Wistric’s Weekly Warfare 14: Drills   Leave a comment


Drills for your melee practice

Galen’s Line Drill:
Split the practice in half, 2-3 on a side. When you get killed, take a large step back, take a deep breath, then step back in. That way, everyone gets time in a melee without lots of running or stopping ’cause you’re outnumbered 3 to 1.
My major concern is that it might be boring. Stand in a line and fight can be tedious.
An extension of this is to do 3 fighter and 1 commander drill. That way a bit more tactics can be employed. I’m not sure how the fast res would work if the fighters became too mobile. We’d also need more than 4 fighters at any given time.

Dante’s Charge Drill
Form up in two lines, one line advancing on the other.
At the moment your points cross, begin taking control of your opponent’s sword, keeping the line closed as you continue to move forward. Don’t stop advancing even for a moment, and don’t throw yourself forward hoping for a double kill.
An entire line that doesn’t stop and doesn’t suicide will CRUSH an enemy who falters.
Practice it at a walk with no masks for the “Atlantian” side; you’ll figure out the difference between being covered vs. uncovered real quick.
Masks on, drill at half speed.
Then do it at full speed with a passive enemy.
Then full speed with a resistant enemy.
This does NOT mean “sweep with my blades and try to draw cut like a damn fool”. Thrusts only.

Celric’s… Celric-y drill
Start one on one (or group vs. group) 20 feet apart. Start moving toward each other. One of you stops after 5 feet (the defender); the other continues forward and engages in a completely defensive manner, trying to turn the opponent or otherwise get behind his position.

10 Second Drill (3+ fencers)
“Victim” starts fighting “First Dude”. After ten seconds, “Second Dude” reinforces “First Dude”. After ten more seconds, “Third Dude” reinforces “Second” and “First”. Etc.
Victim’s goal is to kill each opponent in detail, within the ten seconds. “Dudes” goals are to stay alive long enough to be reinforced and gain a numerical advantage.
Variations: Reduce 10 second count to 7 or 5 seconds. Start with First and Second Dude engaged with Victim.   Have two victims.

Sharks and Minnows (aka “Knights and Unbelts”, 5+ fencers)
Two to three “sharks” take on approx. twice their number of “minnows”. The minnows’ job is to cross the field as a cohesive body (if they scatter, they fail) with minimal loss. Sharks are trying to disrupt and destroy.

Zipper Drill (6+ fencers)
Form lines at line engagement range (123 v ABC). Start with slow work: Fencer 1 lunges and hits A. B hits 1, 2 hits B, C hits 2, 3 hits C. Repeat, starting from any point on either line. Then work up to real speed, with the goal of landing the shot and recovering without dying, or protecting your exposed teammate, etc.

Melee w/ 2 fencers
You can, in fact, practice melee with only two fencers at practice.  Well, mostly.
Sir Corby has a Class on 4 Things in which he describes the four basic attacks that can be done: Charge, run the right, run the left, engage lightly.
These four things can be practiced by two fencers.  A and 1.  A takes an object, any object, and puts it five shoulder-widths away from him.  This object is now B, the other end of A’s line.  1 then proceeds to run around A’s flank, aiming for B.  A practices sliding out left to intercept 1, while 1 practices moving quickly and just out of range of A’s blades.  Then switch roles.
A and B switch ends, and 1 practices running the left, with the same progressions as above.
A stands a shoulder width away from B, and 1 practices advancing through the gap between them, while closing A’s line of attack (see Dante’s Charge Drill above).
Still with A shoulder width away from B, 1 closes to long range and fences with A, trying to pull him out of line with B, and avoiding lunging.

No Orders Drill
To build individual judgment:
Equal sides.  No orders, commands, or plan given before or after lay-on.  Discuss in-depth afterward.

Games and Cross Training
Grand melees, grand melees with resurrection, warlord grand melees, generic team vs team (sometimes even numbers, sometimes not).
Ultimate Frisbee (or Buckler, or Hat)

Drills for your Individual Practice

Drills for your lunge
Open a door, look at the door edge-on, put three dots on it, one at knee level, one at stomach level, one at shoulder level.  Number them 1, 2, and 3 (doesn’t really matter which).  Back up to maximum lunge length.  Lunge and hit 1 five times.  Then hit 2 five times.  3 five times.  Then 1, 2, and 3.  Then 3, 2, and 1.  Then do fibonacci numbers, or any other non “123” sequence.
Use your absolute best form for each lunge:
Feet perpendicular; heels in line or just slightly out of line; toe and knee pointing at your target; hips at a 45 degree angle to your opponent, parallel to the ground; left shoulder back; left hand tucked in against your body; right elbow and wrist outside of your knee; shoulders level; head upright; extend your arm, then lunge with your foot.  Remember to place your tip, like Connor showed you, rather than throw your shot (I need to practice that, too).
Do it until your arm is sore, then switch to your left hand.  Do it again until your left arm is sore.  Then switch back.  Keep going until your legs are burning.
Boring as hell?  Yep.  But it’s the best way to build into your muscle memory good, SAFE form so you don’t have to think about it while you’re fighting.
Once you get tired of that, do the same thing, but hitting a milk cap on a string instead of a door.

Drills for your feet
Again, make sure your form is perfect.  Advance a step.  Re-check your form.  Advance another step.  Re-check your form.  Do that for ten steps forward.  Then reverse for ten steps.  Go sideways for ten, then the other sideways.


10X each:
Extend your arm and advance.
Recover your arm and advance.
Extend your arm and retreat.
Recover your arm and retreat.
Advance, extend, retreat.
Lunge, recover forward.
Advance, lunge, recover back.
Retreat, lunge, recover forward.
Retreat, lunge, recover back.
Go right, lunge, recover back.
Go left, lunge, recover back.
Pass forward, extend, pass back, retract.
Advance, demi-volte, recover.
Retreat, volte, recover.


When you’re at work and there’s nobody needing your attention, close your eyes:
Picture an opponent you fought recently and the guard they took.  Plot a line of attack against that opponent.
Does it start from your inside or outside?  Does it start low, mid, or high?  Does it end on their inside or outside?  Is it targetting low, mid, or high?  (So, my usual “lazy fencer” refused sword starts from my outside, low.  If I’m throwing for the left side of your head, it ends on your inside, high, and there’s a line that it follows to get from start to finish)
How can your opponent move their blade to close the line of your attack?  How can you move your blade to counter their action?
Picture the opponent again.  Now picture them attacking, and the line they can take from their guard to a target on your body (again, inside/outside, low/mid/high).  How can you move your sword to close that line?  How can you move your body, without moving your sword?


Posted April 3, 2009 by wistric in Melee, Wistric's Weekly Warfare

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