Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Test Cutting ~ Essential Practice
Test cutting is essential to the understanding of swordsmanship. Forgotten for a time, its revival is a key to the renaissance of the Chinese Sword Art. Test cutting provides the necessary context to understand the different cuts, quick and precise to long and powerful. It teaches intent, helping the student to understand aligning the cut, cutting itself and control of the follow through. It gives meaning to movements in the sword forms which are otherwise abstractions. It aids the practitioner in understanding how to move and apply power from the whole body and not simply the arms. For these reasons, and others, Chinese swordsmen made “grass men” out of the materials on hand to develop and refine their sword work.
Looking at this from a different context, drawing a bow for strength training has been a part of Chinese martial tradition for hundreds of years. But no matter how long one has drawn bows, no matter how heavy the draw weight of those bows, simply drawing the bow does not make one an archer, let alone a master archer. Shooting arrows at a target, hitting it, is what makes one an archer. This is true regardless of whatever benefits the exercise of drawing has provided. One can simply not be considered an archer without shooting. That is what the weapons is designed for.
The sword, whether the jian with its three edges, the tip and two sides of the blade, or the dao, with its single sharp edge, is designed to cut in various ways. Just as one who has never loose an arrow at a target can not sensibly be called an archer, one has has never used a sword to do what it is designed to do, be named a swordsman (jianke). If one has never used a tool to do the job it is designed for, one can not be called an expert in its use.
~Scott M. Rodell
Found Here: https://steelandcotton.tumblr.com/post/166675840231/test-cutting-essential-practice-test-cutting-is