Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fighting Dimensions: Adding Y and Z to X

Here's a little lingo from western swordsmanship that might be useful. True edge and false edge. The edge isn't something you have to think much about when you have a sabre or katana in your hand because there's only one to talk about. With the Gim, there are two edges, so one needs to be able to clearly describe in words which of the two we're writing or talking about so others can recreate the described moves. When holding the blade, think of the true edge as the edge that faces your opponent. With a katana, the true edge is obvious. The false edge is the edge that faces you. With a katana, that's the blunt backside of the sword. In the Gim though, it's sharp and should be thought of as another possibility during the fight.

Once you have grasped the Pi and Dian in basic practice, add another dimension to your training. Instead of using the Dian and Pi from directly in front of your opposite, try adding these variations: with the Dian, attempt hitting your opponent's hand from different angles. Try sidestepping and hitting the back of the hand or the inside of the wrist. Try squatting and hitting from below or jumping and hitting from above. (I don't recomment jumping in a fight, but try it out just to see it and feel it.) For Pi, try attacking from the sides and from above and below as with the Dian, but also try cutting with the false side of the blade.

What are desirable targets?
Pi and Dian are surface attacks, using speed and the accuracy of the tip of the sword to deal damage rather than massive kinetic energy. Therefore we must look at targets that would suffer greatly from a half-inch deep cut that might be no wider than two or three inches. While the whole body could be a target, a cut to the chest or even cutting off a nose or ear would be far from debilitating for our opposite, so we would prioritize for targets that would greatly reduce our opposite's effectiveness. Fingers are a good start. In fact, any small bones such as fingers, wrists and collar bones would impair them. Toes too. Arteries? The neck and the inner thigh contain massive, vulnerable arteries. Ligaments? The inner wrist and achilles tendon would be devestating. Organs? Possibly the eye or even around the eye.

What is the appropriate distance between you and your opponent?
There are two sides to consider. You want to be as close as you can be so as to deliver your attacks in the minimum amount of time, and far enough away so that your opposite cannot hit you without some kind of telling movement. Therefore, if you and your opposite have equivalent reach, start at a distance where you opposite could not hit you with a Dian or Pi without at least taking a step to reveal their intent. When you are faster, you can start closer. If you are slower or shoter, start farther away. We're talking life and death (theoretically) so don't give your opposite an free hits.

What 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?

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