STRANGERS – Tai Chi Sword 52


STRANGERS – Tai Chi Sword

When encountering a new partner in fencing we need to go through an initial ‘feeling out process’. This process provides an opportunity to ensure you are playing by the same rules, whilst evaluating each other’s skill level.

First, you should contact their blade lightly, stick and follow. Then try moving your blade away from theirs (disconnecting). Then try sliding in to cut their hand (testing their guard), and thrusting lightly towards their centre (to see how they neutralise). Move towards them (to see how and where they move), see how they respond to a feint, to beat and cut and establish whether they can take advantage of an opening.

STRANGERS - Tai Chi Sword

Do all these things slowly, tentatively and with the intention of finding out: first what is safe to do, and also what attitude to adopt when playing.

If the person is wild and aggressive you may not care to continue. If they are at a higher level than you, become a student but if you are at a higher level than they, instruct them.

Author and Images: Ken van Sickle

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