There are two specific methods of shooting a bow and arrow; Anglo-Saxon and Native American. They use the same basic weaponry, but have varying techniques, advantages, and disadvantages.


The Anglo-Saxon battle gear set is best seen in full detail by watching Lord of the Rings. The makers actually hired Anglo-Saxon historians to reconstruct the armor. However, they neglected to demonstrate proper shooting. The proper method of Anglo-Saxon longbow shooting is more of a smooth ripcord motion than the popular "draw-aim-shoot" method. The Anglo-Saxon archer is most likely to only be used when the enemy sides are at long range and on the approach. The primary concern is to shoot as many arrows as humanly possible in the basic direction of enemy forces. There was suprisingly little accuracy involved because there would be many archers all aiming in the same direction creating a hail of arrows, similar to the strategy used in the Jet Li movie Hero. The archers would be lightly armored and (besides the bow) lightly armed.

Native American

The Native American style of shooting is more of the "draw-aim-shoot" type. This is because the bow was the primary method of hunting small game. A high level of accuracy is naturally required to hit a small target, especially when arrows are more difficult to make when blacksmiths and weapon shops are absent. Arrows are conserved, therefore each shot is made to be the most efficient that it could be. Also the fact remains that while Native Americans did have quarrels about territory with other tribes, the opposing armies did not meet en masse on a wide open field to do battle.

Interesting side note: Samurai bow shooters from the Asiatic region have a style somewhere in between the two listed here. Although the armies did meet in fields most of the time to battle, the samurai archer would draw his bow and aim for less than half a second before releasing, as compared to the aim-less ripcord motion of the Anglo-Saxon and the careful aim of the Native American. Almost as many arrows fired in a time period as the Anglo-Saxon while keeping almost the same accuracy of the Native American.

Summarily, the most commonly associated style of shooting a bow and arrow is the Native American style, although Anglo-Saxon buffs still shoot for distance. The main difference being, native American style takes the time while the string is drawn to aim carefully before shooting. Anglo-Saxon shooters just "let-er-rip". Another funny thing to notice in Lord of the Rings is the style of shooting used by the armies at the fortress. While every other thing fits precisely to the Anglo-Saxon history, the shooting, in some cases, does not.

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