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7581Re: [SCA-Archery] Apples and Oranges?

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  • atruemark@aol.com
    Dec 1, 2001
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      In an earlier post I stated that the crossbow provided an "unfair advantage"
      due to its fixed string position and mechanical release. I would have been
      more accurate to have stated the crossbow provides an "unfair mechanical
      advantage," since I would be the first to acknowledge that shooting a period
      style crossbow requires every bit as much knowledge, expertise, practice and
      cussing as a handbow, just in different areas than the handbow.

      For example, beyond the basics of shooting a handbow well, almost the
      entirety of what I practice is to achieve the "mechanical" results that the
      crossbow possesses as part of its design; a consistent draw length (anchor
      point) and "mechanical" release (the non-effort that gets my fingers off the
      string in the least invasive manner).
      Truly, when my arrows do not go exactly where I intended I can almost always
      point to one of these two factors as being the culprit - either I "let down"
      or "crept" or my release was less than perfect. "Aim," in my belief (and
      teaching) is the least of what directs my arrows to the proper part of the
      target - Good form, including, most importantly a consistent anchor and
      clean release, dictates the eventual placement of the arrow.

      Conversly, when shooting a period crossbow, it everything about where the
      butt of the bow is placed on (or in) my shoulder, how the bow is canted, how
      I drew the string back, how the bolts are made and balanced, how I am
      breathing when I actuate the mechanical release aid (trigger), etc. Again,
      my practices become about being as "mechanical" as possible, doing all the
      right things all the time, consistently.

      Having said all that - and acknowledging the "balancing" factor of the
      quicker rate of fire for the handbow vs the crossbow (with the exception of a
      few crossbow shooters who have figured that one out as well) in the speed
      rounds - I will still state that crossbows should not compete heads up
      against handbows. It is historically accurate that crossbows supplanted
      handbows in Europe as the "shaft thrower" of choice, only in turn to be
      supplanted by the firearm. It is easier to learn to shoot the crossbow
      effectively than it is to learn to shoot the handbow to the same level,
      primarily due to its inherent "unfair mechanical advantages."

      All the above is my personal opinion. It is based on what I can do with a
      handbow and what I have learned to do with a period style crossbow over the
      past five years. I invoke Master Ailean's name here as testimony that I
      enjoy the crossbow and so am not tainted by a dislike of the apparatus - I
      merely point out the differences.

      Andras Truemark, OGGS
      Ludicrous Bowman (Handbow)
      Grandmaster Bowman (Crossbow)


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