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Japanese Vs Chinese Blocking Technique

by David
(Australia)

I just have a question about the Miaodao training. Iíll try to explain this as best I can - In Japanese sword to stop the cut you slightly tighten the grip of the hands and tense the last a little to stop the sword from ďbouncing and wobbling once the cut is completed. What is the correct method for Chinese swordsmanship?

Answer

Chinese swordsmanship favours deflecting over blocking wherever possible. We let the duifang (opposite) bring out his energy as much as he likes - the more the better. When the oncoming strike is fully committed, (we call that letting the thief in the door), a Chinese swordsman will turn the waist, or step if necessary, catching as little as possible of the oncoming energy and leading it into emptiness. So we guide the strike aside and let the momentum fall dead. This has the effect of putting the other swordsman off balance, or off centre, while the defender still has complete contol and can immediately take advantage with a strike before the attacker recovers.

Obviously a good swordsman of any style, is going to be wary of this and make less committed, more adjustable strikes. Even if you must block because of being caught in an awkward position, it is better to take the oncoming energy as momentum for a return strike. Let it hit your blade, on the side or back edge but don't be rigid in stopping it. Let your wrists turn as the strike pushes your blade down, and come back with a circular motion on the smallest possible trajectory. Even though the duifang moved first, you should get there first. And never just stand still - move the feet. Step off the line, turn the waist, slipstep, etc.

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