Friday, July 20, 2012

Now You See It ....

If you are playing a game where feinting and baiting play a key part, you have to be adept at choosing when you are seen and when you are not.
Both feinting and baiting involve being seen - to create a reaction in the opponent. You can't fluff that.
You may be being sneaky and playing tricks, but you still need to show and express something that is visible to your opponent's eyes for your ploy to work.
Depending on their skill level, the extent of this visibility can vary, but being stealthy during your feint or bait makes no sense at all - It's gotta be seen to be believed!
The ACTUAL hit, of course, can be as sneaky and stealthy as you like .. though if you opponent is in a disadvantageous position, even this is not important.

The 'being visible' part, is what makes feinting and baiting an advanced skill set. Not only do you have to understand how different people react to movement - one person's threat may appear unimportant to another, but when you are visible, you are also in danger. You have made your move, and your intent is (seemingly) out in the open. This might cause your defensive line to open, and you are definitely right at the edge of the range, more likely in range with some part of your body .... and you might have miscalculated.

Most importantly, you might not have the ability to see if your opponent has fallen for your subterfuge in the split second you have to make the decision on choosing your next move .... If they have fallen for it, then X might be the right next move, but if they have not, then Y or Z might be the only options that get you out safely. It bears noting that the fake/feint/bait itself might also be the actual hit if things go really well ... and should not be forgotten.

In essence you need to have at least 2 options, better 3, at your disposal depending on the success of your feint/bait, and all must be on line, and possible, at the critical moment.
If you always play as though the fake has worked, without seeing if it really has, you may occasionally succeed, but you will just as often not, and get yourself tagged in the process.
So you have to practice, and honestly practice sucks because the failure rate is so high until your eyes/brain/body start to comprehend what's going on. But the key points are:
Be seen ...
Watch ...
Choose your move.


Scott said...

That's really interesting. For me working without blades, fain and bait are often the same thing, and sometime the same as an attack. The 2 or 3 options I have are more or less contingencies. Which contingency I "choose" is usually dictated by what works best in this situation. What works best is known by my body from training, not chosen. The contingencies are of three categories, evade, challenge, and take a better position. Evade happens because I actually can get completely away safely, or because the other two would fail. Challenge happens when I'm in a monkey dance by choice. Taking a better position sometimes has multiple options but usually one just feels better (usually because it has been trained a lot and because it will disorient the opponent).
Also I would think that in a duel one would want the opponent to see and know that they have been cut. Otherwise they might keep on fighting even with a lethal wound.

Jake said...

Nice post.

One of the things I've noticed that intermediate students in our school to tend to have a really hard time with is the idea of feinting or faking. I think it's the result of having spent a lot of time trying to take telegraphs out of the fundamentals, and then suddenly being told to put them back in.

Maija said...

@Scott - The difference between a feint and a bait in my mind is that a feint shows a potential threat TO the opponent - something they need to block or avoid, and a bait shows a potential target for THEM to hit, or a fake 'mistake' they think they can use to their advantage.

'Seeing that they have been cut' is certainly a plus, though you can always point it our verbally too if they have not noticed ....

@Jake - I think that's very true. I can of course see why direct attacks are taught first, and the need not to telegraph ... but in my experience, they only work if the opponent has lost focus or they have made an error (making that happen on purpose is part of the game). If you are bigger and stronger, the opponents error can be very small, perhaps non existent, as they can often power through a defense, but for smaller folks, it has been my experience that the first thing you do very rarely comes off, but the second thing might ... or maybe the third (usually no more), if the chain is smooth enough.
I was sparring my fencing coach the other day. He was pretty much working from defense and letting me work on creating offensive opportunities, I noticed that it was pretty much only ever the third, or sometimes 4th part of the chain of events that worked. A 1 count attack never worked, neither did a 2 count.
It takes alot of mental focus along with body and weapon control to have a 4 part chain at your fingertips ...
I would add however, that this was because he was really giving me nothing to work from in the area of baiting. If he had been attacking also, there would have been more opportunities ... yet another counter intuitive thing to get one's head around :-)