Friday, August 19, 2011

The Gory Details

There's really no way round the gory details when teaching sword play. I forget this until new students come to class and I start to talk about the 'whys'.
So much of why you do what you do, especially the way you hold the weapon and the way it moves in space comes down to blade and handle design and how that 'interacts' with human anatomy.
The targets that you aim for, the cut angles, the blade angles, the retraction and recycle possibilities all involve explanations of blood, bone and guts, and this leads seamlessly to the reasons for evasion, body angle, and footwork (which by this point have become self evident to all that are paying attention .....) and thus the reason you do what you do.
I guess it's a good test of character to see how those new to the idea take in all the squishy information ...


Rory said...

Then, of course, there are the smells and the screams. Hard to describe, never forgotten.

Maija said...

The reality department is all yours, Rory ...
Thankfully sounds and smells do not play such a big role in the 'whys' of HOW you duel .. actually I'm trying now to think of how they might ... Perhaps in the 'trying as hard as you can not to be there in the first place if at all possible' department? :-)

Jim said...

If you don't teach the realities of violence -- whether dueling or street (they are different!) -- then you're teaching dance.

I know I've scared a student or two. Oh well. They can go somewhere that'll cater to their fantasies.

Maija said...

'Realities of violence' is a big term, and are I think limited in what I teach.
I think there is cross over into a bigger picture in that you are dealing with the anatomy, movement and psychology of people, but sword dueling is a small, small, and rather esoteric segment of the whole. I try not to extrapolate past what is relevant and pertinent to what I do, but it is still important to explain for the 'why' to make sense.
An example would be why the #3 strike in our system hits below the ribs and above the hip. The targeting is important because of the nature of the weapon, bones and guts.
What I do however is still removed from the actual 'realities' of dealing with real life violence. Not that the target would make any less sense, just that the probability of being in a duel, or even just finding yourself in a position to use a sword is .... small, shall we say, so all the other realities like the willingness to actually do it, what that means to you and your family's future, why you are there etc etc is a whole other subject.