How to Shoot a Traditional Bow and Arrow

In the old days, bow and arrow hunters would use a shorter-distance compound bow to get accuracy without having to pull back quite so far. Nowadays, we have crossbows that can launch arrows more quickly with less recoil than traditional bows. There are still some people who prefer archery for hunting or survival purposes but for most of us, it’s just easier to reach out and press a button instead of putting in all the effort required from holding up an arrow on your string – literally any button will do!

The “how to shoot a recurve bow without sights” is how to use a traditional bow and arrow. The bow can be made from wood, metal or even plastic. The arrows are usually made of wood.

How to shoot a bow and arrow illustration.

Humans have employed the bow and arrow for hunting and warfare for thousands of years. You can now purchase bows with gadgets and sights that let you aim precisely and strike a bull’s-eye practically every time you draw them. A fixed pin sight, for example, provides an archer with a guide that illustrates how to modify his aim to guarantee he strikes the target regardless of distance.

Ancient archers, on the other hand, had to learn to shoot without sight. To acquire this technique, known as instinctive shooting, it takes years of trial and error. The body and mind automatically learn how to change the aim of the bow to fit varying shooting distances with constant practice. Throwing a baseball or shooting a basketball is similar to instinctive shooting. You don’t think about aiming when you toss a baseball or shoot a hoop once you’ve mastered these abilities. You simply go ahead and do it. Somehow, your mind and body are able to determine the proper angle and force to throw the ball such that it hits, or comes near to hitting, your objective.

Ancient archers, especially those from China, frequently employed the bow as a philosophical metaphor because of the mind-body link inherent in traditional archery. Confucius, for example, was an archery instructor who used the sport as an allegory for wu-wei, or effortless movement. To fire a bow and arrow instinctively, you must attempt not to try, since if you try too hard to aim, you will miss the target entirely. In life, it’s the same way. 

The odd thing about instinctive bow shooting and this entire concept of trying not to try is that you have to be quite conscious and intentional in order to achieve it. Before you may attempt not to try, you must first try to try.

If intuitive archery appeals to you, but you haven’t fired a bow and arrow since summer camp as a youngster, today we’ll walk you through the processes of automatically firing a bow and arrow. Your archery will ideally reach a condition of wu-wei, or effortless motion, with time and practice.

How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow Instinctively

While it is possible to fire a compound bow intuitively, traditional archery — that is, archery with recurve bows or longbows — is more often associated with the discipline. For the sake of this essay, we’ll demonstrate how to shoot a conventional bow intuitively.

Take a comfortable stance.

Archer stance for shooting bow and arrow illustration.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your shoulders perpendicular to your goal. You have two alternatives for where to put your feet from here. If you’re just getting started, a squared stance (both feet parallel to the shooting line) is the way to go since it ensures that you set up in the same manner every time.

After some experience, you may want to try a more open/oblique posture. The lead foot in an open posture points towards the target. If you’re on uneven terrain, this position is ideal since it prevents you from overdrawing your bow. The disadvantage is that since it twists your hips towards the target, you prefer to utilize your arms instead of your back muscles as you pull back.


Choose the squared stance if you’re a rank novice.

The Arrow is Nocked

Archer nocking arrow illustration.   Place the arrow shaft on your bow’s arrow rest. Connect the bow string to the arrow’s nock (the plastic, grooved section at the arrow’s end). There should be 1-2 nock locators on your bow string to indicate where the arrow should be nocked, and you should nock your arrow in the same spot every time you fire. Nock your arrow immediately behind the bead if your string only has one location. Nock the arrow between the two beads if it has two locators.

Correct Bow Gripping

How to grip the archer bow illustration. In your non-dominant hand, place the bow. The bow’s grip should sit directly on the pad of your thumb. This position will keep you from squeezing the bow too hard, which will cause it to twist inwards and throw off accuracy, as well as keeping your forearm in line with the string, which will sting when you release it if you’re not wearing an armguard.

Check to see whether your knuckles form a 45-degree angle with the bow grip to verify if your grip is correct. The bow is most likely on the pad of your thumb if your hand is in that posture.

Squeeze the hold as though you were shaking someone’s hand. Not too difficult, and not too easy.

How to Handle a Bow String

How to grip the archer bow string illustration. We’re ready to hold the bowstring now that your arrow is nocked and your bow hand is clutching the bow appropriately.

There are a variety of methods to hold a bowstring, but for the sake of this tutorial, we’ll focus on the Mediterranean style, which is the most beginner-friendly.

To draw the bowstring back with the Mediterranean grip, we’ll need three fingers: index, middle, and ring. The bowstring should be tucked into your upper knuckles’ groove. The nock of the arrow should be located between your index and middle fingers. If it makes you uncomfortable at first, you may place all three fingers behind the arrow’s shaft.

How to position fingers on bow string illustration.

Pulling a bowstring back with your bare fingers may be awkward and even painful if you’re just starting out. A finger tab, which is a piece of leather that covers your fingertips from the bowstring, is a good option. If you like, you may also wear gloves.

Prepare for your drawing

Archer man drawing back bow and arrow illustration.   We’re nearly ready to let go of the bow. But first, we’ll double-check that the bow is in the proper position for the most effective draw. To accomplish so, just raise the arm that is holding the bow to shoulder height. Now that you’ve arrived, it’s time to….

Return the Bow String   Archer man drawing bow and arrow back illustration.

When most people pull back a bowstring, they prefer to do it using their arms. This will simply exhaust you and lead you to under-draw the string, or pull it back too much. You want to engage your back muscles while drawing a bowstring back. Imagine your shoulder blades squeezing together. This signal will guarantee that you’re pulling the bowstring back using your back muscles rather than your arm or shoulder muscles.


The String is Anchored

Archer grip a string to a point face illustration. How far should your bowstring be drawn? Back to your starting place. An anchor point is a location on your face where you draw the string to guarantee that it is drawn in the same manner every time. You may make a few different anchor locations. A place on your nose might be your anchor point. If this is the case, you must pull the string until it reaches a certain point on your nose. Your index finger touching the corner of your lips might also serve as an anchor point.

Fix whatever you choose as your anchor point in stone and pull your bowstring steadily until you reach it.

Aim   How to aim your archer bow and arrow illustration.

Aim your arrow’s point at your target. Don’t overthink it when it comes to aiming. Remember wu-advice: wei’s don’t strive too hard. Your objective gets more elusive the harder you strive.

Release and Stick to It

How to release and follow archer through illustration. Simply push your fingers on the bowstring out of the path of the string while keeping your bow arm firm. Your arrow will begin to fly when the string snaps forward.

Shooting an arrow, on the other hand, does not end with the release. You must follow through with your arrow release in the same way that you must follow through while throwing a baseball to correctly toss the ball. After you’ve let go of the bowstring, keep sliding your draw hand rearward until it hits the bottom of your ears. The bow will naturally lean forward as a result of this action. Allow it to happen. This guarantees that all of the energy in the bow is efficiently transmitted to the arrow.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

So there you have it. The fundamentals of shooting a bow and arrow naturally. The more you practice, the better you will get at it. With enough practice, you’ll be able to do your archery with ease, and who knows, maybe a bit of that wu-wei may rub off on the rest of your life as well!



Drawing a bow is the first step to shooting an arrow. The “how to properly draw a recurve bow” will help you get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you play traditional archery?

A: You would first need to grab a bow, and then you will hold it with your arms outstretched in front of you. From there, move the grip upwards so that the string faces away from yourself towards your target. Now pull back on this string until an arrow is facing straight down at its pointy end.

What is the number 1 rule in archery?

A: The number 1 rule in archery is to always have a target.

How do you learn to shoot a bow and arrow?

A: This is a common question that I receive. To answer this, you would need to understand what learn means for humans and bots in particular.

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