Chapter 6 Contact flow
The contact flow exercise is inherited from the “Guided Chaos” self defence
It has some similarities with the Chi Sao exercise of Wing Tsun and the
“Push Hands” exercise of Tai Chi.
While all these exercises are originally practised without weapons, we have
adapted contact flow to incorporate
a longsword. A padded longsword is recommended.
Contact flow is similar to the free flow exercise described before in that
the movements are not prescribed. They are basically free, but have to obey
However, in contact flow, these “conventions” are quite
different. In particular, there is no fixed rhythm of mutual attack and defence
In preparation for the other free flow exercises, various
closed loop drills are practised.
These drills teach the movements that then enable you to practise free flow
For contact flow, this process is kind of reversed.
We just start practising contact flow to learn its principles (see below),
and then we add in techniques which can not be practised efficiently
in closed loop drills. These are techniques which, e. g.,
imply simultaneous defence and counter attack or immobilising the opponent
This exercise shall prepare for the chaos of real fight, so use all you
have. Use the blade at the oddest angles, use the pommel,
take one hand of the sword grip to
strike with the hand, use elbows, feet, knees, headbutts …
- Move slowly. In the beginning, move with about
one quarter to half
of the maximum speed. Imagine you are living in a universe where no
matter can travel faster than one meter per second. When you have gained
some experience, you can speed up to about three quarters or even full
- Keep contact.
You shall keep contact with your opponent at at least one point
all the time.
The contact point may slide or jump to another location. The contact can
be blade to blade, skin to skin, or blade to skin (the latter is
what you are preferably going for). Skin to blade you should obviously
- Be loose.
While you shall keep contact all the time, the contact shall be as light
as possible. Do not use force to push. If you are pushed, do not use
force to resist, just yield. Do not use force to block or deflect an
attack, rather use the contact to sense the direction of the attack and
just move the target out of the way.
- Attack the attacker.
The exercise starts with the opponents not yet in contact, however,
try to get already in contact with the intention of your opponent.
Your first move shall be an attack that at the same time avoids
the attack of your opponent. Do not aim at establishing the physical
contact point, just attack. Contact will happen and then real contact
flow sets in.
- Keep going.
While you shall keep contact all the time, it may nevertheless be lost.
This puts you in the same situation as at the start of the exercise,
so attack immediately. Do never stop, with or without contact.
In particular, do not stop if you are hit
or if you “score” a hit. Keep moving all the time.
- Observe the principles.
Someone who suddenly increases the speed or uses force may
“score” more hits (as long as he faces a contact flow beginner), but
he learns less. Be loose, move slowly.