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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.

Let us see how good fencers perform and direct their thrusts. Admittedly, power is not one of their concerns. They are mostly interested in speed and accuracy. It must be pointed out, however, that even though power is not important for fencers, the fact that they use flexible weapons which bend on impact shows their thrusts to be very powerful. They also use strong protective vests, yet even so, there have been several unfortunate accidents in which people have been impaled on broken weapons. Stickfighters can learn much from the teachings of fencing, particularly sabre fencing. One of the major differences lies in the fact that the footwork in stickfighting differs from that of fencing, mainly because fencing is practiced linearly and stickfighting is not.



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.
From guard 2, slide your right foot ahead of the left by a full step, pivoting on your left heel, just a split second after fully extending your right arm toward the target in a smooth and continuous fashion (Fig. 50). Hold the stick with a lot of pressure exerted by the little finger and with reduced tension in the order of the succeeding fingers, so that the thumb and the index finger serve mainly to guide the stick. This will prevent undue locking of the elbow and tightening of the shoulder. Immediately line up the stick with the target, turning your right palm up as you propel your body forward by advancing the right foot and straightening the left leg. Your left foot must be flat on the floor. As you are nearing full extension of the body, also extend your right arm fully to impart more penetration to the thrust. Keep your upper body as erect as possible (Fig. 51). Depending on whether you wish to follow your opponent or stand your ground, you may recover either by pulling forward the left foot, or by pulling back the right.




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).

Slashes. Slashes are most penetrating when they are accompanied by a whiplike action of the wrist. In order to achieve this, the wrist must go through stages of relaxation and tension followed by relaxation. Tension is very brief, lasting only just before and at the time of the impact (Figs. 56, 57).

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.
The most penetrating slashes also involve participation of the body, particularly the hips. An example of a spring-slash has already been given in connection with the circular springslash parry (see Figs. 19-23, pp. 40, 41).

Numerous examples of thrusts and slashes will be given in relation to self-protective techniques in Part Two. 




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.
Several examples of parry-riposte will be given in the techniques in Part Two.


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