Fencing Journal 3/15   4 comments

Work continues to be a PITA, and it’s not going to get better until late April.  Nothing like sleeping all day Sunday and still being exhausted on Monday to show you just how much this cube-farm gig can sap out of a person.

Heavy Fighting at Baronial Practice
Sunday (actually, the 14th) I finally nutted up and went to baronial practice to fight in armor, like I’d said I would.  On this blog.  Six months ago (maybe less).  Admittedly, almost every baronial practice in the interim has been canceled due to certain rebellious weather patterns, and the one that wasn’t I ended up playing rapier warlord at.  But, still, it meant I was realllllly rusty.  Definitely time for some more pell practice (now that the back yard is a mud pit rather than a sheet of ice) and remedial “how to swing a polearm” lessons.  Getting a greatsword laid across my forearms as I whiffed on my opponent left pain that lasted for a week, as did catching blows on the haft which fed into my thumbs and made them almost useless.

We did some small melee drill.  It’s interesting that, by and large, armored fighters instinctively have a better grasp of how to circle a larger force than fencers.  Maybe it’s because they have protection, they’re willing to risk being slightly in range.  Once again, I long for a line of armored fighters, with bucklers and rapiers, rolling down upon the enemy on the rapier field battle

Thoughts for when I can scrape together some dough: A size up on my elbow and forearm pro, finally get around to making a chest and back plate, and make Fuerchtenunabwend a split-rattan polearm instead of the tip-heavy foam bastard he is now.  I think Lobo may end up getting a hammer from Revival, which would make him no longer Lobo.  Maybe I’ll keep Lobo as is (or reshape him slightly.  How about a double-sided laminated?), and make another war hammer.

The Return (and Re-exit) of Caelia
Caelia/Dreya was in town for Tuesday’s practice (on her grand tour of the Eastern seaboard).  Hooray!  Also, New Joe’s lady Katy was in also, so we all piled in to the War Wagon and trucked down to Elvegast practice, where Benjamin and Rosalind were waiting for the fighting.

She (Hi Caelia!) has progressed mightily.  All of her previous timidity is gone; I think fighting against a Don who regularly brings a 30″ will force that upon you.  She still needs to develop more precision and endurance, but she knows that (and a few other things).  Her teaching skill has grown mightily, as well, which is good considering her next year or two of fighting will consist entirely of teaching Tall Joe so they can both improve.  If anybody out there has suggestions for how they can spend the long cold Maine winters THAT INVOLVE THEIR SWORDS, she’d welcome them.

Memories from Tuesday’s practice are a little hazy; the after-practice meal was at an Irish pub which served pints I liked.

Working on Tempo
I spent most of my fighting time during the week working on attacking in tempo, priming myself for the attack and forcing my opponent into a motion during which I could attack.  The obvious conclusion is that, while outright speed may not be an absolutely necessary trait, reaction time is.  Anybody have thoughts on how to drill reaction time with a sword in hand in the privessy of one’s own home?  It really seems that an opponent is needed, and to drill it enough (half hour a day, seven days a week?) to really build up the capacity of instant response is not something anybody else (local) is free for.  My brain goes to “Well, a random number generator tied in to a USB laser pointer that shines a spot on the wall every time a 5 or 9 comes up”, and then I remember I have no technological aptitude.

More Thoughts on Weight Distribution
I’ve been pondering more on the distribution of weight while in stance, and the reasons for various options.  I’m now working on a neutral stance while out of range, shifting to a back-weighted stance as I close range to enable a lunge.  We’ll see how well that works out.

I’m rapidly drifting away from the idea of set guards, attacks, or anything else, and towards a process of defining the principles by which I will form my fight and making sure that what I’m doing matches those principles, and leaving it at that.  Which is going to mean a whole lot of experimentation and regress.  *sigh*  The principle at the forefront of my mind these days is that whatever position I’m in (when in range), I should be able to defend to the utmost and offend to the utmost with a single movement.  Which leads to a certain amount of pondering as to what a principle is: let’s face it, “Tempo” is not a principle, it is a concept; same for “measure” and “judgment”.  Marozzo sets out the principle of simultaneous defense and attack, and I like it.  Also on my list “Any movement should be done as efficiently as possible.”  Yeah, some of these are from the Book of Martial Power, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think of them before reading that.  I’ve been lazy all my life, so efficiency has been a principle of mine for a while.

Packer had a little challenge in his most recent post on Marozzo, to do 10,000 cuts in the next few days.  10,000 is just not doable (my joints and muscles haven’t trained that capacity in them), but I’m going to go for as many as I can, starting today with at least 50 of each.

Defending the Gate this Weekend
Looking forward to it, enough to day-trip from 3.5 hours away.  With no 30″, I may have to actually fight sword and dagger in the melees.  This is a disconcerting thought.

Posted March 23, 2010 by wistric in Journal

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