Test cutting - A first impression

This Forum is a place for students of swordsmanship to ask advice from moderators Paul Champagne & Scott M. Rodell on how to practice test cutting in a manner consistent with how swords were historically used in combat. Readers use this Forum at their own risk.

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Joined:Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:06 pm
Test cutting - A first impression

Post by WTBD » Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:15 am

This past Sunday, a group of us had the opportunity to practice cutting soft targets under the guidance of Lao Shi Scott Rodell. The targets were water filled plastic milk jugs (gallon and 1/2 gal.), 1 liter seltzer bottles, and 2 litter water bottles. The targets were placed on a 4x4 movable wooden post. This allowed for a varitity of cuts to be attempted. Weapons were the jian and the dao.

I learned quite a bit from this experience, but two things stand out:

(1) I noted that even with a successfully horizontal cut (chou/hua), I tended to carry well past the target. In freeplay, this would be an invitation to the duifang "pummel the soft flank."

(2) I was also surprised by a simple thrust (ci). I did my thrust, thinking it complete (I didn't miss), but was completely surprised when the gallon jug toppled off the stand taking my jian with it. I'm still holding the jian, so I'm pulled downward too. Cue the lightbulb: To complete the thrust, I had to quickly withdraw it from the target to be ready for the duifang.

Both of the above may look pretty for Hollywood, but are really, really bad techniques for freeplay.

There was also a huge difference in technique applied between the jugs and seltzer bottles, but that will be for another post.

Safe practice, everyone.
Willy, TBD

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