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Home > Articles > The New Sporting Magazine > On the proper method of shooting
On the proper method of shooting
By Toxophilus
From: The New Sporting Magazine
Vol. I, No. 5, pp. 318-320. August 1831.
Part 2 of 3

To brace the Bow.—Place the lower end (which has always the shortest horn) on the ground, against the inside of the right foot, and holding it with the back towards the archer's body, grasp the centre, or handle, with the right hand, the wrist resting so firmly against the side as not to be forced from its position by the pressure required for inserting the string in the nock. The right foot being turned a little inward to prevent the bow from slipping, bring the left foot about a yard forward, keeping the knee quite straight, and place the centre of the left wrist upon the upper limb of the bow below the eye of the string, with the tip of the thumb resting upon one edge of the bow, and a knuckle of the forefinger upon the other. This preparatory attitude being first studied and perfectly understood, pull up the bow strongly with the right hand, and press the upper limb down with the left, at the same time sliding the wrist upwards towards the horn, and with the thumb and knuckle of the forefinger carrying the eye of the string into the nock; the bow is then braced.

When the bow is very strong, this operation is more easily performed by quickening the motion of the bracing hand; but skill in bracing can only be attained by patience and practice, as it is rather a certain art or knack, which is required, than any great degree of strength. Be careful, too, that the thumb and finger are pressed rather hard upon the two edges of the bow, that the string may not slip under, but slide before them; and let the three last fingers, which are of no use in bracing, be stretched out, or they will impede the operation, and very probably be caught under the string.

Unbracing the Bow is performed by holding it in the same position as in bracing, but with the left wrist so much closer to the top, that the forefinger may reach round the horn. Press down the upper limb as in bracing, and immediately the string becomes slack, unhinge it with the thumb and forefinger. The movement of slackening the string and unhinging it must be simultaneous.

With these instructions for bracing and unbracing, I shall proceed to an explanation of the five points of Archery. And first of
Standing.—By standing is meant the proper attitude or position of the body previous to drawing the bow; " a thing," as has been truly observed, " more pleasant to behold when it is done, than easy to be taught how it should be done." In all manual arts, among which, in one sense, Archery may be classed, correct ideas of the practical part of the subject are not easily acquired without actual observation, or explanatory drawings.

Seguius irritant animos demissa per aurem,
QUAM que sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus.

I shall endeavour, therefore, to be as clear and distinct as possible in my observations upon this and the other five points.

In shooting either at a target or any other mark, the proper position is to turn the left side, but no part of the front of the body, towards the mark; if, for instance, the mark be due-south, the body must be opposite the west, with the face looking over the left shoulder. The feet should be fiat and firm upon the ground, in nearly what, in dancing, is called the first position, the heels a few inches apart, and the knees perfectly straight. The head and chest must have a slight inclination forwards, but not lean at all towards the left side, and the body, from the waist downwards, be as little bent as possible The position is well described in an old rhyme upon this subject.

"Setting the left leg somewhat foorth before,
Not stooping nor yet standing straight uprighte."
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