Monday, April 18, 2011

Your Own Personal Tree

A couple new guys started training and we've been working on the basics. We started with footwork first of course, and worked upwards through shoulder knee alignments to learning some basic cuts and blocks/parries.
I found myself saying again - 'Remember, the weapon is an extension of your body'- a phrase that has been repeated through countless generations. And it most certainly is, it has to be, because it is the only thing that stands between you and your opponent's blade.
Pardon me for being so graphic, but humans are squishy - that's why edged weapons have been so effective through much of human history as killing implements. We leak when we get cut and become dysfunctional when too much does, or something gets cut off.
Nowadays we just get to play at dueling instead of actually putting our lives on the line of course, but it is still worth remembering what the sword can do. It is sensible to avoid having your opponent's blade tip or edge touch you if at all possible, and if your sword is the only thing standing between you are your opponent's weapon, it makes sense that it should be wielded relative to it in a way that protects as much of you as possible, as much of the time as possible.

Remember back to playing tag as kids in the garden or the park, and how if you managed to get a tree between you and the tagger, you could stay on one side of it and keep them away on the other by moving round with them. That's the concept you need to do this.
In dueling, your sword is the tree, and in the same way that you have to move around the tree to keep your opponent on the opposite side, so you have to orient your body around your sword and move your feet to keep your self protected as your opponent moves (from above too... unless your sword is tree height).

The weapon is an extension of your body - not just your arm. The blade angle, cut angle, body angle, foot orientation are all connected.
As Luo Laoshi says about bagua practice: "Make the body One".
I would add for Eskrima - make the body and sword, 'One' too.


Anonymous said...

OH MY GOODNESS! What a fabulous analogy of using tree-tag and equating it to placing the weapon in the middle. I love it! I can picture it in my mind's eye and it will help immensely.

Thank you so much!

Maija said...

Cool - I'm glad it helped :-)
Of course dueling is 3D not 2D ... so oblique angles must be added ... which thankfully also helps with the hand tagging problem that holding center creates ....
If you get to play with the concept let me know how it feels.