I keep hearing statements about the gou xiang (鉤鑲) being a specialized weapon to counter the dagger-axe (戟). What I haven't heard nor seen is the evidence supporting those claims.
The gou xiang is just a buckler with hooks and a pike. It is a defensive equipment, aka a shield, and it can be used against any type of weapons, not limited to the dagger-axe. While it is true that we have reliefs showing the weapon being used against the dagger-axe, we also have reliefs showing the weapon being used against another gou xiang and dao (single-edge sword) set. Is it a specialized weapon against the gou xiang and dao then?
Furthermore, since most of the reliefs we can see depict warriors not in armour, and one relief showing a group of women using the gou xiang along with daos to assassinate their father's killer, we can infer that the gou xiang could probably have had limited use in battle. It could be, like the buckler, a self-defence weapon for the most part.
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We don't practice how to perform a counter move from a defensive stance, because that rarely works against an active and determined attacker, especially when that attacker has some basic knowledge and does not go in deep in the first instance.
Counter techniques could work, but they only work in a specific context. If the context changes, say, the opponent moves farther or closer or does something else, for example, a feign, then you won't be able to perform a counter technique anymore.
That's why we almost always practice from the offensive position, as this allows us to gauge distance and feel how the opponent would react. Then, when you are on the defensive stance, you simply do the same thing. The only difference being, when you are on the defensive stance, it is the opponent coming towards you and you have to react to what they give you, thereby, reducing your options, while at the same time you enjoy the spatial advantage because they have to come to you.
The goal of a fight isn't to hit the opponent or to use this or that technique but to gain control. The control of the tempo, the space, and the opponent's body allows you to win the fight. Beating or takedown or whatever technique is just a way to fight for that control.
As such, there is no big difference between offence and defence; they are essentially the same thing on different points in time and space.
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