This is the formula of the duel. Two beings enter combat. They are armed with their sabers. This is the method and the secret to surviving single combat with the sword or saber. Apply the science of conflict to ply one’s honor and skill against another. Theories are many and great. Injury and dismemberment are ever present dangers. Therefore, take the formula to heart and apply the science within. There is an answer to every question. The intention will last until it is resolved through debate.
In the light of the moons, from dusk till dawn, I play in the spheres of the stars. Attack me I am strong. Run from me I am quick.
The Way of the Ysalamiri is what they call Makashi. What you call it is not important. What is important is it’s use. It is designed to be used one weapon against the other. This fact limits the possibilities. It is, therefore, more exact in its methods. There are many misconceptions of what it is like to fight weapon to weapon. The Formula is designed to do away with those myths.
The Formula consists of simple concepts that are combined at later levels. They teach the basic anatomy, function, and limitations of such a weapon. They are the moon guards and the three spheres. Combined with the simple footwork and concepts of dueling, Makashi becomes another pillar in one’s foundation.
The the of weapon we are talking about is a hilt weapon. This means it has certain characteristics. It has an active element (the blade) and an inactive element (the hilt or handle). Whether it is a lightsaber or a step blade, these concepts apply. The weapon it’s self can be divided into spheres and sections.
The first division is the spheres. These are identified as the points of contact and wielding as well ranges for attack and defense. There are three spheres; the Corona, the Chromosphere, and the Photosphere.
The Corona- Kronisfero
Like it’s name sake this is the outer most tip and section of the blade, the furthest from you in guard. The corona should ideally be placed on the line of the opponent, thus keeping the tip steady and threatening. To move from the Corona means to move the hilt, and it serves as the major parrying method. The reason for this is that by keeping the point on the line, when you move your hilt out it creates a wedge that deflects their attack off your line and opening up theirs.
The Photosphere- Lumsfero
The Photosphere is the opposite pair to the Corona as the inner most arc of the blade at or near the hilt. Movement from this sphere creates the signature attacks of Shiim and Shiak. What should be focused on here is the opposite of the Corona. Namely, the hilt is steady creating lots of movement in the blade. Rotating and moving from this sphere is essential to becoming any kind of threat to your opponent.
The Chromosphere – Kolorsfero
This sphere is in the middle or inner part of the blade. This sphere is a deft one. By moving on it you move the hilt and the tip in unison like a lever. Practicing by your self you may find it difficult at first, but a point must be chosen to remain a focus and this point must remain still in space. The function of this sphere, besides being suitable for both offense and defense, trains one to fight in medium to close range. While a duelist will prefer to stay outside of range and attack from a safe distance, there are times when it becomes imperative to defend your self from a closer range attack.
These three spheres create and divide the blade into two sections; the Quick (viv) and the Strong (forha). The Quick is the front section between the Chromosphere and the Corona. The Strong is the section between the Chromosphere and the Photosphere.
The Quick is the primary attacking portion of the blade while the Strong is the primary parrying portion of the blade. This is not to say you won’t do both with either, but it is a general ideal Form II holds.
The Moon Guards- Sorlahulo de Uhl Lun
On how to hold the sword, the most that should be said is that you should hold it in such a way that it is responsive to your will yet not a chore to wield. Do not grip too tightly or too loosely and do not be overly attached to one style of holding. The comfort of the hand and actions of your intent will dictate that aspect of holding the weapon.
The Moon Guards are part of holding the weapon, or rather, holding the weapon is part of the guards. Each position can be viewed from several different aspects. The Form II interpretations are direct and to the point. These can be applied very quickly in combat after learning them. The positions of they are assumed around the body form the defense. The way the hand delivers the blow through the weapon form the offense. These guards should not be thought of as static positions but as platforms from which to launch attacks and form responses. They form a dynamic continuum not only in use but also in theory.
Full Moon- Fulle Lun
This is the first position. Stand in attack stance. Hold your sober up in front of you letting the blade hang down. Turn your palm inward so your palm is facing away from your face and the fingers are up. The arm is turned out and up with the elbow being superior. This will tend to push out toward zone 5. Keep your point on the center.
This guard is obviously good at defending the upper half. But it is most useful to defend zone 3 and zone five. Receiving blows in this guard should happen on the back of the blade. Resist toward the base of the fingers on the palm.The attacks with this position are varied but will tend to attack the same zones as they will defend.
New Moon- Nov Lun
The opposite guard to Full Moon. Move your weapon around the opposite direction from Full moon until you reach all the way around the circle. The palm face in toward your face. The arm is crossed in front of the body at zone 3. The blade also points toward the center and should hang down if wielding from the Corona. This is best to cover zone 2 and 6.
In combat, use this guard to defeat sai tok to zone 2. It can deflect any overhead blow off to your zone 2 side. When wielding from the Corona, slices and upward cuts would be an extension of Shii-Cho. It can defend the lower regions, but it is ill suited to do so. Resistance must be delivered through the heel of the palm now, and the awkward position make it difficult to receive or deliver blows to the lower region.
Half Moon- Duono Lun
This guard is the most basic and intuitive position in dueling. The hilt is held at waist or hip level . The blade points toward the enemy with an upward angle. The arm is relaxed in extended in front of you. All these points should form a line down the center. Almost every person who picks up a sword will find this position. It is the starting point for all the guards and the strike. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished from this position. As such, there is a peril of staying in it exclusively. This cuts off the ability to control the engagement rather than get caught up in it.
Moving from the corona from this position into each of the other two guards, will trace a cone in front of you. This cone of defense can also act as a wedge to slip trusts and insert your own inside their defenses. Shiim and Shiak are exceedingly easy from this position and shifting parries can be done very quickly. Beat parries as well add to the utility of this guard and it’s use as a primary position.
Do not linger in this guard however, for it will make you a sitting target for anyone with half an eye for swordplay.
Also, to account for all the positions needed for the duel, There are two basic designations for blade position in relation to the hilt. These are Zenith and Nadir. Zenith (Senit) position means blade higher than the hilt, Nadir (Natir) that it is lower.
The Moon Guards divide the body also, into two regions, The Gibbous region-(Liv- zones 2 and 5) and the Crescent- (Flecs -3 and 6). In the past, these were taught as guards as well, but the practice became too complicated to novices and gave the positions more importance than they deserve. Launching attacks from each region still uses the terms as “waning gibbous” but they should be thought of as actions rather than positions. They often represent the first movement to any attack. Be it a parry or a feint.
Upper and lower halves are referred to as Waxing-(Pech -upper) and Waning-(Pal -lower). So waning gibbous is your zone 5 quarter. When performing combinations and accelerations it is valuable to have the proper concepts in place.
These principles are what are referred to as “The Science”.
Form II stresses economy and effectiveness. The footwork is designed to allow you to advance and retreat quickly, reposition to better angles and escape fast and unconventional attacks. The previous footwork from Shii-Cho is practiced, but the Hutt Slide is favored of that set. Also, attack stance is used all but exclusively, with zone 5 forward. This provided the most stationary reach for the duel. Being able to strike your opponent without them being able to strike you is an ideal that all fighters strive for.
When in ready stance, Makes sure that your feet are not “crossed” at the hip or knee. This means that you can always draw a straight line between your two heels. This will prevent your stance from binding and reducing mobility.
The weight may be distributed through the heel of the back foot and ball of the front, or vice versa. If your plan is to advance, the back weighted version is preferable. It allows for quick springs forward off the back foot. If your plan is to retreat, keep you front foot weighted through the heel. This will give you readiness to back up out of range.
There are three other major methods of stepping to maximize reach and power: The Hyper-step, Lunge and Cross step.
The Lunge is merely a reach using the entire body. If you wish to Shiak, you will move in to front stance. Instead of stopping at a normal front stance, step your front foot out as far as you can while dropping low. This will extend your reach by a good two hands if done correctly. Sink in to the front foot and hip. Extend the shoulder and arm forward over the knee and turn flat to the side.
Important points to keep track of; when you go forward in your stance, sink into the hip and not the knee. Try to use the back of your leg to hold you up, and your heel to stop you. Do not lean too far forward with the upper body as that too will lead to over extension and vulnerability of zone 1 to attack. Also, pay attention to the back foot and avoid allowing it to fall over on its side. Keep the foot flat on the ground. You may lift the heel slightly at the end, but keep the side of the foot off the ground.
The Hyper Step (or Hyper Jump Step) is a way of increasing range in a single step without having to pass or full step. It has a broken rhythm and can be adapted to give an entire range of techniques. It begins like a Hutt slide, but as the front foot reaches out, it does so further. Now that you have a long stride, almost a leap, bring your feet together at a point somewhere in the middle of the stride. Once your feet are together, push off the back foot and catch yourself in a lunge.
All the major points are the same as the lunge. This is a precursor that can help set up a successful attack from distance. Keep your self and your center form boring up and down as you execute the step. Bringing the feet in close should be done quick and snappy. The push off the back heel should also be powerful and fast.
The Cross Step is the method of advancing and retreating while keeping your center and zone 2 forward. This allows you to distance yourself from the enemy or in their sphere without opening any zones to attack. The method keeps the center low and requires good control of the upper body.
To cross step forward you may do so in the back or front. When crossing in front, set the zone 6 foot at an angle in front of the zone 5 foot. do not turn the hips more than allows you to make the cross. The knees will be very close to each other. Sink the weight on the zone 6 foot and lift the zone 5 foot of the ground. It will naturally come forward, simp control it to complete the step in front of you. this returns you to attack position from which you may cross again, lunge, or hyper jump.
To cross behind while advancing stretch your foot in back and place the ball of the zone 6 foot forward and to the side of the zone 5 foot. Place your foot down and shift your weight to the zone 6 foot. it should deb very easy to allow your zone five to come forward in position of attack stance. Again, the important point is not to turn your hips as you make the cross.
Retreating by crossing is less often practiced but no less important. Simply reverse the instructions form the advance and the step show come naturally. The main points remain the same; Zone 2 forward at all times, no turn at the hips, and a narrow cross of the feet.
The act of turning and changing directions is covered in pivoting. Pivoting allows you to remain in stance and reorient to your opponent as they try to out flank and get behind you. pivoting can occur on the front or back foot, and on the heel or ball of either foot.
Pivoting on the heel will allow you to preserve your lower body posture. Pivoting on the heel is a good tactic when you are under the pressure of the enemies saber or when you wish to throw a strike to an unexpected angle for a surprise attack. Pivoting on the heel will also keep your foot and leg alignment suitable for both movement and attack. The draw back is it is not quite as fast a turn as the next method.
Pivoting on the ball of the foot provides quick changes in direction and orientation. It is fast and useful in dogging and feinting . Pivoting here will change the location of the heel, allowing you to change dynamics without your enemy knowing. Pivoting on the ball can either proceed or succeed a turning the body. What you gain in speed with this method you loose in stability and power.
The front foot pivot is used to reorient and follow around while standing ground. The front foot pivot is also used with advancing in the cross step. This method requires you to turn the back of your body around the center dictated by your front foot.
The rear foot pivot is more evasive than the front. It is use in retreating and in disengaging or changing direction in response to the enemies attack. It is more difficult to see for the enemy, so it can be applied in many scenarios where you wish to draw your enemy in to a trap.
With these few strategies it is possible to effectively survive single combat with the saber. They are simple and direct but can be combined almost infinitely.
The practice of Sun dog in the makashi tradition is the practice of combination and of creativity. Holding to the basic steps and blade maneuvers, it is possible to create shadow boxing routines that can help one practice if one is with out a partner. By combining simple forward and backward movements and pivots, the student explores the reach their knowledge and abilities. But, on must be ever conscious that one does not fall into the trap of only training solo or that solo training can give you knowledge of the duel by it’s self. You must fight, and if you fight, the sun dog will be a good addition to one’s training.
Dulon trajectories and names:
- Makashi Riposte waxing phase
- 3 Moons
- Bespin Expanse
- Makashi Riposte Half Moon Phase
- Solar Flare
- Photosphere to Comet Tail
- Sarlacc Sweep to 3 Moons
- Contentious Opportunity
- Bespin Canopy
- Raise the Curtain
- Full Eclipse
- Makashi Riposte Waning Phase
- Nebula Turn Left
- Nebula Turn Right
- Raise the Curtain
- Mynok Advance
- Searching the Grain
- Super Nova Attack
- Bespin Canopy
- Comet Tail
END the Codex duello.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Copyright 2015 Chad Eisner TPLA.
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