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Home > Books > Arab Archery > XI. On bracing, which is the same as stringing
XI. On bracing, which is the same as stringing
Part 2 of 5

All this should be carried out with power and firmness except that the index finger and thumb which straighten out the eye and push it into the nock should remain pliant, flexible, and free of all rigidity and strain. Throughout the entire operation all the members involved and the acts performed should be in perfect coordination, lest the bow snap or break. Once you have pushed the eye into the nock, keep your right hand pressed against the siyah of the upper limb, your left foot pressed against the lower siyah, and your left hand on the grip until you have ascertained that the bow is firm and free of any flaw; for if you release your hands before ascertaining that everything is in order, the bow may break and cause you some injury. This method of bracing has won the consensus of archers for being the best and safest for both the archer and the bow. For this reason it has been customary not to hold the archer responsible for breaking a bow if he braced it in this fashion. Rather, it was held that the bow itself must have been faulty. On the other hand, if, by any of the other methods of bracing, the bow should break, the archer was held responsible and was expected to pay an indemnity.

The second method of bracing, which is the second way of pressure bracing, is exactly like the first in every detail except that the dustār or, more specifically, both the end of the dustār and the end of the grip, is not placed against the knee. However, the first way is preferred, for the knee offers a good support.

The third method is called concealed bracing. It is suitable for the use of both the man on foot and the mounted horseman as well as for the archer who desires to conceal his bow from the enemy. It consists of placing the lower siyah at the root of your right or left thigh, or your right or left buttock, while your left hand holds the grip and your right hand grasps the neck of the upper limb; then., with the index finger and thumb of the right hand, straighten out the eye and push it into the nock. The bracing is completed by drawing the grip toward you with your left hand and pressing with the palm of your right hand against the neck of the upper limb. This is similar to the second alternative of the pressure bracing except for the absence of any pressure against the lower siyah. It is concealed because if the enemy were on the right of the archer, the latter would place his bow on his left and brace accordingly, or vice versa, thereby hiding his bow from the enemy.

Some divide this method into three subdivisions, according to the direction of bracing-either to the left, or to the right, or in front of the archer. The operation does not, however, differ in any of the positions. The only variation involves the position of the lower siyah: either at the root of'the left or the right thigh, or the left or the right buttock. These variations are of no real consequence to warrant special classifications.

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