NYHFA Cutting Curriculum

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NYHFA Cutting Curriculum

Postby Michael Edelson » 16 Jan 2011 07:03

Hi all,

I've recently formalized NYHFA's cutting curriculum. This is taught in conjunction with the rest of the curriculum and people who test for rank must also complete the cutting test appropriate for their level.

It was very difficult for me to figure out what cuts to place where. I wanted to keep the cutting and testing patterns to a minimum while stressing as many of the important cutting skills as I could (both for time's and economy's sake). I would appreciate any and all feedback or suggestions for improvement.

http://newyorklongsword.com/articles/cutting_curriculum.pdf

Of course anyone in the community is welcome to make use of this in any way they want, and I hope some find it helpful.
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Re: NYHFA Cutting Curriculum

Postby KeithFarrell » 17 Jan 2011 13:04

Quite interesting, I can see that a lot of thought has gone into it. A single critical observations, I hope you don't mind: some of the captions under the exercises are a little confusing, it takes a bit of thought to work out quite what is supposed to be done to the mat, for example on page 6 where you describe the "lightning cut". It took me a while to realise that the whole exercise was a lightning cut, and that that was not the technique to be thrown for the first cut in the exercise.

If I may ask, how often do your students practice cutting, and is it always on tatami mats? My Academy cannot afford tatami mats on a regular basis, so we use milk bottles - I'm quite eager to try some of these patterns on the bottles, but other patterns wouldn't work for us. I'm also interested in how you work out the lengths of time for each rank.

Finally, is cutting a separate discipline in your school, with rank being awarded in cutting and rank being awarded in other stuff, or are the ranks tied for other disciplines supported by this cutting curriculum?
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Re: NYHFA Cutting Curriculum

Postby Michael Edelson » 17 Jan 2011 18:01

KeithFarrell wrote:Quite interesting, I can see that a lot of thought has gone into it. A single critical observations, I hope you don't mind: some of the captions under the exercises are a little confusing, it takes a bit of thought to work out quite what is supposed to be done to the mat, for example on page 6 where you describe the "lightning cut". It took me a while to realise that the whole exercise was a lightning cut, and that that was not the technique to be thrown for the first cut in the exercise.


Thanks Keith.

The curriculum is really made for me to remember what all the patterns are, and for students to be able to practice, but if others want to use them I'd be happy to explain what I mean.

Any pattern with a time limit is the maximum time you can take to complete that entire pattern to pass.

If I may ask, how often do your students practice cutting, and is it always on tatami mats? My Academy cannot afford tatami mats on a regular basis, so we use milk bottles - I'm quite eager to try some of these patterns on the bottles, but other patterns wouldn't work for us.


During the warmer months we cut twice a month, in the winter months we cut maybe once every two months, so I suppose it works out to once a month on average. Yes, it's always on tatami mats, though we do fool around with pumpkins and stuff like that every once in a while. We also tried Bugei wara, which are a foot longer and easier to cut (which is good because many longswords suck at cutting), but they had to be soaked in a bathtub (too long for container) and I got sick of doing that.

The students pay for the mats they cut, so it's not a question of affordability for the school, just the individual involved. Dedication costs time, sweat, blood and cash money. :)

I'm also interested in how you work out the lengths of time for each rank.


That's easy, I pulled it out of my butt. :)

I don't have anyone above the rank of senior novice right now, and my best student took a year or so to do it, so I just extrapolated from there.

Finally, is cutting a separate discipline in your school, with rank being awarded in cutting and rank being awarded in other stuff, or are the ranks tied for other disciplines supported by this cutting curriculum?


No, it's all one interrelated discipline. I believe in a balance of drills, free fencing and cutting. We can't do them all as one (that would be murder :) ) so the next best thing is to break them up and do them separately, with one supporting and validating the others. For example, is someone pulls of some fast twitchy move in free fencing, I may say something like, "No point for you, because you can't cut with that move, so you can't do it in free fencing either."
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Re: NYHFA Cutting Curriculum

Postby Michael Edelson » 17 Jan 2011 21:27

Here's me screwing up that lightning cut you asked about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lNSTUVCEu4

Before I saw how slow my 1.2 seconds was, the standard used to be 1 second. Now it's .75.
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Re: NYHFA Cutting Curriculum

Postby KeithFarrell » 18 Jan 2011 00:02

So the standard was originally 1 second, you did this test and realised you took 1.2 seconds but that you were very slow, and thus you changed the requirement to 0.75 seconds? Just making sure I understood the sequence there!

Any particular reason you chose a true edge Underhau and not a false edge strike on the way back up? Personally I would prefer the false edge rising cut in a fight, but I can appreciate that it is worth training the more difficult strike (which in this case for me would be the true edge rising cut).
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Re: NYHFA Cutting Curriculum

Postby Michael Edelson » 18 Jan 2011 01:21

Hi Keith,

KeithFarrell wrote:So the standard was originally 1 second, you did this test and realised you took 1.2 seconds but that you were very slow, and thus you changed the requirement to 0.75 seconds? Just making sure I understood the sequence there!


Yep, that's it. :)

Any particular reason you chose a true edge Underhau and not a false edge strike on the way back up? Personally I would prefer the false edge rising cut in a fight, but I can appreciate that it is worth training the more difficult strike (which in this case for me would be the true edge rising cut).


The false edge unterhau is very weak compared to the true edge unterhau...you're cutting into your fingers vs into your palm, and you can't use your grip to generate power in the same way. The true edge cut is harder, as you said, but if you get really good at it (which I'm not), it's not any slower than a false edge cut, and that is because a false edge cut must come to a full stop before accelerating back up, whereas the true edge cut just makes a hairpin turn.

The false edge unterhau works well as a deflection, and you can get some pretty good power that way, which is also how it's used in Liechtenauer.
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