Guard positions

Discussion of Chinese historical swordsmanship from all styles.

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nyrell
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Guard positions

Post by nyrell » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:45 pm

Do you work a lot with different guard position in your swordsmanship? Which guards?

Scott M. Rodell
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Guard positions in Chinese Swordsmanship

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:19 am

No, at least not as I understand the European term Guard. Though I should begin by staring that there is still a good deal that we do not know about Chinese Historical Swordsmanship.

Chinese Sword systems are defined by their basic cuts. Many basic cuts are common to many systems. For example, every jian system contains ci (thrust) & pi (split, a downward percussive cut). These cuts are typically defined or categorized by their directions, vertical or horizontal, though naturally, in practice, they often are delivered on diagonals of varying degree. Though they are also sometimes defined by the length of energy applied, for example the ci is a long energy thrust, & dian is a short, quick jab with the tip. And a few systems also delineate some cuts by whether one is in the active position, that is taking the initiative, or the passive position, where one is first deflecting & then counter cutting. Examples of these are the active position gua (shaving) & liao (a circular deflection followed by an upward coutner-cut). Both of these cut are upward cuts that have the same cutting action.

In jianfa (straight sword method), the only on guard position recorded is the basic stance position. By recorded here I mean that it is handed down & practiced in the Yangjia Michuan Taiji Jian system. This stance is similar to parry 6 in fencing, where the tip of one's jian is on the center line & there is a straight line for the tip of the jian, thru the elbow to the shoulder. Analyzing dao (saber) forms, one could argue that these systems have other on guard or ready positions, such as one with the saber held over the head, tip forward, on line with the sword arm shoulder.

If you are interested in more information on the basic cuts, stance, martial applications... may I suggest my book on the topic - http://sevenstarstrading.com/site/books ... dsmanship/
I hope this is useful...

nyrell
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Re: Guard positions

Post by nyrell » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:37 pm

Thanks for your answer. I have your book (good one!) and I know how you work with the basic cuts. I guess that most (all?) of the basic cuts would be possible to launch from other guards too. Hendrik Kivirand displayed some nice guard work during the 2008 TCSL tournament (just got the DVD!), but I was not sure how much of that was from the TCC jianfa training and how much was from HEMA.

My background is from Wudang / Practical TCC and we mainly use two guards for application work, a front guard and a back guard. Kind of difficult to explain with words, but I found this video clip discussing them if you want to see what I mean (fast forward to about 1:50):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr4ERlre ... T0laNQADAA

We also work with basic sword cuts/methods in PTCC but ours are slightly different from yours.

Personally I have found it very useful to analyze the jian form and applications from the perspective that (almost) everything is a guard. It has improved my understanding of how the form techniques are linked together.

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Re: Guard positions

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:54 am

nyrell wrote:Thanks for your answer. I have your book (good one!)
Thanks, always happy to hear it has been of use.
nyrell wrote:...and I know how your work with the basic cuts. I guess that most (all?) of the basic cuts would be possible to launch from other guards too...
That is certainly, generally true & the last thing you want to do is become dogmatic, stuck in one approach. Though in some cases, certain cuts will be more effective & easier to launch than others.
nyrell wrote:My background is from Wudang / Practical TCC and we mainly use two guards for application work, a front guard and a back guard. Kind of difficult to explain with words, but I found this video clip discussing them if you want to see what I mean (fast forward to about 1:50):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr4ERlre ... T0laNQADAA
Thanks for the link. If I may offer a friendly critique, opening cuts are usually not committed from such a great distance. I understand this is a demonstration, but the jianke feeding the instructor the cuts is out of distance & cutting in a manner than left him open to easy to deliver intercepting cuts. But be that as it may, it is is generally wiser to use a movement that is smaller than one's duifang than larger. It is more difficult to move one's entire mass a full step then it is to simply make a small turn of the waist to deflect & counter-cut or deliver an intercepting cut. In the case of the cuts used in this demo, ge (blocking) cuts could have been effectively employed with much less body movement. This ge cut could have been quickly followed up with a cut to the body once the attacking sword arm was disabled.

Just FYI, the next European Full Contact TCSL Chinese Swordplay tournament will be on June 2nd in Holland. These events are a very good way to get real world feed back on one's technique. I hope some jianke from you school will attend. We would love to meet our brothers...

nyrell
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Re: Guard positions

Post by nyrell » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:54 am

Scott M. Rodell wrote:
nyrell wrote:Thanks for your answer. I have your book (good one!)
nyrell wrote:My background is from Wudang / Practical TCC and we mainly use two guards for application work, a front guard and a back guard. Kind of difficult to explain with words, but I found this video clip discussing them if you want to see what I mean (fast forward to about 1:50):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr4ERlre ... T0laNQADAA
Thanks for the link. If I may offer a friendly critique, opening cuts are usually not committed from such a great distance. I understand this is a demonstration, but the jianke feeding the instructor the cuts is out of distance & cutting in a manner than left him open to easy to deliver intercepting cuts. But be that as it may, it is is generally wiser to use a movement that is smaller than one's duifang than larger. It is more difficult to move one's entire mass a full step then it is to simply make a small turn of the waist to deflect & counter-cut or deliver an intercepting cut. In the case of the cuts used in this demo, ge (blocking) cuts could have been effectively employed with much less body movement. This ge cut could have been quickly followed up with a cut to the body once the attacking sword arm was disabled.
Yes, good points. I guess that the intention here was only to demonstrate some applications "hidden" in the change of guards.

Scott M. Rodell wrote:Just FYI, the next European Full Contact TCSL Chinese Swordplay tournament will be on June 2nd in Holland. These events are a very good way to get real world feed back on one's technique. I hope some jianke from you school will attend. We would love to meet our brothers...
My goal is to enter next year!

ynze
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Re: Guard positions

Post by ynze » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:24 am

nyrell wrote:
My goal is to enter next year!
Never the less I intend to send you an invitation for this year too!

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