Trying my hand at a few new disciplines.
Been working out with Scott to learn about Shaolin sword. Still continuing Toyama Ryu with Sensei MikeE, and now am 4 lessons into foil fencing again after a break of over 30 years ....
My foil teacher is a very elegant gentleman with graying temples and of indeterminate age. He has been fencing for almost as long as I've been alive.
Luckily for me he teaches privates, so it's just me and him for about 45 mins every week ... the lessons are meant to be half and hour but I always arrive early and it's easy to get him to talk about fencing methodology, foil design, the changes he's seen over the years etc, which is really interesting.
It very fun and quite difficult. The delicate finger and wrist manipulations required of foil are hard to regain, but the way the stepping is done, classically, is absolutely counter intuitive to me now.
Foil fencers are taught to roll off the front heel when retreating for instance, and apparently do not slide their feet going forwards or back, 2 things that are deeply ingrained in my body from my other arts.
The stance is also pretty square and quite upright - I am used to leaning, and interestingly the reason for the upright position and the heel roll is exactly the same as the reason that in my style of Eskrima you keep the weight on the ball of the foot and use the upper body lean ..... so you can disguise range and open up distance quickly.
Part of me really wants to add some context to this new and different information, so I can get some empirical evidence of why one way may be better than another ... but I guess I'm going to have to be patient and not be too obnoxious about it .... yet. But the question remains, without evidence, how hard do I work at changing something I know works quite well in other contexts?
Thing is, I understand that the context is different. After all, it's a tip only weapon, with only the upper body as target, straight line only, sport.
I can see that all these factors play into why the blade is manipulated as it is, and the positioning of the sword makes complete sense too ..... But the stepping and body positioning? Can't say I can see the reasoning yet, and probably won't until I get hit alot and find out by myself the reason why it is taught that way.
Sometimes trying to keep a balance between politeness and a questioning mind is a hard thing .....