Monday, June 26, 2006

Back from Hadley

This weekend's trip to Hadley was as much of a success as last week's ambitious attempt to learn the whole Yang form in a day was a failure. It turns out even that attempting to learn the whole Yang form last weekend was invaluable, since it allowed us to have a common language with all of the Tai Chi people in Hadley when discussing moves. We practiced a group of fundamental moves really hard with many different partners, we got to ask a lot of questions that affirmed that we were on solid ground in our development, and at the end I got to duel with a couple of the students who study with Scott Rodell around Washington.

I have a particular guard that I use when fighting with gim. It is my base position, from which I extend all of my moves and to which I return. I keep my non-sword hand in what is called the "sword fingers" or "sword talisman" shape and keep my fingers close to or touching my wrist. I use this guard for four reasons.
  1. It is a great tool for maintaining structure--by always returning to this guard, I am pretty much guaranteed that my non-sword hand isn't flopping around in some strange place.
  2. In its position in front of my body, on center and just behind my sword hand, it is perfectly placed to go into action should I need it for a combined action. For example, I could parry an attack then grab or check the opponent's sword hand as I continue in with a counterattack, preventing the opponent from parrying with their sword.
  3. If I were still holding my scabbard in my lower hand, it would be well placed to use as a parrying device along my forearm much like a tonfa.
  4. If my sword hand gets tired during a fight, I can put my extended fingers on the pommel of my sword to increase my point control.
The value of this guard became apparent as I was duelling at the end of the day because I could see the other students register my guard and mimic it as they were fighting me. It was satisfying validation for a self-taught fencer!

No comments: