The Order Garrison
Training my Peripheral Vision
I notice when people bunch up. It's like they are coiling a spring. I'm not looking at any one part of their body usually. Some times I do for tells, but mostly I keep a relaxed focus so I get a general sense of everything they are doing.
Now on to the next part. Since the 2nd principle is true by default if the 3rd principle is true, I am going to combine the proofs of principles 2 and 3. The 2nd and 3rd underlying principles are:
2) While better than nothing, looking directly at - or focusing on - an opponent's sword isn't the best way to know where the sword is going to be.
3) Understanding the positioning and movement of an opponent's body is a far more effective way of knowing which way their sword will tend to go (or even be possible of going).
3a) I will start off with an extreme example that would be totally obvious (even if the person was focusing on the opponent's sword), because it gives a very clear presentation of the general idea... Imagine that just as you and your opponent get into close range (with both of you in a basic fighting stance with swords in your front hands), somebody calls a hold, so that you both freeze. The next thing you know, somebody comes and holds your opponent's sword to ensure that it stays in the same place, while at the same time the person in charge has your opponent take a step forward with his back foot so that his sword is now in his back hand. This means that even though the sword is in the same place, once the hold is called off you will be confronted with an opponent whose off hand is now right next to your sword (making it easier for him to block/deflect your sword) and whose sword is now within easy range of you, especially with one simple sweep step 🙂 Thus we have demonstrated that even with the sword in the same physical place, it can be part of two very different situations - based on the position of the opponent and how they are holding their sword.
3b) The next example is similar, but not so obvious. It consists of your opponent being in a basic fighting stance and then moving their back foot ten inches closer (well, it doesn't have to be exactly ten inches, just closer) to their lead foot. Even though this doesn't change the position of their blade, they now have a ten inch longer reach. And if you are focusing on your opponent's sword, you can easily miss that short step, especially because it can be partially blocked from sight by the front leg (and even more especially if they are moving their sword around in a pretense of attacking or blocking).
3c) The final example that I will give here is much more subtle and difficult to detect during a fight. It involves the positioning of your opponent's wrist while they execute block #2. If their knuckles are facing towards themselves during the block, then you are in luck. This is because any of their attempts to attack will require at least a wrist rotation of 180 degrees. Because they cannot physically flick their wrist up, they would have to rotate it around for a counter attack. On the other hand, if their knuckles are facing you during the block, then they are in a more favorable position to counter attack. All they have to do is rotate their wrist 90 degrees and you could be dead... Is that a big difference? Not necessarily. Could it be a significant difference? Yes. And this is a situation which would probably require you to be specifically looking at your opponent's hand in order to notice the positioning of their knuckles. It is a detail that you would probably miss if you were focusing on your opponent's blade...
I believe that these three examples clearly prove the validity of the second and third underlying principles.
Tsyng, dissertation dude. There is so much good stuff in there that I have to keep reading it over and over to get it all.
I'm wondering how when a person does a block 2 their knuckles would face themselves? Did you mean a 1?
Like I told you last night Tsyng, this analysis is awesome! I'm excited to think about what questions could be quickly asked to analyze an opponent even if you've never fought before.
I've done a similar process with my apprentices with these three questions:
- Who's in control?
- What's their stance?
- What's your target?
While great, in my opinion, I'm sure that this process of asking questions to notice details about our opponents could be expanded upon. I'm going to try and brainstorm additional questions that are quick to ask and find an answer to.
I can not imagine doing a block 2 with my palm out. I think I'd drop my sword. 1 can go either way.
Those three questions Kane asks are one of the first things he taught me to look for in a fight. I also ask my self:
What is possible?
What is likely?