Sword and combat: the first rule to learn

The common points of rigid weapons

The first thing to know about rigid weapons (cutting, impact, etc.) is that, if held in the same way, the biggest part of them have common combat settings:

  • The sword (eg. the Chinese Jian)
  • The short stick (that can be also an improper weapon found in a self-defense scenario)

All of them (handle excluded), must be divided into 3 parts.

Before continuing: a fundamental warning


  • Read How to train without risks
  • Let’s do not play with weapons (especially the real ones; there is nothing that we cannot do but only following the right instructional path (read Learning the use of real weapons)
  • We need to be gradual, this is the only possible way to learn safely; if we skip the necessary steps we will damage ourselves (or worst)
  • As we always repeat (and as every serious practitioner knows), the injuries are an incredible slowdown of our martial growth

When we get hurt:

  • We have to spend months in bed immobile
  • Perhaps we risk having consequences even after recovery
  • We have to start it all over again

A 100-year life lasts only 36500 days: wouldn’t it be better to invest the time we would spend in bed to train proportionally to our abilities?

A note by Master Kongling – If you train with dedication, a day will come when some of the weapons you will use will become part of your body, you will know perfectly well what you are able to do and what not, also, even if you make a mistake, you will have the physical and mental ability to avoid / limit the damage (speed, precision, spatial intelligence, instinctive defense, etc.). You will be the one to understand when that moment has arrived, if instead, you are wondering if you have already reached it, it is clear that you are still very far away: a skill is really acquired only if it is as easy as breathing.

The 3 zones of a sword (or a stick)

Excluding the handle (that in a stick is the part where we grab it), we have to recognize:

  • A control part
  • A defensive part
  • An attacking part

Zone 1: for static and strong control

The control part is the one that is near the handle and it is used to control the opponent’s action.

When we are against another stick or another sword:

  • We can control
  • We can push

Zone 2: for dynamic defense and deep cut

In the middle part, we can find the defensive zone, it is the one that we can “safely” adopt to defend against an opponent’s strike.

The opponent arrives with an attack and:

  • We can deflect
  • We can dampen

Zone 3: for dynamic attack (cut, stab, etc.)

The last part (and the most effective) is the attacking zone, near the tip of the sword or the stick. It cannot be used to defend, because it is too unstable (and in some cases flexible).

It is the fastest part of a weapon and with it:

  • We can pierce
  • We can cut

3 zones, 3 speeds

Although they belong to the same object, each part can move at a different speed:

  1. Slow speed (near the handle)
  2. Medium speed (middle part)
  3. Fast speed (near the tip)

The most dangerous part of a sword is the third one.

Why worry mainly about the tip

In a fight, against a sword (or a stick), the zone that we have to primarily take care of is the tip, because it is the one that:

  • Can be seen more difficultly
  • Can move faster
  • Can reach the longer distance
  • Can express more power
  • In the case of the blades, is normally sharper

When we talk about real swords, it is not necessary to use the entire blade length to cause big damage to the body of our opponents: the last third is more than enough.

What changes with a stick?

Nothing, the only difference is that:

  • The tip cannot penetrate
  • The surface cannot cut
  • It is an impact weapon

The general rules are the same.

In the next article of this series, we will see the basics of the short stick (read The basics of short sticks: safety and grip).

Final notes

A few conclusive thoughts:

  • This is how our school see weapons, we always try to find common points to gain cyclical benefits
  • In the video, the last movements are not for juggling, they are related to the development of a dexterity that is fundamental to basically manage our weapons in dynamic contexts
  • In addition to this, always in the video, there are also 2 examples of the 6 Dragons Kung Fu body’s weapon controls that we will see

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • What is, in your opinion, the hardest type of attack (from a sword) to manage?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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