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Dodging

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DODGING AND ITS ADVANTAGES OVER PARRYING
 

Dodging consists in avoiding attacks by shifting the whole or part of the body with or without footwork and with or without changing the guard.
Dodges usually allow for powerful retaliations and make it easier to break through the opponent's defenses. They offer a great advantage over parries in that they allow more degrees of freedom for retaliation. Furthermore, since an important aspect of self-protection entails getting out of the way or out of the reach of an attack, particular emphasis is placed on dodging techniques. All dodges induce the attacker to commit himself to a course of action, so that it is not easy for him to change it. In dodging, rarely should the body move as a block; only the menaced part of the body moves away first from the line of attack so as to lead the attacker to commit himself. Only then does the body shift as necessary to complete the dodging technique. The following dodging techniques are described from guard 2.

 

Jumping Dodge. The jumping dodge, which like all our techniques must be practiced on both sides, is an extremely versatile self-protective technique essentially applicable to all standing attacks. It is used when an opponent rushes toward you for any kind of reaching or striking attack.  A right-side jumping dodge is performed as follows. From guard 2, withdraw the right foot and raise the tip of the stick held in your right hand until it is level with your opponent's eyes (Figs. 42, 43). With the right arm almost completely extended, shift your weight onto the right (rear) foot and lift the left knee so that it is well bent with the thigh almost parallel to the floor. While keeping the right arm extended and the left knee high, jump back and around (counterclockwise) toward the rear left to a position at right angles to the direction of the attack. The left knee swings out and around like a flywheel to help in this change of direction (Figs. 44, 45). Now set the left foot behind the right and, without stopping the momentum you have gathered, slide back two steps.


Your opponent was attacking you from a given direction and, after he had committed himself to that direction, you changed your position to another at right angles to the first one. Now, as he attempts to redirect his attack to your new position, he will be wide open to retaliation for a brief moment. It is important that you react at the last possible moment, when the attack is almost there. Keeping calm and relaxed is very important. After you have finished your jump, do not stop your momentum but let it carry you back at least two sliding steps. Deliver a circular spring-slash, not as a parry but as a retaliation. Parry 2 is often used in this way as a means of retaliation.  It takes some practice to master the jumping dodge, but it is well worth the effort. Make sure that the left knee is pulled up high, so that it can act effectively in adding momentum to your swing, otherwise your directional change will be sluggish and your balance easily upset.
 

Dropping Dodge. This dodge allows you to get behind an opponent. It is particularly useful against striking attacks and I will here describe its use in a specific example. Naturally, it can be used in other cases. Remember, you are in guard 2.  If an opponent swings at you with his left, move your head back, away from the attack, lifting both hands so that the stick deflects it from below. Then thrust the stick, right hand foremost, to complete the deflection of the attack (Fig. 46). This is a symmetrical double-grip parry, similar to parry 3. Now jump lithely on the right foot and land near the outside of the opponent's left foot. Drop low, bending your right knee, almost touching the ground, and momentarily support yourself with the right tip of the stick (Fig. 47). Step through, placing your left foot past this tip, then, pivoting to the right, gather momentum and deliver a slash, leading with the right hand, to your opponent's lower ribs or knee (Figs. 48, 49).  In order to train meaningfully in this dodge, your partner must really mean his attack and carry through his momentum. Good timing is always important and in this technique it is particularly so. Without it your technique will be sloppy. Smooth motions will help both partners practice meaningfully and will develop their sense of timing.

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