Sword Fighting For Fic Writers: Chapter 13
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1.Dumb Ways to Die 2.May Your Blade Be True! 3.On Your Guard!
4. Making the Cut 5.Stick ‘em With the Pointy End 6.It’s Like a Dance
7. The Measure of A Man 8.A Crossing of Blades 9.Like Chess, but with Knives
An Interlude About Story Telling
10.You Can Barely Lift Your Sword 11.Buckle Some Swash 12.Dual Wielding
13.Everything is a Weapon 14.Got Your Sword
Your Body Everything is a Weapon
Punching, Throwing, and Other Things
Up until now you may have noticed that with one handed swords I draw the free hand tucked in behind the fighter’s back. That wasn’t just me trying to avoid drawing more hands. If you’re not using that arm in a fight, it’s better to keep it back and out of the way rather than making it another target. I’ve also seen it placed on the hip in case it becomes needed, or just waving around in the back. In this chapter we’ll talk about ways that free hand can help. We’ll also be covering throwing the opponent down, and using the pommel of the sword.
Using Your Free Hand:
Most of the time it’s going to be more practical and efficient to use the sword to make an attack. There will be times though when the defender’s sword is restrained and the attacker doesn’t want to kill their opponent that they may go for a punch. Or maybe they just see an opening and say to hell with it. For your narrative, do whatever feels badass. When defending against fist attacks with your own arm, you’re essentially doing the same thing as you do with your sword. Use the “true edge” of your arm to block then counter attack.
It may seem stupid to grab your opponent’s sword by the blade, but it’s a thing. Swords aren’t lightsabers. You can grab them. There are ways to safely do this without cutting yourself. Other times it’ll just be better to take a shallow cut on the hand to finish the fight. Typically grabs will be done against a blade that’s not in motion. You’re not going to catch a swinging blade. Gloves and gauntlets make grabbing even safer. The sword arm is another thing to grab to control their weapon. Grabs can be turned into disarms. More on that in “Got Your Sword!” (chapter coming soon)
Kicking: I myself have not encountered kicking in fights so take this with some salt. If it happens it probably happens mostly in grappling range. Kicking your foot out without the opponent’s sword controlled is sticking a big target out there. If you don’t throw them off balance enough with the move you’ll be vulnerable while you reset. But for narrative purposes, you can stick with the rule of cool: if it’s cool, go or it!
Using the Pommel: Using the pommel to strike is a good method of dealing a non-lethal blow. It’s most easily done after a yield (see “A Crossing of Blades”). Instead of continuing to spin the blade around, the blade stops it’s turn with the sword pointing down, then rams into the opponent’s face with the back end of the sword. There’s also a way to use the hilt to hook the opponent’s weapon into a disarm. More on that in “Got Your Sword”.
Throwing: To throw an opponent first you need to get close to them. Let’s assume that’s been done. Maybe you stepped in during an attack or defense and they didn’t step back. First break their structure to set them off balance by pushing into their face. Pushing up under the chin is especially helpful, lifting them up a bit as well as pushing them back. If you’re pushing with your right arm then your right leg steps behind them, pushing your hip into theirs. Now turn then beg the legs. Turning will push them back over your leg, tripping them. Even a small person can take out a bigger person like this. The key thing to remember is that if you’re set up to throw them, they can turn it around and throw you instead by getting their leg behind your’s. So be quick about unbalancing them.
Here’s just one version of a throw. Another version is done with the opponents facing each other. Another involves lifting the victim’s leg. Some throws involve using your weapon as leverage, pushing the hilt to break their structure.
Cloaks and Capes: This is another area I’m not personally experienced in and would encourage you to look up if it appeals to you. But so that you know the option is available, capes were often used for defences with things like grabbing swords with the hand protected by the cape, or tangling the opponents sword. Sometimes it was used just as a decoy to cover movements like a matador. Look it up sometime if your fighter wears a cape. They don’t just look cool and keep you warm.
Literally Anything: Think Jackie Chan. Literally anything can be used as a weapon with a little creativity. Swing a bike at people, throw things, kick up dirt, bite, push over bookshelves. Take a look at the environment. Maybe throw a chair in your attacker’s path as you back away making them stumble. Maybe the hero opens the coral of an angry bull the moment they look to be cornered. There’s a low hanging branch to be pulled back and slapped forward. There’s a cliff to corner them on or a wall to push them up against. Carpets can be pulled out from under people’s feet. Hot tea! Pepper! Sink holes! Go nuts!