Sunday, March 6, 2016

Keep Out/Come In

 Questions about 'opening the door' came up recently, so here it is in a nutshell:

One of the counter intuitive things you have to learn in sword play is letting your guard down. I mean literally, taking your sword off the defensive line, removing the cover that it gives you, in fact removing it completely from the space between your opponent and yourself.

This is hard to do because we like to protect ourselves from things that are scary/dangerous by building a barrier, a fence (as in de-fence) no less, with our arms or weapon(s) to keep the threat at bay. It's very natural and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it .... unless ... it's the more dangerous option ...

Here's the logic

If we accept that change creates opportunity, and that a holding pattern only gets more and more dangerous as the moments tick by, you can't stay there.

The reason it gets more dangerous is that when you do nothing, you are in fact waiting and you have no idea what is going to happen next, or when. So the temptation to take a risk grows, possibly because we have an innate understanding that waiting is bad, tactics go out of the window, and the fastest person tends to get the first hit .. though often eats one in return due to the risk they too are taking.

Neither party is controlling the space, the time, or the action, so bad things happen.

This is when you have 2 options - You use your opponent's fence as your bridge to close the distance and bring the live hand into play, or, if this does not work, drop your guard and invite the opponent to come to you (resulting in the same change in range).

And the range needs to change. Standing at static range on the center line is the most dangerous place to be.


considerphlebas said...

I've tried explain the relation between distance and guard position before and ran into the following conversation:

"It is obviously to your advantage to give your opponent the least lead time to assess your guard. And so, your guard position must firm up the closer you are, but out of distance, you are free to move your blade freely to establish whatever psychological frame you want. The closer you get to the last possible moment before making any defensive action, the more effective it would be."
"lol why would you wait until the enemy is moving into your city to build walls"
"That is obviously well past the last possible moment. The better analogy is to say that if your opponent's advance scouts have determined that you have no defenses, but you can construct a solid defense before the main opposing force arrives, you are much better off."

Exaggerated, but not much. I've long opposed the concept of a lone, best guard position. but also have opposed the idea of random movement. You have an opportunity to give the opponent information? The best is to give them deliberate misinformation, rather than random information or no information or why would you ever give them actual information.

Maija said...

Agreed :-)