Drills of the week #3: November 15, 2018

With only Verena and me at last week’s practice, we worked on cleaning up the Giganti plate 4 & 5 drills we worked the previous week.

This week was our first indoor practice – except we were locked out of the building.

Warm-ups:

25 lunges

“Gawin says” footwork drill:

Everybody except the “caller” lines up. The caller calls out a piece of footwork to perform and everybody else performs it. This list includes: advance, retreat, pass forward, pass back, extend (your arm), recover (your arm), lunge, and recover (from the lunge).

Some interesting sequences:

Extend(arm) advance, recover advance, extend retreat, recover retreat

Following passing steps with advances or retreats and vice versa

 

After warm-ups, we performed 3 cycles through the wrist cut portion of the Asterisk cutting drill described in the previous article.

We then worked through a cutting drill that, for lacking a better name, we’ll call the “Wheeling from the wrist against resistance” drill.

Wheeling from the Wrist Against Resistance Drill:

  1. Fighters start within the correct distance for a cut to land. Agente begins by performing either a mandritto or a riverso from the wrist with the arm extended.
  2. Patiente performs a simple parry
  3. Agente wheels their sword from the wrist. They need to keep their arm extended to maintain control over their opponent’s sword while turning their wrist such that their sword tip passes behind their head, rotating into a cut on the other side of their opponent’s sword (i.e. perform a riverso if they started with a mandritto or vice versa).
  4. Agente should then step behind this cut off-line, keeping themselves covered by their weapon and avoiding patiente’s weapon.

Note: Agente needs to keep their arm extended. As you build competence with this drill, Patiente should be allowed to strike Agente if Agente bends their elbow or otherwise pulls their guard away – as this opens up Agente to be struck.

This drill led to a discussion of “hard” vs. “soft” contact. The above drill is a good response to a hard parry or someone who, after gaining your sword, presses or bumps your weapon, but against a softer parry, it sets you up to get stabbed. We discussed how this was a variation of concepts that are included in Giganti’s plate 4 and 5 and Capoferro’s plates 7 and 9 – which we have been working.

Then we got lucky and the contact person provided us the pass-code to go inside, so we spent some time letting our feet warm up while we read discussed the differences between performing Giganti Plate 4 and 5 as written in Leoni’s translation (Agente gains out of measure, Patiente performs a cavazione and lunges, Agente turns their hand and thrusts) vs. the drill we’ve been doing (Agente gains out of measure and performs an advance, Patiente performs a cavazione and lunges, Agente turns their hand and thrusts). This distinction sets up two possibilities: First, that Giganti assumes that we perform an advance when we gain in order to enter measure and second, that Patiente is just really stupid and attacks from out of measure. We then read through Capoferro’s section that describes how to perform the “stringere” in order to gain the tempo and measure vs. performing it to gain only the measure.

Based on this, I instructed Verena and Finn to work on removing the pause between the gain and the advance, so that these two actions are performed smoothly and quickly an to try this approach to the gain, advance through the various drills we’ve worked on before.

While they were doing this, I worked with Clark on the gain, advance, lunge drill and the counter-attack drill.

Finally it was time for our “cool-downs.”

We first performed a modification of the “Gangnam Style” footwork drill where only advancing steps were performed and were coupled with gains against imaginary swords. This week’s song was Smooth Criminal – which didn’t work nearly as well (too many rhythmic, but not melodic sections and quiet stuff that didn’t sound very good on cell phone speakers), but did increase the pace of the footwork compared to previous songs.

Our last cool-down exercise was based on a video that David Coblentz posted this past week that involved jump squats and lunges. We skipped the jumping part.

Squats and Lunges drill:
Mark 2 points approximately 20 yards apart (as in the Gangnam Style Drill). Fencers perform the following actions as they cross this distance.

  1. Fencers come into guard
  2. Fencers perform a squat in guard; keeping their sword and upper body in guard
  3. Fencers stand up from the squat and immediately perform an advance
  4. Fencers perform a lunge, then recover
  5. Repeat

We performed the lunges with normal recovery for the first length of the room and with a forward recovery for the second length of the room.

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