Now that I've sparred outside my school:
- Most people holding a straight sword can be disarmed with empty hand striking or grappling b/c there are very few competent people in this weapon from the perspective of sparring.
Most people will try to attack with cuts
This is always a losing strategy unless it's a beat cut or a feint—otherwise you just get stabbed. And yet, nearly all of the straight sword videos you see today are focused on cutting—you see little to no point work.
To get to me, you have to come through my point, and there are definitely people out there advocating sharp swords and teaching, who lack deep or even sufficient understanding of the issue.
FIE foil is dismissed as a martial art, but in my experience, anyone with sufficient foil fencing experience is deadly with a straight sword, even if the weight is heavier than they expected, because they know how to use the weapons, and thrusting is instinctual.
People who cut mats or bamboo seem to have to prepare for the cut
Practitioners who have trained sufficiently cut without thinking, and you'll notice there is no telegraphing or extra movement. There may be some arm motion, and some waist motion, but with straight sword it's "all wrists"
Most who practice don't train their wrists sufficiently for either flexibility or strength. If you see people cheating their grips, or doing fancy grips, that's the reason.
People draw back the sword to get more power into cuts
This is instant death against a straight sword, and allows any serious martial artist with some fighting experience to get inside the cut. Serious strikers or grapplers who train and have some fighting experience can win.
Most practitioners cannot get power into a cut without very big motions. If they are not menacing you with the point, you can probably get inside and win.
Most people require followthrough to make cuts—if they miss, you can win
Real japanese swordsmen and wudang swordsmen and swordswomen can snap their cuts, and do not require followthrough. When these practitioners cleave, it is because they choose to cleave, not because it is their only option.
Most people who practice sword aren't grapplers—grapplers will win by default if they can get inside
If you've train hard and they haven't, they're probably not prepared for a real fight.
If their on guard looks weak or tentative in any way, you can probably grab their blade
Your palms and fingers may well get cut, especially if their natural reaction is to draw it out of your grip, but it's better than getting impaled. Truth is, if you were able to grab it in the first place, they are not competent.
Slapping the blade away by the flat and putting them on the ground is probably optimal
Those that actually know wudang sword always counter with the flat against the flat—that why Chinese jian don't taper. Your slap here is Musashi's "anything can be a sword"
Stick wins against sword if the stick wielder is more competent
If you train hard in Wing Chun or Karate or any serous striking art, and you can grab a stick, you can definitely do this to any paper tiger:
And you don't technically even need that windup—using hsingyi with a stick you can generate that power from a guard position in conjunction with a spring forward.
Put their blade off line, dominate the space, and end them
There are many people with sharp swords in 2021, but very few competent swordsmen.
It's like any other art—it really comes down to how hard you train. If they don't look like they train hard, even if they "spar", they're probably not dangerous.