Another Language in Your Own Two Hands

I have been drilling more sword work more consistently after being spurred on by the acquisition of a new (used from someone else, new for me) rapier. As a part of my practice I make sure to practice everything first with my left, then with my right hand. A lot of people practice only with their dominant hand without regard to their other one. I, however, participate in a form of fencing (the SCA) where you can lose the use of either limb, which makes having two useful hands particularly important. That, plus the fact that you can’t be good at juggling with only one hand, means that over the years I have become fairly ambidextrous.
Now, my right hand is still better at most everything. My left hand though has been made fairly competent due to years of not entirely neglecting it. At work (I mostly work as a scenic carpenter) I am often seen using a power tool with my left hand when it provides a better angle than my right.
Just now I was going through my drills, though, and thought of something. After going through everything on both sides I first thought that the greater control my right hand had was purely due to it being used more and it being stronger. After a bit though I thought that there might be something more to it. I proceeded to examine my grip and came to the realization that the index finger on my right hand was pressing against the ricasso (the part of the blade behind the guard) whereas the same finger on my left hand was pressing against the quillion. I took this, changed the grip on my left side, and found that I suddenly had much more control and power whilst holding my sword on that side.
Without using both hands, I likely would not have been able to fully understand what was going on with my right hand since I would have nothing to contrast it to. It is like how you don’t really know how your language functions unless you study another one. By practicing with both hands I can now step outside of what I am doing and look at it from another point of view. My guess is that this will prove useful in the future not only in my own study, but also in my teaching of others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s