Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Featured FightWriter: Lisa Godfrees

Featured FightWriter: Lisa Godfrees
Lisa Godfrees (Gedfrides)

Lisa writes: I have a question for you. I LOVE the show Dark Matter (Have you seen it?) but it drives me crazy in all the fight scenes where people continually spin away from each other and the other person waits patiently for them to spin all the way around before attacking again. Why would you turn your back on an opponent during a fight?

That is an excellent observation, Lisa. You are a warrior at heart. Ok, let's look at the scene she sent.

This question comes at the perfect time as I did blade work last week. Ok, where to start. First, let's look at what's right. From the get-go, each woman keeps her eye on her opponent as she takes her weapon in hand. That is crazy important and Knifey Stuff 101. If I drop my practice knife while training, I watch my coach while I pick it up. If I don't, he'll "get" me! Also, I handle it as a real blade at all times. So, I don't hand it to anyone blade first nor do I ever hold it that way. That's not in the video. I'm just telling ya.

Also, they both have legit grips on their knives. (Just the actual grip - how the hand holds the handle.) You can hold the handle forward (straight) or reverse (I call it "stabby style"). You can make all the basic slashes/cuts using either grip. The reverse grip is handy for hooking things like a stick being swung at you. If you use a forward grip, the stick will slide off and be active again. "Stabby style," and you maintain more control over the stick in the hook you've created with the blade and your arm.

Lastly, the choreography is lovely. Which, sadly, leads us to the negative points. That's all it is, choreography. The scene director was keeping it visually interesting. In a real knife fight between two educated fighters, you won't have all that spinning. It's wasted motion and good fighting is efficient. You move as little as possible and make every move count.

That said, if somebody comes spinning at you with a knife, just get out of the way. Don't try to take them down. To do so you'd have to attack their trunk or legs which would put the blade above your eye line and that is never good. Unless of course you could manage to take them down while also containing their arms which would be perilous as there is a knife ablazin'. On a side note, if you feel you need to spin in order for your blade to be deadly, you need to change knives. Nowish.

It's also important to know that blades aren't a straight extension of your forearm. They move and change angles constantly because THE BLADE KEEPS MOVING at all times. You keep it going even when you stab. You stab, retract, stab, retract, etc., etc., boom, boom, boom. The only exception being a warning strike. In that case, you make a non lethal strike i.e. to the top of the arm, as the first woman did, then back off. Otherwise, that sucker keeps flashing at all angles.

The position in which the women are holding their knives - not gripping - is kind of legit. My coach's "ready" stance is with his knife above his head. The other coaches each hold blades their own ways, often out to the side. But, you wouldn't want to ever hold the knife with both hands. You need one arm to defend. And you don't want to stand so sideways that your knife has to travel so far. You stand more squarely, one foot slightly forward.

Finally, if the second woman wanted to stab the first so badly, why did she elbow her then kick her away? If she could elbow her in the back, she could slash the side of the neck especially with a reverse grip. But, for that matter, why didn't the first woman just shoot the second Indiana Jones style? Also, I love that the poison wasn't activated until the first woman spoke of it. That is handy! Oh, and you are super right, Lisa, you never turn your back on your opponent. Ever.

HOWEVER AND ABOVE ALL, it was interesting to watch and really that's what matters. A real fight scene would have been less frenetic and way more bloody neither of which would have suited the scene or the show. (Knife slashes are mega gross. I cannot stress that enough.) The only people who see the flaws in this scene are the knife fighters and they are few and far between. And, I really doubt they would be so offended they'd stop watching the show. So, flaws and all, I put this in the "kinda cool," pile.

Thank you so much, Lisa, for sending this in! Until the next time at, get blood on your pages! And, if you want to be the featured FightWriter, send your question through the form on the left. I'll do my best to answer it or find somebody who can. I'm kinda waiting for somebody to send something that requires ME to do a video. (Insert impish grin.)

Lisa Godfrees is fascinated with creatures that don't exist, especially Jackalopes. She was a forensic scientist for over a decade and still testifies as a technical expert in the court room. She is a light programmer extraordinaire, incredibly punny, an oxford comma enthusiast (LIKE ALL RATIONAL THINKERS), mom of two, wife of one, hybrid homeschool parent and self-proclaimed data junkie. She's also the author of about a half dozen great short stories featured in anthologies as well as the co-author of Mind Writer. Check out her site, her blog and her new book!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for answering my question! For the record... I'm a wife of one (not a husband of one). Just sayin'



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