Step 8: Loosing V (arrow flight intro)

“When he can shoot correctly and his limbs are steady and firm, he can then go out into the field and shoot at the butt for some days without using any mark, all the time watching where his arrows fall.” – Ṭaybughā

You should be at your goal draw weight before you start this step. It also stands to reason that you should now switch to fletched arrows.

It’s time to increase the distance and change from the practice drum to shooting “at the butt.” The term “butt” can be a bit ambiguous because some will take it as a free-standing object designed to hold archery targets and others will take it as a raised area of earth at the back of an archery field meant to prevent arrows from passing (targets were set in front of it and the butt acted as a backstop). I suggest Ṭaybughā intended the latter meaning because he truly intended the archer to be now shooting at longer ranges but still not yet worrying about accuracy. The goal here is “watching where his arrows fall” or becoming accustomed to watching the arrow throughout its flight to see both how it moves through the air and at the same time develop a consistency of Loosing technique that will naturally lead to tighter grouping of arrows later.

My recommendation is, if you are at a developed range, start shooting into the backstop without a target on it. This is typically 20 yards for indoor ranges and it’s a comfortable distance to start working on observing how the arrows fly. If you are outdoors and have the opportunity, by all means shoot longer and longer distances without a target and get in the habit of following your arrows to where they fall. Outdoor ranges typically had multiple “butts” at different distances.

In a subtle way this is introducing the concept of “grouping” but it’s really more about getting the novice archer in the habit of things like estimating range, checking how wind affects arrow flight, etc. It gives the opportunity for correction of defects in form. 

Loosing IV (max weight) – Loosing V (arrow flight intro) – Loosing VI (flight refinement)