THE index finger of the right hand may receive blisters and wounds from either of two things. The first is dependence upon the index finger and thumb for pushing the eye of the string into the nock while bracing a bow. Here the projecting edge of the upper siyah may eat into the index finger. The other is the use of so strong a bow that the archer needs his entire hand to brace it and, in so doing, brings his index finger between the string and the edge of the siyah, where it is bruised. Both are, therefore, the result of the same cause, namely, the pinching of the index finger between the string and the narrow edge of the siyah because of the archer's endeavoring either to brace a bow which is well within his strength by pushing on the eye instead of by bending the bow further, or by bracing a bow which is too strong for him and therefore requires the pressure of his whole hand.
All such injury can be avoided if the archer will depend solely on the palm of his hand for pressing against the bow and will use his index finger and thumb for nothing else than pushing the eye of the string into the nock by the easy and effortless technique which has been described in the section on stringing. If the bow be too strong for him to brace, he had better let it go; but if he must brace it, he had better wrap a rag around his hand before making the attempt. However, none of these difficulties will befall the archer who knows the exact manner of stringing and practices it regularly.
The base of the index finger may be blistered or wounded when drawing because of either of two things: first, the placing of the string (during the operations of arranging the fingers and drawing) underneath the middle joint of the index finger; in other words, locking the fingers for twenty-three. This can be avoided by placing the string at the time of arranging the fingers between the lower and middle joints of the index finger; in other words, by locking the fingers for sixty-three.
The second cause of injury is pressing upon the string with the base of the index finger from the beginning of the draw until the time of loosing. This also is a result of locking twenty-three. It can be avoided by keeping the base of the index finger off the string by locking sixty-three and by refraining from pressing with the finger until the time of loosing, as the archer may then do if he chooses this method, which is known as the twist.
The tip of the index finger may be blistered or wounded from the blow of the string because of any one of six things. The first is bad loosing, wherein the archer releases his thumb sooner than his index finger. It can be avoided by releasing the index finger before the thumb. The second is the strength of the bow. The third is weakness of the archer. Both the second and third can be resolved to one principle, namely, the inability of the archer to wield the bow, either because of its strength or because of his own weakness. The fourth is extreme cold. The fifth is excessive heat, which causes the hand to perspire. All but the first can be overcome at the time of arranging the fingers by placing the index finger over the thumb from the outside of the string if the lock be oblique. But if the archer does not follow the oblique method of locking, or clenching, his hold on the string will then be weak because he must depend for drawing solely upon his thumb, without the aid of the index finger. Such a method may also blister and wound the thumb, and even cause its tip under the nail to become black with congealed blood. The sixth thing which may cause an injury to the index finger is the lock of twenty-three, which has the effect of lengthening the index finger and exposing it to the blows of the string.