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▶  More from Modern Combat Modern Agonistics The Combat Space
‘Two-On-One Stick’
Electric Dan Wants to Know about the Practicality of a Weapon in Each Hand
Of course, Dan, the advantage is an option to employ another ranged weapon against a man who only has one ranged weapon and a hand. But, this comes with three disadvantages.
-1. If the weapons are identical, and you are not among the top 5% of men athletically, you will probably suffer from lack of necessary bi-lateral coordination. For the reason, weapons are best paired when they are very different, like a cloak and dagger, with the very feel of the weapon in one hand serving as a constant cue that it is not of the other weapon type. During two years of intense stick and dagger sparring, Charles and I experienced this when one stick was employed as a stick and the shorter stick as a dagger, that we would very often end up slicing and stabbing with the “stick” and slashing and smashing with the “dagger” which was also a stick.
So, I recommend using weapons of different lengths and characteristics paired together, like sword and shield, knife and shirt, etc. This also reflects more likely carry options.
-2. Bi-lateral training, so common in FMA, and the desire to reach out and touch with the rear-hand weapon, tends to square a man up and open his center line and rear hand as targets.
To counter this I recommend zone defense and offense. The lead hand is in charge of attacking and also beating. The rear hand is in charge of blocking, parrying, stopping and binding and only attacks his lead hand or finishes your man when the lead hand has gotten him in trouble. Ball teams are organized on this very basis, with defensive players and offensive players and midfielder’s.
-3. The man with one weapon has no internal confusion and more focus which helps him move better. More importantly, the use of the second weapon tends—especially when they are identical weapons—to encourage the worst aspect of weapon fighting: obsession with the weapon and its handling at the expense of foot mobility. Not only is the two-weapon man tending to square up and expose his center line with his hands drifting into bi-lateral parity, but his feet tend to stop moving as he is overloaded with hand options.
To train this angle I suggest two things:
-a. asymmetrical sparring, where the aggressor uses two sticks and the defender uses one and focuses on movement
-b. boxing, in which one boxer only jabs and moves and the other throws both hands.
Overall, what tends to happen is that the man with one weapon is more narrow, more mobile and more focused with the two-weapon man who is more open, less mobile and less focused. A look at double-stick sparring and fighting in our network has shown that the successful double-stick fighters dominate men they barely beat in singlestick because their footwork is a lot better, not just a little better, and it is often better because they lack strength or hand speed in the hands and have compensated with movement and then when two weapons are employed they end up off line with the other man in their wheelhouse most of the time.
Good luck sir!
Also, your question on “point deception” and stick-fighting with fencers will be the subject of the follow-up article posted next week
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