Monday, August 27, 2012

Position Before ......

Apparently there are some out there that find footwork boring ...
Surely this is not so!
I can understand how, to some, patterns of movement out of context might seem staid and unnecessary to spend time on - Sonny certainly evolved from teaching preset patterns - but if you are learning a weapon art, especially one using edged weapons, you had better learn to move efficiently and surefootedly. If not, not only will you be eating hits, you will be unable to persuade the person doing the hitting, that they would be better served defending themselves than attacking you.
Of course there is always the option to run around like a rabbit with no purpose, or stand there like a deer caught in the headlights, or bullishly plant the feet to hold ground .... but none of these tend to work out very well.

I will admit to not being a fan of complicated footwork patterns and diagrams for gaining dueling skills, because without an opponent giving you a REASON to move, it all gets lost when things get exciting. I really think you have to learn with another person, within the context of the play, to make it accessible at all times.

However ......  I do think you need to isolate some important stuff, because without the ability to 100% weight shift, understand neutral points/moments within a step (where it is easy to change direction), and without the ability to pivot, switch feet, and use toe and heel pointing to gain balance and accelerate motion off the line (to mention a few), much of what you do with your sword is moot .... because you will more than likely be 'dead'.
The pointy metal object held in the hand might be considered to be the 'business end' in many peoples' eyes ... but it's really just the delivery tool. What lies behind it, all the way from the inner workings of the mind down through to the feet, plays a vastly greater role in ultimate success or failure. (At the very highest levels - more mind, less feet.)

If you do not have the accuracy and precision to put your body where it needs to be, and have multiple options on where it can go next ... it's all a bit pointless.


Jake said...

Back in my SCA Fencing days, I had a coach (now a very good friend) who used to say that fencing was "90% mental, 5% footwork, and %5 other stuff".

It seems to apply to empty handed striking as well. When my footwork is on, I do great. When it's not, everything else suffers.

Anonymous said...

The feet propel, the hips power and position, the shoulders deliver and the hands effect.