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Merry Christmas!Where ever you happen to be, grab something sword-y. A pencil will do, or a stick, or a toothbrush, just about anything will do. Point it down to the ground and then cut a montante.

What did you think about? Some possible answers

  • moving to guardia alta
  • moving the sword up
  • cutting a montante
  • moving the sword in a vertical line with the edge and the arms aligned

All of these are valid ideas, but, I think the first is the least valid and the last the most valid. And that brings me to today’s idea: don’t think about where you’re going, think about how you’re getting there.

 

“Moving/cutting to guardia alta” can lead to some sloppy ideas. There are a lot of ways to arrive at guardia alta from, say, porta di ferro larga. Focusing on how you’re getting to guardia altawill turn your attention to making the action most efficient and martially sound.

 

This doesn’t stop with sideswords; that’s just where I happened to notice it. The same applies to lunging with a rapier; if you focus only on the end of the lunge you may be missing a lot.

  • Are you maintaining your crossing?
  • Are you utilizing the power stored in your back leg?
  • Are you putting undue weight on your front leg?

I could go on but I imagine you get the idea. Start turning your focus towards how you’re doing what you’re doing and you’ll be able to ensure that you’re doing what you think you’re doing.

devonboorman Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
Read more from Devon Boorman.