TO FIND A PROPER STANCE
To find a proper stance, follow this sequence:
- Draw a line towards your opponent.
- Place the shield foot toe on one side of the line, touching the line.
- Place the sword foot heel on the other side of the line, also touching it.
- Keep the feet parallel, about 30 degrees from front, and about shoulder-width apart.
- Draw a perpendicular line, just behind the back heel.
- Move the back foot about four inches out along this line. Maintain the 30-degree angle.
- Fighters with a power problem will need to move this foot about six inches to allow for more forward rotation. When this is the case, the upper body must rotate slightly clockwise (for right-handed fighters) to place the shield in a good protective position.
- If this modification is used, it is wise to armor far around the back of the shield leg, since the front knee tends to bend in more on low blocks, exposing the back of the thigh to strikes that are not blocked.
- Unlock the knees; don't bend any more than it takes to do so.
- Rotate your hips forward and up, so that your weight moves to the balls of your feet. Keep your shoulders back far enough so that you are not leaning forward. Pay attention to the small of your back. It is easy at that point to tell if you are leaning forwards.
- Keeping your shoulders level, and very slightly cock your hip to the forward side.
- Put your shield arm in front of you, extended and pointing to your opponent. Rotate the elbow so that the thumb is pointing down. Move the hand down, then in, then up in a large 'U', ending up with the fingertips about six inches in front of your chin, with your elbow as close to your side as possible.
- Without moving your body, extend your sword arm out to the side at shoulder level, with your palm forward. Move the arm back until it stops. Holding the upper arm still, bend the elbow until your fingertips touch your ear.
- When holding the sword, it should lay across the back, sword-side of your neck, pointing down, and to your shield side, about 30 to 45 degrees from vertical.
- Your palm should be oriented nearly forward, or slightly down, with the knuckle of your little finger higher than the rest of the hand.
- When fighting an opposite-handed fighter, do not move your feet, but rather rotate your body (clockwise for a right-hander) slightly, with your leading shield edge moving more towards your opponent's weapon.