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Home > Te-no-wura (Grasping the bow)
Rule IV.—"Te-no-wura"
(Grasping the bow)

The rule of "Te-no-wura" lays down the method how to grasp the bow with the left hand. This method has great importance in ensuring accurate aim at the target. Even if the "Do-zukuri" and "Kake" are carried out in perfect accord with the rules, if rule of "Te-no-wura" is not well understood the archer cannot hit the mark with exactitude, because the force of the flying arrow depends upon the condition of the grip of the left hand.

In grasping the bow, first of all take the bow so as to let the belly of the bow rest between the thumb and finger, and then bend the second, third, and fourth fingers under the thumb.

The grasp on the bow should be such that the palm of the hand is only loosely in touch with the bow, i.e., the palm should not be in full touch. Therefore, when the archer pushes the bow forwards, he does it chiefly with the root of the thumb (the part between the thumb and forefinger), thus leaving room in the other part of the palm.

When the grasp on the bow is too tight, the result is that the string, when loosed, often strikes the inside of the left arm, and that the arrow invariably flies away farther to the left than the archer desires. But, on the contrary, if the grasp is insufficient, the arrow will either fall before it reaches the mark or go too much to the right.

The pushing of the bow with the grasped hand should be done little by little, in perfect compliance with the degree of pulling the string with the left hand. This operation is one of the most difficult in archery, and requires very careful training. An old book on the art gives a good simile to explain the way of grasping. It says : "An archer should consider himself that he is grasping an egg." It means that an archer should not grasp the bow tightly, but should hold as loosely as if he were grasping an egg.

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