The mark of a skilled fighter is mastery of the fundamental skills. However, there is something to be said about the ability to use and master the most common guards in warfare, tried and true over centuries of testing. The cuts further provided are the ones deemed to be the easiest to use and drill, as well as generating the most force for minimal effort.
As with all things, these drills and guards are meant to be practiced time and time again, such that the mind can perform the action without even thinking.
The majority of the information in this chapter has been gathered from http://ordoprocinctus.com/tutorials/sword-and-shield.pdf
-- For information on available equipment, see Arms and Weaponry.
-- For information on weapon maintenance, see General Orders.
Written by Dame Alison Clement, Sir Valrik the Exalted, and Lieutenant Thaddeus Locke
The Bear’s Guard Edit
The Bear assaults his opponents with his arm raised high, ready to be brought upon his enemy. His shield is raised with his forwardmost foot, ready to take flexible advantage of an attacker by crossing forward and decimating his foes. The bear’s arms are wider, using space for every advantage; he isn’t afraid to create more room and impose himself upon the enemy with the healthy use of his shield.The bear should be self-aware, however; by having his reach so visibly threatening with his massive power, he also makes it a target for removal. His sword arm is unprotected behind, but this exudes confidence; he should never let that deviate into hubris.
The Tortoise’s Guard Edit
The Tortoise is prudent and knows how to bide his time. His greatest strength lies in his defense, keeping his shield closer to his body with the rim under his eye’s heights. He holds his sword behind his shield, keeping his intentions veiled from all enemies until a desired opening is found. The Tortoise does not cut or swing wildly; he stabs and thrusts his foes away, piercing their hides to great effect when he chooses to overwhelm and trounce upon them.The Tortoise knows that his power requires tact and swiftness when the time to act is nigh. He values shelter and precision rather than the chance to overpower his foes as the Bear might, but understands that if he only defends he will never triumph.
The Scorpid’s Guard Edit
The Scorpid is a conniver; he appears weak and vulnerable from the side, but by doing this he keeps his weapon hidden from opponents. He starts with his point angled away, but is quick to raise it up to mimic either the bear’s potent fury or bring it in and forward to mimic the Tortoise’s forewarning austerity.The scorpid often surprises the uneducated with his deadliness, though few of the novices who encounter him understand the psychology of his intentions; it is his understanding of the Tortoise and the Bear that assures his success and his strikes are most sharpened with wisdom.
Cuts and Thrusts Edit
In acting offensively, remember first and foremost to keep oneself safe. The primary difference between a trained and an untrained fighter is that the trained fighter is able to protect himself at all times, even when attacking. In all of the shown thrusts and cuts, make sure to keep the shield over one’s body and covering the body at all times.Remember that in all of these movements to turn with your hips. Power is driven by the body, not the arms. A passing step is more than enough to generate power, but remember to turn the hips with every attack even if one is stationary.
Thrust EditThe most common tool for any veteran soldier is the thrust, as it is the least committal, yet can potentially be the most dangerous. To thrust, get in the Tortoise Guard. With a passing step, raise the arm upwards, and partially extended with the sword point directly towards the enemy’s head! Although tempting, do not fully extend your arm, because this actually weakens the force of the thrust, and makes recovery difficult.
Basic Cuts EditThe Downwards Cut is effective as it brings the sword right down and threatening the opponent’s head, generating a great deal of power easily. To execute a downward cut, assume the Bear guard. Then bring your arm directly down and partially extended in time with a passing step. The blade should end in such that it looks similar to a thrust, yet can go down further to the Scorpid Guard. Remember: To make the most power of the cut, make sure the blade finishes moving at the same time the step is made!
Directional Cuts Edit
The Right and Left cuts are very similar to the Downwards cut, but these cuts are preferable as they can force the enemy to focus on one side (left or right). Both of these cuts are executed from the Bear guard.
To execute the Right cut, simply extend your sword arm in tandem with a passing step just as one might in a punching jab, however be sure to turn the arm with the wrist pointing up at the sky, and again remember to finish the cut at the same time as making a passing step.To execute the Left cut, turn the arm at the elbow to the left as if it were a lever and step forward with a passing step. The end form should look almost identical to the Right Downwards cut, however the wrist is pointing downwards instead of up.