The weapon looks effortless in movies, but it takes some Kung Fu to become an adept in any weapon. There is no reason to be turned away by a lack of individual strength as it can be gradually developed through practice. Students here practice with wooden swords to build up their weight bearing capacity before moving on to blunt metal practice swords. The key is to hit a few thousand repetitions for each stroke. It all starts from having the mind fully focused on the task and not having distracted thoughts or concerns in the training session. Even as experts, we still do our practice with 100% of our mind committed to the task.
I teach students how to do combination attacks and it is the trickiest to master. This is due to the requirements of force control, to borrow the opponent's resistance to swing the weapon to the opponent's unguarded angles. In our swordplay, there are two outcomes to every stroke we send our opponent's way, that is the opponent will resist, or evade and yield to our force. As the War saber has greater mass than most weapons that makes it harder to stop than most blades, we are drilled in cleaving through blocks or opposing cuts which have insufficient stopping power. And yet we need to instantaneously switch to borrowing our opponent's resistance if it's enough to stop our blow.
To be capable of passing the enemy's defense you have to control another person's strength on top of your own. To even do that, you need to first feel your opponent's force. Such trains the individual to be alert and attentive to external elements while keeping the mind focused on their on motion. This is called the balance of attention and intention. Attention is always missing in practitioners who do not have any partners to train with. The lack of attention is what makes a martial artist's fitness and skills obsolete in a real fight.
I shall highlight the fundamentals of swordplay once more. Saber students should stick to achieving a thousand repetitions of every individual attacking and defending stroking to develop the strength and speed to wield the weapon and overcome any potential enemies.
By Leroy Kwok