Wednesday, July 19, 2006


You burst into the hallway, hot on the heals of the six-fingered man. Blocking your path, you see a swarthy swordsman dressed all in black leathers with a scar across one cheek and a fierce-looking sword at the ready. He raises his sword and beckons. Do you:
  1. Rush him and run him through, counting on your superior speed and training to win the match? (Turn to page 9)
  2. Wait for him to attack and defly finish him with a well-placed counter attack? (Turn to page 13)
  3. Find a new way to follow the six-fingered man? (Turn to page 22)
  4. Test your opponent, taking a moment to understand him even though the six-fingered man is putting distance between you? (Turn to page 49)
I'm going to take a brief break from describing my thoughts on deadly techniques to go on a tangent on fighting philosophy. With five blade techniques in hand, next I'm going to teach the three basic defenses before continuing with the final five advanced techniques. First, we're going to learn a new word: Duifang.
Scott Rodell writes about this word in his Tai Chi Sword book, and he describes the word as meaning "opposite." In a duel, you might have an opponent, but in Tai Chi (which subscribes to a possibly more developed sense of energy) insead of an opponent you have an opposite. The intent, motion, and energy of your opposite must be met with the perfectly matched response. I'm not going to say "harmony" because then everyone would try to be soft and squishy when duelling. The fact is, sometimes speed and power are the appropriate ways to win the day. Sometimes they're not. Hard, soft, fast, slow, bold or deceptive, use the technique that best matches the moves of your opponent and that will end the fight in your favor in the shortest amount of time with the least injury to yourself. In my opinion, that is the best use of Duifang.

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