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THRUSTS AND SLASHES
A thrust is a blow delivered with the tip of the stick in the direction of the long axis. A slash is a blow delivered with the side of the stick. They can both be single- or double-handed. A thrust with a stick can be very punishing, particularly if the grip is strong and the thrust has the body behind it. Besides penetration and reach, accuracy is an important factor. Many of the attributes of a good stick thrust are to be found in a sword thrust, as in fencing. Fencing has a long and distinguished record of technical achievement and mastery of body motion. The closest to stickfighting would be sabre fencing, and they have many key points in common.
One-Hand Thrust. In
order to pack power, a thrust must have the body behind it. Naturally, power
will not mean much unless the thrust is also accurate and timely. A simple
thrust will usually meet these conditions when delivered with a lunge similar to
the one used in fencing.
Two-Hand Thrust. From
guard 2, step forward with the left foot, after pointing at the target and
changing your left grip so that the palm is facing up. Thrust with the right
arm, letting the stick glide through your left palm. The footwork is the same as
for the previous thrust. In both, the forward motion should be initiated at the
hips, which must participate throughout the technique (Figs. 52-54). For a
two-hand thrust made with an additional step, the right foot is brought forward,
followed by the left, to complete the thrust as above (Fig. 55).
One-hand slashes are
more accurate if the stick is braced by the thumb, which points in the direction
of the target. The three last fingers are held relaxed during the preparation of
the slash and tensed upon impact, thus accentuating the action of the wrist.
This technique becomes a whip-slash.
Any motion of the stick or of any part of the body which will lead the opponent to believe that he is about to be attacked in a certain way is called a feint. The opponent is deceived into anticipating a supposed attack and thereby commits himself to a course of action which you may turn to your advantage. The most common mistake while feinting is reacting too soon and not waiting long enough for the opponent to take the bait.
Let us assume that the
opponent has attacked with simple or multiple attacks which you have succeeded
in parrying. Naturally, he would want to recover after his last motion. At the
very moment of recovery, he becomes vulnerable to a riposte or counterattack.
This is particularly true when you launch an attack along a line in which it is
difficult for him to protect himself, alternating slashes with thrusts. For
instance, your opponent is attacking the upper left quarter of your body and you
are using parry 6; an effective riposte would be a slash to his right temple
followed by a thrust to his solar plexus and a slash to the outside of his left
knee (Figs. 58, 59). A parry 5 may be followed by a slash to the right or the
left temple, a thrust to the lower abdomen, and a slash to the right collarbone.
There is a great number of possible combinations; however, in keeping with our
philosophy, we shall confine ourselves to very few, which because of their
versatility are applicable to a great many situations and which, by repetition,
will become part of our conditioned reflexes.
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