This morning I watched Ran (directed and written by Akira Kurosawa) and I must say it nearly made me cry! Lately I’ve been growing more appreciative of the epic filming style of older movies. Modern movies like to zoom in on individuals during warfare, but movies like Ran like to zoom out and show
The plow, the ox, the roof and the fool are real sword stances from medieval treatises and historical manuals (check out the famous Solothurner Fechtbuch) and are still used by HEMA students today. These four sword positions are also similar to the basic stances used by samurai in different periods. There are many, and some would say an unlimited number of stances a swordsman can hold, especially if you do LARP or Hollywood choreography (lmao), but these four guards below are the universal, historical ones, and I believe understanding them can empower any novice sword owner. Now I will briefly explain their uses and applications from an outright amateur’s perspective.