BRACING may be accomplished in many ways and diverse fashions. Some authors asserted that it could be done in no less than a hundred ways, while abu-Ja‘far Muhammad ibn-al-Ḥasan al-Harawi placed the number at one hundred and twenty and described them in a book which he wrote for that purpose. Most of them, however, are repetitious and useless.
There are three principles that govern bracing. The first involves moving the entire bow from one position to another, either varying the requisite acts or even ignoring some of them; the second involves omitting completely some of the important elements of bracing, with or without moving the entire bow from one position to another; the third is to move the bow to a position where it is in danger.
The first principle is to brace with one hand and one foot placed either on the back or on the neck. The second is to drop one of the things usually considered essential to bracing; namely, the placing of the dustār [Persian: turban], or the edge of the dustār, or the end of the handle, against the knee. The third is to strike the lower end of the bow against the ground and thereby brace it while one is in flight. This entails great danger of injuring the bow and should be attempted only by experts.
These principles are the nearest approximation to a generalization which covers all: nevertheless, they are not beyond objection or criticism. We shall, however, enumerate and describe in this section twelve different ways of bracing. An archer who practices these twelve methods should master their technique without feeling the need of an instructor.
The first method of bracing is called pressure bracing. It can be accomplished in two ways. The first consists of taking the string, slipping its two eyes on the bow, fastening one of the eyes into the nock of the lower limb, and pushing up the other eye the full length of the string. The point on the upper limb where the eye thus reaches is the neck (’unq) of the bow.
You should then hold the bow by the grip with its back toward you, spread your feet apart, and place the lower siyah of the bow against the base of the toes of the left foot if you happen to be barefooted, otherwise against its hollow, for it may slip off if you place it against the tip of the shoe. Then lay the upper dustār or, according to others, the upper end of the grip with the dustār, against the right knee, turn your hip firmly and smoothly, incline your head to the left lest the bow snap back and hit you, place the palm of the right hand upon the neck of the upper limb, turn the little and ring fingers of the right hand firmly and smoothly over the belly of the bow—taking care that they be not caught between the string and the siyah—and stretch out the thumb and index finger in order to straighten out the eye and push it into the nock. Other authorities believe that all the fingers of the right hand should be stretched out straight. Then brace the bow by pressing with your left foot against the lower siyah while the right palm presses against the upper neck and your left hand draws the grip toward you. With the right index finger and thumb you will finally straighten out the eye and push it into the nock.