Fencing Journal 1/4/10   3 comments

Happy New Year!  A real brain dump is in the works on my notebook in front of me, but it’s not gelled quite yet, so meanwhile…

Back to practice last night after 3 weeks off.  I still am apparently < 210 lbs, even after the holidays, which I can really only attribute to stress metabolism.  It was cold (45-50 degrees), and muddy (A fencer who really wanted to get Service Points would re-sod Their Excellencies’ backyard), my toes went numb, but other than that it was good times.


Their Excellencies gave me my 12th Night gift: “Teaching and Interpreting Historical Swordsmanship”, ed. Brian Price, published by Chiv Bookshelf.  I spent more time reading it than fighting last night.  Oops.  But it is fascinating, largely in that its topics range across just about everything non-melee I’ve ever tried to wrap my brain around on this blog, and its articles are written by guys like Price, Leoni, and Wilson.

Also, Jauma brought his Christmas present: The new Agrippa translation.  It’s purdy.  I want it.  Especially since, apparently, the Fabris book is going out of print so I can’t lust after that anymore.  At least until the next print run.


When I did get out and fight, I fought single and buckler.  Whereas my usual intent with dagger or with case is to fight like single, but with something in my left hand (so as not to pull my left shoulder forward, square up my body, and throw off my mobility), I can’t actually do that with buckler, as it occludes the bottom half of my vision when held where my left hand usually is.  That led to my leg being exposed, which Letia set about tagging repeatedly.  But at least I’ve stopped flailing with the damn thing.

Tai Stabby

I experimented with New Joe and Jauma last night, doing a bit of mindfulness-through-breath-coordination on their stance, and then mindfulness of movement with slow advances and retreats.  This led to a problem: For them to maintain balance they had to shift weight on to their back foot before moving, which is patently bad form.  So we shifted strategy to mindfulness leading up to the foot movement and planning through the movement, but with the motion in whatever tempo has to happen for it not to induce bad form.

We’ll see if repeated application is at all beneficial.

Attacking without Dying

As Dante points out, frequently, in fact every chance he gets, way too many people rely on the “sport” aspect of our game as their defense: “I hit you a half a second before you hit me, therefore I win.”  While, to paraphrase DiGrassi, nothing stops an attacker like a thrust1, relying on your attacker not to have enough vitriol in him to try to take you with him is a great way to end up with two corpses.   So I added to my planning prior to my attacks the means by which I’d prevent any sort of delayed counter.  While it screwed up some of my normal rhythms and attack patterns, I need to add this to my basic thought process because, even though what happens on the tourney field is ultimately a sport (sorry, Dante)2, I remember a Sapphire Joust where I landed a good belly shot, stepped back, and two seconds after my shot landed my opponent stabbed me (and I was honor-bound to call good, even if he wasn’t).  Also, a bunch of ancient White Scarves keep telling me I won’t always be a speedy motherfucker who can rely on his body to get him out of trouble (I think they’re just jealous).

1“And although there be some, who being struck run rashly on, yet generally, men will not so do, albeit they be struck when they are most choleric, but will, when they are struck or wounded, give back and be dismayed and by reason of the blood which goes from them, always more and more be weakened.”

2Though, that actually is another point of contention: If we’re replicating lethal honor dueling, then we absolutely need to protect ourselves against any delayed counter-attack.  But of course we wouldn’t be doing that in a tournament.  If we’re replicating a more courtly “first blood” duel, or the prize fights held for the popular entertainment, then a first touch, landed only a half second before the counter-attack, would still satisfy the requirements for victory.  It would just lead to an absolutely useless technique for real self-defense.

Posted January 8, 2010 by wistric in Journal

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