Now that more and more archers and bowhunters are coming to grips with the reality that this greatest of sports qualifies as a genuine Martial Art, let us immerse ourselves into its soul cleansing effervescent totality, shall we.
Though the historical term Mystical flight of the arrow isn’t something that I came up with, I have indeed relentlessly utilized and celebrated this ancient colloquialism forever as the definitive expression of the archery experience that it is.
I for one cannot release a good arrow if I approach the shot casually. Now, as a kid flinging arrows nonstop along the Rouge River wildlife paradise in Detroit, I must admit that the purity of the youthful unencumbered mind empowered my natural hand-eye-spirit instincts to send most every arrow to its precise destination with literally zero thought process.
As the Samurai masters instruct, too many minds, is always a liability when executing any Martial Art qualifying endeavor, and when executed perfectly instinctively, it is in fact not an arrow we are launching, but ultimately, the path of our spirit.
Sure, anytime with the bow and arrow should be fun, and certainly casual arrow flinging is a great use of one’s time with family and friends at the range or afield. But equally true is the fact that when endeavoring to take an animal’s life as cleanly and humanely as possible, there should never be anything remotely casual about that immense responsibility.
Watching his majesty Fred Bear launch arrows at the Grouse Haven deerlodge archery range in Rose City, Michigan each fall was poetry in motion.
Though Fred won many state and regional archery championships shooting his longbow with sight pins attached to the riser, he eventually went bare bow and relied on his lifetime development of instinctual hand-eye coordination to become one of the most amazing archers in the world.
Watching old films of Howard Hill and Ben Pearson fire off bare bow arrow after arrow at all sorts of distances is living proof that we all have the tools to become one with the arrow if we diligently pursue such out of body oneness.
My fellow bowhunting addicted friend Tim Wells of Relentless Pursuit television on Sportsman Channel is a living and dynamic example of such instinctual archery as he fires his Oneida bow with no sights and releasing oldschool with his fingers. The guy is amazing.
Fred Eichler of Everything Eichler television is another deadly barebow killer. Much can be learned from Fred by watching his TV show and his Samurai archery ballet.
I myself shot purely instinctive for more than 50 years, but as my old eyeballs started to fail me, I did switch to peepsight and sightpins along with a kisserbuttom and mechanical release aid.
Now, mind you, with my change from instinctive to sights, my beloved archery is not only just as much fun as ever, probably moreso, but remains as pure an archery experience as my youthful longbow fun.
One reality that I would like to share is how my continuing oldschool longbow and recurve time at the range dramatically improves my overall accuracy with my compound bow with sights.
There is something special about identifying and clarifying the natural sight picture correlation with the arrow under the eye and the precise spot on the target that becomes imprinted on our psyche as a muscle memory asset to the archery experience.
If you love your compound bow with sights, get yourself an oldschool longbow or recurve and discover that natural point-ability that will dramatically enhance your archery capabilities and effectiveness.
Killer guitar playing only happens with fulltilt Samurai dedication and relentless pursuit of guitar landscape oneness and expression.
Like everything in life pursued to the fullest, archery can become as second nature as breathing and life itself.
Go ahead! Be one with your arrow and one with the path of your life!