The Wolf Lord of Blades Takes It In Both Hands

She was trying to sneak in low. Her blade rolled from side to side, never committing to one line or another. I watched her down the length of my blade. The weight of my sword in hand was a comfort. She darted in quickly with a low jabbing attack. I tightened up my pinky. Pushed a little with my thumb to snap my tip out a little more firmly. She was still out of measure and I knew better than to commit too early. She’d baited me once already today, and I could still feel the burning welt on my back from the slap of her blade. Better to keep my tip extended and threatening her. Maybe goad her into making a mistake of her own. With my palm up, I could hold my sword comfortably for a long time and I had a good view of what she was…

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The Wolf Lord of Blades Goes Down Under

Runs Crocodile Dundee through, takes the girl, and wonders anyone would bring a knife to a sword fight. But now I’m stepping out of my brief attempt at a Game of Thrones setting. What can you expect? It is Monday morning, after all. I’ve had coffee, but no breakfast. And I’ve been putting off this next installment for as long as possible, because it’s a perfect example of one of those annoying things that crops up in martial arts manuals from time to time. It’s the “here’s five things you can do against the uppercut” sort of article. Except that all five things look sort of the same. I’m reduced to paying careful attention to the words, which is always a spooky proposition when working from a translation. Obviously I’m going to fake it. I’m going to fake it from the best possible background I can. The Wolf Lord of…

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The Wolf Lord Of Blades Draws A Line

We’re just going to step back from the progression of the plates today. Before he starts talking about how to stick the other guy, the Wolf Lord of Blades spends a great deal of time explaining his basic principles of martial arts. Lots of great stuff. Wordy, but good. Sandwiched between the wordy bit and the neat pictures he squeezes in a little more information. The one we are going to look at today talks about choosing lines of approach to your enemy. More specifically, he talks about how you should point your sword so you don’t get stabbed. So you’ve got your sword in hand, and you start to come close to your opponent. Like most people, you feel more comfortable coming in to the inside of their guard. You want to try and figure out how to get them in the space between their sword and their chest.…

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The Wolf Lord Of Blades Takes A Shot

As a teacher, you learn a lot from blank stares. The kind of stares you get when you clearly describe a simple technique, smile at the students and look around expecting to see nods and the desire to get drilling. Instead…instead you get the blank look, the look that tells you no one got it. Not a word of what you said was understood. Or worse, you’ve demoed the technique, everyone has split into pairs, started the drill and simply stopped. They’ve just looked at their partner and thought “Hold on, he wants me to do what? That’s not going to work.” Trust me, the right response is not to stare blankly back at everyone and wonder who replaced all your brilliant students with zombies hungering for brains. You have to rewind, review what you said or demonstrated, and understand why it didn’t work. Sometimes it’s because you really don’t…

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The Wolf Lord of Blades Takes An Extra Step

Apologies for missing yesterday’s post. I spent the morning working with my brother and his excellent landscaping crew, bombing very heavy trees up a difficult series of grades. We had a heavy duty dolly built just for carry root balls, but it still took six of us to drive the first of them up the hill. As David Wu said, it was like racing artillery pieces…grinding, heavy work and not without risk. My chest today looks like I had open heart surgery, except the surgeon stopped half way through. Heading back into class was a real challenge for me after that. I put about five liters of water into me yesterday, and still woke up dehydrated today. My mental state in class was not at its finest. I managed to do the workout and two submission wrestling bouts, but that destroyed me. I used what little brain cells I had…

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The Wolf Lord of Blades Shows a Little Leg

So the Wolf Lord taught us a nice basic technique, and smidge of principle. Gain the inside line, threaten with the point, roll to palm down to maintain control if the opponent tried to get to another line. We also learned that a smart fencer won’t truck with such basic things, and will instead use your control to bait a trap for you. The Wolf Lord teaches us to use line to control and win a fight, but shows us to use cuts to counter the perfect technique. I’d invite you to try out the Wolf Lord’s first technique in sparring. In theory, the same technique should work just fine with longswords as well as rapiers. I’d be interested to hear how your experiments go. It would also be interesting to examine his first lesson from the perspective of other rapier styles. My understanding of Destreza leads to a slightly…

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