In S&B Cunningham presents a theoretical/conceptual basis for his approach to parrying with the saber:
“The defense is made by the partial development of a variable cone, or cones, the base being away from the body. In other systems the defense is made by the development of planes or warped surfaces after more or less intricate and unnatural motions.
No originality is claimed for this cone of defense, simply due and just recognition. The experts of all systems will resort to the cone of defense when hard pressed and their own system fails to be effective.
When a line or surface of attack is developed and is brought to intersection with a cone of defense before landing, the defense is effective and may be repeated or the attack reversed. The cones of defense are developed away from the body.”While no mention of these “cones of defense” is made in CAAW, it can be demonstrated that the circular, upward parries in CAAW can indeed be recognized as traversing around a conical shape with the base away from the body. Looking at the juxtaposed photos of Cunningham presented earlier, “illustrating” parry right, a simple conical shape can be sketched between the starting and ending positions (which in the side-on view of the photos appears as a triangle), indicating that the parry does indeed describe a partial cone (shaded yellow).