Liao is a rising draw cut with the false edge of the jian. It is effective from both the right and left sides of the body. Liao is usually part of a defect/cut combination, a circular movement. In a right handed grip, it is very effective against a committed thrust from the opposite. The deflection in this case is performed with the flat of the blade and the tip upward. The deflection is made by turning the body sideways with the weight on the rear foot. In this movement, the rear foot is opposite to the sword hand - sword in right hand, back-weighted left foot.
The sword talisman hand is active in Liao, as in all the basic cuts in these sword fighting lessons. During the deflection, it braces the inside of the wrist. This is especially helpful if you are up against a heavier sword and a style that uses strength rather than flexibility. As soon as the opposite's sword is offline and the cut changed from defense to attack, the hands separate and the sword talisman circles up under the blade, bringing it to a mental halt, pointing under, but not touching the sword hand wrist when the position is right for the next cut.
Left handed swordsmen can change the foot and hand directions to the opposite ones in this explanation.
When using Liao from sword hand side of the body it can most easily be performed with a step forward on the sword hand side. These are not rules. Just preferences. Liao can be done with or without a step, and launching from either leg. It can also be used very effectively from side to side with a step each time, in a similar way to common two handed rising cut sequences.
Duo is a heavy chopping motion using both hands. It cuts downward.All two handed sword styles have similar cuts. The difference here is that the jian is a single handed sword. The hilt of a jian is long enough for hand and a half use for many people. One hand can easily fit over the end of the hilt and the pommel. This cut is more usually done by putting the two fingers of the sword talisman hand on the hilt behind the leading hand. I almost always do Duo with both hands gripping, which compensates for female lack of strength.
Praticing Duo reminds me of scissors opening and shutting. The blade begins in a raised position at 45 degrees and cuts down to another 45 degree angle with the blade to the ground. Its natuaral accompaniment is Tiao. It flows well if the front foot moves forward, stepping to the ground at the same time the tip reaches its downward position.
In the Michuan jian form, it is performed as a low squatting movement such as Matt is demonstrating below. Some of the younger, more flexible students in our Blue Mountains group are able to use it in freeplay. They simply disappear out from underneath, giving themselves the position to deliver a low strike straight after the Duo .... most disconcerting. In their sword fighting lessons up here, they are taught to use youthful flexibility to the best advantage and try not to lose it as they grow older.
The next sword fighting lessons to go up on this site will be on ways to deflect or parry.