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Library: use basics


Author: Ran
Date:Nov 5 1997

Actually, this is Ran's book about using weapons.  Keep in mind a note about
weapons, most of the weapons described in here are more better defined as
"sadistic device" than "device for killing".

All the weapons that this deals with are hand-held melee weapons.

* Basics *
Training - Upper arm, lower arm, and wrist strength are important.  Good
balance, quick footwork, and general flexibility also.  Recommended
activities:  Racquetball, Tennis, Volleyball, Stretching, Fast dancing,
Juggling, Jumping rope, misc. Acrobatics.

Terminology - There's many different systems, but this one is straightforward
at least.  The angle of the blade is symbolized by the hours of a clock.  12
is straight up, 3 is to the right, parellel with the ground, 6 is straight
down, and 9 is to the left.  "Closed" means that your sword arm is crossing
your body, as it is when you first draw the sword, while "Open" means your
sword arm is extended from your body, but still bent as in the closed
position.  "Extended" means your sword arm is straightened out, and away from
your body.  "Out" means the blade away from your body, almost parallel to the
ground.  "In" means its pointed around 30 degrees from the vertical.  

There is a good degree of such that can only be learned by practice. You must
acknowledge this.  Reading this won't make you an expert, it might not even
help you one bit.  What really matters is "sense" as in "fighting sense", and
that is developed purely through practice.  That's why reading this alone
won't help you a bit.

First, your doing damage and causing pain by hitting your target with your
weapon.  You need to have a lot of force when you hit him, but you also need
to follow through if you want to cause pain and damage.  There's no point in
hitting hard if you don't follow through.  You do this by just ignoring your
target, pretend he isn't there and swing the weapon right through him. 
Practice this for a while.  This is why it's important to be flexible.  If you
hit someone in an awkward position (for you) and can't follow through, that's
bad.  Same for balance.  

Footwork is important, as is general body movement.  In that it can add
strength to your attacks, and it's important to react to everything else going
on around you.  Always try to turn you body and move with the attack, not
against it.  Likewise for defending.  Never just parry/block or just dodge. 
Move sideways and block.  This is generally the only time your weapon moves
against your body.  Your body is moving left, and your weapon is moving to the
right across your body.  

Try to stand sideways.  Don't face him with your chest. There's a smaller area
to hit, and it's less likely if you are hit that something important gets hit
(a little at least).  

The most important part of combat is attacking.  In order to defeat him, you
must attack.  Timing is everything, knowing when to attack and being able to
at that particular moment is vital.  A good attack aims to kill or at least
disable him in a single blow.  The exact specifics differ depending on the
weapon, but some combination of quickness, strength, and accuracy should be

* Basics of different weapons *
It is good to study the anatomy of what you plan on fighting, if possible. 
Regardless, there are several things you can be relatively certain about.  

With a thin and/or light blunt swinging weapon, aim for the victim's lower
forhead, temples, floating ribs, or knee joints.  When thrusting, aim for the

Don't use heavy bashing weapons until your victim is at least a little beaten.
If you want to have one on your person, don't depend solely on it. 
Aim for the legs or body, and try to trap the victim between a wall and your
weapon so you can crush him.

With a sharp bladed weapon, you should aim for the chest or head.  When
swinging, aim for the body or the neck.

* Other skills to practice *
Tripping, holds, running, stanima, pain resistance, jumping, dodging. 

* Learning the basics *
A long staff (2-handed) is a nice weapon.  It should be as tall as you, plus 1
to 2 feet.  But, it doesn't teach you the correct basics.  A light sword is
also a nice weapon, but they're not very commen.  Knives are commen, but
there's not too much tecnique to using a knife.  So, for the next part you'll
need to get or make a short staff, or a 'jo'.  This should be around a meter
long, perhaps slightly shorter. 

To begin, grip the staff normally, with a fist.  Do not use it like a baseball
bat.  The staff is supposed to be an extension of your own arm, treat it like
such.  Think of the wrist-staff connection just like your elbow, try to use it
like any other joint.  

When you let your arm hang at your side, the staff should face straight
forward.  But, this isn't it's intended position, just a check to make sure
you have the right grip.  Turn your body sideways and hold the staff