Applied Principles: Awareness, comma, Situational

This is the last of the core skillsets for melee fighters within my framework. There’s plenty more to melee, of course, but as with tournament fencing, a lot of it is simply refining these basics.

This section is also on the shakiest ground, as I’ve mostly moved beyond the hard truths contained in measure, tempo, […]

Applied Principles: Maneuver and Cohesion

We’re starting to push up against the limits of these simplified principles, but we can go a little further.

In a melee, units form into lines precisely because it is a very safe formation (at least, at first glance). It’s hard for anyone, on either side, to attack effectively, so everyone is pretty safe.



Applied Principles: The 2v1

These simplified Italian principles give junior-level fighters a way to process the chaos of melee, to focus their limited Attention in the right places, and to interpret the fight from the sidelines. However, to build up from individual swords and individual actions to a full melee, we’re going to have to add more people.

Principles […]

Principles of Melee, Mk. 2

I’m teaching a class at Sergeants & Scholars next week. Might as well lay it out here, for my benefit and yours. This will also allow me to expound on a few tangential topics and theoretical underpinnings, while I’ll have to keep things relatively short and simple at S&S.

We have a certain way of […]

Gulf Wars 2014, Part 2: Wherein Ruairc Grouses About Melee


As it happened, all of the melee was on Wednesday.

Field Battle – your usual no-rez, no-cover brouhaha. Atlantia was deployed with the Trimarian Pony Lords (yes, seriously) on the right flank. We were stacked there, in numbers and skill; the idea was to smash through and roll them. At lay-on, we charged in […]

Principles of Melee: The Individual

A few months ago I ruminated on the fact that we have no ready analogue in melee for the nice, neat set of principles native to singles fighting, and that this made the didactic process a bit challenging (or nonexistent, depending …). My previous post on 2v1’s represents the first significant breakthrough I’ve had in […]

There is Only 2v1

Driving back from Champ’s practice, Gawin and I got to talking about advanced melee tactics. It inspired a little more thought along a line I had previously touched upon.

I mentioned in my Stierbach BB post that I thought analyzing a 2v1 as a microcosm of melee could be a valuable exercise for informing melee […]

Running to Rez (and Back)

So, philosophical question, because I’m of the mind “run to and run back and then rest where you can see what’s going on”, even if I don’t always do it:

“Run to rez, run back (unless it’s an hour-long melee. Then only run if it’s important.)” How do we help our newbs understand when it’s […]

Melee Pedagogy

Given the slew of nigh-contiguous rapier melee events promised by the coming weeks and my stated desire to increase both the quality and retention of Scholars in the ARA, I have taken to teaching a short, basic class to recently auth’ed fencers at each melee event I attend. As an unfortunate incident involving a sickle […]

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

If it were up to you, what strategies would you have employed in order to overcome our opponents’ numerical advantage in the Pennsic battles last week? (Namely the flag, field, and woods battles)