The Games We Play

I’ve come to the conclusion that in my single-sword fights I get by mostly on parries and footwork for defense.  This is actually sub-optimal, since it usually means I take two tempi, and at the very least lacks a certain amount of grace and “prettiness”.  Thinking this way, I decided want to make more use of the contracavazione.  Around that same time we introduced the concept to the practice.  We drilled it a bit, but the drill didn’t usurp the parry in anybody’s tactical thinking, including my own.  What was needed, I decided, was forced removal of the parry from the tactical options, so Letia and I set about to play a game: No parries, only cavazioni and measure control, to deliver the kill.  So it wasn’t exactly a drill, because it lacked the formality of the drill, and we called it the Contracavazione Game.

Then last week I read this, by Bill Grandy, and got to think about the greater utility of “games” to blur the line between drill and fighting:

From Drills to Free Play: Putting Practice into Practice Part II

I set Tassin and Ruairc to play with the target area drill, with lethal thrusts the only valid touch, for a goal of fighting at measure and with control, and the “Juggernaut” game to force them to continue fighting until “dead” is called so they don’t get punked by a rhino-hide.  I didn’t get a chance to follow up with them and get feedback, but think I’ll try it out this week for myself.

It’s too bad that in the winter our practice time gets truncated to an hour and a half (and people still take fifteen minutes of that to show up and armor up), because I’d love to work games into a formal schedule (30 minutes footwork/unarmored drill, 30 minutes sword drill, 30 minutes games, and the remainder fighting).

Anybody else have thoughts on other games to make use of?

3 comments to The Games We Play

  • Miriam d'Hawke

    No games, but we’ve done the ‘scheduled’ thing at practices before — drills starts at such-and-such, and then some sort of multi-bearpit type action. We wax-and-wane with it though.

    My question is, who is “in charge” at your practice? Who makes sure things go forward/newbies are trained/etc? The local baronial marshal? Some designated person? The highest ranking person? Interkingdom anthology wants to know. =D

    • Wistric

      Letia is the marshal-in-charge of practice, and is primarily responsible for it.
      Tassin hauls the loaner gear around so he has a certain amount of responsibility for armoring and inspecting the new fighters, and also contributes to planning and running the practice.
      I was running the practice for a while (er… 2005 to 2010?) and still slip in to the habit every now and then. How I think that usually manifests is me pinging Letia and Tassin on a Thursday to say “What are we doing at practice? Huh? Huh? Whatcha gonna run?” At practice I’ll typically grab a scholar and set them to training the new people or take care of it myself. If I think we’ve wandered off schedule or off point I’ll nudge things back. Sometimes I’ll also drag things off point and off schedule, but that’s the cost of owning a Wistric. Letia, Tassin, et al. may view things differently and should definitely chime in.

  • Tassin

    During the summer Letia and I were collaborating on a schedule for practice which worked out pretty well. Now that we are going to be in the gym for a while we are going to be doing that again, adjusted to the new time constraints.

    Since Pennsic ended things have been sort of freeforallish, Wistric would lead drills on some days but mostly it was just free fighting.

    During the summer we were doing:
    30 minutes of cardio/plyometrics/agility/whatever while people were trickling in.
    30 minutes of drills divided into 10 minutes of bladework, 10 minutes of footwork, and 10 minutes of tempo drills.
    30 minutes of speed fighting, 3 passes and move to a new partner.
    30 minutes of fighting 1 or 2 people, discussing the fights, trying new things, free fighting…
    30 minutes of melee training led by either Letia or I.
    30 minutes of melee led by whichever fighter had volunteered to come up with something.

    What we are trying at this weeks practice is:
    15 minutes of warmup
    30 minutes of drills/warmup
    30 minutes of games like what Wistric described above
    30 minutes of free fighting.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>