Cutting Swords Footwork


This cutting swords footwork lesson is the second of a series on how to step in Chinese sword fighting. This lesson is an explanation of the common passing step. Still to come in this series:
  1. Half step or Advance
  2. Full step or passing step
  3. Pipa step or grapevine
  4. Snake step
  5. Slip step
A passing step, or full step, is similar to walking. The back leg passes the front leg, taking the lead position. This step covers more distance, allowing the swordsman to strike with the edge rather than only with the tip.

Cutting swords passing step 1 Fencers and rapier swordsmen almost always lead with the foot on the same side as their sword because they are using thrusting weapons. If you are fighting with a jian, you want to take advantage of both this thrusting and cutting swords attributes. This makes practising accurate passing steps important.

In the pictures you will see a beginner child in her first tournament attempt a passing step. However she was not quite close enough to pull off the strike.

Cutting swords passing step 2 If you use the passing step while cutting to the outside line of the other swordsman, you gain maximum advantage from the distance covered. The most common error for beginners using this step is running onto the duifang's blade by not changing the forward line. If you pass to the duifang's inside line, he might be able to use grappling to defeat you, so take care when closing the distance with a passing step. Make the step forward while cutting, turning your body and bringing the rear foot into a new offline position. This means that if you began with your right shoulder towards the duifang, the new position will have your left shoulder forward after the cut.

Somebody asked for a diagram to explain this. I'm nor great with diagrams, so until we get a Chinese swordsmanship demonstration filmed, have a look at this explanation from longsword. The first and third of the four explanations are relevant to this page. The footwork is good but add in the taiji principles to get is right for Chinese cutting swords such as jian and miaodao.

 Leave Cutting Swords Passing Step and return to Basic Sword Fighting Techniques

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