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Gammer
10-01-2013, 07:08 PM
In my story, my character is an archer and she ends up in a situation where her bow is broken by the bad guy, she's knocked to the ground and the guy is about to get the macguffin she's been protecting. So I planned on having her, in desperation, sneak behind him and strangle him with her bowstring.

Is that even possible though? Or is the string not strong enough to do any significant damage like that.

She's using a Japanese style Yumi bow if that helps at all.

Thanks in advance.

Torgo
10-01-2013, 07:31 PM
You can hang yourself with bootlaces, so I think the cord on any kind of bow is going to be sufficiently strong that you'd be able to exert enough pressure on it to kill without it snapping first. The draw weight on a yumi bow, Google alleges, is around 90lbs, which is easily enough, I'd say.

Trebor1415
10-01-2013, 08:26 PM
I'd think the string would be strong enough. The only question is if she'd be strong enough.

veinglory
10-01-2013, 08:27 PM
You may end up cutting their throat with it like a cheese wire.

MythMonger
10-01-2013, 08:32 PM
One thing to consider is the way in which the bow is broken. If it's still in one piece, attached by a portion of the wood, I'd think it'd be difficult.

If it's in two pieces that can be grasped firmly by either hand, I'd think a bowstring should do the trick.

Or maybe this advice is irrelevant because she takes the string off the bow?

Also, why not use an arrow to stab him? Not saying it's a superior way to kill someone, but it might be easier to take an arrow out of the quiver than dealing with a broken bow.

Torgo
10-01-2013, 08:39 PM
Also, why not use an arrow to stab him? Not saying it's a superior way to kill someone, but it might be easier to take an arrow out of the quiver than dealing with a broken bow.

Quite. She'd need to exert quite a lot of pressure on that garotte for long enough to do the job, while all the time the victim is trying to fight her off.

GeorgeK
10-01-2013, 09:36 PM
You may end up cutting their throat with it like a cheese wire.And that would be bad why?


One thing to consider is the way in which the bow is broken. If it's still in one piece, attached by a portion of the wood, I'd think it'd be difficult. Or the bits of bow would make very nice handles with which to wield the now garrote.




If it's in two pieces that can be grasped firmly by either hand, I'd think a bowstring should do the trick.


Also, why not use an arrow to stab him? Not saying it's a superior way to kill someone, but it might be easier to take an arrow out of the quiver than dealing with a broken bow. It takes considerable skill to do the movie thing and stab with an arrow. It's not believable...at all.


Quite. She'd need to exert quite a lot of pressure on that garotte for long enough to do the job, while all the time the victim is trying to fight her off.Far easier to garrote than to stab with an arrow

Torgo
10-01-2013, 09:53 PM
It takes considerable skill to do the movie thing and stab with an arrow. It's not believable...at all.

Far easier to garrote than to stab with an arrow

Huh! OK.

melindamusil
10-01-2013, 10:10 PM
Quite. She'd need to exert quite a lot of pressure on that garotte for long enough to do the job, while all the time the victim is trying to fight her off.

Yes and no. Assuming she starts with a good grip on the ends of the string or parts of the bow, and like the OP said, she sneaks up on him and thus has a bit of a head start, the bad guy is immediately going to be dealing with a lack of oxygen. Yes, they'll try to fight hard, at first, but they're progressively going to become weaker and weaker.

Plus, once the bad guy has a string around his neck, he's not going to be thinking about the "protected macguffin". So that guy could join in and help with restraining his hands and legs.

I'm with GeorgeK on this one:


Far easier to garrote than to stab with an arrow

veinglory
10-01-2013, 10:24 PM
And that would be bad why?

I did not say it would be bad. But it would not be the outcome OP was asking about. It would be quicker though.

melindamusil
10-01-2013, 10:32 PM
You may end up cutting their throat with it like a cheese wire.


I did not say it would be bad. But it would not be the outcome OP was asking about. It would be quicker though.

Of course, it's also possible that the bowstring will cut into the neck but only an inch or two - enough to slice an artery or cut open the trachea. Might be a bit bloodier, but it would still get the job done without needing to completely decapitate the bad guy.

King Neptune
10-02-2013, 12:06 AM
In my story, my character is an archer and she ends up in a situation where her bow is broken by the bad guy, she's knocked to the ground and the guy is about to get the macguffin she's been protecting. So I planned on having her, in desperation, sneak behind him and strangle him with her bowstring.

Is that even possible though? Or is the string not strong enough to do any significant damage like that.

She's using a Japanese style Yumi bow if that helps at all.

Thanks in advance.

A bowstring would make an excellent garotte.

Michael Davis
10-02-2013, 12:38 AM
Possible but difficult, unless your chinese bow is different from modern ones. I checked both of mine (have a crossbow and compound) and there are two issues: length and rigidity. There's enough to circle the throat but not the hands too for grabbing. Plus, on mine they're stiff waxed. She'd have to have enough to wrap around her hands too. Like I said, possible but just on the edge, unless your bow string is longer than both of mine. Another option might be to stab the bad guy with the broken limb. Know my limbs would easily impel a person if jammed down with both hands.

snafu1056
10-02-2013, 03:27 AM
Strangulation with a bowstring was a form of capital punishment among the Mongols, so it's certainly possible.

Although I'm not sure if it's practical. Ligature strangulation is very labor intensive and can take a while, especially when the target is bigger and stronger than you. A woman vs a man would probably be better off using no weapon at all. Just her bare arms and some kind of sleeper hold to try and cut off blood flow to the brain as quick as possible. You can put someone down in a few seconds that way. Using a rope would be doing it the hard way

Canotila
10-02-2013, 09:38 AM
Strangulation with a bowstring was a form of capital punishment among the Mongols, so it's certainly possible.

Although I'm not sure if it's practical. Ligature strangulation is very labor intensive and can take a while, especially when the target is bigger and stronger than you. A woman vs a man would probably be better off using no weapon at all. Just her bare arms and some kind of sleeper hold to try and cut off blood flow to the brain as quick as possible. You can put someone down in a few seconds that way. Using a rope would be doing it the hard way

As a not very big and strong woman who has some background in martial arts and sparring guys a lot bigger and stronger than me, I'd have a much better chance with a garotte than trying to wrangle some big dude into a sleeper hold. If the character has a lot of practice putting people in effective sleeper holds, that might be a better choice.

If the bow was broken totally in half, the halves could make very good handles and give her a lot of leverage to quickly tighten the string.

One thing I learned about grappling and breaking holds is most people's knee jerk reaction to having something tightened around their neck is to try and claw it away. If it's a garotte, that doesn't work so well. If they're in a hold, they're clawing at the assailant's arms. If they're skilled at breaking holds, they might get free. Also, if you put someone in a hold your only free limbs are your legs, whereas they have four available limbs to defend themselves with.

WeaselFire
10-02-2013, 10:05 PM
Garroting with a bowstring is an ancient technique that was taught in a number of societies/armies.

It's hard to "hang" or suffocate someone from the ground, especially if they are larger or stronger, and most can get free. The typical assassin move is the string around the neck, crossed, drawn tight by the hands with a knee in the back. It's actually easier to twist a neck and break it than to strangle someone. The better option was garroting, actual cutting of the flesh by the string. Which also takes strength and leverage.

When you write it, make the scene look like your heroine is in danger of losing and make her struggle desperately to complete the act and save herself. And of course, mankind. :)

Jeff

Cyia
10-02-2013, 11:09 PM
There are two ways to kill by strangulation.

Type 1 - you cut off the windpipe, and the person loses consciousness due to hypoxia. It takes a long time, and you need a good bit of force to do it. It can take upwards of 20 minutes to strangle a grown man this way, and that's with bound hands and a vertical noose using gravity and the man's own weight against him. (Look up some death row hangings and you'll see these are the ones that do what they call a "dead man's dance.")

Type 2 - restrict the carotid artery to the point that blood flow stops. This is the "sleeper hold" kind of strangulation, and you'll incapacitate your guy a lot faster.

With a bowstring, it's going to sink into the skin, meaning the guy isn't likely to have enough leverage to get his fingers under the string to get free. However, as mentioned up-thread, you're going to cut skin. Cut it in the right place and you'll slice into the carotid or jugular, and you've got a big, bloody mess on your hands.

If you go with that route, bleeding out via carotid is much faster than by jugular, and the blood is bright red vs. dark. (Good grief... the things authors learn doing research...)

melindamusil
10-02-2013, 11:52 PM
(Look up some death row hangings and you'll see these are the ones that do what they call a "dead man's dance.")

I have read that, when using hanging as a form of capital punishment, there is actually a mathematical formula to figure the appropriate length of rope to break the neck (thus a very quick death). It's based on the weight/mass of the one to be hanged, the type of rope, and a bunch of other variables. Too much rope and your criminal will be decapitated; too little, and he'll struggle for air and hang on the end of the rope until he suffocates.



(Good grief... the things authors learn doing research...)
Yea... sometimes I wonder about myself...

King Neptune
10-03-2013, 02:00 AM
I agree with Cyia, but there are some other factors to consider. If the garottee is heavily muscled, then the bowstring with not get to the carotid artery, and the treachea may not be broken, due to the amount of muscle around it. A little patience will take care of these musclebound ones also, but it will take a few minutes instead of less than a minute.

James D. Macdonald
10-03-2013, 02:06 AM
It's your story. It's possible, so you can have your heroine do it. No problem.

You can check the garrotting scenes in The Godfather Part 1, A History of Violence, or The Bank Job for visual references.

snafu1056
10-03-2013, 05:03 AM
There are also plenty of morbid/forensic type websites that explain how an actual strangulation goes down, if you want to be brutally realistic.