The fundamentals of all forms of effective combat are, for the most part, mutually intelligible. The same general principles apply to both armed and unarmed methodologies and systems. This chapter will endeavour to grace you with a foundation of soft skills that you can build your combat prowess upon. It should be noted that these skills are not listed in any order of importance, and every soldier must attempt to master all.
Soft Skills & Fundamentals Edit
1. REMAIN CALM Edit
One of the worst things anybody can do in combat is panic. While it is almost universal that before any contest of martial skill you will feel tense and nervous, it is imperative to the safety of yourself and those around you not to allow this fear to manifest into anything beyond pent up energy within. Whether you are faced down by a scrawny pup of a man or a hulking beast of an orc, panicking will invariably lead you to making the wrong decisions and ultimately death.
Instead, you must remain calm. Keep control of the depth and tempo of your breaths and remain focused on the task at hand. Have trust and confidence in your abilities and training. By keeping your mind clear you will automatically give yourself the chance to think through the problems posed to you and make the correct decisions in those split seconds between triumph and defeat.
Additionally, by remaining calm, you will find that you are able to use your energy much more effectively and efficiently. When under pressure the untrained human can and will tap into a primitive adrenaline that will provide great bursts of power and endurance, yet these only last for tens of seconds at most. After dumping these reserves, you will be exhausted and an easy kill indeed. The trained fighter will never delve into this panic power. Instead he will keep this nervous state under control and treat the occasion with a systematic serenity, leaving him with the ability to continue the fight for far longer. You must endeavour to reach this level.
This is not to say, though, that you must not use your nerves. On the contrary, the most skilled fighters know how to channel this pent up energy into an aggressive excitement. Controlled aggression will be one of your greatest friends on the battlefield, as meeting an iron will with an iron will shall serve you far greater than meeting one with passivity.
2. Keep your body loose and balanced Edit
In the same spirit of remaining calm in the mind, your body should be loose as well. Keeping your muscles constantly tensed and your bones braced, while sounding impressively martial, is dangerous only to yourself. If done, your movements will be slow, awkward, lacking in power, easily telegraphed to your opponent, and ultimately draining to yourself as well.
Freedom of movement is one of the keys to success in combat. By keeping your frame loose you provide yourself the ability to flow smoothly from one technique to the next with a natural efficiency, while simultaneously taking advantage of the whiplike power and speed gathered in the untensed muscle. The mind leads the body in all functions thus you should already feel loose in the muscular and skeletal systems if you have entered the right mental frame for combat. This is the essence of that certain artistic grace found in the greatest of warriors; certainly something all novices must strive for.
On the same token, your body must be balanced if you are to move and use your techniques properly. Many soldiers fresh to the profession may find this difficult yet they must prevail; an accidental fall in battle is likely to prove perilous. Spreading your feet along both the sagittal and frontal planes and sitting into your stance will steady you by lowering your centre of gravity, allowing you to absorb powerful blows just as a sea stack stands tall against mighty waves and wind. More in depth literature on stances can be found in later chapters discussing technique.
Always endeavour to keep yourself as a moving target in a confrontation if you can, though this is difficult in formation combat where you may find yourself far more immobile. In such instances, stationary protection is favoured in order to keep the structural integrity of the formation.
3. Keep your eyes focused on your opponent Edit
When in battle, you must always remember to keep your eyes on your opponent. Quite obviously, by keeping your eyes keenly trained on your foe you give yourself the ability to read their intentions and movements. Even more obvious is the fact that by turning your back you give the enemy an entirely free and unopposed window to strike as you cannot see it coming; an opportunity ripe for the taking that will see you pay dearly. Face your front to the enemy in spite of your fears, as the soldier who turns his back is soon to be a dead one.
Being able to read your opponent’s entire body language and subtlety of movements of their entire form is imperative to your success on the battlefield, thus your eyes should be locked to their midsection. Look at their head and you’ll miss the movement of their feet; look at their feet and you’ll miss the movement of their shoulders and head. By looking at the enemy’s midsection you include their whole form in your peripheries, allowing you to glean their intentions from the motion of all parts of their body.
4. Know your range Edit
One of the most critical facets of any confrontation is the range. That is, from what distance can you apply your techniques to your foes and in turn what distance can they apply theirs to you. In experienced fighters this knowledge is intrinsic and precise to the very last centimeter; you must endeavour to reach that place as well. Find the extent of your reach with each of your weapons and limbs and acquaint yourself well with it, as those distances will be universally applicable to any foe that you face.
It is recommended that you stand just outside of your own reach in combat such that you may step into your blows. Doing the opposite will leave you prone to blows while also detracting from your own power, as the power in your strikes will be found and gathered in the last few centimeters of the range of motion.
Judging your opponent’s range is far trickier as every opponent is built differently. This process can only be learned through intense sparring or actual combat. Generally speaking, the longer the limbs of the opponent the greater advantage they will have by way of being able to reach you before you can reach them, thus dictating the distance and speed of the engagement. Your best bet in such a scenario is to close the range to where you are comfortable and endeavour to maintain that.
When faced with the monstrous races of the Horde as foes you will almost invariably be at a reach disadvantage. Be unafraid of closing the distance; the success of the kingdoms of men against them has been built off not only the intelligence of our commanders, but this frontline courage and grit.
5. Physical Fitness EditPhysical fitness is as important to a Soldier as is the daily maintenance of their armor and weapons. A daily workout routine consisting of a number of stretches and calisthenics, an extended cardio workout (i.e. running or jogging), and weight training exercises, using weighted practice weapons, armor, and shields or just using body weight or free weights. This routine is necessary, not only for personal health but also to build the strength needed to perform at the levels required by the Royal Infantry.
Closing Statements Edit
It is at this point that it must be reiterated that you must train with all of these principles in mind. Reading from a manual is one thing, but it cannot, will not, and never will substitute actual hands-on practice. It cannot be stressed enough that failure to prepare is the greatest mistake you can make. You must accustom your body to operating naturally with every facet of combat, and only then will you become a serviceable combatant fit to fight for the Crown.