Fencing Journal, 5/17   Leave a comment

I swear, this self-improvement jag is gonna end my white ass.  It wraps in another week, though.

Monday, or The Day of the Gymnast

Of late, Griffin, Letia, and I have been working with a newbie, Adam.  He has an air conditioned gym, so “working with” translates to “taking the opportunity to fight in awesome conditions”.  Also, he’s a professional gymnast/coach, with strip fencing background.  Spike grant me* such natural gifts in all new comers.

He’s still got that “one year of strip fencing” style, but is open to suggestion and improvement, which is occurring a-pace.  And in the meantime, he opens the gym to us on Mondays and some Fridays for fencing.

I spent Monday working on my Giganti-fu.  It’s coming together, though I need to start working on his mantra “…and withdraw quickly”.  The stesso tempo (counter)attacks are getting cleaner and more instinctive.  I can actually hold a good, secure, steady Italian guard for more than 10 seconds.  And every now and then I manage to attack in the tempo of the opponent’s step into measure.

The Potential for Curriculum

Back when the Kappellenfechters first formed, the third new fencer to show up was a guy named Jeff.  Jeff has an extensive Wing Chun background, and the fighting personality of a Jack Russell terrier.  On the melee field I referred to him as a fire-and-forget weapon: “Jeff, sic ’em” would guarantee he kept occupied at least two opponent fencers, if not beating their swords into the dirt and gutting them like fish.  Sadly, he has gone on to spawn and take up Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.  I heard from him recently, as he was pushing a friend of his to come out to practice.

The friend in an e-mail basically said that he wasn’t interested in eventing, but wanted to study “rapier, longsword, broadsword and buckler, and sword and shield” from a martial arts perspective.  I invited him on out, and started thinking on a curriculum, which I have logged in the back of my mind in the event that he should show up to a practice.  Basically it boils down to: a year of Giganti, a year of Fiore, a year of Silver, and then letting the heavy fighters have at him.  At which point he might be mildly proficient in each form.


Today, Thursday, I woke up and thought: “Hey, you ran for 9 minutes out of a total 40 minutes of roadwork yesterday.  Maybe you’d like to take it easy today?”  Then I rode the bike out to the trail and did about 7.8 miles.  Then came home and lunged 100 times.  Then mowed the lawn.  Then hit the pell for 15 minutes.  After all that, my legs fell great.  Then I sat down.  And the lesson I learned is “once you’ve launched yourself boldly down the path of stupid**, keep going.”  ’cause then I had to go fencing.  And tomorrow is another running day.  So, yeah, refer to the first line.

But first, what Giganti had to teach us…

Practice opened with the reading from Giganti, pages… er… the section on Tempo and Measure, and page 24.  One of the many things I appreciate about Giganti is his lack of flourish: “Measure: When you can hit your opponent, you’re in measure.  When you can’t, you’re not.”  Isn’t that just beautiful?  No A, B, and C; no Wide and Narrow.  Either you can kill or you can’t.

He takes a similar approach to tempo: he doesn’t specifically talk about the “tempo of the hand” and “tempo of the arm” the way DiGrassi does.  He does list the examples of tempo in order of increasing length, but sums up with a definition that boils down to “If you move, that’s a tempo.”

And why page 24?  Well, because Griffin and Austin were there.  And Griffin and Austin are the fighters that page 24 is written about.

And the rest of Thursday

Austin, like Adam, comes from a strip-fencing background, but has a great deal more experience.  He must be an excellent, excellent strip fencer, but it presents a difficult problem pulling him away from those techniques he knows work towards a “more perfect” form.  And, given his foot speed and hand speed, there will probably not be the absolute metric of “How often do you succeed?” to drive a change on his part any time soon.

My own focus continued as with Monday, with a couple of diversions: We introduced Gavvin to dagger fights, and Percy brought case out against me.  Without the 30″ in my left hand, and with not having picked up case in a long time, my fight was damn ugly.  For now, case stays on the back burner.

And Marozzo?

Have you been reading Packer’s Marozzo discourse?  I can’t say I have.  Time to get back to that (I updated the link on the earlier Marozzo post on this blog).

*Every now and then I get questioned about the use of ‘Spike’ in the place of ‘God’.  As I have been drinking (thank Spike for excellent Mexican restaurants), I can currently claim to be a 10th Doctor humanist (sober Wistric = scientific determinist Wistric).  Instead of the classic formation of these divine interjections, I tend to use the most handy totemic animal (and beloved symbol of this kingdom).  Got a problem with it?  Well goddamn you to hell!
**Afterall, poena stultus corpore digrediens est

Posted May 20, 2010 by wistric in Journal

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