How to Step in Chinese Sword Fighting


This is the first of a series on how to step in Chinese sword fighting. Some of this footwork is common to fencing moves of many types. 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
wordsmen do not just charge mindlessly towards their opponents, no matter what you might see on TV.  They know how to step correctly in each situation to gain the advantage. Correct footwork is one of the most basic skills in any style of sword fighting. Not all fights begin sword tip to sword tip. There are many occasions where you need to enter the fight from a distance or to regain a range close enough to attack. The half step is the most common method of closing range with precision. Do it like this:

How to step forward with a sword From a basic stance position, move your leading foot forward. Do this by lifting the toe first and setting down the heel first. You will be rising up slightly, from the rooted rear foot.

When the front foot is repositioned, move the rear foot, the same distance forward so you are back to basic stance position. The rear foot lands at a 45 degree angle and you sink into it through the ball of the foot. It takes the weight.

How to step forward with a sword 2 Continue advancing like this with the leading foot always leading and the rear foot always behind it.

Make sure you don't lose lateral distance. One of the most common errors for beginners is stepping the rear foot too close to and behind the leading foot. This is not how to step correctly. Maintain your get-away room. Don't trip over your own foot. See common errors in sword stances "No Get-Away Room" for illustrations.

 Leave How to Step with a Half Step and return to Basic Sword Fighting Techniques

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