The European Historical Combat Guild

Investigating Europe's Historical combative methods and behaviours

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

More Eyes

This is from the Japanese text The Sword and The Mind translated by Hiroaki Sato
This work is a synthesis of the ideas of 3 swordsmen of the 16th in to the 17th Centuries, Hidetsuna, Muneyoshi and Munenori

"Give special attention to the movement of your opponent's eyes. It is even said that you must make it your own. Unless you can follow your opponent's eye movements with absolute calm, whatever you may have learned about sword handling will be of no use."

While one could apply a more open or vague interpretation to this, for me the intent is pretty clear.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Eyes on....

This is from Matthew J. O'Rourkes A New System of Sword Exercise, with a manual of the sword for Officer (1872)

In making the cuts, care should be taken to extend the arm, to keep the thumb on the back of the grip, to keep the hand well in front of the centre of the body, and fix your eyes* steadily on those of your opponent.

*many authors lay down the rule that their pupils shall "glance" at the part of the person they intend to direct a cut or point. The absurdity of this must be apparent to the merest tyro. To do this would be equivalent to giving a verbal notification to guard a certain place, and would would be utterly opposed to the vital principles underlying the entire practice. The great aim of those which desire  to excel as swordsmen should b to so far disconnect th hand from the eye that the muscular movement of the one will have no perceptible effect on the other. This can only be acquired by long practice, and so great is the advantage to be derived from it that when swordsmanship was at its zenith , and the first gentlemen the world staked their lives in the skull and dexterity with which they could wield their swords, it was deemed the very acme of the art to be able to deliver a "pass" without any movement of the eyes.