See this woman?
That’s Katniss Everdeen, lead character in book-and-movie phenomenon The Hunger Games.
See this man?
That’s Clint Barton, known as Hawkeye – joint first place, with Natasha ‘Black Widow’ Romanov, for the least-superpowered Avenger.
See this elf?
That’s Legolas of Mirkwood, fierce warrior, friend to Frodo Baggins and Gimli the Dwarf; killer of orcs and leaper-around on oliphaunts.
Look, if you will, at those three people. You may notice something they all have in common. That’s right, they’re all renowned for their prowess with a bow; as demonstrated in these very fearsome action shots.
Now look a little closer; specifically, look at their bow-arms. That is, the arms with which they’re holding the bow, not the string. Notice anything?
Their arms are all locked out at full stretch. In a second or two, each one of these archers will loose the arrow; the string will lash forward towards the bow, sending the arrow on its way – and in none of these cases will the action-movie archer spend the next five minutes jumping around clutching his or her skinned forearm and screeching obscenities (in Katniss’ case, this terrible pain also won’t be compounded – for some reason – by the arrow’s fletching slicing the finger she’s got hooked over the shaft).
I went shooting today. My arm is bruised. This is because A) my technique is shocking; and B) I’m not in an action movie; and C) I don’t have a stunt double.
This seems to be a persistent problem with me. I always make sure I keep a good bend in my bow elbow, to try to keep my forearm out of the way of the speeding string – but still, more times than not, that string will whip my arm and hurt like a sod.
(You may also note that one of the faults identified in my shooting is my instinctive tendency to draw the string to the side of my mouth rather than the centre of my lips. You’ll notice that this doesn’t concern Legolas overmuch, as he pulls the string all the way back to his ear.)
So, I can identify two possible ways to overcome this problem.
1. I can study technique and form, read books, and try to figure out what element of my stance and draw are out of line and causing the constant arm strikes.
2. I can take a CD of the soundtracks to The Hunger Games, Avengers Assemble and The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, and try to play them loud enough to convince physics that what works for these heroic types should work for me too.
Hmph. Anyway, here’s the end result: