XLV. Targets and target practice
Part 2 of 3
ON SHOOTING "TENS" OF LONG ARROWS
Take light, hard, and strong wood, and make there from arrows perfectly fashioned, thin throughout, with fine nocks and very fine arrowheads. Some have even suggested that the arrowheads be made of the quills of eagle feathers affixed to the thicker ends of the shafts. Each complete arrow should weigh three dirhams.
When ten such arrows are ready, you place them in order upon the string, one on top of the other. Stretch open the fingers of your right hand and insert the string between the middle and the ring fingers, while all the digits except the thumb are inside the bow and the thumb is outside it. At the grip the arrows are placed along it, resting upon the index finger of the left hand. Then hold the grip firmly and straight, while the left thumb is stretched erect and pressed against the arranged arrows to hold them in place, one on top of the other. You then lock upon it by inserting the string between the index finger and thumb of the drawing hand right at the base, holding the index finger down beside the nocks of the different arrows inside the bow and the thumb in a similar fashion from the outside of the bow. The lock should be twenty, edgewise. Draw and release. The arrows will emerge like a single arrow and alight upon the target thereby making it look like a porcupine. No one should attempt this stunt unless he is an expert therein.
An archer wishing to learn this stunt should start with two arrows and gradually increase the number until he attains to ten. The secret of its mastery consists in the careful fashioning of the arrows, their thinness, their lightness, their arrangement at nocking, and in holding them in place with the thumb of the left hand so that they may not move nor have their arrangement disturbed.
Archers have disagreed concerning the type of draw that should be used, as it may depend upon the length or shortness of the fingers. It is best for each individual to determine the draw best suited to his fingers and use it.
ON SHOWER, OR SUCCESSIVE, SHOOTING
For this stunt one should use fine arrows that are pared thin at their nocks and are fletched with four vanes set a little way off from the nock at a distance of about two finger joints. In every arrow you may have two nocks intersecting each other crosswise at right angles. This makes it easier to nock an arrow with great speed and without looking at the nock or string. [See page 18.]
To shoot such an arrow, place it first in the palm of your hand and then hold its nock beneath your fingers—the little finger, the ring finger, and the middle finger—in way resembling the count of nine. The arrowhead should point to the ground. You then slam its middle point, or the point marking a third of its length from the head, again the grip of the bow and, at the same time, push the arrow with the palm of your hand and receive it with your index finger and thumb. Then nock it, draw, and release. Other have said that it is better to slam the arrowhead again the grip.
This should be practiced until it is mastered completely Then you add another arrow, placing both in the palm of your hand and holding their two nocks beneath your fingers—the little finger, the ring finger, and the middle finger—in a way resembling the count of nine. You the slam the arrowhead of one of them, or its middle point, on the point marking a third of its length, against the grip and at the same time push the arrow with the palm of you hand and receive it with your index finger and thumb. Then nock, draw, and release.