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I have shot thousands of arrows, read and studied asbell's books, and always considered myself an instinctive shooter. Then me and a buddy lit a candle in the dark and tried to shoot it out.....I was lost...i couldn't see my arrow. I could still shoot accurately, but the whole thing just felt wrong. Is it possible to be instinctive and aim at the same time? I was very confused how i could still shoot well, but feel totally out of place. Any similar xperiences, .....instinct guys try the candle in pitch black dark and let me know what you find.
 

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Did a night shoot

At our rendevous we had a night shoot with chem lite sticks at the targets,was the reg 3-D setup. I shot better in the dark than in the daylight. better concentration I think.

Rob
 

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I consider myself an instinctive shooter, because my concentration is on the target. But I know there are times that I use the shaft, or the point, or whatever, as an assist. I believe "instinctive" is just a term so others know how you shoot/aim, as opposed to someone that uses POA or gun barreling or gap or whatever. Like yourself, after thousands, or millions of arrows, our minds find different ways to help us out. Don't worry, its just a term.
 

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I've yet to see somebody shoot the flame out.
While shooting possoms at night I've had "so called" instinctive shooters always insist on being on the light side "so they can see their arrow.
Instinctive is a load of old horse droppings.
 

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"Instinctive" is a term used very loosely by most, and as Talon said it's usually used to describe a style where you don't conciously aim or gap--most people do though.

Jack, although it's misused a lot, it's not all fable. I good friend of mine does indeed shoot totally instinctive. He shoots just as well in pitch black dark as broad daylight. He's not the best shot I've seen, but he's well above average. Watching his form, you'd wonder how he could hit a barn from the inside--he doesn't do anything "right"--but he generally hits the spot. He doesn't shoot Asbell style, but he does draw as he's raising the bow and the arrow is gone before he has a chance to see it--often he's nowhere near a consistent anchor point. Completely puzzles me, and most anyone else that knows how to shoot, when we watch him.

It's like a bumblebee to me--according to the laws of physics, a bumblebee's wings aren't large enough and don't move fast enough to provide the lift required for a bumblebee to fly--but nobody has been able to convince the bee. My buddy Earl is the bumblebee of archery.

Chad
 

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Chad -

Using an exception to prove something, really doesn't fly. There also the girl making the rounds shooting a bow with her feet while in a hand stand. That - now, might be instinctive ...

Put Earl dead center in front a target at 20 yds, blind fold him and have him hit it. Keep the blind for on and move the taget back to 30 yds. Tell him it's now at 30 yds and see if he can still hit it. Ditto for 40. Just because you don't know how he's aiming (and he very well might not know either) doesn't mean he's not using "something".

If he can't do it, then the dictionary meaning of instinctive doesn't apply. Sorry. but it's almost impossible to see a target and not the bow or arrow.

Another example, given to me by a friend a few days ago, really drives it home. If an instinctive shooter is shooting at a given distance, say 40 yds, and his first arrow lands low, and his second arrow hits center, clearly he conpensated. But how? What was he using as a reference to compensate with? Show me a guy do can hit any target at any distance and I'll show you a guy who ain't instinctive. Chad, I don't mean any disrepect to you or Earl, I just don't buy it at face value - and no, bubble bees don't defy the laws of Physics, people just apply the laws incorrectly .

Medic -

Reality check #1 is that the dictionary meaning of the word instinctive has little bearing in archery.

First - "Instinctive" shooting is a learned skill.

Second - as mentioned above, under all but very contrived conditions is it's impossible to see the target and not see what's right in front of you.

Third - If you want a working definition of "instinctive shoot" try shooting without a conscious reference point.

Reality check #2 - Who cares? Just shoot, if the arrows are going where you want them too, great. If you want better - work smarter.

Besides the misuse or abuse of the word "trad", the word "instinctive" is probably #2. It's right up there with using the throwing a baseball analogy. Neither "trad" or "instinctive" need to be taken as a religion to be defended at all costs.

Caveats
1 - Yes, there is a way of shooting without referencing ANYTHING. And I used to think maybe 5% of good shooters could us it. The more I shoot, the more that 5% is rapidly approaching 0% (Basically that was using my first example blindfolding Earl.)

2 - If you're talking about 10 yds or under, all bets are off. Most people with a little training can do just about anything at ten ydsand still pull off decent shots, yes, even using the dictionary meaning of the word instinctive.

Viper1 out.
 

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I'm not saying it's common, just that it's possible. Out of the hundreds of archers I know and have shot with, and the thousands I've seen shoot, I don't recall ever seeing anyone else shoot that way consistently. My point wasn't that it's common, just possible.

I doubt Earl could shoot a target blindfolded--he'd need to see what he's shooting at. I have shot with him in pitch-black dark though. We were at the Southeastern in Elberton, GA, and they had a "**** shoot". It was one of those nights where there wasn't even a star visable--Justin Wilson would have said "darker than the inside of a cow". The targets all had a small glow stick inserted long-ways--the only thing you could see was a tiny dot. It was so dark you literally could not see your hand in front of your face without a flashlight. Earl smoked all of us on that course.

Buy it or not (and I can understand that--don't know that I would have believed it without seeing it), it's a fact. Not the standard by any means, but possible. Also, as I've mentioned before, there was the Wilheim brothers, one of which drew and shot from his waist--he wasn't seeing the bow or the arrow. Never seen that again either.

I can't argue about the bee--just going on what our science books said back in school--a long, long time ago. Again, the point being it was very unusual and goes against what we know should be the case--just like Earl. FWIW, Earl doesn't brag about being an "instinctive shooter", that's just how he does it. If you ever get a chance to talk to Rod Jenkins, ask him about Earl. Rod has seen him shoot, and describes him as "the only truly instinctive shooter I've ever seen."

As for the rest, I agree--except for the "0%"--although based on what I've seen it's less than 1%.

Chad
 

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i hold my bow with the arrow pointing in such a way, but the more i concentrate, the worse i seem to do:embara:, but i know what you mean, shooting with a little instinct and a little aiming. kinda hard to describe...
 

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...read what Armymedic said. He could not see his arrow and he could still shoot accurately. He did not say he was blindfolded.

Good job Armymedic.2
 

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1bs -

Re-read what I said. It's pretty much impossible to be able to see the the target and not the bow/arrow, even if just in silhouete. That was the problem, he had to adapt to the new sight picture - that's why it felt strange.

Viper1 out.
 

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just for once

Yes terms can be miss read many times but just for once viper could you say that there are instinctive shooters out there. I myself say I am one of them ,mainly because left eye dominate but right hand shooter, due to injuries, and yes have shot 2 out of 5 candles out in the dark and have a room full of people to verify it. Please for once just agree with what people say , mainly to encourage the sport, thanks
 

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Classsic -

I tend to agree with people when they are correct, or present a valid arguement. Not that it matters, but I'm severely left eye dominant and also shoot right handed. The brain is more than capable of extrapolating the angles to compensate. The issue with most people and not only in archery is that they tend to take things at face value and not look any further. The examples I gave above still stand. If an "instinctive" shooter can compensate for targets at varying distances - exactly what does he use to compensate with? No thinking man would accept it's just "a feeling". Likewise as you approach your point on or point blank distance ignoring the arrow becomes impossibe, it's covering the target - even for a cross-eye dominamt shooter. The only probelm I have with the whole "instinctive" thing is the definition that the religious trad types try to apply to it.

BTW - I consider myself an instinctive shoot. I just understand what that means. And probogating a myth doesn't encourage the sport, it ******s it.

Viper1 out.
 

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Now I understand (I think) what you were referring to Viper--using a very strict definition, nobody really shoots "instinctive"--it's not possible. If I understand you correctly, you are defining it somewhat like when an animal instinctively knows what it can eat, when to run, when to fight, when to hide, etc. Something that you are born with, not a learned behavior.

Someone once said (I think it was Howard Hill) that your first shot is your only real instictive shot--after that, you have learned something.

Just boils down to what you call "instinctive" I reckon.

Chad
 

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I do not use my arrow in any way to aim any more (took a little while to ignore it...lol) and I also do not calculate yardage out to around 40 yards.

Doesn't matter what is out in front of you, if you have a specific focus to use, you can train yourself to use that and ignore other things that are in front of you, including the arrow. Is what is right in front of you only restricted to what you are touching, or directly connected too?

I agree that most use the arrow as a gauge or reference as it applies to the target whether they realize it or not.
 

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In the average rank and file of archery, there are very very few who can shoot instinctively. However, if you broaden that view to not only include target shooters, bubbas, bowhunters, but also people who have no vested interest in showboating, then you get a larger population and gain the individuals who can and do shoot instinctively. And the numbers of instinctive shooters increase.

Kyudo masters can shoot better than anyone I've ever seen when it comes to form and accuracy. Leaving them out of the archery world is a mistake just as bad as saying instinctive shooting doesn't exist or can't be done. However, they are after something different and have no need for competitions and trophies, so they are rarely included in discussion.
 

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Probably sticking my foot in mouth here. I've been wanting to chime in from the beginning of this thread.

I feel alot of this "non instinctive discord" came about with the entrance of the "new generation" stickbow shooters.

I'm not saying that as to condemn them, because they weren't all at fault. When the compound came on the scene the same discussions and arguments were raised basically.

But you had people like myself, that began with stickbows, then went to compounds, and wanted something of a retreat to what we grew up with. So we dubbed it traditional. Then we decided we would like to keep it as pure to equipment that we had. Then we went back even farther, back to Pope & Young & Ishi, and the Thompsons, and thought: Yea, that's the way!

But then the new generation stickbow shooters came along. They had no memories of nothing but compound bows. So, they adapted many things from what they knew, from the compound, to the stickbow. And well, most of it worked.

They had no interest in taking days to finish a dozen cedar shafts that would warp over time, and need straightening periodically-they could by carbon
They had no need to pay over $30 for a batch of feathers that would soon wear out-they could use plastic vanes on their flipper rests.
They had also been brought up with a very controlled manner of shooting their compound bows- vertical, and methodical. They had no interest going through another complete learning curve.

But when they started kicking the butts of the old timers, the old timers didn't like it. (Myself included) So........... we started saying stuff like: well, that's not instinctive shooting. And so then they decided: well what you old timers are doing ain't really instinctive either. And since, we've banged heads with one another and made fools of ourself, and basically caused devisions amongst even the bestest of friends. Shew! Even three fingers under, or split fingers will get someone riled these days.

Oh well, for what it's worth, My definition of shooting instinctive is: to unconsciously shoot an arrow. Simple as that. Please think about it.
The reason I say to think about it, is because when I shot compound bows, with all the bells and whistles, and I had one of those special days when I was "in the zone", I unconsiously shot those arrows!

Yep, there were sights there, but I don't remember them. After the shot, I could tell you which pin I used, had no rememberance of pulling the triigger on the release................

I feel we can become instinctive at whatever we do.

I love everybody!

hnh
 

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INSTINCTIVE does mean something

CLASSICHUNTER said:
Yes terms can be miss read many times but just for once viper could you say that there are instinctive shooters out there. I myself say I am one of them ,mainly because left eye dominate but right hand shooter, due to injuries, and yes have shot 2 out of 5 candles out in the dark and have a room full of people to verify it. Please for once just agree with what people say , mainly to encourage the sport, thanks
Agreed, thanks Classichunter. All my life I've shot 3D and hunted instinctive. Forget the candle, forget the darkness, forget the arguments; no sight, no release aids, and I don't look at anything but my targets [smallest] spot!
As I see it, it matters not, what type of bow you shoot; if that is your shooting style, you are shooting "instinctive"! Words mean something. Maybe we should develope a dictionary of Archery terms, but how we could get everyone to agree on them is beyond me.
 

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Instinctive shooting, shooting without a conscious reference, and/or subconscious aiming are all the same thing, very real, and quite effective.

It's a learned skill? No, really? LOL. Of course it is. Don't take the term so literally.

Geeze oh man, I can't believe some of you guys are still hung up on that.

Viper, blindfolding shooters is laughable and proves nothing except that you're too anal when it comes to the term. Crank, twist, squeeze, scream, jump up and down, click your heals together three times and say "There's no such thing as instinctive, there's no such thing as instinctive"...... it doesn't help...... it is what it is and it's STILL termed INSTINCTIVE shooting... and I bet it is when we're long gone.

Who cares? By the number of times I've seen you flippin' these old bones around, I'd say YOU care.

Let's just shoot, shall we?
 

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Guys -

Perhaps we should all hold hands and sing kumbaya (sp?)??? Classic said "Please for once just agree with what people say , mainly to encourage the sport, thanks". OK, I will, you guys are free to believe whatever you like. Magic, star dust, pixies, instinctive shooting (by whatever definition you decide you want it to be). It's that kind of thinking that hurts what we do. Some folks who get into this actually what to learn how to shoot well. That comes from understanding the processes involved. It may not be "traditional", but it works. Do we really need another generation of traditional archers who really can't shoot because they are enamored with all the hype?

BTW - Jeff, if you think blindfolding a shooter is so laughable talk to Kraven about Kyudo (there are two styles actually). Shooting "blindfolded" is practiced at some dojos. That's the less the 1% I was referring to.

It also never ceases to amaze me how some people only read parts of a post or thread and repond to that without reading or understanding what's been said.

Godd thing this is actually a fairly small part of the larger archery contingent.

Viper1 out.
 

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interesting discussion, I didn't realize there was such a debate about what's instinctive and what's not. :confused:

My simplistic view has always been that if you're not using a sight (including the end of your arrow) then you are shooting instinctively. Is there a point of reference? sure on a sub-conscious level, is it a learned skill? DEFINETLY.

The most memorable hunting shot I've ever made with any kind of equipment was many years ago with a Martin TD recurve (bare bow). I had been trying to learn to shoot "instinctive" that year, however since I had cut my bowhunting teeth on compounds I was trying to shoot it like I did my compounds; straight posture, hold, aim with point of arrow and release...It seemed like I always shot high. I was hunting javelina in South Texas with the recurve, the shot in question happend this way; I was stalking a group of javelina thru the cactus, the javelina winded me and started busting out of there in all directions, i saw one running behind me, turned, drew and released all in one motion at a pig on a dead run. No time to aim, or even think, just react...I drilled him, a perfect double lunger at 18 yards.

I've killed MANY whiteails, including 2 P&Y bucks with my compounds at yardages from 10 to 35 yards, still that javelina was the best shot I've ever made, a pure, reaction to a target.

Now that I've picked up a recurve again I'm "teaching" myself to shoot "instinctively" No conscious aiming just a smooth draw and release, reacting to a target. Not snap -shooting, but a target focus instead of a site focus.

FWIW I play golf and find it's quite instinctive as well, especially for short shots around the green and putting. When I'm playing my best I'm not thinking about technique or how hard to hit the ball, i pick a spot and simply hit the ball to the spot. If I stay out of my own way my subconscious mind will tell my body how to pull the shot off.

thats instinctive to me......................
 
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