The four-second rule: Archery

Four seconds—that is all you need to build that killer instinct.

We know the present-day archery as a sport, but of course, we have come to learn from hours of watching Discovery Channel and National Geographic that it was used to kill during the ancient times, as is the case in other universe (think Legolas of Lord of the Rings, the ultra-hot Katniss Everdeen of Hunger Games, or Hawkeye of Marvel).


I chanced upon The Archery Academy and decided to give it a go to train my dexterity and concentration. After the coach gave brief instructions and safety reminders, he wasted no time in immersing me. Much like in life outside archery, overthinking can be counter-intuitive (insert hugot). The longer I drew the arrow, the stronger the tension got, which strained my arms. The coach observed it and advised that it should not take more than four seconds from the time the archer draws the arrow until she or he shoots it. He added that an archer must focus his or her sight more on the target and less on aligning the arrow. Being comfortable with a bow and arrow might need some getting used to, but as the cliché goes, practice makes perfect (even if it takes a gazillion hours to perfect! LOL!)

Trust your instincts

There are two kinds of archery that are predominantly taught in the Philippines—traditional and Olympic. Traditional archery, the one I tried, is more instinctive while Olympic archery is more precise. Traditional archery uses equipment that is closer to the ones used back in the ancient times when archery was mainly for hunting and killing. No frills, just bow and arrow. Olympic archery, on the other hand, uses more modern and sophisticated equipment to aid in precision. I would assume that learning both disciplines is similar to learning how to drive. If you started out learning how to drive using a car with manual transmission (traditional archery), the shift to automatic transmission (Olympic archery) cars would be a lot easier compared to if it is the other way around.

Bull’s Eye

Sticking to the four-second rule and not overthinking gave me more repetitions, enabling me to adjust my stance and build my shooting instinct. Throughout the process my dexterity improved as evidenced by the groupings in my shots (upper left of the bull’s eye), which became more apparent during the latter part of the session. This meant that my body had already adjusted, and it would just take a liiiiittle tweaking before I hit the jackpot. Luckily enough (it was Chinese new year when I tried it out and I was born on the year of the dragon. Luck played a big part!), I was able to hit the bull’s eye!


Next time you hunt a deer for dinner (bruuhhh… you will never know! Or fine, if you are faced with a tough life decision), remember the four-second rule and follow your instincts!

P.S. Print the face of your enemy on a piece of paper and use it as your target! LMAO!


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