Get archery lessons in Toronto - Contact cardiotrek@gmail.com or visit CardioTrek.ca.

Learn more about archery in Toronto by visiting archerytoronto.ca, or the Toronto Public Archery Range Facebook page
or by joining the Canadian Toxophilite Society.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Howard Hill and Ronald Reagan Bowfishing for Sharks

Below: Old short film of Howard Hill and Ronald Reagan Bowfishing for Sharks.


What is the difference between Instinctive Shooting and Gap Shooting?

There is a lot of confusion around the term "Instinctive Shooting" in archery communities, often due to people who spread misinformation about something they know very little about and often confusing what the different styles of archery are.

Instinctive Shooting encompasses:
  • Using no reference points to aim, and not really aiming in the normal sense of the word.
  • Not always using a full draw, but instead sometimes using 1/2 or 3/4 draw.
  • Not using a consistent anchor spot, and basically ignores the concept of anchor spot entirely.
  • Both eyes open. 
  • Accuracy is limited to shooting at anything point blank (15 yards or less). 
  • Feet anywhere they please.
  • People playing "Archery Tag" will typically be forced to use Instinctive Shooting or some variation of it because the face masks make it difficult to have a proper anchor spot. Complete beginners who have never done archery before are basically shooting instinctive because they have not mastered any other style of shooting and don't even know what an anchor spot is.

Gap Shooting encompasses:
  • Aiming using the gap between the target and the side of the bow, sometimes subconsciously.
  • Using a full draw.
  • Using a consistent anchor spot, typically the corner of the mouth under the dominant eye.
  • One eye open. In order for Gap Shooting to aim properly it is necessary to only use one eye. 
  • Accuracy has no limitations on distance. 
  • Feet is typically in either Relaxed Stance or Square Stance.
  • Gap Shooting can also be used during "Archery Tag", but it is trickier to find a consistent anchor spot. You can usually spot the person using the style because they have really good aim.

Traditional Shooting encompasses:
  • Aiming off the tip of the arrow.
  • Using a full draw.
  • Using a consistent anchor spot, typically the corner of the mouth under the dominant eye.
  • One eye or two eyes open. Most traditional archers prefer one eye open for added accuracy.
  • Accuracy has no limitations on distance. 
  • Feet is typically in either Relaxed Stance or Square Stance. 
  • Traditional Shooting can also be used during "Archery Tag, but again is trickier to find a consistent anchor spot. You can usually spot the person using the style because they have really good aim.

Instinctive Shooting therefore is marked by people like Lars Anderson who are the epitome of instinctive archery, and marked by pop culture icons like Green Arrow, Hawkeye, Legolas, etc.

However it is easy to see why so many people sometimes confuse Instinctive Shooting with Gap Shooting, because people who get really good at Gap Shooting will often be able to aim subconsciously - even though they are still technically Gap Shooting.

Thus an easy way to tell the difference between someone who is Instinctive Shooting and someone who is Gap Shooting is to look at whether they are pulling to an anchor spot and how many eyes they have open. Instinctive Shooting = Two eyes open and no anchor spot, Gap Shooting = One eye open and consistent anchor spot.

And then there are people who don't know how to shoot and haven't mastered a style yet. You can usually spot them out in the field searching for their arrows, or their arrows are all over the target with zero consistency.

And lastly, then there is the people who are complete newbs who have been watching too much TV, reading too many comic books, seeing too much artwork that isn't even remotely close to real archery and then thinks it is okay to do all sorts of things that they saw in pop culture - the sort of things experienced archers just shake their head at.

Take for example the art piece below. Yes, she is pulling back NEAR her mouth, but if her hand is in a slightly different position every time she shoots then there isn't much consistency. She is also shooting with both eyes open. Ergo, she is technically using the Instinctive Shooting style.


If you live in Toronto and want to learn more about Instinctive Shooting or Gap Shooting there is only two people we know of who teaches we know of who teaches those two styles.

The first is Charles Moffat from CardioTrek.ca and the 2nd is Matthew Weisman (who doesn't have a website currently). Moffat teaches all five major styles of archery, whereas Weisman only teaches traditional styles of archery (longbow, shortbow, traditional, gap or instinctive). If he does get a website in the future we will update this listing.