of tips & went back to the range in my back yard. I was still grouping low & right but quite a bit closer to the bullseye. In fact after about 30 arrows I was able to consistently put my arrows into an 8" bull so I decided to go back to the 20yd mark & had to relearn everything again. IMO Asian archery compounds errors more than western archery in effect making it more difficult but also allot more rewarding. After an hour of shooting I was actually pretty decent, I could put my arrows almost exactly where I wanted them at 20yds & as I was walking back to the house a funny thing happened. I was happy, I actually had a great deal of fun! Ive been shooting a bow for 40yrs, the last 30 of them a longbow exclusively & I would have to go back 30yrs to tell you the last time I had this much fun with one. Sure I enjoy archery every time I shoot but typically I walk away satisfied after a good days shooting (or slightly miffed on a bad day) but FUN is something I guess I forgot how to have.
I went in the house, logged onto my PCs & orders 2 new bows from China. This may sound a bit extreme but to get a feel for a bow you have to shoot it. No amount of guessing can take its place. Whats more, here in the heart of Kentucky traditional archers are few (everyone uses compounds or crossbows) so you can imagine Asian bows are as rare as hens teeth so I needed to order my own.
From my studies I wanted to try 2 distinctly different styles of Asian archery. For simplicity sake they can be characterized as standard & long draw.
Short draw: String is drawn back to anchor at corner of mouth or jaw as is common with western archery.
Long draw: String is drawn back past the ear & typically anchors on the opposite shoulder done with a Manchu bow.
Having heard that Alibow was a quality bow I ordered their Kaiyuan for my "short" draw bow. Then I went to Mariner bows & orders their Qing Dragon 2 having heard great reviews on it.
Amazingly 2 weeks to the day later I received my Kaiyaun & I gotta say I LOVE this bow!!! I'm still waiting for the Qing Dragon but really looking forward to getting it.
Sorry to be so long winded but I wanted to share my enthusiasm & suggest if you are an archer (not just someone who shoots a bow) try Asian style archery, you will be surprised just how much fun you have!