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Parries

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PARRIES


Parries are used to block or deflect an attack. According to the situation, they can be performed with one or two hands. In order to avoid confusion, a numbering system has been devised in which it is assumed that the attack is parried by a right-hander and that the right hand is leading, that is to say, it holds the stick at the trailing tip and is mainly responsible for developing the necessary power. The left hand may or may not be holding the stick as well. When it does, its palm faces forward, or away from the body. However, the orientation of the left hand does not matter much. According to the situation, the feet could be on one line, or one in front of the other. Preferably, but not necessarily, the foot on the side of the parry should be behind.


Parries should not only be practiced statically but also in motion, with appropriate footwork as described later (see p. 44). Parries given here are on the "right" side, right hand leading. They are numbered clockwise, as viewed from the person who performs the parry, starting from above his head. For left-side parries, reverse the instructions.


Since stickfighting parries are used to block or deflect blows, they must pack enough power to do the job and, also, when performing them one must be braced to take the power of the blow. Ideally, it then follows that whenever possible (and it must be stressed that under real-life conditions it will not always be possible) the following conditions must be met.


1. One foot should be behind the other. The forward knee is slightly bent above the toes and the leg in the rear is stretched for bracing action. The weight of the body should be between the feet, and one should feel relaxed and well in balance.
 

2. Simple physics dictates that for parries, gripping with both hands, with one hand at each end of the stick, is better than a two-handed grip at one end. However, the former grips are not always possible. When they are, and after the parry has been performed, the supporting hand must loosen its grip so that the leading hand can slide the stick through and maneuver it as the situation requires.
 

3. Momentum is necessary for effective parries. It can be achieved by accelerating the motion of the stick as it travels toward its goal. One way this acceleration can be attained in one-hand parries is by initially resisting with the supporting hand the motion of the leading hand and then releasing the grip of the supporting hand. This creates a springlike "slingshot" action. Such spring-slash parries can pack a lot of power.  In the description of the defensive techniques proper, numerous examples of parries are given which will further clarify some of the finer points. In general, the wrist must be bent as little as possible so that the stick is braced against the incoming blow.

 

 

Parry 1. Protects the head and the shoulders. The stick is held above and slightly in front. of the head, angling somewhat with the line of the shoulders. The far tip of the stick is very slightly higher than the other (Fig. 13).

 

Parry 2. The stick held in the right hand, this protects the upper right quarter of the body. The stick is pointing up, and is held slightly toward the outside of the right arm so as to protect it from incoming blows. The right wrist is positioned so as to insure maximum bracing action; in other words, it is not bent and is in the same plane as the right forearm (Fig. 14).


Parry 3. Protects the lower right quarter of the body. The stick is held slightly past the line of the body as in parry 2, but pointing downward (Fig. 15).

 


Parry 5. Protects the lower left quarter of the body. The stick is pointing down and is held as follows. The back of the right hand is facing the body and the right thumb is pointing downward. The stick is held slightly ahead and to the side of the left knee, angling away from it. By lifting and bending more or less the right elbow one may perform a high parry 5, which protects the upper left quarter of the body (Fig. 17). The great advantage of this parry is that it protects the whole left side of the body without changing the position of the wrist and, most importantly, allows a fast retaliation, as we shall see.
 

Parry 4. Protects the lower body and is a lower version of parry 1. The stick is held slightly above and ahead of the forward knee (Fig. 16).
 

Parry 6. The same as parry 2, but the stick is held to the left side, the right arm crossing the body. This protects the upper left quarter (Fig. 18).
A parry may either block or deflect an attack. The difference: between a block and a deflection is, essentially, that in the latter the momentum of the attack is not stopped but only deflected from its target.  Another type of parry is also used in stickffghting, which offers the advantage of' developing considerable momentum. 'This is the circular parry.


Simple Circular Parry. This parry is similar to the vertical twirl (see p. 28). It not only protects one whole side of the body, but one of' its variations, the circular spring-slash parry, is used for powerful retaliation.


 

Circular Spring-Slash Parry. Assume guard 3, shoulders relaxed, stick held horizontally, one hand near each tip, palms facing the body. The left hand is in front of the right so that the stick points forward. Lift the right hand and drop the left bringing the stick almost to the vertical and to the right of your right elbow, palms facing the body. The left hand holds the stick between the thumb and the first two fingers. Slash forward using the right hand with an appropriate counterclockwise action of the wrist. Use the left hand to initially oppose that motion. This creates a "slingshot" action at the free end of the stick (Figs. 19-23).

 

 

 

Double Circular Parry. Twirl the stick so as to follow a figure-eight trajectory. The crossover point is in front of your chest and the loops are made on either side of the body. Keep the left arm folded so that it does not get in the way (Figs. 24-26).

 

 

Overhead Circular Parry. Keep several opponents at bay by twirling the stick above your head in a horizontal circle (Figs. 27-29). Retreat at the same time, as explained below under Stances and Footwork.

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