Drills for Your Melee Practice

Galen’s Line Drill:
Setup: Split the practice in half, 2-3 on a side.  Set up in lines at combat range and begin fighting.
The Drill: When you get killed, take a large step back, take a deep breath, then step back in.
Notes: Everyone gets time in a melee without lots of running or stopping ’cause you’re outnumbered 3 to 1.
Variation: One fighter stands behind the line, serving as commander.

Dante’s Charge Drill
Setup: Form up in two lines, one line (Agente) advancing on the other.
Drill: At the moment the lines’ points cross, Agente begin taking control of Patiente’s swords, keeping the line closed as they continue to move forward.
Notes: Don’t stop advancing even for a moment, and don’t throw yourself forward hoping for a double kill.
An entire line that doesn’t stop and doesn’t suicide will CRUSH an enemy who falters.
Practice it at a walk with no masks for the Agente; you’ll figure out the difference between being covered vs. uncovered real quick.
Masks on, drill at half speed.
Then do it at full speed with a passive enemy.
Then full speed with a resistant enemy.
This does NOT mean “sweep with my blades and try to draw cut like a damn fool”. Thrusts only.

Celric’s… Celric-y drill
Start one on one (or group vs. group) 20 feet apart. Start moving toward each other. One of you stops after 5 feet (the defender); the other continues forward and engages in a completely defensive manner, trying to turn the opponent or otherwise get behind his position.

10 Second Drill (3+ fencers)
“Victim” starts fighting “First Dude”. After ten seconds, “Second Dude” reinforces “First Dude”. After ten more seconds, “Third Dude” reinforces “Second” and “First”. Etc.
Victim’s goal is to kill each opponent in detail, within the ten seconds. “Dudes” goals are to stay alive long enough to be reinforced and gain a numerical advantage.
Variations: Reduce 10 second count to 7 or 5 seconds. Start with First and Second Dude engaged with Victim.   Have two victims.

Sharks and Minnows (aka “Knights and Unbelts”, 5+ fencers)
Two to three “sharks” take on approx. twice their number of “minnows”. The minnows’ job is to cross the field as a cohesive body (if they scatter, they fail) with minimal loss. Sharks are trying to disrupt and destroy.

Zipper Drill (6+ fencers)
Form lines at line engagement range (123 v ABC). Start with slow work: Fencer 1 lunges and hits A. B hits 1, 2 hits B, C hits 2, 3 hits C. Repeat, starting from any point on either line. Then work up to real speed, with the goal of landing the shot and recovering without dying, or protecting your exposed teammate, etc.

Melee w/ 2 fencers
You can, in fact, practice melee with only two fencers at practice.  Well, mostly.
Sir Corby has a Class on 4 Things in which he describes the four basic attacks that can be done: Charge, run the right, run the left, engage lightly.
These four things can be practiced by two fencers.  A and 1.  A takes an object, any object, and puts it five shoulder-widths away from him.  This object is now B, the other end of A’s line.  1 then proceeds to run around A’s flank, aiming for B.  A practices sliding out left to intercept 1, while 1 practices moving quickly and just out of range of A’s blades.  Then switch roles.
A and B switch ends, and 1 practices running the left, with the same progressions as above.
A stands a shoulder width away from B, and 1 practices advancing through the gap between them, while closing A’s line of attack (see Dante’s Charge Drill above).
Still with A shoulder width away from B, 1 closes to long range and fences with A, trying to pull him out of line with B, and avoiding lunging.

2-Man Melee Game

Take a scarf/flag, and hang it on a branch or pole (In this case, I held it).
The two fighters start a good distance away from it, and just out of measure of each other.
Whoever pulls the flag off the branch wins.

You could do this by killing your opponent, by out-positioning them, or by beating them in a foot-race.  Forces mobility, presents two possible end games for the fighters to choose from, and requires awareness of surroundings.

No Orders Drill
To build individual judgment:
Equal sides.  No orders, commands, or plan given before or after lay-on.  Discuss in-depth afterward.

Games and Cross Training
Grand melees, grand melees with resurrection, warlord grand melees, generic team vs team (sometimes even numbers, sometimes not).
Ultimate Frisbee (or Buckler, or Hat)
Bushkazi

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