I guess I was going to post this earlier ... then forgot ...
I'm teaching tomorrow, at Soja Martial Arts in Oakland, 3pm to 6pm ... and a bit over if folks want to keep flowing.
Not sure exactly which direction we will go in, though I do know we will start with the 'pendulum' practice as it is the foundation upon which everything else mounts. Sonny emphasized it's importance from the beginning, and I have known it in an intuitive sense for a long time, yet it was brought home to me very clearly yesterday how it makes sense of material much faster that drills done with no movement .... which makes little sense at all.
I'm in process of writing this work book on dueling, and how to learn all the elements you need to put together for successful faking, baiting and freezing your opponent. It turns out you have to know many things before you can be successful at it, one of which is understanding timing.
This week in class I was running through a series of drills I've put together to teach timing, starting with some blade manipulation and cuts on a static target, then moving on to a swinging target and then partner practice.
As it turns out, the manipulations don't make sense standing still, and are in fact harder to do with a non moving target - they are there because of the movement, not separate from it, and it was only when I watched other people doing the drills that I realized this. When I had been doing them by my self, I had always instinctively moved a little, weight shifted and moved off line, to make the range correct ..... nothing I noticed I was doing, yet obvious when watching someone else try and fail to do the drill as I had pictured it.
A static target gives you no sense of targets appearing and disappearing, of the range changing, or of the idea of being on or off line. Add movement to the target, and much of this becomes clear.
And of course, the swing of the pendulum creates a natural metronome to practice half and third beats, cutting time, and hanging time, whether it be in the form of a swinging target or a moving partner .... something a static object just cannot do.
Time is space.