Various postings lately have made me think about something that I first noticed years ago: there seem to be quite a number of universal "truths" to the sword arts. Here's a little background on how I came to this conclusion ... There was a major HEMA gathering in my general area. This was a meeting of various instructors from around the world teaching a number of different historical European sword methods. It was a full couple of days of meetings, seminars, and training. A couple of friends of mine, Dave and Jim from Mugen Dachi, were going to be attending to give a seminar on cutting tatami, since not many groups were actually cutting targets at that time. Since it was in my neighborhood, they asked if I wanted to come and hang out, and help with their seminar. Since I'd never had much to do with the HEMA folks before, I said sure! I was very impressed with the energy and scholarship of the various instructors. I watched a number of seminars and, while I didn't fully agree with their methodology as compared to my own Japanese sword arts, I was impressed with their determination and knowledge. In talking with the various instructors at the time, and more so over the years since then, I have come to appreciate the fact that there are some basic ideas that have to do with properly using a sword, rather than any individual art. Some of these truths that I've noticed are; moving from the center, depending upon the hips rather than the upper body, maintaining a center of balance and not overextending, utilizing the proper motion of the sword to cut rather than hacking with the shoulders. While each of these things can be violated on occassion for specific situations, they are generally ideas that are striven for in pretty much every sword art that I've seen. What other universal truths does anyone feel are striven for in any given sword art, and why do you feel they are universal?