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Home > Books > Arab Archery > XIII. On unstringing
XIII. On unstringing

NUMEROUS methods of unstringing the braced bow have been described. Most of these, like the methods of bracing, are repetitious and useless. We shall, however, describe six methods which we deem sane or reasonably sane, and shall reject the rest as being unsound.

The first and basic method, which underlies all other methods and is used by beginners and experts and by those who shoot while sitting down, consists of raising both knees and spreading them apart, placing them each against one of the two limbs of the bow, the belly of which is toward you, and holding with each hand the tips of the two se yahs while the index finger of your right hand is outstretched along the length of the upper siyah by the eye of the string. You then draw the siyahs toward you gently and slowly until the string becomes loose; thereupon you push the eye of the string out of the nock with your outstretched index finger. You will then release the pressure gently and gradually until the unstrung bow takes its normal shape. No one who breaks a bow while unstringing it in this fashion is held responsible for the damage though he who breaks it while unstringing it by any other method is held responsible therefor and is required to pay damages.

The second method of unstringing, also used by one who shoots while sitting down, consists in placing the lower siyah on your left thigh, while your left hand holds the grip and your right holds the back of the upper siyah ; the index finger of your right hand is outstretched along the length of the upper siyah next to the eye of the string and the belly of the bow is facing toward you. You then, with your right hand, draw the upper siyah up while your left presses against the grip downward. When the string is thus loosened, the index finger of your right hand plucks the eye out of the nock. Then you release the pressure of your left hand off the grip gradually and slowly and your right hand removes its upward pressure off the upper siyah until the bow regains its normal unstrung length.

The third method, suitable for the person who shoots while standing, consists in raising your left knee and placing the lower siyah against it while your left hand holds the grip and the fingers of your right hand press against the back of the upper siyah, which you draw upward; simultaneously, your left hand presses downward. As the string becomes loose, you push its eye out of the nock with your index finger. You then release your hands gradually until the bow reaches its outstretched limit.

The fourth method of unstringing, used by horsemen, consists of placing the lower siyah against the neck of the horse, or against your own thigh, and continuing the operation described in the preceding method.

The fifth method of unstringing consists in placing the lower siyah on the ground with your left hand holding the grip and your right against the back of the upper siyah while the index finger of your right hand is outstretched in order to push the eye out of the nock. You then continue the operation described in the third method of bracing.

The underlying principles of unstringing are four: placing the lower siyah in some place where it will be held firm, holding the grip with your left hand, pressing against the back of the upper siyah with your right, and pushing the eye of the string out of the nock with the outstretched index finger of the right hand. The belly of the bow is, throughout, toward you.

The sixth method of unstringing consists in holding the siyahs of the bow with your hands close to the nocks while the index finger of your right hand is outstretched along the length of the siyah in order to push therewith the eye of the string out of the nock. One of your feet presses against the grip. You then draw the siyahs toward you, push the grip with your foot away from you, and complete the operation as described before.

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