Best Self Defense
in Chinese Swordfighting

Part 2: High Easy Side Deflections

The best self defense for a strike in Chinese swordsmanship is a deflection using taiji sword principles. Our deflections are never hard blocks. They adhere to the principle of using four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds. In other words, minimal expenditure of effort for the best result. Just as you listen for the right moment in push hands, so it is with taiji sword. You use every part of your awareness to understand what the duifang is doing. He moves first but you already knew what he was going to do, so you arrive first. This can happen by taking a smaller trajectory to the target, or by anticipating and voiding his strike, and taking control of the centre. This voiding and taking control is what you do when deflecting on the way to a strike of your own.

If you have not yet understood the definitions, go to this page where you can begin to master sword attacks with deflections.

Best self defense for a thrust to your
easy side shoulder.

Teacher Scott Rodell demonstrates
a high easy side deflection.
Alt Text--best self defense for a high easy side thrust
I'll explain right handed. If you hold your sword in your left hand, please reverse the directions.

When the duifang aims a strike at your upper left chest, neck, face or shoulder, the following deflection works: Sink into your back left, rooted leg and turn your waist left. Your sword arm moves with your body, not as a seperate part. Put your sword talisman fingers against the outside of your wrist to use as a brace. As your body turns, your wrist also turns, so that the edge of your sword that was facing the ground in basic jian stance, now faces the sky.

Your blade flat connects with the duifang's blade, close to the guard of your sword and further towards the tip end on the duifang's sword. This gives your blade stronger leverage. The tip of your jian is angled upwards - the steepness of the angle depending on the distance from your duifang and the strike you plan to return with.

Turning your body might be the best self defense against the thrust. It might miss you completely. If it doesn't, your sword will connect with the duifang's sword, brushing his thrust away from the line of your body. Since he is now offline, you are perfectly positioned to continue the flow of your movement into a strike of your own.

Best self defense for a cut to the easy side neck.

When a downward diagonal cut has been aimed at your neck, the left side of your face, or your left shoulder, upper arm, or chest, you can still use most of the movements you did when deflecting a thrust. You can also add these extras:
  • Change the angle of your blade depending on the height of the cut. If the cut towards you is from overhead and vertical, your best self defense will be using a different deflection which I'll explain in lesson 7.

  • You can brace with the hand against the inside of your wrist, rather than two fingers.

  • You can grasp the pommel and use a two handed grip, angling your sword so that the duifang's blade sides off yours.

  • Cuts, especially with bigger swords, are more powerful than jian thrusts. Use stepping to help with the deflection. You can step to the side with your right foot first and the left following to the ankle. An even better way is to step your left foot behind your right while connecting with the cut. Then step your right foot wide and forward to close in and make a strike of your own. We call this the Pipa step because is is found in the taiji movement "wield the pipa". My teenage girl students call it the "grapevine" step.

    These lessons continue with:
    1. Master Sword Defense - Definitions.
    3. Deflections to the upper tight side.
    4. How to delect an attack to the tight side leg.
    5. Deflecting and returning a cut to the easy side leg.
    6. Master sword attacks to the lower midline.
    7. Deflections for the head

    Leave Best Self Defense for Jian, Lesson 2 and Return to Chinese Sword Fighting Basics.

    Return to Chinese Swords Guide Home

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