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Larkspur Park
10 – 11:30 am

Today’s class was all about rhythm. We armed up by playing patty cake – standing directly in front of your partner reach out and touch your right palms, then your left palms, repeat. Engage the hips and core as you reach out so it’s not just the arm. The goal is to keep time with the music (you can use whatever you want; I found a Capoeria playlist on Spotify). Then when you are comfortable doing that it’s time for variations – if the beat is too slow you can double time, triple time, tripalets, etc. Movement wise we added in squats (both squatting the whole time as well as down for a certain count, then up, etc.) then linear movement with one partner driving, then circular movement. The final step was to add in the swords, trading forehand and backhand blows.
The goal of this warmup was to split the brain’s focus – if you are focused on what your hands are doing and keeping the beat then you aren’t focused on your feet and your footwork is more natural – less direct thought and more “I need to move!”. Lo and behold, people naturally fell into good footwork because all “good footwork” is is safely moving your body with good structure.

Next we reviewed static parries – neutral binds – where it’s not safe for you to completely leave the line so you have to reframe the line and riposte. This presents a binary option – moving to your opponent’s Inside or Outside.
This is contrasted by working on overbind parries – binds where you win the line – where you are safe to leave the bind to directly riposte. Rather than a binary like we see in static parries, overbinds really only leave you with one choice for direct line ripostes (typically it’s to the inside line for forehand and outside line for backhand). We structured this today by focusing on cross-cutting – cutting into an oncoming cut with more energy than a static parry. Being careful not to go too far with the cross-cut (I favor keeping the hands within the frame of the shoulders) as this leaves you open.

Lastly we flowed with cross-cutting by working a variation on al Matreg’s second set of cuts & defenses. These are diagonal cuts aimed at the shoulders (descending) and elbows (ascending). Today we focused on using fore-and backhand cuts to cut into each of these attacks.

Big thanks to Andy Plymate from NW Armizare for the surprise visit!

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