The magic of wrestling with a sword

Many times, we attempt to recreate something that already exists. Many martial arts today have gun disarm drills they invented, knife defense and attack they invented and much more that was already in existence the first time a man took a rock in his hand and threw it at his brother.

Studying what worked for people who fought for their lives for millennia helps us deepen and further our own knowledge and temper our own experiences with that of our forefathers.

I suggest to you ten drills to rediscover ancient knowledge. Mo magic exceeds honest work.

Lie on the ground with your sword. Have your partner or partners come at you with their tools. Get moving with your breath, body and sword to avoid being cut down and cut them down as you go. Smile, it relaxes the face and frees the mind from worry of things that have yet to happen.

Close your eyes and stand on one leg. Hold your sword in your hand and with each breath, feel your balance shift and adjust. Have a partner push and pull on you with a stick or a rope loop. Breathe and move as one with the sword and maintain your balance through conscious movement. Let your footing start at your hips instead of at your legs.

Stand a sword stroke away from your partner and cross swords. Breathe and relax your hand, arm and shoulder tension so as to move the blade from the movement of the body. Let your partner move as they care to and sink inwards to cut or thrust with your blade. Here focus on moving from your own volition instead of being a drum making sound only when hit.

Hold your sword in your hands and have your partner grab the tip of your sword. Aim to stab and cut them as they move and work the contact to avoid being cut and thrusted upon. Focus on being the entire blade instead of having the point of contact pressed to your consciousness.

Hold your sword in your hands and have the blade of your partner placed on your body. Move from your breath to first avoid placing resistance on the blade and from there let the body movement decide the next step. Practice so you can answer several questions at the same time. Do not limit yourself to defense or offense.

Take a sword and have both you and your partner place hands on it as you both kneel on your knees. Breathe and both work to either be the only one with blade at hand or on drawing a dagger from your belt if you choose to. Never let the blade consume more of you than required.

Stand with your feet under you and start moving your blade. Have your partner aim to strike you and you in turn aim to avoid his blade, not only with your body but with your blade as well. Free your mind from conversation and exist without leaning on outside circumstance.

Place your blade on your partners blade. Keep them touching as your partner aims to break contact and slide and move on their blade as they make their intent known. Why do this ? To understand the mentality behind contact and no contact so when the desire to regroup hits you under pressure, you will not suffer a dissonance between your survival and your instinct.

Tense your body, from your skull muscles to the muscles gripping the ground at your feet. Let go and breathe continuously. Have your partner dart their blade at you using both thrusts and cuts as you avoid focusing on them or their tools with your eyes and movement. See the gaps in space and movement and find their timing without molding a response. Be active in touching with your blade or body while not letting their actions lead you. Freedom is always won, never without intent.

Be either in a blade on blade or with both sides touching the blade and practice the art of invisibility. Breathe as you would and let go of all intent and tension to free yourself from the current motion to become something new. An example for this can be to let go of struggling over the control of a firearm to grab a boiling kettle and emptying it on the front of your attacker or letting go of a knife to push an assailant into a moving truck. disappearing is choosing when and where to be and when and where not to be.

The invisible sword

It is up to us to be logical but it is equally paramount to be illogical in our pursuit of truth and affect.

Here is an illogical lesson plan for the sword. It mirrors a simple truth of resistance vs control but from the other side of the mirror.


  1. Hold your sword in your hand but allow the mass of it to point downward. Imagine it resting quietly in calm water.
  2. Shift your hips in a way when the middle stays in place and the hips move, one forward and one back and in reverse. Transfer that movement to the sword by letting go of excess tension in the spine and shoulder and let your breath be the rhythm.
  3. Keep the image of the sword in calm water in your head and add to hip movement to draw the sword out without splashing any water or creating any excess tension or movement. Keep your hand closed around the hilt so any adjustment in angle is made by the body, shoulder, arm and wrist.
  4. Keep the edge of the sword in your head and draw the sword from the down position to pointing up but so it maintains its up position out of balance and not out of tension. You can also balance a wooden stick on a finger for practice but keeping the sword upright in your grasp is more beneficial for the dialog between resistance and control.
  5. Start drawing a Mollinet by drawing a circle to your right and one to your left in one continuous motion coming from your hips and guiding the movement by spreading the movement between your shoulder, elbow and wrist. Always be aware of the edge and lead with it when appropriate.
  6. Have a partner place a staff or a sword parallel to the ground. Strike it with force and feel the resistance passing back to your sword arm and how your vision is affected.
  7. Breathe and release the wrist to let the sword strike the other sword and continue the movement with moving the elbow but with a relaxed wrist. Mind if the movement continues smoothly and if your vision maintains its focus more clearly.
  8. Breathe and Release both shoulder and wrist so the release meets at the elbow and strike the other sword in a continuous manner with each breath.
  9. Stand an arm and a sword away from your partner. Hold your sword in balance and watch both your and their swords. Find the wave of the pulse in yourself and in your partner and strike as theirs pulse. Release the motion continuously to keep the opponent from touching your tension or yourself and within that mold, you will find freedom and opportunity.

The straight road is not always the shortest. There are times where there are many valid ways and it is the choice which makes the way.

Wrestling with a butterfly

Wrestling with a butterfly

There is a chasm of difference between an edged contact and any other. The mechanical increase in pressure due to the edge geometry makes being tough and solid far less desirable compared to the art of footwork and general locomotion.

I would like to offer a few ideas for your future work to increase the value you place on gentleness and whole movement of the entire body. The reason for it is your prolonged wellbeing and hopefully increased ability and grace through life. The idea for this writing came from viewing sword work by the talented Natasha Kopylova (her videos have a graceful progression of body movement that channels to the limbs and tools and a free play of contact work without the pretense of toughness and resistance) coupled with my nature walks and many lessons from my students.

Movement within movement

Have your partner stand and move the mass from leg to leg. Progress to moving so the feet peel off the ground and turn in place slightly. Start prodding gently with a dry twig and have them combine two movements within one contact. The goal is to keep the twig from breaking and yourself from losing your movement. Achieving both goals will let you move both gently and with inner control.

Understanding of lines of movement

Take a stick and hold it by pressing lightly on both ends, each with one finger. Use only enough pressure to keep the stick in your grasp and start the work. Have your partner first stand and close both eyes. Move the stick through the body as your partner relaxes to allow the stick to pass through without creating resistance and breaking the pressure, which holds the stick in your hands. Achieving this will release within you r body smoother movement and you will feel more as one piece moving in harmony.

Throwing a bell

Find a little bell or a children toy that works the same and stand where there is no precious glass. Throw it in the air and instead of catching it when it descends, match its movement and add to it to bring it in a curve to another throw. The hidden meaning of this movement is to contact without resistance or manipulation. Imagine a blade edge meeting a blade edge as it is often seen in film. Will the blades survive such a meeting? Why not choose to join instead of obstruct.

Keeping the path open

Take a water bottle or a short stick and stand a few paces from your partner. Throw the object straight at your partner and start walking. When the stick comes flying your way, do the following. Keep breathing, move out of the path and make contact so you match the path of the stick and press it between your body and upper limbs. Keep moving and throw the stick back to your moving partner using your movement and breath. This drill is simple but will give you greater eye awareness and give you possibilities of matching and catching without sacrificing your freedom of movement. Value your freedom.

Keep safe by keeping in motion both within and outside. Let yourself be as graceful as you can be by learning from any teacher that comes your way, from the bird perching to the lady dancing with the sword.

When you let everyone teach you, you are open to many more lessons and here is a very nice one in grace and much more.

The title of wrestling with a butterfly is simple. If you can communicate and move in the world without harming the delicate and fragile, you are truly free and thus truly powerful.