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Good Archery Habit

Updated: Apr 11

"Blind bail shooting" is a term often used in archery to describe a specific type of practice or training technique. It involves shooting arrows at a target (typically a bail of hay or foam) without aiming through a sight or using a specific aiming technique.

Here's a breakdown of the process and potential benefits:

No Aiming Device: In blind bail shooting, the archer does not use any form of aiming device such as a sight or scope. This encourages the archer to focus on their form, posture, and muscle memory rather than relying on a specific aiming point.

Enhanced Muscle Memory: Shooting without aiming devices helps in developing muscle memory, which is crucial in archery. Repetitive shooting without a sight allows the archer to reinforce proper shooting form and build consistent muscle memory for a smooth release and follow-through.

Improved Instinctive Shooting: Blind bail shooting is often used to enhance instinctive shooting skills. Instinctive shooting involves judging the correct aiming point by feel and experience rather than using explicit aiming techniques. Blind bail shooting can improve an archer's ability to judge where to aim based on their experience and intuition.

Focus on Technique: Without the distraction of aiming devices, archers can better focus on their shooting technique, including their grip, stance, posture, and release. This can lead to improvements in overall shooting form and consistency.

Enhanced Concentration: Blind bail shooting requires heightened concentration and mental discipline. Archers need to maintain focus and visualize the target, even without a physical aiming point, which can strengthen mental resilience and improve concentration during actual competitions.

Adaptability: Practicing blind bail shooting also helps archers become more adaptable in different shooting scenarios. In real-life situations, archers may not always have the luxury of a perfect aiming setup, and this type of training helps them become more flexible and effective under various circumstances.

Fun and Variation: Blind bail shooting can add an element of fun and variation to regular archery practice sessions. It breaks the routine and provides an opportunity to challenge oneself in a different way, making the overall archery practice more engaging and enjoyable.

Individual experiences and benefits may vary, and it's essential for archers to find what works best for them in their training regimen.

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Aim Without Aiming

“The right art …is purposeless, aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed…What stands in your way is that you think that what you do not do yourself does not happen,” exclaimed Master Kenzo during a lesson.

At the time, Herrigel couldn’t make any sense of this. He thought: how can you hit a target without aiming at or focusing on it?

For a few months, Herrigel practiced shooting without taking aim, but most of his shots missed the target. And he was becoming increasingly frustrated.

One day, Herrigel complained to Master Kenzo about his failure to hit the goal, the Master replied, “I see the goal as though I did not see it.” Herrigel had had enough of the Master’s unsatisfactory responses and blurted out, “Then you ought to be able to hit it blindfolded!”

Master Kenzo slowly turned his head towards Herrigel and in a firm tone said, “Come to see me this evening.”

That evening, Herrigel met the Master at the practice hall. Very few words were exchanged.

Master Kenzo slowly bent over, picked up his bow and arrow, walked up to a spot, spread his legs in a ceremonial fashion and took aim at a target in pitch-dark.

Within a few seconds, Herrigel heard two quiet thuds. He sprung off the floor and swiftly rushed to switch on the lights.

To his amazement, Master Kenzo had hit the target straight in the middle with both shots without being able to see it.

It was on that day that Herrigel learned an important piece of wisdom from the legendary archer on mastering the art of focus and concentration, that is: Do not focus on the goal, focus on Zanshin instead

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