Getting Out of the Way

The time for battle has come. Your opponent’s eyes glint with murderous rage as he begins to charge. You brace yourself for the crash that will break bones and end a life.

Um… You know you can just get out of the way, right?

Our third lesson begins with the usual warm-up and some repetition of old footwork exercises. Once that’s over, we’re introduced to the concept of the strada, which translates roughly into “way” or “road”. Fiore uses the word in reference to the straight line between two combatants (who’ll usually be facing each other). Most attacks will follow this line, and therefore getting off it, or “out of the way”, is oftentimes a good idea.

We don’t go into much detail on how to do it. The teacher shows us a few examples while throwing around some long and complex terms, but while understanding all that doesn’t hurt, in the end getting off the strada comes pretty naturally without focusing on the footwork. The goal is to step aside: that’s not easy to screw up.

What follows next is the stick avoidance exercise. Hey, hang on… Isn’t that exactly the same as this strada business? Stick comes towards you in a line, you step aside? Yup, it’s essentially the same. But what’s the point of discussing this then? It’s not like one is really actively thinking of stradas and passares when trying to dodge a blow. Why do we have these difficult terms anyway? My next post will be on the importance of terminology.

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