Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Basics of Blade-Work.

This is the first in what will be a three-part series, spread over time, on Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Blade-Work. This article covers the basic stance, how to hold the sword, and the basic striking directions.

Chances are, when the end comes, the most common weapons, and the first ones to be re-made in the case of absolute collapse, will be some form of sword. Throughout history the sword has been used by almost all military forces in some incarnation, from the short, vicious obsidian blades of ancient Maya, to the long, graceful Scots Claymore, they’ve seen action in conflicts as recently as World War Two, with the massed Banzai charges of the Japanese Imperial Army in Theatres such as Attu.
Many of these techniques, however, can also be adapted for use with improvised weapons, such as Baseball Bats, Golf Clubs, or even sticks.

Before we explore the techniques presented in here, I should mention that this is not the be-all and end-all of blade combat. If you wish to become a proficient fighter, you should find a decent school and train hard there. What this article can do, combined with your own hard practice, is give you an edge in combat over those with no training.

The Foundation:

These techniques are routed primarily in European techniques, which I have blended with elements of Asian Styles (Ken-jutsu and Kali, mainly) to produce a simple system based on fundamental techniques. It is routed historically in texts such as Talhoffer’s Fechtbuch, The I.33 and the book of five rings, as well as the techniques laid down by the old USMC combat manual. This is then laid upon my own experience in fights in which I have resorted to improvised weapons.

The Techniques:

Raising the Blade.
Basic Stance.
The non-dominant foot is in front of the dominant, with the heels in line and the dominant foot at a right-angle to the direction of travel. The weight should be over the rear leg, with only the ball and toes of the forward foot resting on the ground.
Weight on the Rear Foot.

Movement is performed by pushing off the ground with the rear foot in the direction of travel. It is important to move the foot nearest to the direction of travel first, to prevent the legs crossing and ensure a more stable base and make sweeping more difficult.

Holding the Sword:
This style is based on the use of a European Longsword, with a well defined pommel which fits in the palm of the hand. The dominant hand sits at the top of the grip, with the index and middle fingers loosely gripping under the guard, with the thumb folded over both of them. The main grip comes from the little and ring fingers. The non-dominant hand rests under the hilt with the pommel resting in the crook of the palm.
The sword is held raised over the dominant shoulder, with the dominant elbow just below the shoulder, and the non-dominant arm covering the chest.


5 Directions of Striking

There are 6 main directions for striking. They are:-
                      -Top Right to Bottom Left (Fore-handed)
                      -Top Left to Bottom Right (Fore-handed)
                      -Bottom Right to Top Left (Fore-handed, Back Handed)
                      -Bottom Left to Top Right (Fore-Handed, Back Handed)
                      -Vertical Down
                      -Straight Thrust.
Several martial arts stress the use of a certain area of the blade for the strike, but really as long as you connect, and connect hard, it’s not massively important.

The Thrust
Blocking: Blocking should never be done edge-to-edge, as this will damage both the blade and your arms. If possible, evasion should come before blocking, as an advantageous position can be gained by moving the opponent of balance.
Blocking, if it is done, should be in the same direction of the opponents strike, drawing their blade further along it’s path, again to draw them off balance. Blocking should always be followed with a reverse strike.

No comments:

Post a Comment