Friday, June 24, 2016

Concrete Boots

The other day, I found myself watching a martial arts video purportedly showing defensive tactics against a short sword or long knife.

I tried to tell myself that what I was watching was taken out of context, but try as I might, I could not rationalize the idiocy of what was being shown.

Everyone has had this feeling, it is the downside of the internet where everything is on show to be critiqued. And I really do try not to diss other styles or opinions. I try to be generous. I try to be understanding, and I try my utmost to avoid laughing and pointing at things I know little about. It annoys me when others do it, and it is lazy and counterproductive to the whole community.

Still, I was left with this video by a well known teacher, showing something I completely disagreed with. In fact not only disagreed with, but think is absolutely horrible advice to give anyone learning swordplay.

So, I started thinking more about why.

WHY was it bad advice?

WHY was this the best solution to the problem presented?

And it came to me - The problem ITSELF was 'wrong'.

In a static interaction, when the feet don't move, and when both players are facing off, the problem presented was actually a real one. A static target is an attacker's dream come true, and the defense shown at that point was an absolute possibility. Technically nothing was 'wrong'.

The defender then counters, but the counter only works because the attacker ALSO stands still, did not move their feet, did not angle off, did not use their other hand, and did not switch the weapon hand. So again, technically, in the situation presented, the counter worked. Add any of the changes however, and the defender would be taking a long nap in a pool of his own blood.

The whole premis was nonsense ... I had basically spent 3 minutes watching a guy standing still strike at another guy standing still, who's counter only worked because the first guy was standing still.

Sigh ..

So, what was the REAL lesson?


[There are other lessons too -
Don't think stick techniques always transfer to edged weapons.
You can learn something from anything.]

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Epee Tactics

Here's a radio piece from yesterday. Transcript also included.

My favorite part:

" I want to suck people into my motions so that they get desensitized. They don't notice when I creep distance and then finish the action. You know, in and out so that when they think, oh, he's coming in and then they jump, and no, that's the moment when I'm leaving. I want all the motions like my chest and my hips and my hand all moving independent in this sort of weird, flowing, jerking motion that, you know, is really in your face."

Nicely put Jason Pryor :-)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Brain Shift to Exit

They say that our internal dialogue is very important in how we view the world and our place in it. Language and words can be used to change the way we see things ... not necessarily how they are, but how we see them, and thus relate to them in real life.

Therefore I propose stopping using language that insists on 'stopping the fight', 'ending the duel', or 'winning the altercation'.

'Prevailing' is better, as it lends an expansiveness to the method and outcome that I like, but how about thinking of swordplay/dueling/fighting, as something even more radical? How about seeing it all as - 'Creating an Exit'?

It adds a real goal to the whole, and frames the solutions to the problem at hand (how to deal with an adversary) in a very different manner.

It flows past and through rather than stops with one, predefined ending.

It gets you to see space and time differently, both before and after potential contact ... and indeed, it's the 'after', the exit, that matters most.

Perhaps it might even lessen the human tendency to come to a mental halt within training, in range, and with nothing certain achieved?