Swordfighting Step Across and Pivot

Step Across and Pivot are both ways of changing direction or orientation. You start in the standard right stance -

Swordfighting stance

For step across, you are literally stepping across the front of your guard. This means your forward foot is going to cross in front of your rear foot. In this stance, it means your left foot is going to step across towards the right, turning you around 180 degrees. You are going to rotate around the right foot, which is the back foot. You want your left foot to move as little as possible, to minimize the time you are off balance, so you only want to bring it into the "rear foot" position.

So you lift your left foot, take a large step to the right and have it end up in a position which has it in proper position to now be in in a left guard, facing in the opposite direction. It is now the rear foot. The right foot stays stationary, just turning in place. The right foot is now the front foot. You are now in a left stance, facing the opposite direction.

Swordfighting stance

So you are in essence rotating around your right foot as you switch directions, and you end up one "person length" to the right as a result. You do this by moving "towards" the direction you were initially facing.

The opposite movement to this is a pivot. Let's start again in a forward facing standard right stance -

Swordfighting stance

Now this time let's say you need to move towards the LEFT and turn around. This is called a pivot. You are changing direction by swinging away from whatever is in front of you. You move around your FORWARD foot. So in this stance, your right foot is your back foot. You would take a long step with your right foot forwards and towards the LEFT, bringing your right foot in a sweeping motion around your left foot. Your aim is to be now facing in the opposite direction, now still in a right stance, with your left foot being in front and your right foot being behind. So starting as above, you want to end up this way:

Swordfighting stance

The thing to remember is that in both turns you are turning in the direction your chest is pointing. You are always "looking forward" and moving towards what you are looking at.

For both movements the carriage must stay upright. No leaning or swaying which leads to off balance.

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