Mu Ryu Etiquette & Fighting Sunday (today @ 2-5)

Dueling in SE Col. Summers Park, 2-5 Sunday (today! soon!)

Something from the past weekend of fighting was notable to me (other than the standard awesomeness of the usual battle and camaraderie). Some old friends showed up for battle towards the end of the day. Steve, who is known for a kendo past and some extremely fast and ferocious katana style attacks came and when we fought, as is common and expected in kendo, he delivered a lot of “late hits”. To encourage you being on your guard, in kendo swordsmen can strike each other whenever, even while separating after contact has been made. This is not how we usually fight in Mu Ryu, but I was a sport about it and didn’t really remind Steve that he was breaching standard etiquette and I was up for the challenge of it.

Arriving with Musashi-esque strategic timing Chopper soon rolled through on a red tall bike. As I was hella tired insisted that I get a break before battling fresh Chopper, who swings his sword powered like an ax. So he and Steve fought. Ultraviolence. & Steve kept late hitting Chopper. And this began to clearly annoy Chopper and I could see the steam begin to rise. & of course that raises the spirit to swing for the stars. Anyways, soon enough Chopper gave Steve a talking to about the late hits and was very thorough and polite about it – & the irony is that the 1st day Chopper came to Mu Ryu he fought (me) and losing points was frustrating him because he is fierce wild man. So once he kept on swinging and swinging and we saw that the consequence of late hitting is that you keep hitting until somebody can’t keep hitting – lesson: no late hitting! except accidentally, which we all do.

Anyways, back to the point, that the entire exchange brought to mind the following quote from 19th century Highland broadsword master Thomas Mathewson:

It is the cultivation of this art that unfetters the body, strengthens it and makes it upright; it is it that gives a becoming deportment and an easy carriage, activity and agility, grace and dignity;- it is it that opportunely awes petulance, softens and polishes savageness and rudeness, and animates a proper confidence; it is it which in teaching us to conquer ourselves, that we may be able to conquer others, imprints respect, and gives true valour, good nature and politeness; in fine, which makes a man fit for society.

Come fight!

Mu Ryu Valkyrie Training: Knifefighting

From a martial perspective, this video demonstrates how a stronger small opponent can control a lankier weaker opponent’s knife-arm at the elbow.
I’m also a bit of a relentless jerk during this video. Oops! Sorry.
The song is Quitter’s Raga.

This lunge is pretty good. Slo-mo at 10% speed is interesting. It lets me see the wasted motion in the knife/leg, during seconds 3-5. Needs work. The recovery however (stepping from low extended lunged leg passed the lead leg) is great.

Mu Ryu February 2010 knife sparring

Perfect soundtrack for a knife-vs-knife fight.

Formally trained guy in the white shirt, self-trained in the black. Pretty even match. It just goes to show that it’s not the martial art that counts, it’s the fighter performing it. Even if you practice the most bad-ass ancient tradition that was ever forged in the blood of enemies on the field of battle, in a lot of ways you’re on your own. An artist must develop his own voice.

(EDIT: Don’t get it twisted, though — I expect Mr. white to outstrip his opponent eventually. Formal training is a huge advantage if you can A) get your head right and B) find a teacher who’s the real deal. Neither one is easy. How does a beginner recognize a good teacher? When progress is slow, you have to take it on faith that you’re improving — how do you do that and keep from being a mindless follower? I don’t blame Mr. black for going it alone.

The fight between different philosophies here is so interesting that I kind of hope I’m wrong, and these two stay evenly matched, progressing at the same rate forever. I want to see Quenton get even more grounded in classical technique, and Vin get even more idiosyncratic.)