There's a set of Chinese health exercises called the '8 Brocades', or more accurately, 'The 8 Pieces of the Brocade'. 8 of course, is a most auspicious number, and the basic idea is that the weaving together of these 8 exercises creates a whole - the piece of brocade in question.
I'm not sure whether the attributes that come together to make a skilled duelist are going to tie together so tidily, but here are the 'fields of inquiry' that I've organized in my mind when I teach.
Weave the parts together, and perhaps you'll have something worth wearing :-)
Accuracy - Targeting and technique (Both weapon dependent)
Understanding Space - Geometry, range (many), safety, danger, opportunity.
Understanding Rhythm - Natural rhythms, blending, breaking, lengthening, shortening, smooth and sudden.
Understanding Physiology - Possibilities, agility, power of weight/gravity, torque and structure.
Understanding Psychology - Human tendencies, freezing, aggression, taunting, baiting, weakness, strength.
Lying and Acting - Deception, illusions, gifts, set ups and traps.
Understanding Weapons' Design - Movement through space, recycle, qualities, features and flaws.
Understanding Relationship - Following, leading, reading and 'writing', time/space.
Understanding Asymmetries - size, height, angle, personality, skills, weapon(s), numbers.
The simple act of blocking, say, can contain many, if not all, of these elements, whereas a totally random flow can be a vehicle for focusing in on only one.
Ultimately everything is interrelated to form the whole, and my job as a teacher is to create meaningful ways to see them all.
Feel free to add if I missed something
hmm. environment. One of the things I've wanted to play more with, use of weapons in constrained/unusual circumstances- on stairs, narrow spaces, etc.
and maybe in the psychology section: pattern and experience. How one encounter informs the next, sparring practice turns into a history, and it all transforms into what you expect the opponent to do (and what they expect from you).
Interesting to see how people break things down. Cool stuff.
@considerphlebas - I guess I see environment as fitting into 'understanding space' ... though 'terrain' might be an element to add, as footing does effect mobility, power and weapon manipulation. Not sure whether it's a basic field of inquiry though ... as having an understanding of physiology, weapons recycle, space and asymmetries would hopefully create the adaption needed for unusual circumstances ...
As far as patterns and experience, I see them as human tendency. They also link to personalities, and deception.
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