Hi, everyone, this is NUSensei. Many of you have seen my recent video “Why do Olympic Archers drop their bows?” And by far the most common question is: “Do you have to drop your bow?” No you don’t. This is not a historical technique. People in the past would not have dropped their bows. And even today people who don’t shoot modern sports style archery don’t drop their bows and they shoot completely fine. So if that’s the case, why do the Olympians drop their bows in the first place? Remember, you have to consider the context in which these techniques are used. To explain this I’m going to refer to a different context: Firearms Most people are more familiar with the way firearms are used. Either through exposure in pop-culture or through practical experience in training. Even without any specific training most people understand the fundamentals of how to hold along weapon. You understand stance, you understand the idea of triangulation, the way your knees are slightly bent, you put the stock into your shoulder and you grip the front of the weapon with your hand like this and that’s basically how you use most weapons today. However, if you take a look at the way air rifle shooters stand in competition, or the ISSF events, or biathletes you see a very different technique. Instead of their stance based on triangulation what you get is something based on biomechanical stability. The pelvis is jutted out quite significantly out towards the target the shooter will lean back slightly and they will tuck their elbow in very closely into the ribcage, the stock is not pressed against the shoulder and the rifle is leaning very gently on top of the knuckles. So it looks more like this. This is very different to this. If you take a closer look at why the “normal method” is used, it is of course more practical. it is based on military context. That means you have to present a smaller target to your enemy. That means you have be ready to move around, and disengage and engage other targets. It may be room clearing, it may be urban fighting, you may have to switch positions the whole point is, that your weapon is at the ready and you can move your body to any position that is required. However, this sort of shooting is very intensive on your muscles it is based on your muscles to be primed and ready to take any action appropiate. The problem of using muscles is that muscles fatigue. Imagine doing this all day. That is going to make your thighs burn. And even if you’re a very fit person, it will still affect the way you shoot and how stable you are. The sport shooters understand this. This is why they take reliance off the muscles and onto the skeletal structure. And this is why the way they stand is so strange. And yet it is very stable and easy to do. Of course, if you’re in a combat situation, this is ridiculous. More to the point you should understand why different shooters hold the weapon differently. For most combat shooters this would be most natural grip. It’s done to contain the recoil and to retain the weapon. This can be achieved with things like assault grips or using the sling to control recoil. The problem with this sort of grip is that the tension in the hand, which might be caused by the forearm muscles or the tendons in the hands will make the muzzle move with each shot. Now, this might not be disastrous for someone engaging a man-sized target, a hundred metres away, but if you’re trying to hit a bulls eye the size of a penny, then any micro movements will cause a huge drop in the standard of your shot placements. That is why sport shooters adapt what is generally known as the artillery hold. Instead of gripping the barrel, they will use an open hand and allow the gun to sit in the palm like that. Or they might use the reverse palm grip like this, or they might use the knuckles like this. and along with a biomechanical stance this is surprinsingly stable. And that means the user has no interference with the way the gun operates. And this ensures that sport shooters have the highest possible accuracy. If we translate this to archery, than this is the equivalent of the artillery grip. There is nothing on the bow that would cause any unwanted tension. And when the bow is shot, the bow is allowed to act on its own and it drops away freely. Of course an archer in a combat situation will not drop the bow. the same way a soldier will not drop his weapon. Again, this is purely a sporting technique. A warrior or hunter will not need to do this to maintain their standard of accuracy. Remember: Context. The hunter is stalking prey and engaging a target no more than 30 or 50 meters away with a failry large kill zone. A warrior might be shooting in volleys or they might be shooting a man-sized target. Do they need to have a loose grip and do the swinging technique, to hit a man-sized target? No. Remember: They’re not aiming for an eyesocket, they’re aiming for the person. A target shooter is aiming for the eyesocket at a distance greater than what a military shooter will normally engage with precision. When you consider, that in a competition where centimeters and millimeters make the difference between a gold medal and fifth place then anything that you can do to remove human variables should be considered. If you have to bring down an enemy warrior, then you do what it takes to bring that warrior down. Another point raised in the Olympic Archery video was “Can’t you just catch the bow?” And you can. But remember, when you’re in a competition and stand at the shooting line, you will focus 100% on the shot process. All that matters is the execution. You should not be worried about what the bow does after you release. That is why the bow is allowed to drop. That is the natural consequence of your shot process if you don’t interfere. The reason why archers wear fingerslings is so that they don’t have to worry about the bow dropping. The bow does what is does. The archer focusses on the next shot, and the process repeats. The archer doesn’t care about the spin they do, or how it looks on TV they don’t even see that. All they focus on is the target and the shot they just did. There is absolutely nothing to gain from catching the bow before it drops. It adds nothing to the shot, but it builds something new into your process. If that becomes an automatic reflex, and you start preempting it then it can cause problems. Remember: The bow drops, because I’m doing nothing. It swings if I’m wearing a sling. I can grip it after it falls, but that’s an extra action, which adds nothing. And if you think that the follow-through looks silly to you hey, at least we’re not baseball batters who can literally hurt somebody by letting go. Anyway, I hope this enlightens you in some way. This is NUSensei. Thank you for watching and I’ll see you next time.