A fascinating and insightful analysis on timing. Particularly aimed at swordplay, but the concept applies to any attack and defence with the human body.
I get the feeling that the guy is fufiling his own prophecies with his examples. I don't know enough about sword fighting to know if a weak fast attack with a sword is better than a slightly delayed more powerful one in combat.
Trying that tactic with a bo for a bit I noticed it's not the lead foot that moves first but the back foot that pushes off followed by the body, then the arm snaps straight, then the lead foot lands last. Since I am pushing the arm with the hip the arm (and hence bo) are traveling faster than if I simply thrust using my arm, or at least it feels that way. In his example he is just stepping forward starting with the lead foot then dropping the sword as his body follows.
Either way his examples seem to be set up to prove his point, not to test it. If there was somewhere nearby that sword fighting I would totaly go there because it does look cool.
I took a Fiore longsword class, once, and have talked to some HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) people, and they all pretty much seem to agree on this concept. Moving the arms first, followed by the body and legs, is how historical treatises tend to describe striking with swords, and they have found this to be more effective in sparring. Now, all that said, this sort of timing is speed-focused, and sacrifices power. That's fine for when you have a weapon, and sometimes it can also be fine for fighting unarmed, but not always. I see value in both.
The emphasis on speed over power makes a lot of sense when using a blade ... it takes very little force to thrust a thin pointy object through a human target. A lot less force than it would take to deliver a disabling percussive blow with a hand, foot, or elbow. It's a bit different with cutting - technique and alignment count for a lot ... but a badly delivered "knife hand" strike against a guy in a T-shirt and an equally badly delivered actual knife slash with a kitchen knife against the same guy... would affect the target quite differently.
There's a huge amount to be said in empty-hand arts for speed as a component of developing power, but it's really not the same game. The kind of insignificant "points" scored in a "game of tag" karate tournament with horrible body dynamics would have been far and away enough to settle duels with smallswords a couple of centuries back. (Though arguably, more's required if your object is to lop off an extremity).
TomF wrote: The kind of insignificant "points" scored in a "game of tag" karate tournament with horrible body dynamics would have been far and away enough to settle duels with smallswords a couple of centuries back.
Yeah, the video completely explains the phenomenon of gyaku-tzuki in karate competition fairly easily.
I don't think it's entirely analogous to a lot of what karate is about, as far as I can tell much of karate happens well within striking range against an opponent you have hold of or who has hold of you. The only direct equivalent I can think of is the lunge punch. However it's a very interesting way to look at timing in the early stages of a fight when outside range, or with sucker punches etc. As long as the opponent has to move their body or feet you have a chance, as soon as they are close enough to hit you only moving their arms you have a big problem.
I don't think this is anything new to anyone who's ever beein in any kind of fight, competitive or not, hell Silver wrote his treatise in 1599 but it's well explained in the video.
John wrote: Either way his examples seem to be set up to prove his point, not to test it. If there was somewhere nearby that sword fighting I would totaly go there because it does look cool.
To be fair he's demonstrating the reasoning of George Silver, a 16th century english sword master.
Historically the spear, not the sword was probably the most formidable hand combat weapon devised. It gives reach which the opponent with a shorter weapon has to physically move past, it can be moved at the speed of the hand from head to foot and can be pushed out and pulled back the length of your arms as quickly. And a bo or quarterstaff is just a spear without the pointy bit.
I recommend watching some of the HEMA spear vs whatever sparring sessions, you can see just how difficult it is to deal with if you have a shorter weapon. Much the same should be true of the bo/quarterstaff.
Others on the thread have made the point that you can hit harder if you move your body weight, and fair enough, clearly they did historically as well depending on circumstance.
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