- If you run
If they run
- Curves – (opening targets when they lean)
When a person must retreat with a great weapon, it is always best to move in curves, with the hope that your opponent will follow you around the curves. If they do, they will tend to lean into the curve, thereby exposing their head for thrusts or cuts, since when they lean their head over their shoulder, and their shoulder over their elbow, the upward movement of the arm to block the head will be delayed significantly.
If you can, or if your opponent will not follow you around the curves, it is better to move directly to the side, or, even better, to move into your forward corners to avoid the charge. The slide step, as described below, is useful in this application. You can also use your weapon to push yourself around your opponent, and to push your opponent around and past your new position.
If you are fighting against a shield weapon, passing on the shield side only requires a sideways push with a vertical weapon against a shield while you rotate to that side. Passing on the sword side can be accomplished by a variation of the Underarm Throw, as described in the section: Inside Defense – S&S.
- Cutting corners
Instead of running towards your fleeing opponent with a normal running stride, it is important to keep your feet spread to allow you to turn corners quickly. I describe this as “waddling” towards your opponent. Please see below.
Cutting the corners will allow you to move one or more steps closer, every time your opponent switches directions with a curving path. It has the same effect as “leading” a moving target.
Be careful that you don’t close too quickly, and become vulnerable to a thrust with a butt spike.
When you close, you don’t want to be square against them, with your shield caught in between you. Keep your shield out in front, in contact with their weapon, and your shield arm acting as a spring, to keep the tension, but to also allow you to release, if necessary. Keep your shoulders perpendicular to your line of advance, if possible, with your sword back.
While chasing your opponent, the maxim to remember is to keep your feet outside of your knees, and your knees outside of your hips. Your feet can move in short crescents – outside to inside to outside, but don’t worry much about this – just keep your balance with your body upright. Leaning is bad.
Don’t run directly towards your opponent. This will make it difficult for you to react properly to changes in direction, and can cause you to move past your opponent and out of position, if he or she moves quickly to the side. It will also make you liable to follow around the curves, as mentioned above.