Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Counter Intuitive

Things that feel counter intuitive (I'm sure there are more ...) -

1a) For swords with edges, holding your blade closer to you is safer than holding it away from you (distance varies depending on single or 2 handed weapon).
1b) If cornered and panicked, it's safer to pull your sword towards your center than slash about away from your body.

2) Looking at an incoming cut is safer than turning your head away from it.

3) From contact, it's often safer to close on your opponent than back out again.

4) You can reach further if you drop lower.

5) Letting go the weapon is sometimes safer than trying to keep hold of it.

6a) You can gain advantage by slowing down.
6b) Stealing the timing by slowing down or stopping can be just as effective as speeding up.

7) One of the most dangerous moments for you is when you are striking.


Jake said...

2, 3, 6, and 7 all apply to empty hand. Not sure about the others...I'd have to think about it a bit.

considerphlebas said...

1) Using a default position of pommel on center of the chest, blade pointed straight out, has yielded interestingly successful results for me. Opponents stabbing themselves on my blade, finding it difficult to attack, even though the range is minimal.

3. seen this again and again in fencing. In foil and epee, at infighting distance you have a challenge, with the weapon being ~40 inches long and having to depress the point on the opponent. Backing out almost gets you hit, stepping past is almost always safe.

but maybe then also trying to close to infighting distance on someone who is intent on keeping range will also get you tagged.

4) on my to-do list is making a picture diagram of the interaction of ranges and target from standing straight, bent knees, lunge, crouch.

6) slow attacks are also about critical points- knowing when the last possible moment to react is. feinting.

Jim said...

1b and 5 also apply in spirit to the empty hand.

If cornered -- pull in and center rather than flail wildly.

Dropping an attack when it's been stopped, or simply escaping from an attack without countering, can be safer than going into danger/continuing the attack without good position and strategy.

Jake said...


I can see that...I hadn't thought about stopping the attack as being equivalent to dropping the blade.

Maija said...

@Jim & Jake - I was also thinking of joint locks, say, when you stop fixating on the part you can't move, and use all the parts you can.
@cp - Slowing dramatically or stopping can also have a weird psychological effect - one monkey sees the other freeze for a split second and copies - not sure of what has changed ... the freeze you create in them is a great opening if you can make it happen.

Anonymous said...

And the deadliest mistake - caring for your life.

Josh Kruschke said...

@ Mac

Caring or worrying?

You have go care at some level or why bother defending yourself?

Worrying to the point of hesitation or second guessing yourself is another matter.

Me being nitpicky,

Jake said...


Yeah, duh. This is what I get for spending a lot of time focusing on hitting people :-).

And yeah, changing the tempo or pausing unexpectedly can work wonders.