Wistric’s Weekly Warfare #3: Conditioning

(From the archives)

Okay, this isn’t really about how to fight melees.  This is about conditioning.

I went to Sapphire Joust this weekend and in 90 degrees, with a 120 degree heat index, just about died.  There I was looking at my opponents thinking “I should lunge, I really, really should, but I can’t.”  Same, too, for circling around them and taking an oblique attack.  The heat made it like fighting in molasses, like my boots were made of lead.  And it’s only going to get worse from now through August.  There are a good half dozen events between now and Pennsic that are worth going to: Midsummer’s Twilight Tourney right here in two weeks, Stierbach’s Baronial Birthday the next week, Wastelands the week after that just over at Triplette’s Farm, and come July is the Kingdom Assessments, war practice for all Atlantia.  I recommend you go to as many of these as possible and wade through your opponents, whether singly or as an army, and leave them gasping your name.  But that will take conditioning.

The extreme version of this takes the form of not using air conditioning.  At all.  You can ask Alejandro about that.  But try turning off the AC on your car and putting the windows down on your drive home from work.  Try going for a walk once a day in the nice warm part of it.

 

With input from Kappellenfechters:

Jeff (of the Wing Chun background): I know no one wants to hear more about my martial arts bulls#!^, but this was solicited…

The two most effective bits of conditioning I know of are 1) sustained calisthenics, and 2)sparring.

Calisthenics can be remarkably boring, but if you force yourself to do ’em for 15 minutes straight in the heat, at least twice a week, really hard, you’ll see improvement.  You aren’t doing it right unless you want to, or do, throw up.  When I was more into fighting, I had crazy conditioning drills that branched out from straight calisthenics, like the stairs of hercules.  I’d go to Forest Theatre at UNC and carry a heavy punching bag on my back up and down the stairs of the theatre.  If anyone is willing to do that with me during the summer, bring it.  Misery loves company.

Of course, we could do more fencing focused calisthenics.  That would be more fun than jumping up and down for two minutes.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, saps your energy like combat.  While our fencing battles are sporadic bursts, contact sparring, particularly with grappling, is constant stress on most of your muscles and of course your cardiovascular system. If you get used to that kind of energy expenditure, you will not gas in fencing.  How we translate that to fencing, short of signing everyone up for wrestling or BJJ classes, I’m not sure.  The 10 second drill is a very near equivalent.  Perhaps more dagger v. dagger battles…?

 

Shax (He’s one bad mother-): Here are some options:

A 5 min 10 sec drill, Where one person has to fight a reinforced army for 5 mins straight.  5 mins may not seem like a long time but is an eternity when you are trying to haul ass and out maneuver 3 people swinging swords at you.

Or another good one we did in Durham was a 10 min multiple bear pit. You would basically go from fight to fight with less than 30 secs of down time….and then push-ups for each fight you lose.

And yes nothing will gas you faster than dagger on dagger.

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