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Author Topic: Let's do combat analysis!  (Read 863 times)
Cang Snow
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« on: October 16, 2018, 03:28:17 PM »

Hi. I thought it would be interesting to analyze some competitive matches. What's the winner doing right and what's the loser doing wrong? What are the key moments that defined the bout? We'll start with the women's final match at Lightspeed Saber League's Summer Slash II, having just passed a few weeks ago.

! No longer available


Fundamentally, this is a match very much about height and measure. How do you overcome that?

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Let's look at a new one every week! While I won't insist that they're in the Lightspeed-saber format, I do think it should be in a format that is reasonably close to real lightsaber combat. So TSL for instance, I think, is fair game.

If you need a primer on our rules, look here:
www.lightspeed-saber.com/rules

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Come fight at A New Hope, our first national competition, in Las Vegas, this December 15th! Register @
https://www.lightspeed-saber.com/tournaments/skillcon
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Golden Fedora
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2018, 04:12:01 PM »

Thanks for posting this Cang, being a bit on the short side, watching how Elizabeth gained points was very helpful in determining what I should be doing when I fight.
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Infinit01
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2018, 04:20:16 PM »

Just watching a few rounds, Elizabeth would run in aggressively without any angle or plan and just start striking wildly while her opponent, Hunter, would just calculated strikes and know that she strikes from right to left going wide across her chest, Hunter would tap her outer hand/arm for the point each time. I also notice that Hunter strikes as Elizabeth is at the end of her strike about to return.
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Golden Fedora
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2018, 04:56:46 PM »

Just watching a few rounds, Elizabeth would run in aggressively without any angle or plan and just start striking wildly while her opponent, Hunter, would just calculated strikes and know that she strikes from right to left going wide across her chest, Hunter would tap her outer hand/arm for the point each time. I also notice that Hunter strikes as Elizabeth is at the end of her strike about to return.

I did notice that. and watching her also lets me know that if I go against someone taller than me, it would help for me to keep my saber close to me and not let it fly out to the side.
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"Easy is the path to wisdom for those only not blinded by themselves."

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Infinit01
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2018, 05:18:56 PM »

I did notice that. and watching her also lets me know that if I go against someone taller than me, it would help for me to keep my saber close to me and not let it fly out to the side.

Agreed, there's definitely a lot of learning lessons to be had from watching this video alone. Kudos to Cang for showing it and getting the convo going.
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Cang Snow
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2018, 01:10:08 AM »

We'll start with the women's final match at Lightspeed Saber League's Summer Slash II, having just passed a few weeks ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkR4Bd6xnCo

Fundamentally, this is a match very much about height and measure. How do you overcome that?


Hello! Alright, here are my two cents. Lets talk about two different things: distance vs acceleration.

It's already been noted Elizabeth's aggression, and Hunter's effective use of the stop-cut to counter all Elizabeth's attacks while staying out of range. Elizabeth probably thought that the only way to win was to close the distance, which explains why she was charging in.

Charging is one thing. But CHASING is another, which was Elizabeth's fundamental mistake. It's true that, as the shorter fencer, you need to bridge the gap. But that gap should be bridged within a short distance AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. In other words, acceleration through a short distance matters more than charging through what quickly becomes a LONG distance. If I were coaching Elizabeth between points, I would have told her not to pursue any attack beyond a single stride, and to focus on bringing Hunter close to her, then attacking with a BURST of speed over a SHORT distance.

Knowing how to burst takes some training. But you'll find examples within traditional fencing (the fleche) and in kendo (think of two kendoka squaring off with just minor foot and blade maneuvers, then suddenly one of them EXPLODES into a lightning-fast attack). Our equivalent maneuver in Lightspeed-saber fencing is called a "bolt."

I hope this was helpful! New discussion next week!
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Golden Fedora
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2018, 06:13:54 AM »

Can't wait for it! Thanks again Cang.
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Cang Snow
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2018, 10:23:19 AM »

This week, let's talk about the men's final at the same tournament, Summer Slash II. Tony Zaldua from Krait Base Los Angeles vs Nick Richardson from Penguin Saber Academy (Palm Desert).

! No longer available


This is another example of a fencer failing to adjust to the situation. What did the winner do effectively and what should the loser have done to course-correct?
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Golden Fedora
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2018, 12:30:11 PM »

while I watched this, I noticed that Nick had one move that kept getting Tony. he would start with his saber high, and then bring it in a curving downwards motion that almost always ended with him getting points. Tony has likely never seen that kind of move, and thus, was completely blindsided by Nick's attacks. although I did notice that whenever Nick used said move, he would leave himself open for a small window, and Tony took him here once or twice, I just think he didn't quite catch on to what Nick was doing and when that opening would appear.
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Master Resolute
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2018, 06:18:14 AM »

Simply fantastic. Events like these are awesome. Please keep in mind I say these following things with respect to everyone's training, time put in and passion for the arts.

If I were to offer my two cents, and keep in mind I do not practice fencing, just concepts of fencing with empty hand...not weaponry.. so I realize the approach is different.

I double checked and did not see a single low line attack. A lot of legs were exposed. For instance, if I were in Elizabeth's corner during her match I would of told her to use a drop guard and either swipe in a diagonal upward motion to attack Hunter's wrist/hand/elbow or to swipe at her knee using triangle footwork to bridge the gap. Moving straight in on a taller opponent is very hard to do and one will normally take a hit or two before getting into range. With the point system your using, this does make it a little more difficult for the shorter person, but in my opinion it is not a disadvantage if the shorter practitioner learns diamond/triangle/square footwork.

Tony vs Nick. This was great. In the beginning, Tony came out aggressive but seemed to become reactionary toward the middle/end. Action is faster than reaction and Nick started to dictate the terms of engagement and range as the bout progressed. I think Tony would of avoided/evaded a lot more of these attacks if he would of used pendulum footwork instead of a leg retraction and bringing both feet together, locking himself in that position for a half beat.

This last thing is a personal preference and something that was instilled in me by Sifu Vito and Guro Dan. Don't play " tag ". Always use " punches in bunches " and never retreat backward in a straight line. Angle out and away. A slash followed by a stab or vice versa has a higher chance to score than a single strike followed by a quick retreat.

Let's face it, it's all about the %. A great baseball player hits at .300. That means they fail 70% of the time.

Anyway, these were great fun to watch. My comments come from the FMA approach and personal self expression, and are said out of respect. It is easy to watch from the outside and have " God Vision ". Much different when your actually in there as a combatant. We don't spar with sabers anyone, im with an SCA group. I would absolutely love to get out west and join you guys at one of these events, even If it were to be just a spectator.

I always remind my students " Everyone has a plan.....until they get hit in the face. "

Thanks for sharing this Cang.

This is also something similar I would of told her as well.


Charging is one thing. But CHASING is another, which was Elizabeth's fundamental mistake. It's true that, as the shorter fencer, you need to bridge the gap. But that gap should be bridged within a short distance AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. In other words, acceleration through a short distance matters more than charging through what quickly becomes a LONG distance. If I were coaching Elizabeth between points, I would have told her not to pursue any attack beyond a single stride, and to focus on bringing Hunter close to her, then attacking with a BURST of speed over a SHORT distance.


Edit - I saw Nick use what looked like capoeira footwork! A little bit of the Ginga.
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Cang Snow
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2018, 03:45:01 PM »

Hello! Great comments from Golden Fedora and Master Resolute. I will expand a little further on both of what you said.

First, it was observed that Tony didn't throw any low attacks. I was actually just discussing this with one of my students whom Tony defeated earlier in the evening. Tony is infamous within SoCal for his leg attacks. But for some reason he didn't really use them i this match up. And we were trying to figure out what about Nick inhibited Tony from his normal gameplan. Was there something about Nick's movement or his on-guard that sapped Tony's confidence to take the low-line? We're still pondering this. If anyone has any thought on this please tell us!

GF mentioned that NIck kept winning with the same movement. That exact move within our system, technically, would be referred to as a Deflector-3-riposte, where he deflects an attack then rolls his deflector into a countermove.

Tony on the other hand is something of a sniper. His main goal is to attack the hands as fast as possible while rarely using any defensive bladework. It's a perfectly valid strategy. It probably got him through a lot of the tournament. But against a fencer like Nick, whose entire strategy is built around RECEIVING attacks then firing back, every attack is a gift. And Tony was very generous that night!

So what should have been Tony's strategy? The main weakness of Nick's defense is that it can be deceived. He's using what we call an active defensive measure. It has to be moving to work and has to be timed precisely. Instead of racing for the hit, Tony could have thrown Nick for a loop by attacking SLOWER. Yes that's right. When you're using active defense, slow attacks can be just as deadly as fast attacks, because timing the defense is hard when you don't know what the rhythm is going to be.

In my classes we called this a delay or holding the attack. You display the threat to the opponent and approach like you are going to throw it, but hold it a fraction of a second longer than normal. If Nick couldn't be sure of the attack rhythm, he would realize his strategy was risky and would be forced abandon it.


So the moral of the story: when you're using a lightsaber, slow attacks are just as effective as fast attacks. And when you mix them together, they are deadly.
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Golden Fedora
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2018, 05:49:03 AM »

Hello! Great comments from Golden Fedora and Master Resolute. I will expand a little further on both of what you said.

First, it was observed that Tony didn't throw any low attacks. I was actually just discussing this with one of my students whom Tony defeated earlier in the evening. Tony is infamous within SoCal for his leg attacks. But for some reason he didn't really use them i this match up. And we were trying to figure out what about Nick inhibited Tony from his normal gameplan. Was there something about Nick's movement or his on-guard that sapped Tony's confidence to take the low-line? We're still pondering this. If anyone has any thought on this please tell us!

GF mentioned that NIck kept winning with the same movement. That exact move within our system, technically, would be referred to as a Deflector-3-riposte, where he deflects an attack then rolls his deflector into a countermove.

Tony on the other hand is something of a sniper. His main goal is to attack the hands as fast as possible while rarely using any defensive bladework. It's a perfectly valid strategy. It probably got him through a lot of the tournament. But against a fencer like Nick, whose entire strategy is built around RECEIVING attacks then firing back, every attack is a gift. And Tony was very generous that night!

So what should have been Tony's strategy? The main weakness of Nick's defense is that it can be deceived. He's using what we call an active defensive measure. It has to be moving to work and has to be timed precisely. Instead of racing for the hit, Tony could have thrown Nick for a loop by attacking SLOWER. Yes that's right. When you're using active defense, slow attacks can be just as deadly as fast attacks, because timing the defense is hard when you don't know what the rhythm is going to be.

In my classes we called this a delay or holding the attack. You display the threat to the opponent and approach like you are going to throw it, but hold it a fraction of a second longer than normal. If Nick couldn't be sure of the attack rhythm, he would realize his strategy was risky and would be forced abandon it.


So the moral of the story: when you're using a lightsaber, slow attacks are just as effective as fast attacks. And when you mix them together, they are deadly.

I'll have to look into those
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"Easy is the path to wisdom for those only not blinded by themselves."

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Cang Snow
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2019, 03:47:57 AM »

I'm a failure at keeping these things up consistently. But Lightspeed Saber just finished its big tournament in Las Vegas so I have some time now, and I've got lots of matches queued up we can discuss.

Sorry...


Yes, it's Penguin again, against a fighter you might have heard of.

I'll actually be releasing my own video commentary on Monday evening (6:30 PM PST), which you can watch here. Until then, what are the key things you notice about this match?
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Cang Snow
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2019, 05:31:07 AM »

We are premiering this fight commentary on the previous video at 6:30 PST tonight! Be there at 6:30 to chat with me and others. Let me know what you think!

Sorry...
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