What is Arya's fighting style called
The Water dance (in the original: Water dance) is a special form of fighting practiced in the Free City of Braavos.
In contrast to the fighting style of the Westerosi, water dancers prefer a slim and light sword, for a faster and more elegant fighting style. The water dance focuses more on single blows from the sword, instead of chopping and hitting the large long and broad swords.
Water dancers don't wear heavy armor to help them move faster. This makes them more vulnerable due to their lack of protection. They also do not block the heavy blows of the opponent, but try to avoid the blows with their speed and skill.
Sword thrusts from a water dancer's sword are not particularly suitable for penetrating heavy armor. A good water dancer can dance around the slow opponent in armor through his speed and exploit his weak points with targeted blows.
The movements of the water dance flow into each other in order to adapt quickly to the enemy attacks. Water dancers position themselves sideways to be a smaller target for the opponent. They hold the sword with one hand in front of their body, the other hand they have on their back.
In Braavos the duelists fought mostly in front of the palace of the sea lord of Braavos at the moon pond. This pond reflects, making it look like the two fighters are dancing on the water. Hence the water dance got its name.
In the series
Eddard Stark hires Syrio Forel to train his daughter Arya in water dance. After Eddard is captured, Ser Meryn Trant and some Lannister soldiers interrupt Arya's and Syrio's dance class. Syrio is only armed with a wooden sword, in contrast to the Lannister guards and Meryn Trant, who are armed in full armor and with a sword. Syrio Forel can defeat any Lannister soldier with his wooden sword. Arya wants him to run away with her. Syrio only replies that the First Warrior of Braavos does not run away. As Arya escapes, she hears Syrio and Meryn fighting.
After Arya got her sword Nadel back from Polliver, she trains the water dance at the river. Sandor Clegane mocks her for it and says this fighting style is good to die for. He also mocks Syrio Forel when Arya tells him he was killed by Meryn Trant. Arya tries to pierce Sandor with her sword, but she doesn't even make it through his armor. He knocks her to the ground and takes her sword. He makes it clear to her that although Meryn is a bad swordsman, he would have won because of his armor. Then he returns Arya Nadel.
Well-known water dancers
- Syrio Forel: Former Braavos First Warrior, Arya trained in water dance
- Arya Stark: daughter of Eddard Stark, learned the water dance from Syrio Forel
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