Monday, 6 May 2013

The Thumb draw / Thumb lock in Archery

I see that in most discussions about 3 finger vs thumb draw, thumb draw is regarded inferior e.g. you can't draw as high draw weights as with 3 finger and 3 finger seems faster.
This is not really the case, the problem is that the majority doesnt use the correct technique.

Everything will have existed once in history but the Turco-Mongolian style thumbdraw described below was widely adapted and formed the last step in the evolution due to its advantages.
  • The majority of the cultures who relied on horsearchery as a main combat form adapted this thumb lock version e.g. Safavid Persians, Ottoman Turks, Mongols, Mughals
  • It is the form you see in miniatures of the mentioned cultures
  • The thumb lock described below is described in different historical archery books
  • It is described as the correct form in the traditional Asian archery forum Atarn
  • It is the best to use for heavy bows (unless you use e.g. a Manchu thumbring, which requires a totally different technique)
  • Lukas Novotny teaches it the same way. Please have a look at his thumb draw FAQ pictures: 
  • Lukas Novotny thumb lock gallery

Thumb lock description 
  • You press your pinky, ring and middle finger hard like making a fist. This is important, it will give the whole forearm more stability as it activates all muscles in the forearm. 
  • You put the tip of the thumb onto the side of the first knuckle of the middle finger and press firmly against it. It should not slip over it
  • You close your index finger over the thumb. This creates the lock (mandal in Turkish). The first knuckle of the index finger should come over the tip of the thumb. The nail of the thumb should still be seen partially.
  • The whole hand should be like a tight fist when looked from the side, there should be no fingers sticking out.
  • Grasping the string, all fingers should be on the right side of the string, only the thumb should be on the left side.
  • You release by loosening the index finger and throwing your draw arm backwards quickly to reduce friction
  • With the release no part of your hand should touch the string.

Common mistakes
  • Index finger or other fingers go on the left side of string, which means they touch the string with the release. The thumb draw is superiour because it touches only one point on the thumbring and with the release it touches nothing else. This way it becomes like a compound bow release.
  • Index and middle finger go apart
  • Thumb can be seen between index and middle finger
  • Tip of index finger is put on thumb. (The lock will not be strong enough for war bows)
  • In competitions I see people pulling with the thumb and 3 finger
  • Thumbring doesnt fit and hurts
  • Somehow a lot of horsearchers adapted a thumb lock form where pinky, ring and middle fingers are either loose or go over the string, the tip of the index finger goes over the thumb. This is nice for 30-40lbs bows but very difficult to pull historical draw weights of war bows.