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Fencing Martial Arts: How to sequence the teaching of technique and tactics
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As other reviewers noted, this means he starts with teaching offensive actions (strikes with a stick or staff in this instance), which then necessitates defensive actions with the weapon (parries in this case), which then leads logically to using footwork to provide the means to manipulate distance to assist these actions (i.e. to decrease distance in attack or increase distance in defence). This then leads logically into tactics, once basic attacks and defences have been understood.
This volume is an excellent introduction to Luis' approach to martial arts, where the underlying logic and context of physical techniques and tactics is introduced right at the beginning. This stands in contrast to more conservative and traditional martial teaching methods of imitative learning, where trainees are taught set physical techniques without adequate explanation for months, or even years in some cases, before the underlying combat logic is revealed. Although the book uses Jogo do Pau to demonstrate the progressions, the underlying logic can be adapted to any weapon based martial art.
Further, the book is also an excellent introductory course book for anyone interested in learning Jogo do Pau, without direct access to a master nearby. Combined with the other volumes in the series, covering parrying, footwork and combat in outnumbered scenarios etc, it begins to become a very thorough written curriculum for a dynamic and powerful stick and staff fighting system. Nothing can replace personal instruction, but these books are extremely useful in the absence of that.
Highly recommended for instructors and students of any weapon based martial art.
However, to make it better, you will need to follow a three step process:
1. do Luis a favor and buy it;
2. do yourself a favor and read it;
3. do your students a favor and apply it in teaching.
The material covered and explained in this book applies directly to any striking method of combat, be it with weapons (impact and/or edged) or empty-handed. It is obvious that the author has poured his heart and soul into this project, so coupled with his obvious expertise on the subject matter it is a clear winner (despite the fact that it could have been a bit improved by having someone to proof-read it).
In conclusion, I think there could be another step required, too:
4. do the world a favor and spread the word...after all Mr. Preto did share the brilliant work, so be a good sport and help the field of martial arts evolve.
Consider his first principle and its consequence: "To learn techniques by understanding their purpose strikes need to be taught first, so as to establish a reason for parrying." Preto teaches us what this means by the following three steps that result: (1) Teaching of Strikes => (2) Using strikes to teach parries => (3) Using strikes and parries to teach offensive and defensive space management ("footwork").
Even just a couple of friends can use that kind of complete clarity to build progress from scratch. If that's true (and it is) then consider the power this sort of foundation provides for the open-minded, dedicated instructor in serving his students. This is exactly the kind of practical logic that is the difference between success or failure in transfer of skill and creation of passion, enthusiasm and long-term commitment in the class.
Preto steps forward from this foundation with the same kind of perfect thinking - tested of course by his lifelong experience in practice and instruction - and fills out the entire program an instructor needs with full illustrations coordinated with solid thinking on every page.
No historical sword instructor, for classes or just one's self, should suffer without the benefit of Preto's mind-saving, success-ensuring aid.