Movement Study: Stillness or Turmoil


There is something called "a fighter's understanding". The many variables, tempos, intervals of time and distance, and nuances of the fight can take a lifetime to understand fully. Those who have been involved in combative disciplines for a lifetime know all about these. But as a teacher, I have to spend time putting these understandings and these nuances into words so to pass along the knowledge. And as I was working with the Junior Staff on his epee work recently I found myself having to verbalize these, as Sir Richard Burton called them, "sentiments of the sword".

The fencing school we attend has not come to terms with the differences of classical execution, and fighting, or in this case, competitive applications. The footwork is different, the parries are different and many of the methods of setting up the attack are different as well. I have seen it all before, in Karate, and in the world of the gun. To see this dynamic again, in a totally different world, makes me think that there is some sort of developmental gap that must be crossed by any similar competitive/combative pursuit.

So I was working Epee with my son and noticed his attacks began from stationary positions. The thought expressed in class was that they would work if one's timing was correct and thus they sought to make it a mind game, similar in concept to the two gunfighters on opposite ends of the old western street. One would simply be faster and more accurate than the other. But as we doesn't work that way.

An attack can originate from stillness, or from this study it was a sword thrust, but think more broadly and include a pistol draw and subsequent shot.

An opponent watching easily picks up movement. When the sword point moves forward, it is foretold by the movement of the shoulder and chest...or by a shift of the feet. Think of the same context of a pistol draw. The firing side shoulder rises as the hand goes for the gun, creating the wrist-elbow-shoulder triangle of the B-27 targets. The single movement, even if it is very fast, can be seen by an attentive watcher. And even if it cannot be countered perfectly, the opponent will not simply stand there.

It is very much an issue of timing, and for this to work, the timing must be impeccable. Neither the thrust from stillness, nor the speed pistol draw, will work if the timing is wrong. Timing incidentally is more important than speed. A one second draw improperly set up will fail, but a two second draw at the right moment will succeed. Movement from stillness is intended to be an ambush...a sucker punch if you will. More on this later.

The other area, and one rarely studied in the world of the gun, is movement from turmoil. Consider two boxers. One stands there still as a statue...then throws his punch - movement from stillness. The other is moving constantly...bobbing, weaving, shuffling, shifting shoulders...then as if born of the existing erratic movement patterns, a flurry of punches explodes from the turmoil of movement. Advantages here? The timing does not need to be perfect because the adversary's visual perception...his OODA loop is being overwhelmed with useless information to process. His mind is analyzing whether anyone of those shifts in posture, shuffling of feet, or bobbing of shoulders was an attack. And when the attack does in fact come, it was hidden by the movement the other man's mind has been bombarded with since the fight began.

Here is an example -


How does this apply to the world of the gun? That is for the next post from me on the matter. Think distractive actions...think sleight of hand...think of how a magician makes your mind go where he wants it to go. There is more to this than a fast draw.