• What is the Thumb Draw?

Historically, the thumb draw was typically used in the Middle East and throughout Asia. Unlike the Mediterranean Draw, where three fingers are used to draw the string, the Thumb Draw only uses the thumb to draw the string. The index finger is placed over the thumb nail for added stability and to provide a "lock" for your thumb grip on the string.

Thumb rings are typically used with this style as thumb protection. Thumb rings are merely protection for the thumb, similar to a finger tab for Mediterranean styles.

  • How to pick your ideal bow:
      1. Draw Length. The first thing you need to know, is what your draw length is. For Chinese archery, draw length tends to be a bit longer than other styles like Turkish, or Mediterranean style archery. Long draws are essential in Chinese styles and typically are at the ear, past the ear, or even behind the head, as in Manchu style archery.
      2. For Chinese archery, you need to choose a bow that has a maximum draw length of at least your draw length. Preferably, to prolong the lifespan of your bow, you need a bow that has a max draw of two inches longer than your draw length.
      3. Style. Do you like fast bows, heavy bows? Bows with short siyahs, like the Turkish or Ming style bows, tend to be good at shooting fast arrows. Bows with long siyahs like the Manchu or Tibetan bow tend to be good at shooting heavier arrows.
      4. Weight. Determine your ideal bow draw weight. See FAQ below.
  • How to determine your draw length?
Typically your thumb draw length is your arm span (from the tip of you middle finger to the center of your sternum, plus one or two inches.
However, everyone's bodies are different. The only real way to determine your draw length is to pick up an arrow or a long dowel, and hold it as though your are shooting with correct posture. Your Chinese anchor point will be at your ear, behind you ear, or even behind your head, depending on your form.
It can take a while for beginners to determine their ideal draw length. Therefore when you choose your first arrows, choose a length one or two inches longer to experiment with. 
  • How heavy should my bow be?
Your shooting bow should not be hard for you to draw, but it should still be slightly challenging.
The way I like to do it, is that you figure out what the heaviest bow is that you can pull, then choose a shooting bow that is your shooting bow, at half that poundage. 
i.e: If you can pull a 60# bow, you should be shooting a 30# bow etc.
As a beginner, your thumb needs to get used to drawing a bow, therefore starting with a light bow (around 20#)  is perfectly acceptable. I easily shoot 50 meters with my 20# Chinese bow.
Reach out any time for guidance.
  • What should the spine of my arrows be?

Spine is not as important for the thumb release, as it is for the mediterranean release, as a good thumb release technique can handle a very wide spine range for any particular bow. For thumb release, weight is much more important. That being said, err on the side of a stiffer arrow for thumb release.

Reach out any time for guidance.

  • How heavy should my arrows be?

Bows come with a minimum warrantied GPP (Grains Per Pound) for arrows that are shot from the bow. GPP is how much your arrow weighs (in total, including all arrow parts), per pound of your draw weight at your draw length. This means that it's very important to know what your bow's daw weight is, at your draw length. Your arrows should not weigh less than the bowyer's minimum recommended GPP. Lighter arrows will damage the bow and void the warranty.

Typically, the longer your siyahs are, the heavier the minimum GPP is. Short siyah bows tend to have a 10GPP, long siyah bows like the Manchu bow, have higher GPP's starting at 15GPP.

Reach out to me if you have need guidance on choosing a bow and suitable arrows.

Asiatic Archery Terminology

  • AMO - The term ‘AMO’ stands for Archery Manufacturers Organisation. They produce a set of standards the archery industry can work to. 
    AMO Arrow Length is the measurement of an arrow taken from the bottom of the groove of the nock, to the end of the shaft.  (Not including the points or point inserts).
  • Arrow Length - See "AMO". The length of the arrow, measured from the valley of the nock, to to the back of the point.
  • Arrow Pass - The part of the bow handle where the arrow passes. Usually covered in a durable material like ray skin, leather or horn.
  • Arrow Weight - The full weight of the arrow, including all it's parts, measured in grains.
  • Back of Point - The back of the arrow point, where it meets the arrow shaft.
  • Back of the Bow - The flat side of the bow, facing away from the archer.
  • Belly of the Bow - The flat side of the bow, facing toward the archer.
  • Draw Length - The length, in inches, of your draw length, from the back of the bow, to the valley of the nock.
  • Draw Weight - The weight of the bow as measured in lbs, and indicated by "#", at a particular draw length, usually 28".
  • FOC - Front Of Centre. A measurement, in percentage, of the balance point of the arrow. Determined by how far ahead of the centre of the arrow, the balance point is. The further forward, the better.
  • Gao Ying - A Ming Dynasty scholar who wrote a guide to Ming military archery. Today the books is available as "The Way of Archery" by Jie Tian and Justin Ma.
  • Ghaozhen - A short distance target, used to practice technique. Known as a Makiwara in Japanese Kyudo.
  • GPI - Grains Per Inch. The weight of an arrow shaft in grains, per inch of shaft length. GPI is used by arrow makers to build arrows. (Not important if you're buying complete arrows)
  • GPP - Grains Per Pound. The weight of your entire arrow, divided by your bow's draw weigh at your draw length. (Arrow Weight/Bow Weight @Your Draw Length)
  • Grain - Unit of weight equal to 0.065 gram.
  • Horse Bow - A modern "catch-all" term for Asiatic bows. Stems form a misconception that short, historical composite bows where only used on horses.
  • Khatra - The technique of turning the bow at the moment of release. Chinese archery styles don't tend to use khatra techniques outright.
  • Knee of the Bow - the static transition between the limbs of the bow, and the static siyahs. Also known as the "brain" of the bow, the knees introduce leverage to the design of the bow.
  • Limbs - The working (bending) part of the bow.
  • Manchu - Adopted as the official name of the people by Emperor Hong Taiji in 1635, replacing the earlier name "Jurchen".
  • Maximum Draw Length - The maximum length as prescribed by the bowyer, that the bow can be drawn safely, usually measured from the belly of the bow.
  • Mediterranean Release - Typically was/is used in western European Countries and English archery. Also known as "Three Finger Release". Uses the first three fingers to draw the string.
  • Minimum GPP - The minimum weight of the arrow, in grains, per lb of draw weight of the bow
  • Odd feather Up/Out -"Odd feather", or, "Cock feather", refers to the orientation of the 3rd feather on your arrow, that faces in the opposite direction of the other two feathers.
  • Siyah - Static tips of an Asiatic bow, usually made of wood. Also referred to as the "ears" of the bow.
  • Spine - The flexibility of the arrow shaft. The higher the number, the more flexible the arrow shaft.
  • String Bridge -  Some Asiatic bows have string bridges on the siyahs, which bridge the gap between the string and the limb. String bridges save mass at the knee of the bow, by taking advantage of geometry in design.
  • Tertiary Release - A technique where the three fingers and the thumb are used to draw the string. Popular in modern Mounted Archery.
  • Thumb Release - Typically used in eastern/asiatic countries. Uses only the thumb to draw the string.