This week we worked on some 'defensive' stuff in class .. I hesitate to say 'defensive' as defense and offense can often be indistinguishable, but defensive in the sense of staying protected whilst looking for or creating openings.
We call these flows '2nd flow' because they start from blade contact with the checking hand coming into play if necessary because of the closer range.
We worked with the emphasis on slicing (rather than cutting/chopping or poking) and looking at the opportunities such contact gives. The most obvious one of course is indexing, because the moment you make contact with your opponent's blade, you know where the rest of their body is.
One particular 2nd flow is called 'Sticky Blade'. This flow builds in sensitivity to heavy contact, (to disengage) and lost contact/drop offs, (that open the center line) and works on positioning and relative angles depending on which side of the center line you want to play. It also works on extending to insert, and receiving, to 'flush block' against your body, as baits and draws.
The focus is on adding this 'blade pendulum' to the weight shift and stepping without losing contact with the opponent's blade.
With practice you can keep this contact whilst your opponent tries to open the center line by causing an error, drops off, or disengages for the hit.
What you are start to feel after a while is a 3 dimensional defensive ball - the picture I get in my head is of a rattan Sipa ball - which you are inside of, rather than a 2 dimensional wall. An arc meeting a straight line has a very different effect than 2 straight lines meeting - Bagua is based on this idea. Works very well with swords too.