Instinctive Shooting - Two Eyes are Better than One

fbirder

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After four years of shooting target recurve I decided I needed something a bit different. I didn't want to go compound (I have balance problems that already limit my recurve shooting - even from a chair) so I went for an AFB.

For four weeks I've been using it for target shooting and finding it great fun using gap shooting (aiming at the bottom of the target for 50 m, etc).

One of the reasons for buying it was to use in our field course in a wood (where recurve, sights, stabilisers, etc.) would be cumbersome. I thought I'd see what instinctive shooting was like - so I set up in my back garden.

At first I was terrible, then I thought about it. I wouldn't try throwing a ball at something with one eye closed - so why was I shooting arrows like that. With a sight I have to close one eye. I'm right-eye dominant, barely.

Immediately arrows were going roughly in the right place. From 5 to 25 m (all my garden can accommodate) it was just a matter of point 'n' shoot. No fussy stuff about trying to get the arrow point on the 27th blade of grass in front of the target. Just look at it and let the arrow fly.

Is this the recommended method for instinctive shooting?

I can't wait to try it with the targets.
 


geoffretired

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Is this the recommended method for instinctive shooting?
If it's instinctive you already know how to do it, yes? As you say about throwing a ball. Bearing in mind that when you first throw a ball you are generally not that good at it; your brain needs to get into the way of things, even if we aren't aware of what is going on exactly.
We had speed bumps fitted near us, the sort that have a block with sloping sides on each half of the road and three gaps. I took a while to manage to get the tyres nicely over the sloping sides. It was like aiming the car without knowing how I was doing it.
 


steve Morley

New member
Although you don't consciously gap you will to a point unconsciously gap of the arrow/riser, so lots of practice with bright fletched arrows will give your brain the right feedback to get a feel for each distance.

The key to shoot well in Field and more importantly 3D tourneys is the ability to commit to the shot and be confident enough to make strong executions even when you're not 100% sure of the target size or distance. Instinctive is a high maintenance aiming method that requires constant ingraining but VERY satisfying if you can master it.

Very few people master Instinctive aiming because of it's high maintenance but that shouldn't stop you from attempting to master it. Do a search on YouTube of Lajos Kassai and true master of Instinctive aiming, it's good to see a master for self inspiration.

- - - Updated - - -

Although you don't consciously gap you will to a point unconsciously gap of the arrow/riser, so lots of practice with bright fletched arrows will give your brain the right feedback to get a feel for each distance.

The key to shoot well in Field and more importantly 3D tourneys is the ability to commit to the shot and be confident enough to make strong executions even when you're not 100% sure of the target size or distance. Instinctive is a high maintenance aiming method that requires constant ingraining but VERY satisfying if you can master it.

Very few people master Instinctive aiming because of it's high maintenance but that shouldn't stop you from attempting to master it. Do a search on YouTube of Lajos Kassai and true master of Instinctive aiming, it's good to see a master for self inspiration.
 


geoffretired

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Is it a bit like shooting a pistol from the hip? That would seem to work when your hand knows where the barrel is pointing without really looking at it.
 


deadb0y

New member
Indeed.. Instinctive literally means point and shoot. Closing one eye will definitely mess your "instinct" up because you'll only see part of the picture. I don't even "aim" at all I just look where I want the arrow to go and trust by body to do the rest!
 


fbirder

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Thanks for the replies everybody.

I tried instinctive shooting at the field and my 3 dozen at 20 yards score was about 75% as good as that shot using gap aiming.

So I've decided to see if my brain can learn two types of shooting simultaneously.

I'm sticking to gap shooting - one eye closed - at the targets in the field; where everything is flat and the distances are known and consistent over many arrows. And I'm going to use instinctive - both eyes open - in the woods, where distances may not be known, there are some serious slopes, and you only get a few arrows at each distance (although I've only tried in the garden up until now)

So far the brain doesnt seem to get confused - which is handy.
 


English Bowman

Well-known member
I hate the term "instinctive" shooting. I don't believe that it's "instinctive" at all. It's a learned skill. The more you practice shooting at different distances aiming, the better your "instinctive" shots will be. I now don't consciously aim at most distances, and shoot pretty well, but that comes of years of practice. I'd call it subconscious aiming personally. If you want to get good at "instinctive" then practice, practice, practice. The more you teach yourself to shoot well at different distances, the better you will be.
 


geoffretired

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Hi English Bowman. I think like you, that there is no such thing as instinctive shooting. BUT, I also think that it is just a misuse of a word, more than anything. I guess some people use the term but have the correct understanding of what is involved. They use the term as a short cut. It's a bit like " firing arrows". We know what they mean even if technically we don't fire them.
To my way of thinking it's a bit like learning how to position a car when driving between two pot holes in order to miss both. We don't use sights or estimate gaps between the right path and some place on the bonnet. I think instinct comes into the equation as we rely on abilities to learn "how to get it right".
Perhaps there are better or more accurate words to use, but .......
 


English Bowman

Well-known member
I agree with you there Geoff, my problem with the term is when I see archers that can't hit a thing, and refuse any help because they know someone, or have seen a youtube video of Instinctive archery, and they believe that it'll come easily with no thought or effort because it's instinctive, so they keep practicing missing, and getting better at missing, waiting for this magic instinct to kick in.
 


geoffretired

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Heehee yes, instinctive; so just do it and it will happen!! NOT.
I don't know if you have noticed, but quite a lot of archers who shoot longbows or AFB, seem to adopt a form that is almost like throwing the bowarm out to full stretch then swinging downwards with never a pause of any sort. The bow is always moving; so the arrow is never directed at any single point, but moving like a fast second hand on a clock.
I would think that just slowing down a little would help; and settling for just an instant would help even more. The drawing doesn't have to stop, just the arc of the arrow.
 


English Bowman

Well-known member
I know and it's made worse when good archers who use point of aim claim to shoot instinctive. I was at a shoot a while back when a very good archer who I was shooting with told me how his arrows were too stiff, so he was having to aim off, and told me exactly where he was aiming in order to hit the target. 10 minutes later I overheard him talking to another archer who happens to be a member of my club and telling this archer, who isn't bad, but still learning, that he shot instinctive, didn't aim, just looked at the target pulled up and loosed. I know that he aims, because he told me, so why did he feel the need to tell an up and coming archer that he didn't aim and shot instinctive? Did he think that it gave him some mystique and made him seem special, or did he want to put off an up and coming archer so that this archer didn't become a threat? I don't understand the motives, but I don't think that peddling "instinctive" without explaining what you have to do to be able to shoot like it helps anyone.
 


geoffretired

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I can only guess at what is really going on. It does seem at times, that archers tend to be vague about what terms they use;and vague about what the terms actually mean.It's not so surprising really as there are a lot of archers who just dabble. They dabble but some are good and they trade terms in just the same ways as those who never shoot competitions or even rounds. It's as if the conversations are not serious enough to bother about accuracy.... and I guess most of the time that is true."Archer's Paradox " is a great example. We know that many get it mixed up with arrows bending but for most of us, the difference will have no impact on anything....... or perhaps one in a thousand will find out there's a mistake
I feel that one aspect of this situation is that we all like to feel part of the "conversation" and pick up the common terms quickly and sometimes superficially. It feels good if we are able to speak the language and wear the gear.
The person you have mentioned could easily say two different things to two different people. Not for any sinister treason, just that they can't remember what they said previously and don't care anyway.
In many cases, how we shoot is probably the thing we know least about. How do I tie my laces? NO idea, I would have to do it and video what happens if I wanted to be accurate when explaining, without demonstrating. I guess our shooting form, if we aren't trying to improve, is just something we do, don't ever think about it, but when asked.... feel obliged to make something up that is partly true. Driving is another!
 


English Bowman

Well-known member
The person in question, told me exactly where he put the point of the arrow to aim. "I put the point of the arrow against that bright stone just below the target and 3 foot to the right" 10 minutes later he told my club mate, "I just look at the target draw and loose, I can't even see the arrow and couldn't tell you where it was pointed" I cannot put that down to a mix up or miss-understanding, that's downright miss-information being given out to an up and coming archer by someone who is a very vocal supporter of Instinctive archery.
 


geoffretired

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Yes, I have got it wrong, the person can't have forgotten what he said to you. It does sound like trying to keep a secret from someone who could be a threat. Not a nice thing.
It is fascinating,though, how ideas spread, and how weak some of the thinking is. Andy! is saying lots of things along those lines on the compound arrow spine thread.
 


Rugleg

New member
I agree with the confusion of the name "instinctive" a perhaps better name may have been "intuitive". But whatever we call it I love utilising it. I have encountered some problems with other people using gap and calling it instinctive, thinking that all barebow shooting is instinctive. To the original poster my wife shoots gap on target archery and instinctive in all our field archery and doesn't find any confusion.

I have shot instinctively for everything until recently, when in order to teach beginners courses more easily I have been teaching myself gap shooting with drawing under my chin, (instead of to my check bone) I find that the brain doesn't get confused and can run the two different systems side by side. Good luck and have fun!
 


wully

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For four weeks I've been using it for target shooting and finding it great fun using gap shooting (aiming at the bottom of the target for 50 m, etc).
I'm confused - which is easy done... If I was shooting 50 m I'd have to aim way above the target?
 


geoffretired

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I agree with the confusion of the name "instinctive" a perhaps better name may have been "intuitive".
I think instinctive archery is a bit like throwing stones.
It is simpler to just throw the stone out into the sea to watch the splash than it is to hit a tin on a wall. However, if the thrower tries to hit the tin often enough they get better. At least they get closer to hitting the tin as they develop a "feel" for it.
I don't think they could put into words how they aim; they don't aim with anything not even the stone. Darts players look as if they aim before they throw; stone throwers don't seem to do that; it seems they learn how to stand and which way to look and let the rest take care of itself.
I feel instinctive archery is a bit like a mix of darts players and stone throwing at tins on walls. There is a bit of the darts player in the preparation leading up to the launch; and a bit of the stone thrower in that they aren't fully aware of aiming.
Gap shooting is a bit like instinctive in some ways, but the gap for them is deliberate. Instinctive archers probably have a gap but they don't remember how big it is as they don't try to make that aspect so deliberate.( which could be detected by a body cam close to the archer's dominant eye, and picking up a view of the string and target and arrow point.)
 


4d4m

Member
I think it is a little more akin to cueing a snooker shot than throwing a dart or ball. The player is looking at the spot on the cue ball he wants to hit, and at the spot on the target ball. I guess there is some variation between players on where they are focusing when they actually take the shot but that is secondary to the point I'm about to make. While there are visual reference points, they are not lining up the cue by visual means but by their body position: "feeling" where the cue lies.

Gap shooting is more visually oriented, like shooting with a sight: creating a "sight picture" of the arrow point relative to the target. Instinctive is more about "feeling" the orientation of the arrow through body positioning. The lines are blurred though; like yin and yang, there is always a bit of the one in the other.

In theory then an instinctive shooter would be better able to shoot blind than a gap shooter. If both were standing ready, arrow nocked and the bow held low, looking at the mark, then both were hooded and asked to shoot. You would think the instinctive shooter might be able to line the arrow up during the draw by "feel" better than the gap shooter, who now has no visual reference.
 


geoffretired

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Hi 4d4m, I can see a lot in what you say. The two ends of the cue being controlled, is much like a bow and its string,yes?
I think my stone throwing or darts throwing includes some similar ideas to yours; both include ingredients that convey the right meanings to readers.( I hope anyway)
I think the gap shooter blindfolded, might do well, if they did a lot of gap shooting at different distances. I shoot compound and forgot my sight once for indoors. My first three shots were all in the yellow( not all 10's) but with no sight and no peep sight I felt I had relied on posture as much as anything. It's as if I had used gaps that I wasn't aware that I knew about.
Gap shooting is more visually oriented, like shooting with a sight: creating a "sight picture" of the arrow point relative to the target. Instinctive is more about "feeling" the orientation of the arrow through body positioning.
I agree with you on this. I would add that I feel the instinctive archer might have used visual cues( gaps?) at an earlier stage and slowly didn't need to look with such interest, as the body could feel where things were. Or perhaps part of the brain that needs no words could detect the gaps and send signals to the archer that he/she was processing without thinking about them.
I can walk over a kerb without looking down to see where my feet are in relation to that kerb. I can step down without breaking my step pattern. I don't look, but I am picking up signals without realising. Blindfolded I would have no clues as to when to step down. I might say that a blind person would do better in that case; but I guess they would use their stick to probe ahead to know where that kerb is. I see all around to find out where the kerb is and make the adjustments without knowing; other than to feel I have stepped down and reached the road level. Watching very young children doing the same and it is clear they have to make their steps very deliberately. Some even turn round at the edge and step down backwards. They seem to grow out of that, heehee.
 


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