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W. Hock Hochheim's

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Author Topic: "He who is still is dead, he who moves still lives"  (Read 2237 times)


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"He who is still is dead, he who moves still lives"
« on: June 15, 2005, 11:36:30 AM »

Like Hock, Johannes Liechtenauer tried to teach people to survive violent encounters (he just did it over 600 years ago)!  Although his writing was directed toward medieval swordsman, I think the basic principle below still holds true for knife, stick, and even gun.  I guess it shows that the real "Truths of Combat" remain unchanged :)...

"In 1389 fencing master Johannes Liechtenauer wrote of the need to keep up aggressive motion during a fight.  Liechtenauer said, “If someone fights…he should be in the movement, and not in the rest.”  He stressed the necessity of “being steadily moving” and declared that “constant movement comprises the beginning, the middle and the end of all swordsmanship.”…He urged combatants to deliver “one attack after the other, always in the movement, no matter whether you hit or miss.”  Whenever cutting or thrusting, he recognized that “striking, thrusting, or cutting, with stepping out or in, passing around or leaping” were necessary to extend the sword’s point forward.  You must “step backwards or forwards, as it occurs, firmly and skillfully, rapidly and quickly.”  Liechtenauer’s instructions on the use of the long sword…advised specifically that one should not remain too long in fighting stances, because he “who is still is dead, he who moves still lives.”  He added that one should “move to fight instead of waiting in the guard and waste the chance [to attack].”"

Excerpt from “Medieval Armor: Plated Perfection” by John Clements, published in the July 2005 issue of Military History.  John Clements is the author of two books on the topic of Medieval European combat, Renaissance Swordsmanship and Medieval Swordsmanship.


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    • Brentwood Self-Defense Academy
Re: "He who is still is dead, he who moves still lives"
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2005, 09:57:22 PM »

Sound advice.

An attacker must making split second mental calculations in formulating his attack (position, angle, distance, speed, etc.). Moving forces a recalculation and opens up split seconds of delay in which to initiate your attack in defense.

I also stress with my students the importance of not being in the position to get hit with a punch, kick or weapon at the apex of the attack where the maximum force has been generated by the attacker. When you're in that position you're either going to have to have put up a very firm, strong and secure block (that's not going to get blasted through by the punch, kick or weapon) or you're going to get hit with some measure of force. Blocking and evading together makes it less likely you're going to get hit and/or hit with power.


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Re: "He who is still is dead, he who moves still lives"
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2005, 07:18:19 AM »

I received a BB on TKD and it some of the habits i picked up were awful. Perhaps the worst thing about it was the force vs. force mentality. My instructer actually discouraged movement. This was years ago. And it is a funny thing, the way you train is the way you will react when the shit goes down. The only good things about the training i had is it led me to other studies of self defense. If i had one word of advice to any student of SD-MOVE! Forget about blocks, whenever possible.They should be a last ditch effort. There was a discussion on another forum about running from a firearm-whether it was better to go straight or zig-zag. Get some simmunition or even a airsoft and give it a try.  I think you will the more movement the less hits. To summarize. IMO one huge failing i see in most MA is an overeliance on blocking and standing toe to toe.


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Re: "He who is still is dead, he who moves still lives"
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2005, 07:34:57 AM »

toe-to-toe.....The Myth of the duel!

...and, as I said before, the older I get the more I think fighting is more like football than any other sport.