Friday, August 11, 2006

Beng: Getting In

One of the problems with striking martial arts such as boxing or swordfighting is that it is easy to get results without a lot of skill. If I walk over and punch you in the face or hit you with a chair, you'll be hurt without my demonstrating any advanced fighting ability. What's more, if I'm just really strong and tough, I can probably blunder my way over to you, taking some hurtful hits along the way if you're a good martial artist, and then knock you out with one meaty punch. Take Bob Sapp for instance. He's beaten some really excellent mixed martial arts fighters simply because his opponents could not imagine how tough and strong he was, even though he's not that great a fighter. Ernesto Hoost lost to him because he thought he could go toe to toe with the monster. Hoost is a great fighter, but just just not built like Bob.

Given that, we must learn to fight in a way that takes advantage of physical superiority when we have it, but is ready to change the game when the opponent has it.

Therefore, since we're still on basic offense, let's talk about Beng. We've covered our two long range attacks, Pi and Dian, so now we want to get a little deeper into the hostile territory around our opposite. Beng is one way we can do that. Experiment with giving your opposite's blade a good slap with the flat of your blade from as many angles as you can think of, and learn how to launch an attack from wherever your sword is after you've executed the Beng. I propose that once you get good at it, your sword should move like you're skipping a stone or bouncing a ball at your target.

What is the first target you should consider?
Clearly the most devastating targets would be the heart or brain, but to get to those targets, you must pass your opposite's guard first. If they are sensible, their guard will be between you and their brain or heart, which means you must break through that defense and possibly survive an attack going in to reach your goal. Remember what I said about "To Live"? Your goal is not to slay your enemy. It is to survive the fight in as close to one piece as possible. What you've got going for you is that their guard isn't a spiky or electrified shield. It's a hand holding a weapon. If you can hit that hand, you can force them to drop their weapon. If you can even just knock the weapon out of the way, it might open the way for you to hit that brain or heart you had on your wish list. Therefore, I think hand is the first target you should consider.

Given 1000 hours of practice to perfect one attack and no other, what would be the deadliest attack of the eight attacks?
This was kind of a trick question. Clearly Ji and Ci are the most capable of lopping off or puncturing something vitally important to your opposite. However, what if they're at least pretty good at moving and parrying? Ji and Ci are bigger moves and therefore give your opposite more time to escape. If I saw someone cutting down trees with their Ji, I'd certainly opt to get outta Dodge rather than fight them. Chou also requires you to get in deep and risk getting hit. Jiao and Ti are kind of special purpose. Jie, is a fantastic move from the defensive side because it means you could hurt them as they attack. Pi and Dian are fast and allow you to attack from relative safety. Pi might be easier to apply since it sweeps a plane instead of attacking on a line. Therefore, if you're a defensive player, Jie might be the best move for you. If you're offensive, Pi might be the best since it would allow you to strike to disarm and immobilize, giving you a clear and easy way to finish your opposite.

There is also the versatility to consider. Pi is not great for finishing your opposite, but that might not be your first choice of results. You may be able to settle things just by winging them and giving them a stern glare afterwards.

What is the most critical consideration when making your entry?

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