In an earlier discussion of the eight universal lines I had alluded to the “thrusting triangle.”  This requires a brief reminder that the 8 universal lines are a basic representation of the lines of motion – both on the vertical as well as the horizontal planes.

I have provided examples from European fechtbuchs (links below) as well as the more “traditional” martial arts from Asia.  However to add the thrusting triangle, we need to expand the numbering system and also introduce new visual cues – more complex representations:

kenpo diagram

Kenpo’s diagram contains the basic 8 as does the Spanish fencing system



Please remember that these are representations – reminders – not systems.  Both diagrams are getting increasingly complex – contain more information – but one needs be able to ‘read’ the diagrams.  Each shows the basic 8 lines, but also adds the concept of ranges, vectors, and most importantly – the thrusting triangle (counts 5 to 7 in a doce pares [12 pairs] numbering system).  The additional counts (lines) teach concepts – primarily that the line can become a point and that points can connect to make lines again.

Keating Doce Pares

Master Keating’s Doce Pares diagram

Simple geometry, yes, but once ingrained it is movement magic – preventing you from freezing.  While imbedded in the diagrams as a visual reminder – you must be present to really “see” the triangle – which at its simplest is just yokomen/gyaku yokomen delivered as a thrust to form the top two points that connect with chudan tsuki to the navel – a nice inverted triangle that also showed the points to defeat a cuirass (chest plate).  Add the redondo (‘round’ strike 8) and we now have the 12 count system expanded from the eight universals.  No this does not mean there are 12 lines of motion – we just took 4 of the universal lines and defined 3 as points and added the connecting piece for the fourth.  It is a teaching tool not a technique in itself.  The extra four ‘beats’ are there to remind us that the edge and point are interchangeable – and a circular cutting pattern can be used to break an attack.

As I mentioned the Filipino Thrusting Triangle is an upside down isosceles triangle (#5, 6, &7) which also teaches the deadlier aspects of the sumkete drill.

Antonio de Brea.jpg

Geometry describes positional relationships.  Geometry is a universal.

o sensei diagram



*Fechtbuchs.  Fight Books

Fiore dei Liberi (ca1404),

Codex Wallerstein (early 1400s)

Philippo Vadi (ca1485)

Achille Marozzo (1536)

Kolner Fechtbuch (ca1550s)

 Joachim Meyer (1560/70, 1600, -10, -60)

Heinrich von Gunterrodt (1579)

Salvator Fabris (1606)

Jakob Sutor (1612), Bonaventura Pistofilo (1627)

Theodori Verolini (1679)

Francesco Antonio Marcelli (1686)

Camillo Aggrippa (1553)

Gerard Thibault d’Anvers (1628).



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