The Drill of ‘N’ Things

A more basic version of this has been one of my favorite drills for a long time.  Hopefully you’ll find it a useful tool in your teaching careers.  I was amazed to see how complex Walter gets with his, and that is his first lesson.  So, stretch goals and all that:

https://video-atl1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hvideo-xpf1/v/t42.1790-2/11016244_872580506138022_1167443543_n.mp4?efg=eyJybHIiOjUxNCwicmxhIjo0MDk2fQ%3D%3D&rl=514&vabr=286&oh=2fad1de5c53e6c2a8c047196283a607e&oe=5599F952

Triplette’s full lesson works every basic attack and counter-attack in fencing.  Follow his instructions in so far as they apply: allow the student to settle in guard, keep measure steady, make actions big.  As the student progresses, make the cues smaller, require faster action, etc.  If you’re not sure if something he says applies, ask (there is a lot of foil-particular stuff — parry-ripostes instead of contratempo extensions, parrying six or whatever it is instead of the Italian hand positions).

his is an Italian Rapier modification of the drills put forth in this video:

Notes: Drill thing separately, repeating until satisfied with quality (e.g. Thing 1 for 5 times, then Thing 2 for five times). Then mix up order of things from the same set (e.g. Thing 1, then Thing 4, then Thing 2, then Thing 1, then Thing 3, etc etc). Then mix together more than one set (e.g. 1, 7, 2, 8, 4, 3…). Then add in footwork. If you’re mixing together all N things, with footwork, it will be readily mistaken for fighting.

First Set: Gained/Not-gained

Without any action from you, you and your opponent’s blades can be in one of two relations: In parity, or they have gained yours.

Things 1 and 2: Coach steps to measure and does nothing, student gains their blade and lunges. Drill on inside and outside.
Things 3 and 4: Coach steps to measure, gaining student’s blade. Student disengages in the tempo of their gain (ending with coach’s blade gained while lunging).  Drill on inside and outside.

Second Set: Contratempo attacks

Things 5 and 6: Coach steps to measure and does nothing, student gains their blade. Coach performs a large disengage, your hand and lunge. Drill on inside and outside.

Things 7 and 8: Coach steps to measure and does nothing, student gains their blade. Coach performs a small disengage, student counter-disengages and lunge. Drill on inside and outside.

Third Set: “If your opponent pretends to give you an opening, pretend to take it.” (Feints)

Things 9, 10, 11, and 12: Coach presents an opening, student extends aggressively (everything but the footwork in a lunge).  If coach parries, student disengages.  If coach does not, student continues into the lunge with the line closed.  Drill on inside and outside.

Fourth iteration: Response to attacks without gaining your blade.

Things 13, 14, 15, and 16:

Coach attacks low (to the leg).  Student extends sword at their arm or face while voiding foot

Coach attacks inside or outside. Student lunges in contra-tempo while closing the line

Coach attacks high (their hand above student’s shoulder): Student lunges in contra-tempo while closing the line (either in prima or high quarta) and lowering the body.

Fifth iteration: Ricavazione and contra-contract cavazione

Coach gains blade. Student cavaziones.

Things 17 and 18: Coach attempts parry. Student ricavaziones and strikes. Drill on inside and outside.

Things 19 and 20: Coach contracavaziones wide. Student turns true edge towards coach’s blade while continuing strike. Drill on inside and outside.

Things 21 and 22: Coach contracavaziones narrow. Student cavaziones while continuing strike. Drill on inside and outside.

Sixth iteration: Countering beats

Coach attempts beat.

Things 23, 24, 25, and 26: Student either extends and lunges to intercept the beat on their forte, or cavaziones around the beat, as dictated by measure and size of the beat.

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