Steps Basics

The basis of a safe hit is the safe stance/hold. To execute a safe hit means to control the forces coming from the weapon. This can only be achieved if the forces are controlled in relation to one's own balance. In order to be able to do this, a safe hold is usually required.

The goal is aesthetic and effective movement, both of which are very close to each other. This means saving strength, because movements that save strength can be turned into fast, precise movements that can be used to hit and defend successfully.

„Safe progress is only possible step by step“ 😛

These stepping basics essentially relate to the use of shields and one-handed weapons. The basics for spearmen differ to some extent in basic stance and application.

Naming the steps with the terms „offensive“ and „defensive“ refers to a right-handed fighter. For a left-handed fighter it is the other way round.

It goes without saying that this is not the last word. I am happy to answer questions and am also interested in criticism. (EMAIL77377)

This basic stance (like the whole text) refers to a shield fighter with a one-handed weapon in a line combat situation!

Schematic representation: basic stances from the front

Schematic representation: basic postures from above

e following applies to all basic postures:

The front foot should point in the direction of the opponent. The lower leg is vertically above the heel, so the knee is above the heel.

The back foot is about 2 feet wide behind the front foot. It is usually at right angles to the direction of movement in order to ensure more lateral stability and to create more friction to absorb frontal pressure.

The knee of the rear leg is above the toes of the foot. The two heels are about a foot's width apart in the lateral direction and about twice the hip's width apart in the direction of movement.

The knees should have the same alignment as the feet, i.e. the thigh points in the same direction as the foot. The knee is a hinge and should therefore not be loaded crosswise. Both legs should be bent, never fully extended, as this puts too much strain on the joints.

The hips are aligned perpendicular to the opponent's direction of movement, this enables the shield and the weapon to act and react in the same way on the opponent.

The upper body should be held upright in a basic tension (pre-tensioned) and always remain at the same level - even when walking. The legs move freely and fluidly under the upper body and provide the necessary stability. The chest is slightly stretched forward so that the lungs have room to breathe. The shoulders are relaxed beside the body. The head is upright and is neither stretched forward nor pulled back.

The weight should be about 2/3 on the front foot in a fight, so that pressure from the front can be absorbed well and a step can be initiated easily.

Schematic diagram: relaxed standing A

The weight is equal on both feet. Essentially a pause and wait posture. This is standing comfortably with equal weight on both legs.

The stance is unsuitable for fighting as nothing can be countered in the event of frontal pressure.

The base of the shield hand is in front so that the shield arm can cover the largest possible area with the shield. The weapon has a restricted range compared to the offensive stance. It is the basic position to be able to defend oneself easily.

An alternating step executed from this position results in the greatest extension of the attacking range. However, with a round shield whose radius is less than the shoulder width of the wearer, it is not always fully possible to cover the weapon hand.

There is a connection between hip rotation and foot position. In the following I would like to explain this with examples.

Schematic diagram: defensive stance position E E Schematic representation: Defensive Stand Positions F a-c F Schematic diagram: Defensive Stand Position G G

E) From this position the rolling of the rear ankle is gentler than from the other positions, because the direction of movement corresponds to the natural alignment of the joints. Therefore it is the ideal position for moving forward quickly.
The hip is perpendicular to the direction of movement so that the alternating step is possible without hip movement. Therefore, this is also the basic position for spears, as they rely on the hip being in alignment when defending with the spear.
F) These are the usual basic stances.
FA This is a good compromise between the quick movement and the secure stance.
FB is the stance with the strongest transverse stability. This is also the best way to absorb pressure from the front. However, the hips can no longer be kept completely perpendicular to the direction of movement.
With this stance the hip can be kept parallel to the direction of movement, therefore it is ideal for spears when thrusting. The spear can be guided well and there is less attack surface.
With this foot position it is possible to widen the axis of movement of the hip on the shield side, so that for example a safe thrust from the left is possible. This can be further increased by turning the front foot in the opposite direction to the back foot.

The foot of the weapon hand is in front, so that the direction of attack can be varied greatly and a long range is possible. The shield has a limited range compared to the defensive stance. It is the basic position to be able to attack easily.

Schematic representation: offensive stand position B B Schematic representation: Offensive Stand Position C C Schematic representation: Offensive Stand Position D D

B) behaves like E
C) behaves like F
D) behaves like G

Each change of stance should be executed in such a way that the opponent is not enabled to gain space in the process. Therefore, at each change of stance, the rear foot is first pulled forward and then the previously front foot is placed backwards.

Schematic representation: foot grey A grey foot shows the old position. Schematic representation: foot black A black foot shows the new position.

The numbered arrows are not the line of movement of the foot, but only indicate the order of the step. Usually the feet are moved straight or with a slight inside arc past the other foot.

Schematic diagram: change of stance from A to F From A to F

Schematic diagram: Changing stance from B to E From B to E Schematic diagram: Changing stance from C to F From C to F Schematic representation: stance change from D to G From D to G

When taking a step, the body is not in a stable equilibrium - that is the essence of movement. To be as close to stability as possible, everyone needs a sense of their own balance, inertia and deflection of forces.

If the ground is level, the feet are lifted only a few centimetres above the ground so that if there is an unexpected disturbance, the feet are back in contact with the ground as quickly as possible and can counteract it. The feet are lifted as little as necessary. In the terrain it is necessary to lift the feet further. Especially when walking backwards.

The numbered arrows are not the line of movement of the foot, but only indicate the sequence of the step. As a rule, the feet are moved straight or with a slight inside arc past the other foot.

All basic steps are performed so that the legs do not cross.

The posture of the back foot is essential when walking. With the foot pointing straight forward, it is much easier to roll and transfer power to the floor, making progress easier and faster. In addition, this foot position is much gentler on the ankle. The transversely placed foot offers better transverse stability in the subsequent stance.

Half steps are used when progress is to be made very slowly but with pressure or as lunges.

Schematic diagram: half-steps slow in front of back foot cross

The usual stable step when „slowly stepping forward“.

Schematic diagram: half-steps slow in front

Normal walking

Normal walking is probably the fastest way to move. Furthermore, it is the most gentle on the joints.

Schematic diagram: alternating-steps normal walking

Normal step

This step is the normal step when fighting. Due to the rear foot position, the hips usually rotate very strongly, but this must be avoided.

Schematic diagram: alternate steps Normal step

In this step the hip can be kept parallel to the direction of movement. This is especially interesting for spearmen who want to advance in full spear delivery, for example in a phalanx.

Schematic diagram: cross-step

When stepping to the side, start with the foot in whose direction the movement should go. This is the only way to maintain a stable posture during the step. Crossed legs should always be avoided.

To the left with the left foot.

Schematic diagram: side steps to the left

To the right with the right foot.

Schematic diagram: sidesteps to the right

These movements are only suitable to a limited extent in a line combat situation, as here action does not have to be directed at just one opponent. Most of the time, lateral movement is more likely to be resorted to. Nevertheless, it is important to consider the resulting aspects.

With the movement related to a point, an interesting aspect is that here it is once again more difficult to keep one's distance to the opponent and that there are asymmetries in the directions of movement.

The forward and backward movement has no particular deviation from the regular movement described above.

It may be important to move around the opponent for various reasons. Perhaps to flank him slowly in engagement or to turn him towards a fellow fighter or simply to see what is behind him.

When moving around an opponent, depending on which foot is in front and in which direction the movement around the opponent is, the movement is different in speed. Here I only show the movement from the offensive stance. From this stance it is easier and faster to move to the right than to the left because the step width is greater.

The dotted circles are the maximum reach of the second foot in each case.

Schematic representation: side steps around point to the left Schematic representation: sidestep around point to the right

A change step always serves to change the initiative stance (also called delivery) (from offensive to defensive or vice versa). However, this also changes the step width around the opponent. Depending on which initiative stance is used, the distance to the right or left around the opponent is wider and therefore faster. One should always be aware of this when changing steps.

Schematic representation: change around point

For the time being, only a representation of the possibilities should be shown here. A detailed description should not be given for the time being. Perhaps this will follow.

The dotted circles are the maximum range of the second foot in each case. Each colour represents a sequence of steps.
The numbered arrows are not the line of movement of the foot but only indicate the sequence of the step.

To the left without change of initiative stance.
To the right with a change of initiative stance.

Schematic diagram: movements from the defensive

To the left with change of initiative stance.
To the right without changing the initiative stance.

Schematic diagram: movements from the offensive

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