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Sword Sparring Technique - The Parry
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You find yourself suddenly, for no particular reason other than this author's interest in making a point, fighting for your life. Your opponent is armed with a wicked looking sword that appears to be quite sharp and functional. There is no where to run, no choice but to fight. Except your opponent has the advantage and is already pressing his attack! How do you properly defend yourself?

Ok ok so perhaps you may never find yourself in that particular situation. But the question remains, when engaged in a swordfight or even fending off the blows and attacks of opponents armed with sticks and batons, how does one protect effectively against such weapons?

For starters, protecting your vitals is of the utmost importance. Therefore proper defense begins with the proper placement and stance of the body. In order to minimize the risk of injury, you should position your body in such a way that it presents as minimal a target as possible to the opponent, forcing them to target less vital areas of your body. In most sword fighting this is accomplished by turning the torso to one side or the other. The legs should be spaced out wide enough to allow for a stable balance which can be adjusted as needed. The weight should be evenly distributed on the balls on the feet, allowing for quick advances and retreats, both being essential to a successful defense. The sword's position is relative to the type of sword and the preferred offensive techniques utilized by the fighter.

The feet remain essential to swift attacks and rapid retreats required to both keep the fencer out of harms way while simultaneously enabling him to cover maximum distance with a lunge and successfully score hits upon his opponent. It is therefore essential to protect the legs from attacks. This may be accomplished through a simple backward shuffle to force the opponent's lunge or slash to come short, or by stepping forward with the blade to catch or redirect the opponent's attack. By stepping forward into an attack, you not only throw off the opponent's targeting, but it allows the defender to catch a slash closer to the base of the sword, reducing the power of the strike and leaving the opponent open to a riposte.

When catching an opponent's attack, it is important to keep one's focus not simply upon the sword, but upon the opponent's entire body. This is the most efficient method of spotting all possible attack motions from the opponent as he makes them. It is much more efficient than simply attempting to track one target (the sword blade of your opponent) at a time. This is an important skill to develop. Once you have mastered the ability to spot and deal with incoming attacks from all angles, you already have the most critical element of sword defense mastered. Then it is merely a process of training your muscles to respond to the perceived threats automatically. This only comes with great repetition.

Now you have the concepts to train yourself the appropriate responses. Hopefully this helped provide some useful information on self-defense not simply in fencing but also in general.


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