Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Michael Edelson - The John the Baptist of Cutting Practice

Imagine this scenario. I give a cutting class at a big event. People who take it can't cut through a mat using whatever mechanics they use until I adjust them. Later on that day, they go fight in a tournament, reverting to their original mechanics. They hit each other and score points. But...they can't cut, not even when the target is soft and easy and standing still and there is no pressure. So, what are they actualy doing in that tournament? 
People resist cutting because once you start down that path you realize that your core mechanics, things you've spent years working on, are wrong and you need to change them. At this point what you do is a test of character. You can say, "Okay, I will do what I need to do" or the good character equivalent "I'll just admit I'm a sport fencer and move on, no biggie." Or, you can make up reasons why you don't need to learn how to cut and try to convince yourself and others on the internets. The problem is most people never get to make this choice in an informed way because most of what they know about cutting is misinformation. So they sever a mat or two, or hack apart a hanging pig, and they say "Look ma, I can cut!" and think that's all there is to it.

As I think I've said before - I cannot cut very well with a longsword. I would like to learn how to, for the kind of reasons that this post highlights. Ultimately, I want to learn historical fencing as a martial art, not an alternative form of fencing. If I wanted to do that, then I'd still be wearing white breeches. There's no-one, as far as I know, in this end of the country who teaches how to cut with a sword. I don't own/cannae afford a sharp of my own. My ability to test cut is somewhat limited.

HEMA frustrations...

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