Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kendo vs Miao Dao

Here's a great sparring clip between some Kendo practitioners and some Miao Dao folks. It points out some interesting things. (Wait through the animated, winged, fantasy warriors for the actual sparring bouts)

First I like how the participants are going pretty full on - decisive entries and engagements, some good power strikes and opportunities taken. (Don't go low, if your opponent can take high, folks! :-))
There's even blocking, tangles and body checking - Nice!

Now of course much of this is possible because the participants are wearing armor.
Fair to say that the Katana and the Miao Dao were both battlefield weapons where armor was employed, so tactically taking glancing blows in a historical context is absolutely valid, however, this sparring scenario is set up more as a one on one duel, circling instead of forward pressure, and square stances instead of shoulder first stances, more common to armored systems where the armor itself is used for defense and offense.
So here, the armor has both benefits and drawbacks.

The benefits I listed at the beginning - Armor allows for committed entries, greater risk taking and heavier, safe contact.
The drawbacks - Greater risk taking, and more 'double deaths'.
Note that as many strikes connect on exit as entry, probably more, and how disengaging is a tricky business. Both Kendo and Miao Dao guys are aware of this, succeeding some of the time, but not at others.

Getting out is a big part of the puzzle, and should not be forgotten about. Building in a loss of focus, or a feeling of everything being over, in range, is never desirable during training. Practice entries of course, but never forget you have to exit too.


BlackFox said...

Hi Maija !

Real good job : intention, involvment, timing, angles...

Do I have to say more ?

Best regards, and waiting for some news...

Aka Ma Jie Li
BlackFox Sion

Maija said...

Wanted to add an extra piece in to the equation - Battlefield techniques can bleed in to civilian usage especially if groups train together to fight as teams.
Today in Toyama Ryu class we were talking about 'Clan sword' particularly in the era of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
When fighting as a team, one member of the group can engage the target, tying up the their sword and movement, whilst an accomplice moves in for the kill. So though exiting is important if you are on your own, if you have friends ..... well, the story changes.

PS: @ Chris - Hope you guys are well! Thinking of a visit to your group late February/March ...?

Anonymous said...

Couple of small observations. Fighter 1 needed to get into his (or her - can't tell the gender from the video) 'comfort zone' (circling the sword while stepping to the left) each time before attacking. This is common to fighers at every rank who are more internally focused than goal-oriented. Fighter 1 scored more hits because he/she was higer on the priority scale (developed by Master Bruce Terrell of Wu Ying Mun Karate over 45 years ago) - more aggressive while fighter 2 was lower on the scale - more defensive. Neither fighter seems to have been trained in exitingas Maija pointed out.