How to effectively train the Master Strikes
To teach the master strikes it is important to keep in mind one truth: the strike itself isn't masterful it is how it is done that is masterful. Therefore to teach them you cannot remove them from the context but must use the context of the fight to show how awesome they are.
I created this loose play to provide context within which to train the strikes:
1. Participants separate completely out of measure
2. Patient adopts a position with their sword
3. Agent steps through a guard to strike the strongest opening (they may make only one action to strike but they can vary the line in mid strike depending on the Patients reaction)
4. Patient can parry the strike (they may make one action to parry) but must do so at the correct moment or the Agent will redirect and land the strike
5. When the Agent touches the Patient the Patient can make one offensive action with one step, the Agent must withdraw out of measure
This is run at ¾ speed and it doesn't stop for actions, so if the patient doesn't adopt a suitable parry the agent simply completes their initial action to complete their kill and withdraw. Participants take turns being Agent and Patient.
This leaves a lot of scope for the participants but with this basic rule set:
· The agent gets to practice correctly interpreting openings, either directly or attempting misleading signals to the patient to confuse them into parrying incorrectly. It also strongly encourages withdrawing effectively
· The patients gets to experiment how their opening stance determines the agents actions, understanding when/where to parry without parrying too soon, and how to swiftly counter attack to catch someone who is slow at withdrawing
Once this is down pat and everyone is doing good technique introduce the first Master Strike, I like to start with the Wrath. Practice bio-mechanically what the action is and then add the following new rule:
1. Both Agent and Patient can use the Wrath strike (the Agent for their one attacking action the Patient for their counter action)
With some suggestions about how it is to be used:
1. Don’t do it every time, it will only work “masterfully” with the properly alignment of factors
2. Experiment with each other and the different partners for when this action works best and against whom
Then let the loose play run, changing partners regularly and “gaming” the strike in the appropriate context. Then add the next strike, then the next etc until all the strikes are in play. The Patient will have Five masterful counterattacks at their disposal, the Agent still holds the initiative by the rules but has to both assert themselves and be careful in reading their opponent.