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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 12:40 am    Post subject: New video: Timings         Reply with quote

Hi all,

This is the first in a series of body mechanics vids we're putting together. This one is about timings (sword first, foot first, etc.) These are meant as instructional videos for our students, but we're going to put them on youtube in case others may be interested.

I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9aDZ6s2WcI

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James Head





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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 6:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great job Michael! I think you make a well balanced argument about the reasons for acting in other timings besides the commonly labled "true time". Watching your video was helpful in envisioning the small nuances of timing and distance. I also began to think about certain follow up actions if one happened to judge their distance incorrectly and threw a faster timing that did not have sufficient range. As an example: your first timing is noticeably quick but suffers from the least range. I imagine that it would probably be the best set up for a Wexelhau if you missed since you would still have a little time left to respond. It makes me think that a Wexel should only be thrown with a "first timing", slightly out of distance, to successfully pull off the change strike without getting killed.
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 6:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks! I'm very glad it helped.

Your reasoning for Wechselhau sounds right to me, though you can always shorten the other two timings if you wanted to. Just because you have range, doesn't mean you always have to use it. But as an "oh shit" follow up action, yeah, that would be a good one. So would stopping the strike short and thrusting or just holding long point.

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Chuck Wyatt





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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 4:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well done!

I especially enjoyed the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Chuck
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Chuck!

It was surprisingly easy to make. Once I realized my voice didn't suck too badly, that is. Happy

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 9:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice and professionally produced video clip as well as good content giving a lot to think about.

I for one fell too in love with the idea of the time of the hand, and although in the right context it's probably the best way to avoid telegraphing and surprise when in measure or just out of measure, I think I had the mistaken impression that the hands should always move first !

When acceleration in from way out of measure moving the hands first and them having to slow down for the rest of the body to catch up sort of seems like wasted motion since the body has to get close to get in range anyway moving the hands first when they are way too far to hit doesn't do anything to avoid some form of telegraphing.

On the other hand if one is rushing forward one can still time the hands to move at the most opportune time to either cut, turn the cut into a thrust or end up in longpoint and go from there at the sword.

Anyway, this is what I get from the various comments so far and that I should try to use the right timing according to context rather than always move the hands first.

In part moving the hands first is counter intuitive and had to be practised a great deal for it to feel natural, moving the hands at the same time or after the body is more natural and more powerful if after the body.

Often when we find something useful, like the time of the hand, we make the mistake of using it not only to best advantage but at the wrong times when it isn't the optimum way to move.

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 9:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,

I'm very glad this vid helped you. The idea that the hands *must* always move first really screwed me up in my early days. Getting rid of that one idea was like a domino effect of positive change and insights.

It's not that moving the hands first is bad...the first timing does just that. It's the "always" part that has to go, I think.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 01 Aug, 2010 11:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
Jean,

I'm very glad this vid helped you. The idea that the hands *must* always move first really screwed me up in my early days. Getting rid of that one idea was like a domino effect of positive change and insights.

It's not that moving the hands first is bad...the first timing does just that. It's the "always" part that has to go, I think.


Initially one has to train to learn how to move the hands first but once learned one may need to unlearn it and only use it to advantage and not 100% of the time as we may have convinced ourselves that it should always be done.

So I agree " IT THE ALWAYS " that has to go and at the very least the 2 other " times " also learned and practised as well as learning when to choose which one to use tactically/wisely. Big Grin Cool

( More training I guess. Wink Laughing Out Loud ).

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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 1:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Isn't the third timing just a step towards the enemy? So you reduce measure and then do a strike? As you pointed out, Michael, it seems to me very dangerous to go into close measure without simultaneously threatening the opponent. It's like you try to lure the enemy to make the first strike. But nevertheless great video! Makes one think about timing and footwork, and that's good! Thanks for sharing.

Thomas

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Steven Reich




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
Isn't the third timing just a step towards the enemy? So you reduce measure and then do a strike? As you pointed out, Michael, it seems to me very dangerous to go into close measure without simultaneously threatening the opponent. It's like you try to lure the enemy to make the first strike. But nevertheless great video! Makes one think about timing and footwork, and that's good! Thanks for sharing.

Well, yes and no. The difference between the 3rd timing and stepping close to the enemy and striking is one of mechanics--that is, the step starts first, but the step and the strike are mechanically integrated--the step powers the strike. As with all things in swordsmanship, it is dangerous if done in the wrong situation--but not so much if used in the correct situation.

Steve
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven Reich wrote:
Thomas R. wrote:
Isn't the third timing just a step towards the enemy? So you reduce measure and then do a strike? As you pointed out, Michael, it seems to me very dangerous to go into close measure without simultaneously threatening the opponent. It's like you try to lure the enemy to make the first strike. But nevertheless great video! Makes one think about timing and footwork, and that's good! Thanks for sharing.

Well, yes and no. The difference between the 3rd timing and stepping close to the enemy and striking is one of mechanics--that is, the step starts first, but the step and the strike are mechanically integrated--the step powers the strike. As with all things in swordsmanship, it is dangerous if done in the wrong situation--but not so much if used in the correct situation.

Steve


Yep. This timing can be torn apart with words very easily...it's bad to step close without a threat, etc. But in practice it's quite different and very effective. The third timing is used by living tradition sword arts, therefore its effectiveness and validity as something that works in combat cannot be questioned (at least not without a massive dose of hubris). I have also found through personal experience that it works exceptionally well in free fencing.

However, it is not always bad to step close to the opponent. For starters, as I said in the vid, a chambered sword is always a threat, ignore it at your own peril. What I tried to show in that vid is that stepping in to your opponent can be used to draw a predictable response. You pretty much know he is going to try to hit you and you pretty much know where (depending on his guard), so that can be used to out-time him (your sword has less to go than his does to stop his strike) and hit him instead. I do this as a demo in cutting classes ("go ahead, try to hit me") and it always surprises people.

The highest level of fencing is controlling your opponent like a puppet on strings. This is but a simple example of one way that can be achieved. And no, I am not there yet, but I'm working on it. Happy

And thanks for the kind words. Always appreciated.

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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many thanks for well reasoned and descriptive video, Michael! It helped clear up some thoughts of my own regarding the movement, although it will take a bit of thought on how to adapt this to sword and shield combat...
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artis Aboltins wrote:
Many thanks for well reasoned and descriptive video, Michael! It helped clear up some thoughts of my own regarding the movement, although it will take a bit of thought on how to adapt this to sword and shield combat...


Thanks!

I'm no expert on shield combat (about as far from it as you can get), but I would think it would work exactly the same way, except that thrid timing would be even more useful becuase you have the shield to protect you. If you do try to apply this way of looking at timings, please let me know how it turns out.

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Hugo Voisine





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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 11:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting video. Keep them coming ! Happy
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Aug, 2010 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Hugo, I'll certainly try.
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Greg Coffman




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Aug, 2010 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm...

Well done video and great topic for discussion. I'd like to offer a few critiques and observations of what I saw. Take it for what it's worth.

In the first timing demonstration, the first thing you do is to lean forward. Then you start the cut, and then the right foot comes forward but only enough to support your shifted center of balance. It is not really a full step. You are just moving your foot to bring it underneath where you now are after you leaned in. And yet, the overall picture does not look that much different than the second timing.

In the second timing, you do take a full step forward, but you cut much slower. Now, apart from particular instances where the goal might be to prompt or draw out your opponent, you should make the cut at the same speed every time regardless of foot-hand timing or stepping distance. I would want to see all three cuts (at all three timings) be made with the same speed cut. Otherwise I feel like you are changing variables that should remain constant which then give you false results. As in, the difference in timing between these three options does not appear to me to be based on relative foot-hand timing but based on how you are changing all three cuts. Likewise, in the third timing you step much farther than you do in either the first timings. So the range of all three timings seem to be more a function of length of step then actual timing.

In the last demonstration in which you show the third timing against a counter cut, in the first cut your opponent stops his attack before you have intercepted and bound against him. The second counter is much better.

You can demonstrate anything at slow speed and with a compliant partner. Your argument would be much more persuasive if you showed the techniques with full speed and intent and consistent cutting and stepping.

On the issue of hand-foot timing, my personal practice is to land my footfall at the same time my cuts "land," hit, or snap through langenort. This gives me my maximum range. I have already moved my body as far forward as I am going to go through my step, and my sword is reaching out as far forward as it is going to at the point it passes through long point. Now because the sword is lighter, I can accelerate it faster; the sword is faster than my ability to step. But my "full speed" is not as fast as I possibly can swing the sword. The sword does not need to go that fast in order to work correctly. Rather, speed in the cut is more an intent of placement or getting there first. Therefore, the speed at which I can step is plenty fast for my cuts, and this keeps my steps and cuts both fast. With this framework in place, I am free to concentrate more on stepping as a function of range and lining up my steps with my cuts instead of concerning myself with whether I am or should be moving my feet or my sword first. It's a mute point for me. And binding changes up the conversation quite a bit too.

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Greg Coffman

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Aug, 2010 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Coffman wrote:

In the first timing demonstration, the first thing you do is to lean forward.


Yes, that is the first step, and it is an important one, though ideally it should happen during the "setup." If your weight is not all the way forward when you start the cut, you will either transfer it forward without knowing you’re doing it (or knowing it and cursing yourself), or cut short and with less power.

In this video, I am moving leisurely because I don’t want to go too fast…it is a video that is supposed to make it easy for people to see things, after all, not to show people how cool and awesome and fast I am. I wanted this transfer of weight to be clearly visible, which it would not have been if I started out that way.

To be fair, though, I am not a master, so even when I try to do things perfectly I often fail to have my weight forward properly when I do this strike.

The cut itself also involves a lean. Leaning or even falling into the cut and kicking out the hip rather than stepping are techniques for improving the range of the first timing. If I lean my body as I cut, I bring myself closer to my opponent, and my foot shoots out to catch me.

Quote:

Then you start the cut, and then the right foot comes forward but only enough to support your shifted center of balance. It is not really a full step. You are just moving your foot to bring it underneath where you now are after you leaned in.


It cannot be a full step because no full step could catch up to your sword if your sword is moving as fast as it can. There are two reasons for the step. The first reason is that if you don’t step behind the strike, you will fall down.

The second reason has to do with power. Power comes from the hip. The step provides the turning of the hip that makes this possible.


Quote:

And yet, the overall picture does not look that much different than the second timing.


To the untrained eye, it may. I was a little concerned about that, and so I went slower still in the second timing to make it clearer.

I suggest you look again. They are quite different. However, if they didn't *look* different, then that would be great. That would mean I can execute a second timing strike with the speed of a first. Unfortunately for me, I can't.

Quote:

In the second timing, you do take a full step forward, but you cut much slower. Now, apart from particular instances where the goal might be to prompt or draw out your opponent, you should make the cut at the same speed every time regardless of foot-hand timing or stepping distance.


If I make a full speed cut at second timing distance, I cannot step fast enough to bring myself into measure and would always miss. The hands are always faster than the feet. This is why there are different timings, and why they have different purposes.

Quote:
I would want to see all three cuts (at all three timings) be made with the same speed cut.


By statements later in your post, I see that you think this should be done by limiting the speed of your sword. In such a case, you are always doing the second timing, and either do not understand or do understand and do not value the purpose of the other timings.

Quote:
Likewise, in the third timing you step much farther than you do in either the first timings. So the range of all three timings seem to be more a function of length of step then actual timing.


You need to understand the relationship between the speed of the sword and the speed of the foot. I step further in the third timing because I *can*. I can because I don’t have to try to catch up to my sword. That is one of the purposes of the third timing.

Quote:

In the last demonstration in which you show the third timing against a counter cut, in the first cut your opponent stops his attack before you have intercepted and bound against him.


Again, look more closely. The video is availabe in HD for this reason. Happy

Quote:

You can demonstrate anything at slow speed and with a compliant partner. Your argument would be much more persuasive if you showed the techniques with full speed and intent and consistent cutting and stepping.


I have done these “demos” at cutting classes, most recently at CW. I tell people “try your best to hit me as I step into your measure. “ They can step, not step, whatever. I have yet to be hit, and have yet to fail to hit anyone.

Does it always work in free fencing? Of course not. In the practice of fencing, nothing is certain. You can apply proper leverage and still be smacked on the head by a stronger fencer, or you can seize the iniative against a percieved opening, striking with the proper master strike to break a guad, and still get smacked on the hands by a nachreisen. And you can step into measure with the third timing to set up a predictable response and still get whacked by someone faster or better than you. But that does not invalidate the third timing any more than the other two examples invalidate winding or the vier versetzen.

Quote:
On the issue of hand-foot timing, my personal practice is to land my footfall at the same time my cuts "land," hit, or snap through langenort. This gives me my maximum range. I have already moved my body as far forward as I am going to go through my step, and my sword is reaching out as far forward as it is going to at the point it passes through long point. Now because the sword is lighter, I can accelerate it faster; the sword is faster than my ability to step. But my "full speed" is not as fast as I possibly can swing the sword. The sword does not need to go that fast in order to work correctly. Rather, speed in the cut is more an intent of placement or getting there first. Therefore, the speed at which I can step is plenty fast for my cuts, and this keeps my steps and cuts both fast. With this framework in place, I am free to concentrate more on stepping as a function of range and lining up my steps with my cuts instead of concerning myself with whether I am or should be moving my feet or my sword first. It's a mute point for me. And binding changes up the conversation quite a bit too.


You are using the second timing only, regardless of what moves first, and therefore that does not give you your maximum range (but don't take my word for it...try stepping first and see what happens). That’s fine. It’s a good timing. I use it too. But you either did not understand the purpose of the other two, or do not see their value. That’s fine also. It’s hard to get that from watching a video. Perhaps if we ever meet in person I can show you more effectively and then you can decide what you want to do with that information. There are intricacies to the timings that cannot be easily explained in the videos but can be easily demonstrated.

Contrary to how it may appear, I am not trying to convert the HEMA community to use all three timings. In fact I prefer that they do not use them, so that me and my students have an edge (jk! Happy ). These are videos for our students and whoever else may find them useful. If you do not, that's okay.

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