Made You Flinch
by, 11-06-2011 at 04:32 PM (656 Views)
In The Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi writes, "In battle, if you make your opponent flinch, you have already won." This idea is at the heart of tactics in fencing. In order to control an opponent and properly frame the bout, fencers have to be able to do more than just respond to their opponents' choices. They must force their opponents to react.
Many people often think of creating a reaction as an idea that only applies to feints or second-intention actions. In fact, the majority of what we do in a bout should be designed to elicit responses from our opponent. The way we maneuver, the movements of our blade, what distance we fence in, our body language, even how we choose to leave the en garde line when the referee says, "fence," all present opportunities for us to draw a reaction from our opponent. That reaction might be something quite obvious (such as in the examples of effective feints or second-intention actions) or it might be far more subtle. Affecting how assertively the opponent fences or what part of the strip he uses, for example, can be far more devastating than drawing a parry with an effective feint--partly because those kinds of reactions are more likely to go unrecognized for what they are, but also because they affect the rest of our opponent's choices (eg. a fencer who has backed up to the end of the strip is not going to make the same choices as one who is in the middle). ...
Read the rest on the Sheridan Fencing blog.