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Part One: Dry-Fire
Wed Apr 26, 2006 00:22 (XFF:

“Right,” Jield said after the last trainee had introduced themselves, “since most of you have no experience whatsoever in the bow and arrow, that is to say the field of archery, I’m going to start at the basics. Those that know more about archery, consider this a refresher course!”

Jield bent down and picked up his own bow and with it pulled up the quiver and slung that over his back.

“This,” he said, “is a bow; simple, I know. You can call this string running from both ends of the bow the bowstring, a name that isn’t very hard to remember, I’m sure you’ll agree! This thing slung over my back is called a quiver, and it holds your arrows for you. The anatomy of the arrow is just as simple, the arrow head or nock is the sharp bit that causes damage, the arrow body or shaft is the wooden part, and the feathers you can see on the back of the arrow are called the fletching; they are a big part of the aerodynamics of the arrow. All bows vary, some are made for stronger or more skilled wielders; the ones that you will be using today are basic at best, because you’re only still learning, but after a lot of practice to can begin to use other, harder bows. It is said that the bows hardest to draw come from Two Rivers, in Andor, but I’ve never drawn one so I wouldn’t know. Right, now that you know a little bit about the bow and arrow why don’t you go and get your own from this collection I picked up from the armory. The best way to find an appropriate bow for you is to stand it up next to you, and it should reach about halfway between your elbow and your shoulder.”

The class walked across to the collection and he went across with them, to help out those that seemed clearly unsure. Just by watching he noticed that some of the trainees had taken bows that were clearly too large for them, there seemed to be a feeling that the bigger the bow the better the wielder. Rolling his eyes, Jield added to what he had said before, “Don’t get anything too big, or you won’t be able to draw it and that will make the whole lesson redundant!” That seemed to make some of them swiftly change their mind, and soon they were all back and waiting for the next little spiel.

“You’ll notice I haven’t given you quivers yet, they will come later, because first we’re going to learn how to draw the bow. In most situations dry firing – firing the bow without an arrow – is bad on the bow, but these ones have had their bowstrings loosened to account for that. Keep in mind that you should not dry fire except when you know that the bowstrings have been loosened.

“Right, the first thing is the stance of an archer! When you wield a sword you have strong sides, and these are relevant here. Your weak side directs you when firing a bow, so for me, that is my left. I place my left foot out so it is at right angles with my right foot, my strong side if you will. It’s very important that you keep your back straight, as drawing back the bow will require your muscles and you can use them better if your back is straight. Your bow is held like this, the front in your weak hand, once again, my left hand, and your right grips onto the bowstring. Holding the bow is quite important, your grip must be steady and strong, but you don’t want to hold it too tightly because you’ll limit the capabilities. Holding the bowstring is just as important; I personally use my middle three fingers, but it is just as common for people to use just their index finger and their middle fingers. The arrow will go between your index and middle finger, regardless of how you hold the bow. A lot of stress is put on your fingers in archery, as they’re required to pull the bow string back.

“Now it’s time to draw the bowstring, very slowly at first, until it is back to your ear almost. Oh, that reminds me, your head should be facing sideways, your line of sight running parallel with your left foot so you can see your target. Because you have to draw back to your ear, it’s not a good idea to have a bow that you cannot draw because it’s too big for you. When you think your target is in sight, you need to release by letting all of your fingers free of the bowstring and moving them out of the way quickly; if you mess up here, the bowstring could hit your fingers or forearm, and it is very painful. Once you’ve fired, keep your head and your body still until the arrow has obviously left the bow, when you can start drawing for another. And that’s the process!

“Now, it probably doesn’t seem like fun yet, but we will get a little bit more exciting after this section, I promise; I want you to practice your stance and dry firing for awhile. I’ll come around to all of you and correct anything that needs to be corrected and answer any questions you might have. I’d like you all to take a pair of gloves for both hands and this odd piece of leather, a bracer that you wear on your forearm, before you start. I have no desire to be taking anyone to the infirmary today, so make sure you put them on before you go. Right, you can get to it!”

OOC: Of course, this lesson is still open! Many newcomers are welcomed, wanted and encouraged to join, as the lesson won’t close until Part Two is up! Lessee, how about 400 words for this part, it’s boring and monotonous, I know, but the next two parts shouldn’t be as bad ;-)

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