Strong or sharp?

I dearly love to punch people in the head, but not as much as I like to kick them in the thigh. Alright…I lie a little. I like punching people in the body more than the head, but that’s not as “punchy” as an opening line, so there. It’s a lovely little pleasure to generate a good solid rotation, hit someone just right, and watch them just up and fly away. Doesn’t happen too often. Seems that people don’t like me getting that close to them when we box. Meanies. Stabbing someone with a sword is a different kind of fun. There is a real satisfaction in landing a precise shot that seems to have a life of it’s own, landing in just the right way. When a good shot lands, the opponent sags a little as their brain forces them to acknowledge that they have been truly bested in…

Continue reading

Transition to the Bridge

You see the knife in the hand, and all your training tells you to do anything other than what you are about to do. Block, parry, run, kick, grab the hand and wrest the knife away…anything other than pick your knees up, drop to a squat and expose your back to that blade. But you do it anyway. You drop low as you see the knife start to arc, almost picking your feet up, you bend your knees so fast. For the merest hair of a second, you squat low. The knife is starting to curve forward, but you don’t see that anymore. You can’t change what you are about to do anymore than the knifer can. From the low squat, you drive forward, back exposed but under the path of the cut. Your shoulder slams into the attacker, one of your hands dropping low to trap a thigh. It’s…

Continue reading

Jab, Hook…and Cut

Jab. Jab. Jab. Over and over, feet moving around, playing at measure, dodging each shot that comes back at you. Constantly sticking that left hand in your opponents’ face, over and over. Watching for the subtle signs, watching for you opponent to anticipate, to plan a counter that will actually land…that’s your moment. The moment when they think they have you, when they know you so well, have read you so perfectly, that they know the next jab you throw will be the one that puts you on the canvas when they counter.  That’s when you throw the right, low to the body…into that big gap that they left. Now they are back to thinking about what you are doing. Their head is still stuck for the moment, though…still holding on for you to do that jab the right way again. You feed them another right, since they refuse to…

Continue reading

Matadora By the Numbers

We got a lot of excellent photos in last night’s class. It was in part due to a lack of equipment, which meant Courtney/She-hulk was able to use her talents with the camera to good effect. It was also partly due to the students. Our process of athletic development and heavy fighting tends to lead towards photogenic moments. Squeak and Zim, being the most athletic, tend to feature in the daily picture the most often. Worf, who is probably the strongest fighter in class, tends to not make the picture cut as often. He’s a powerful, aggressive fighter with an strong tactical sense, but his style has less pose. Last night we got good photos from everyone, but I chose the “Matadora” photo for a reason. Squeak, when she started to train with me, was a very rigid and linear fighter. Talented, and very capable…but she had adopted a precision…

Continue reading

Take Five, From the Top

I’m working on a new description of classes for students interested in training with the Valkyrie WMA Alliance. It’s not a difficult thing to do, but it is an opportunity to re-examine a lot of my base assumptions, and maybe redefine what it is we do. When swordplay is your life, and has been for years, you sometimes lose perspective. Passion can shape your language into something that doesn’t speak to the curious. Which doesn’t help attract new students at all. I need to think less about the keen people with some experience, and more about the person who just saw someone with a sword. They might want to take classes, but need to know what to expect. It’s a difficult bit of writing. I want to ramble on about all the cool things. I want to encourage, to entice, to share my passion…but what I really need to do…

Continue reading

Movements subtle, strong, swift, supple and bold

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. -T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton Squeak made the breakthrough when I was lucky to be watching. It was in the middle of a tight bout with Zim. He had been pressing hard, the way he does, when Squeak decided she wanted to be on the other side of him. He attacked, she dodged off to the right. Zim was barely phased by the rapid transition, pivoting on a foot to reach out to her with another blow as she floated off behind…

Continue reading