What is (in my opinion) the 3rd most valuable and difficult skill to achieve in sword fighting?
How do you differentiate between a well-trained martial artist, and a normal person who simply picks up a sword to fight?
I hope this video can help to address some of that. Transcript below.
What I regard as the 3rd most difficult and valuable skill a martial artist can possess, is the ability to make a full step in the swiftest and most efficient manner.
When a sword fight begins, both swordsmen are standing at, what I'd refer to as, "far distance". Neither can reach or hit the other one. They must make a full step in order to do so.
But seldom will people do that, because making a full step takes too long, and gives your opponent plenty of time to react.
So what most people will do is, they will inch closer and closer to each other, until what I'd refer to as "near distance". At this distance, they are able to reach or hit the other person, either without any footwork, or just by a little shifting only.
If you go YouTube and watch sword sparring practice videos, you'll realize that this is true. Most people choose to attack from "near distance" because they know that their opponent will have lesser time to react.
But what if you're able to attack at the same speed (as if you're at "near distance"), EVEN THOUGH you're at "far distance"? This is not something which any normal person can achieve without training.
In the above sparring match, I was using a sparring Miao Dao (Long Saber), which weighs around 1.5 kg, the same weight as a real sword. At this "far distance", if nobody makes any step, we won't be able to reach or hit each other.
If my opponent is less skilled than me, he won't be able to hit me at all. Because he will take a long time to reach me from this "far distance". Any attack or move that he initiates at this distance, will give me enough time to react easily.
On the other hand, because I possess the skill to make a full step forward swiftly and efficiently, I am able to initiate an attack from "far distance" while still NOT giving him enough time to react. My attack speed is as if I'm attacking from "near distance".
This is a very valuable skill to have, it'll almost be like bringing a gun to a sword fight. Because your opponent cannot reach/hit you, but yet you can!
In my years of martial arts training, I have found that this is the 3rd most difficult skill to achieve. And you can't achieve this by just simply exerting more force to step faster. In fact, the secret to achieving this sort of footwork is to practice it slowly, like "old people's Taiji practice".
Thank you for your support towards ChineseLongsword.com for the past 8 years, and I hope you've enjoyed the video (above)!
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