News from the North.   3 comments

Caelia ahoy. Yes, I’m still up in the far reaches of the East Kingdom. No, we haven’t managed to find a practice we can attend, and probably won’t be able to. So it’s just Tristan and I and we have been very, very lazy.

It had been ages since I last picked up a blade – almost three months by my count – but reading all about the latest exploits of my favorite Atlantians (and realizing that they were all getting better than I was)  was making me anxious to stab again.  Additionally, some well-meaning person sent me a slim, elegant little manual by a chap named Giganti that was so plainly and sensibly written that I just had to try it out.  Ergo, yesterday I prodded Tristan outside to find out just how rusty we’d gotten.

The good news: we weren’t as rotten as I thought we would be.  I had just switched from a modified modern guard position to Capo Ferro’s version (rear foot forming obtuse angle with fore foot,  forward leg straighter, etc. – also seems to be Giganti’s deal if I read aright) before I moved and I was pleased at how easy and comfortable the new guard felt despite my relatively short acquaintance with it.  My mind went looking for tempos almost immediately, although much of my actions were still instinctive reactions rather than planned moves. Both of us presented a pleasing amount of aggression without being mindless about it. Tristan wasn’t wide open all over the place and I managed to move past his lanky reach effectively more than once.

The bad news: first and foremost, we are awfully out of shape. I could feel how slow my footwork was and know that at least half the points he landed were due to me not moving my feet.  And when did my sword get so heavy? My only consolation is that I believe Tristan was more hard-pressed by sloth than I. Our swordwork was very sloppy, with overly wide parries and definite loss of point control. My left hand seems to have forgotten its purpose again. And I am certain there are a million other things that went wrong that I didn’t notice. But that’s not really the point.

The point is that we fenced after a long hiatus and both agreed it felt good. And the next goal isn’t to fine-tune my footwork or close the line, it’s just to do it again. When we have a habit going, I’ll be worrying about the technical stuff.

In the meantime, please keep writing, y’all. It’s excellent inspiration.

ETA: There must be a storm a-comin’, because we just went at it again, wherein I learned that the reason I am less fatigued than Tristan after bouting is not because I am more fit than he, but because I am fighting more efficiently. My movements are tighter and there are fewer superfluous moves.  I am also allowing him to be the aggressor, although I am doing my best to hold my position rather than constantly retreat (thanks Don Pieter!).  Holding ground puts me in measure for him before he’s in measure for me, so I have been concentrating on closing the line before striking and have made several beautiful shots that would hit… if my arm were just 2″ longer.  I’m just not getting close enough fast enough. I think that if I were faster – if I acted on that closed line sooner, he wouldn’t have time to thwart my well-laid plans no matter how long his arms are.  I also need to maintain pressure against his blade  while closing so it’s harder for him to disengage.

I am still finding the height difference a factor as well (Tristan’s 6’7″) due to his tendency to work in a higher guard than I am comfortable with.  He’s too often able to sneak shamefully close by moving to seconda, where apparently it becomes difficult for me to judge the distance between me and his swordpoint. And if I am attempting to hold ground, I run into the ‘how the hell do I engage that thing way up there?’ dilemma. The right tempo will help me here,  I think, and more of that speed. I need to become more comfortable with passing.

I have tried to keep one goal in mind these past two days of fighting: always parry with the true edge. It’s not always easy, but it is proving to be
super-effective. As a corollary I’m trying to remember: every parry should also be an attack.

Posted June 29, 2010 by Dreya in Journal

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