main title 6


author: Adam Swoboda, 172 pages, full color, index, 6.18x9.06, sewn hard cover. ISBN 978-83-933621-1-0. Regular Price $37

If you want to...

  • try to teach yourself to shoot with a thumb ring
  • get to know the secrets of Middle-East archery techniques
  • discover the richness of Islamic archery
  • find out the fascinating history of the origins of archery techniques
  • work out your own archery stance and shooting technique
  • learn how to eliminate your mistakes while shooting
  • familiarize yourself with the construction of the reflexed bow and a thumb ring
  • understand the mechanics of the shot
  • learn how to match the equipment to your own physical requirements
  • how to correctly make use of a bow and even how to carry out light repairs
...then this is the book for you. Everything will become easier for you due to (among others) the 109 colour object photographs and drawings, detailed and in-depth descriptions as well as a huge amount of advices and comments.

I often encounter questions and become involved in discussions on various topics related to shooting with a thumb ring at archery meetings and tournaments and on archery Internet sites. Many of these topics come up again and again. I wanted my book to offer answers to many of these questions in the most straightforward, readable manner while also providing a comprehensive treatment of the topic so that one source would present nearly all the available knowledge of shooting with thumb rings.






If you have any questions, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


German edition already available for sale!

Please be informed that a German edition is also available, and could be ordered here:
Below please find the cover:

german cover

Hardcover, full color, 152 pages, 21 x 27 cm
ISBN 978-3-938921-33-3



Adam Swoboda is a traditional archer, an organiser of archery tournaments, a founder and leader of the archery fraternity 'Swobodna Company' and an honorary member of the Polish Association of Traditional Archery. He was the winner and participant in numerous traditional archery tournaments in Poland and abroad.
His main achievements in traditional archery: a vice- champion in the European 3D competition in Vorau-Austria 2009, class PB-HB. The winner of the 3D Polish Cup in 2010, class PB-HB. He took IV place in the 2011 European 3D Championship, Koszeg-Hungary, class PB-HB. Adam Swoboda was the only archer to use a thumb ring and historical shooting techniques during the European Championship. He gained Ist place in the 3D HDH IAA Polish Championship in Field Archery in 2012, class PB-HB. The winner of the III rounds of the 2012 3D Polish Cup in Field Archery, class PB-HB. He gained IV place in the First Polish Championships in Traditional Archery in 2012.

Adam Swoboda


Fragments from the book’s introduction

adamswoboda tnArchery has always fascinated me. In my case I don't think this is an exaggeration since this adventure has already spanned over forty years [....] As often happens when you are fascinated by something, I was initially interested in everything to do with bows. For a brief time I was even involved with the sport of archery. However, always shooting from predetermined distances at the same targets was too monotonous and boring for me. The bow had always been associated in my mind with a certain independence. Shooting in varied terrain at completely incidental target turned out to be decidedly more attractive to me.
For the past fifteen years, I have focused exclusively on traditional archery. Like all traditional archers, in the beginning I searched for my own path and experimented with different types of bows. In the end, I finally settled on eastern archery and the reflexed bow. After I became the proud owner of a wonderful copy of a Turkish bow made by Adam Karpowicz, my interest was cemented for good. This bow has played a central role in the creation of this book. Additionally, it has, in a certain sense, forced me to learn to shoot using a thumb ring [....]

4 tnThis book grew out of my experiences as I learned to shoot this unique bow using an archer's thumb ring. I gathered essential theoretical knowledge by reading available sources and through the exchange of experiences with such wonderful Turkish archers as Murat Ozveri and Michal Sodja and with my friend Jarek Bełza, who is a wealth of archery knowledge, as well as with many others. My correspondence with Adam Karpowicz was an invaluable source of information [....]
My main source of information was medieval archery texts written in Arabic and translated into English [....]
The techniques described in the book probably originate from Persia. The discovery and development of many of them is attributed to the leaders of the Sassanid dynasty[....]







Adam Karpowicz

"Most archers today are familiar with bows made of synthetic materials and modern shooting methods which commonly employ sighting devices and mechanical string releases. While some have heard of drawing the string with three fingers, few are aware that Eastern methods were also used in the past. Among these methods, the best known was shooting with a ring; the so-called thumbring, allowed holding the bowstring with the thumb. This drawing method made using short Eastern bows more comfortable, and it was particularly important in horseback archery. Armies of mounted archers equipped with short reflexed bows terrorized the world at the time conquering half of Europe and most of Asia. The arrows of Turkish archers trained in flight shooting reached distances of over 800 m.

Interest in the traditional archery of the East has increased steadily over the last few years. There are many websites and interest groups as well as horseback archery clubs. Many types of reflexed bows can be purchased, including those made in the traditional manner. Although many books have been published on this topic, we still do not know much about ancient shooting methods, and new owners of reflexed bows often do not know how to start. Adam Swoboda's book fills this gap very well.

Very few traditional archers possess Swoboda's qualifications in this unusual field.The author not only found original sources, he also interpreted them in a way that is accessible to modern readers. This was an extremely difficult task which required a thorough understanding of equipment, as well as an in-depth knowledge of archery based on many years of practice.

The reader will discover not only detailed and comprehensive descriptions of traditional reflexed bows, the positions of the archer while shooting, the grasp of the bow and methods of release, but also systems for aiming, which is often the most difficult skill for the archer to master. Even injuries that can be sustained from shooting are explained clearly and logically on the basis of original sources.

As a veteran user of the thumb ring, I have no doubts the book by Adam Swoboda, recommended for beginners and experienced Eastern archers alike, will become an essential addition to the archer's library and will contribute to the popularization of this fascinating sport."

"A.Karpowicz/Adam Karpowicz – a world class expert on the structure and the properties of traditional composite bows, particularly those of Turkey and the Middle East. He has constructed and tested many exact replicas of historical bows, made entirely of natural materials and has helped to teach new bowyers, also in Turkey, to revive the archery tradition. He wrote a book "Ottoman Turkish bows, manufacture and design" published in 2008 and many articles on the composite bows. He is a long standing user of the thumb ring and an expert in the old methods of shooting.


 Jarosław Bełza

"This is a unique book. Adam has done a great job in gathering together and presenting systematically all the available historical materials. An additional advantage of this book is the fact that Adam is an archer and has tested personally all of the techniques described. I have no idea how he has managed to present such a vast number of details so accessibly, but he has.

Archers who are interested in shooting with a thumb ring will find this book an invaluable source of information. It is, in fact, a ready textbook from which one can choose one's own optimal technique.

The book also presents the entire richness of Eastern archery, while also ensuring that these achievements will not be lost to history."

Jarosław Bełza- is well known all over the world as the maker of arrowheads, following the old designs and blacksmithing techniques He is a long-standing sports archer, an expert on bows and crossbows and a consultant involved in many research projects on archery. He also authored a ground-breaking study on the penetration of arrows and bolts through armour.

Bede Dwyer

This review concerns a new book by Adam Swoboda about a particular branch of archery which is made clear by its title, The Art of Shooting a Short Reflexed Bow with a Thumb Ring 1. This title might seem verbose, but it must be understood that thumb rings were used to shoot other than short reflexed bows 2 and short reflexed bows were sometimes shot using two fingers rather than the thumb. Using the information supplied in such books as Arab Archery 3, Saracen Archery 4, and Turkish Archery and the Composite Bow 5, he has set out to synthesise a modern technical manual for shooting in this traditional manner for the modern archer. Unlike his sources, his book is fully illustrated showing postures and techniques in a way earlier authors could have only envied.[...]

Read the full review...

Bede Dwyer - was born and still lives in Sydney, Australia. He has pursued his interest in oriental archery for approximately 36 years of his adult life. In that time, he has researched the archery traditions of Turkey, Mamluk Egypt, Iran, Northern India, Mongolia, China and Korea. Rather than just compile information from old books, he has actively tested equipment and techniques. He makes archers' rings, arrows, quivers and bow cases. He was the first person to shoot an arrow guide of the style of a Persian nāvak (Arabic majrā) in the American Flight Archery Tournament at Bonneville Flats in Utah. He also uses the Ottoman siper overdraw in flight shooting and briefly held a world distance record for shooting a hunting arrow with a traditional composite bow.[...] Read more...


I strongly endorse Adam Swoboda's book for anybody who would like to learn to shoot with a thumb ring. There has never been any comprehensive and so complete work done in modern language to date that would help us in understanding of shooting short, reflexed composite bows of Asian origin with the use of thumb draw. This work is as important, in my opinion, as the work of Klopsteg, Elmer and Karpowicz among others. I strongly recommend this work to anybody, who is inclined to learn this technique of shooting traditional bow.


Lukas Novotny - Saluki Bow Comapny

Norbert Kopczyński 

In horse archery - the sport which I practice - success depends not only on the precision of shooting, but also on quickness. Competitors able to swiftly nock an arrow gain a big advantage over the others.
Testing the methods described by Adam has inspired me and let me acquire a wider competence in this regard.
The book shows that there are several techniques which can lead to improved quickness in shooting. I believe that all archers can find among this number of techniques the one most suitable for them, the one which they will be able to master and use effectively.
Adam, I admire your courage: you were not afraid to immerse yourself into the deep current of knowledge left by our ancestors and to undertake its interpretation.


Norbert Kopczyński - one of the most important people to contribute to the increasing popularity of archery techniques using a thumb draw in Poland.
His greatest achievement in traditional archery was winning the World Championship at the mounted archery competition in Korea in 2009. Watch the movie - Norbert Kopczyński - Horseback Archer

Todd Mathis -,,

This book by Adam Swoboda is an excellent resource for everything I enjoy about archery and horse archery. [...] The photos are very clear, the book thorough and exhaustive, and the breadth of knowledge quite academic. I spent quite a bit of money on SARACEN ARCHERY by LATHAM. This book covers more, and is clearly on par with everything in that book.

I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn the art. I am reading it now, and find it is thorough and knowledgable.[...]


read more about the author at: Todd Mathis's profile page






More Reviews

I received your book way faster than expected. It's worth every penny.

I want to congratulate you for your efforts to put this fine book together.

Marcel Lazar

The books[...]I have been reading already. Great book! It covers all the important topics and more ... Thanks again.

Hauke Gipp
Asgaard Archery vof

[...] Having read the book for the first time ( after recovering my composure today, I am going to read it for a second time and probably it will not be the last) I can state with a clear conscience that Adam has performed a gigantic work creating this compendium of thumb ring shooting. The book is useful not only for novices, but also for those like me who have been sweating over a thumb ring for years and THEORETICALLY successfully. I write 'theoretically', because the number of mistakes I make, and can identify and correct thanks to this work,cause me to realise my imperfections. Oh, there will be a lot to work on ...
A book which is certainly worth recommending!


 The book is beautifully produced( the paper,the pictures and the binding ) the chapter layout is very good,the references and footnotes to other parts of the text make information easy to find.I do not want to make any pronouncements about the text as I have too little knowledge of the subject and I am only learning.I will probably not use eastern techniques to shoot in the future but, nevertheless, I regard the book as a masterpiece.

Kasper Hood

 I spent the last two evenings holding Adam's book in one hand and a tighten bow in the other. I tried out some grasps, I learned to count in Arabic and I wondered whether to start shooting with a thumb ring. Yes, yes. I do not shoot with a thumb ring [....] therefore I had to read some fragments several times so that I could eventually achieve some blissful understanding.Of course, it does not mean that the text is heavy to read. Quite the opposite. All the instructions are well - illustrated with photographs,the language is concise and matter-of-fact. Even very complex positions are clearly presented (though I would recommend reading the book and holding a bow in your hand so that you can verify every instruction). Adam floods us with knowledge and this is certainly not a book to be read once and never picked up again. The amount of hints, advice, instructions, historical news and anecdotes is enormous.It is a very professional work which pays a lot of attention to details[.....]

Daniel Mizieliński

 It is a very interesting book which can certainly help to discover your own technique of shooting.It accurately describes several archery stances,bow grasping techniques,clenching,anchoring points and all of this in the context of different body types ( up until now I had not realised that it was of such great significance).A particularly interesting chapter for me was the one devoted to the construction and mechanics of a thumb ring.It made me understand why the string damages my index finger and why my handmade thumb ring causes calluses.


 I will allow myself a few words.......Being over 40 years old I would like to try archery.I am therefore a complete layman in this subject and I am not able to write anything about the richness of the comments and hints contained in your book.I must, however,respectfully express my regard for another reason.I was brought up to respect books in general.Taking up your book, I can see an interesting hard cover,that the sewn pages are made of good quality paper,the printing is interesting and the photographs are well-chosen. Finally, something which evokes my great admiration: a fantastic methodology - teaching 'step by step' on the subject.

I owe you a deep debt of gratitude.

Robert Pawełczak

 "I started to practise the art of shooting with an eastern reflexed bow using a thumb ring 5 years ago.We can also measure this period differently by using a phrase known to all novice archers – 7 thumb rings ago.After reading Adam Swoboda's book, I can state with certainty that everything is still ahead of me.For the last week, in the evenings, I have been practising the techniques described by Adam including thumb rings,etc.It turned out that I do not need an arrow rest,I wonder which bow grasp is better the 13 or maybe the 30..... and if 69 is better whether it is straight or obligue!It is wonderful that such a professional book on traditional archery has been published in Poland.It is also fantastic that it has been written by someone who has explored the arcana of this forgotten art.Thanks to this, we can feel the tension of history under our thumb.

In Adam's book, there are not only hints which explain what and how,but also what is more important - the explanation why.The theme is based on ancient texts and in combination with the author's experience it constitutes a great source of knowledge about shooting techniques, reflexed bows, arrows and finally about the injuries caused by mistakes.
The book's layout, excellent paper, typesetting and great photographs add zest to a harmonious whole! It is a splendid 'manual' both for novices of eastern archery, as well as for experienced archers and also for those who are just on the point of stepping out on to this winding bow path which produces effects in the form of arrows hitting the target."
Thank you Adam!

Adam Radziun

 Having read the book,I must admit that Adam has created an impressive work.I think that this book will help all beginners ( and not only them) to understand the mechanics of the shot and choose a suitable technique and a thumb ring.I recommend it.

Piotr Gonet – the Chairman of the Polish Association of Traditional Archery

 Thank you very much.I cannot stop reading the book which contains extremely accurate and thorough advice:I can see that there is a super long way ahead of me,[.....]

Kamil Konieczny

 [...]The book is fantastically produced!I could not have expected that, in addition to this, it ranks as a great specialised reference work:-).... and it is so alluring[...]


 The book which was sent to me by post took me by surprise. I had seen the table of contents earlier, I had also received the scans of several pages, but it exceeded all my expectations. I was holding a wonderfully published compendium of bow shooting with the aid of a thumb ring. In the book, one can see not only the impressive effort put into gathering the material but also the artistic soul of the author.The photographs taken by Danuta (Adam's charming wife) complement the whole. The material included in the publication contains hundreds of years of notes on how to use a thumb ring, derived from various sources. What I have read and seen in an illustrated form refers to the material I had managed to find earlier only in a trimmed variant somewhere on the Internet [....].Adam Swoboda's book is a pearl in my collection of archery books being the only one which apart from its immense knowledge fulfils my expectations of beauty

Adam,thank you for this work from which one can gain so much knowledge and delight the eyes with such unique graphics and printing.

Adam Cymkiewicz

 An excellent book for both those who want to start learning to shoot with the aid of a thumb ring as well as for advanced archers.

As a practising 'thumb ringer' I have been struggling with this technique for about 5 years and thus I thought that I knew what it was all about.Now, it turns out how little I really know and how poor my shooting skills are....
Theoretically I am good and I have good results but thanks to this book I know what to pay attention to and how to correct my technical errors.I also understand the reasons for my injuries which from time to time occur. Most importantly,for future tournaments, the book explains distinctively and clearly the three aiming techniques.Maybe, in the end, I will learn how to shoot at the target using a thumb ring.
I highly recommend the book!!!!

Grzegorz Bilecki