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I have a biomechanical framework for much of what I do and sometimes I forget that other people don’t necessarily have that.

Here are some principles I follow:

  • the knee should bend in the same direction as the foot is pointing
  • the foot should point in the direction of weight transfer
  • in rapier play the point of the elbow should point to the ground as much as possible, no matter what guard you are in
  • when stepping forwards and outside the diameter of the shoulders the heel should land first
  • when stepping backwards the ball of the foot should land first
  • stepping forwards and within the diameter of the shoulders it is probably better to land with the ball of the foot first
  • the shoulders shouldn’t hunch forwards
  • joints should never be locked out
  • the centre of gravity should always be between the feet
  • muscles should be as relaxed as possible at all times
  • minimise the time spent with one foot off the ground

Having principles like these is important. Historical treatises don’t generally include this sort of information and biomechanical principles are often not taught even when the teacher knows them. I think this is because biomechanics are the water we swim in and those who are capable of executing actions with good grounding and form do so without thought. They are basic, so basic we forget to teach them.

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