Instinctive Archery: Back To Basics

why shoot instinctive archery

Instinctive archery is a traditional method of shooting a bow without aiming. Instead, it relies on the subconscious muscle memory of the archer and their hand-eye coordination. This means that the archer focuses on the target and shoots without the use of any equipment, such as scopes, sights or the tip of the arrow, to line up the shot.

Variations of instinctive archery have been used for thousands of years by medieval archers in Europe, Native Americans, and the Ninja of feudal Japan. It is a challenging skill that requires a lot of practice to learn and maintain.

Characteristics Values
Equipment No equipment is used other than the archer's eyes, body, and the bow and arrow itself.
Aiming No aiming is required.
Accuracy Can be achieved with practice.
History Variations of instinctive shooting date back to the earliest use of archery by humans.
Comparison It is the most traditional style of shooting since it does not require sights.
Learning It requires a lot of practice to learn and maintain.
Consistency Consistency in equipment and form is important.
Stance The archer should stand with their feet about shoulder width apart with their non-dominant leg slightly forward.
Shot sequence Consistency in the shot sequence is important.
Grip The grip of the bow hand should be light.
Draw Most western archers use the Mediterranean draw.
Muscle memory Muscle memory is trained by lots of consistent practice.
Practice It requires a lot of practice.


It's an ancient style of archery that's been used by medieval archers in Europe, Native Americans, and the Ninja of feudal Japan

Instinctive archery is an ancient style of archery that has been practised for centuries by various civilisations and cultures around the world. It is a traditional and challenging sport that requires discipline, concentration, and physical skill.

The history of instinctive archery can be traced back to medieval Europe, Native Americans in the Americas, and the Ninja of feudal Japan. It was also used by the earliest civilisations for hunting, warfare, and ceremonial purposes. Archers were considered some of the most skilled and respected members of their societies.

This form of archery relies on the natural ability and intuition of the archer to aim and shoot without the aid of scopes, sights, or other mechanical or technological equipment. It is a difficult skill to master and requires a lot of practice. The archer must train their body and subconscious muscle memory to shoot accurately without aiming, trusting their instincts to guide their arrows to the target.

The benefits of instinctive archery include increased rate of fire, improved coordination, and the ability to subconsciously gauge distance and trajectory. It is ideal for situations where using sights is impractical, such as mounted archery or shooting from inclines with obstacles obscuring your view.

To shoot instinctively, archers must develop a consistent shot sequence, or the series of actions leading up to each shot, such as stance, nocking the arrow, drawing the bow, and releasing the arrow. A light grip on the bow and proper string grip are also important. By mastering these fundamentals and training their muscle memory, archers can achieve impressive accuracy without the need for conscious aiming.

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It's a means of aiming by not aiming

Archery has evolved over centuries, with various techniques and styles emerging worldwide. One unique and traditional approach is instinctive archery, a style that focuses on the archer's natural abilities and intuition rather than relying on modern sights and complex equipment. Instinctive archery is a means of aiming by not aiming in the traditional sense; it is a natural and fluid process that utilizes the archer's innate skills and senses.

When shooting instinctively, the archer does not use any visual reference points or sights on the bow. Instead, they develop a deep understanding of their equipment and their body's natural alignment. By practicing and honing their feel for the shot, instinctive archers learn to rely on their subconscious to make the necessary calculations for an accurate release. It is a natural process that develops over time with dedicated practice.

The key to instinctive archery is developing muscle memory and a consistent anchor point. By consistently drawing the bow to the same anchor point, the archer's body learns the required feeling and position for accurate shooting. This consistency in form and muscle memory allows the archer to make minor adjustments unconsciously, ensuring that each shot feels and looks the same. It is this repetition and reliance on feel that forms the basis of instinctive shooting.

Instinctive archery is often likened to other natural human skills, such as throwing a ball or hitting a target with a stick. It is an intuitive process that taps into our primal instincts and abilities. By not overthinking the shot and instead relying on our innate senses, we can achieve surprising accuracy. This style of shooting is particularly effective in dynamic situations, such as hunting, where quick reactions and an understanding of the environment are crucial.

To master instinctive archery, one must embrace a holistic approach to shooting. It is about developing a deep connection with your equipment and your surroundings. By focusing on your form, breath, and the feel of the shot, you train your body and mind to work in harmony. This natural and intuitive process allows you to shoot with precision without the need for conscious aiming. It is a testament to the power of human instincts and our ability to connect with nature.


It's all about muscle memory

Instinctive archery is an ancient style of archery that has been used by medieval archers in Europe, Native Americans, and the Ninja of feudal Japan. It is a traditional style of shooting that does not require sights and instead relies on the skill of the archer.

The core of instinctive shooting is training your body to shoot accurately without aiming. This is done by training your body's muscle memory to recreate the same motion every time you shoot. This is similar to a golfer practicing and perfecting their swing.

The "see and shoot" method of instinctive archery is all about muscle memory. It is as simple as looking at the target and shooting at it without aiming. It is like throwing a ball—the arrow goes where you want it to through muscle memory. The same way a drummer can move all four limbs independently while keeping the rhythm is also due to muscle memory.

To develop muscle memory, you need lots of consistent practice. This style of archery requires a lot more practice than other styles, and it can take years to become proficient. The key is to develop a shot sequence that is exactly the same every time. You must do all the same things in the same exact order before every shot so that the sequence becomes second nature.

One training method is called paper cup training. You fix a paper cup to a target and stand about two meters away. Then, focusing all your concentration on the inside of the cup, shoot your arrows into it. As you keep shooting, your group of arrows will get closer and closer to the center of the cup. Once you can get three consecutive arrows into the cup, you move back another two meters and repeat. This method helps to train your brain and body to work together and commit those distances to your muscle memory.

Another important aspect of instinctive archery is to focus on the target and not the arrow. You need to look at the exact spot on the target that you want to hit and keep this focus until the arrow has hit. This hyper-focus will help improve your accuracy over time.

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It's harder than it looks

Archery is a challenging and rewarding sport that has been practiced for centuries. While it may look simple at first glance, instinctive archery is a style of shooting that is particularly difficult and requires a great deal of practice and skill to master.

Instinctive archery is a traditional form of archery that relies on the archer's instincts and feel to aim and shoot the arrow, rather than using sights or other mechanical aids. This style of shooting requires the archer to develop a deep understanding of the bow and arrow's trajectory and to be able to make split-second adjustments based on feel alone.

One of the biggest challenges of instinctive archery is that it requires an incredible amount of focus and concentration. Without the aid of sights, the archer must rely on their instincts and muscle memory to align the arrow with the target. This means that any slight movement or hesitation can throw off the shot. Achieving and maintaining this level of focus is a skill in itself and takes dedicated practice.

Another factor that makes instinctive archery difficult is the need for consistent form and technique. The archer must be able to repeat the same shooting form and technique over and over again with precision. Even a small variation in the draw length, anchor point, or release can result in a missed shot. Developing this level of consistency requires countless hours of practice and a deep understanding of the underlying mechanics of the shot.

In addition, instinctive archery demands an intimate understanding of arrow flight and how it is affected by various factors. Archers must consider the impact of wind, distance, and arrow spine, among other variables, without the aid of modern equipment or rangefinders. This knowledge can only be gained through experience and a deep study of the art, making it a challenging and ongoing learning process.

The beauty of instinctive archery lies in the simplicity of the challenge; it is just you, the bow, and the target. It requires a deep connection with your equipment and a level of self-awareness that few other sports can offer. While it may look easy, the difficulty lies in the subtleties and nuances of the art, making it a truly rewarding pursuit for those willing to dedicate themselves to the craft.


It's a spiritual exercise

Instinctive archery is a method of shooting a bow, potentially with great accuracy, without aiming. It is an ancient style of archery that has been used by medieval archers in Europe, Native Americans in the Americas, and the Ninja of feudal Japan. Instinctive archery is a means of "aiming by not aiming" that relies on the subconscious muscle memory of the archer and the target as the only visual cue.

Archery can be a spiritual exercise. It can be used as a form of meditation and inward exploration, helping to increase focus, self-awareness, self-esteem, emotional awareness, and emotional control. It can be an extension of yoga, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. The spiritual warrior, as some call it, is a way to relax the mind and body and to learn to let go of attachment with the release of every arrow.

The mental aspect of the instinctive aiming method involves much practice and training to incorporate the movements into the subconscious (muscle memory). This must be done while maintaining an intense focus on the target. The target must be reflected in the archer's awareness as sharply as a mountain lake reflects its surroundings in still water.

The benefits of instinctive archery as a spiritual exercise include increased coordination and the ability to subconsciously gauge distance and trajectory. It is ideal for mounted archery, as it is nearly impossible to use sights and other aiming assistance while riding a horse.

To practice instinctive archery, one can start by nocking the arrow without looking at the bow or arrow. This makes the operation harder and more challenging. Before shooting an actual bow, the beginner instinctive archer must first have sufficient strength and proper technique. This is done not with actual shooting bows but with training devices or training bows.

The spiritual warrior has been created for those truly seeking to liberate themselves from the material bonds that we have been taught to depend on. This workshop focuses on awareness, focus, and reflection. It helps bring awareness to who you truly are and can be carried off the archery range and into daily life.

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