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Bigger Steps

I decided last night as I took the train home from training (the training train?) that one way to help cement each evenings training would be to write about it. Simply recounting what we did will be of limited use, so rather I need to consider how I reacted to the training each evening.

We focused again on the cuts along the diagonals,  given that they are simple and natural but also because they lead into many areas of investigation. The true-edge cuts went smoothly, with just a bit of adjustment to my footwork. To echo Meyer’s body shape, I have to extend my body more forward over my left foot, and reach for that almost-but-not-quite falling forward feel. My previous training wants me to put all my weight on the left leg, but I need to keep some of it on my right too so that I can push forward with my right as I take a big step forward. Thats something new I learned: the forward motion is a step and not a jump.

One thing I am still not doing with the cutting drill is  getting the cuts coming through the face: the centre of the cross is still somewhere down around my chest height. When I do focus on getting the pattern shifted up higher, the line of the cuts suffers and the edge wobbles all over the place. I suspect when I return to doing them with dussack that will improve though: I feel  like I am muscling the long sword around as though it was heavy, rather than just relaxing and letting it flow.

We started on the false edge cuts, which initially felt weird until I stopped thinking about them and just restricted myself to thinking: my sword is here, and I want it to go along that next diagonal to wind up with the false edge at the other end of the diagonal. My body knows how to do that, I just have to turn off my mind so that it doesn’t get in the body’s way. Any philosopher who wants to argue against Descartesian dualism should be required to wave a sword around.

The reworking of the mechanics of the big step made the zornhau drills work better: in general I found that if I relaxed, got the sword moving ahead of me so that I had to follow it, and bought my hands through the line to cut through rather than striking the target, then I was arriving where I needed to. What I learned: “covering the line” in my head maps onto “keep the sword between me and his sword”.

I still have to work on the Big Step: I think that I am trying to cushion my landing by touching my foot down with the front of the foot, rather than just stepping out as though walking. This is pulling me up short. Thinking is in progress.