Recently I have been working on fundamentals. I used to think about fundamentals as flat snaps, shield work, and that sort of thing, but I have recently discovered a sub-layer of skills that is even more basic than that. First and foremost is body positioning. No matter how well I swing my sword, I will never hit the target if I cannot position myself to avoid their shield. When squaring off against an opponent, the basic fighting stance is fairly defensive. If I stand in that stance, and let them stay in their comfort zone, nine out of ten shots will simply hit the shield. I have been told by my betters than I need to move more, and I finally grok why. There is no progress to be made from a stationary position, simply trading shots. When I was taking King-Fu as a child and teen, I learned a lot about positioning and footwork. I am trying to work those concepts into my fighting, but it takes time. I am trying to take small steps, rather than making radical changes. For now, I am working on throwing combinations and circle my opponent as I swing.
The other fundamental aspect of fighting that I have neglected is aggression. I always approach things in an analytic manner, and attempt to solve the "problem" with my mind. I find it difficult to get myself worked up to show aggression, especially during an activity that is fun to me. Perhaps aggression is the wrong word for what I am thinking about. Ferocity might work better. I do significantly better when I stop thinking, and just fight. That fighters-mind is hard to attain when I am trying to pick apart the fight in my head, and over thinking everything.
These two core concepts work very well together. When I am fighting ferociously, I move more, and vice versa. I never want to be angry, but I want to be aggressively competitive. I need to change my style from that of a counter-puncher, initiate faster, and fight my fight.
This is all mental, and I can change my outlook. I will be working on this diligently. It is physically exhausting, but well worth it.