Priest Drill

Priest Drill

This is another one stolen from Walter Triplette. It can serve a couple of goals – training good lunge form (and the resulting ability to hit your target, also called “point control”); quick, tight disengages; fast and clean lunge-recovery; and passing attacks. It’s a fairly quick one to pick up, so both partners can coach the other through it.

It’s called the Priest Drill (my name, not Walter’s) because the Coach’s hand makes the motion of the cross that accompanies a priest’s blessing (up, down, right, left).

As with all drills: Start slow. Give big openings. The goal is 80% success. If the success rate drops, go bigger and slower. If it gets higher, go smaller and faster.

Works on: Lunges, hitting your target, disengages, recovery after lunge, passing attacks, measure judgment

Notes: Work each step before advancing to the next. Complex hilts make this more difficult. If your disengages are getting caught in the quillons, you’re too close.
After you have this down solidly, add footwork before Step 1 to train maintaining measure and a good guard while performing footwork.


Basic Form:
Start: Stand where the Student can hit the Coach’s hand with a lunge. Start in guard each time.
Step 1: Coach raises his hand to present an opening on the underside of his forearm.  Student lunges and strikes, remaining extended.
Step 2: Coach brings his sword down to cut through Student’s sword.  Student disengages and strikes the top of Coach’s hand. Coach should break up the rhythm on his parries so as to prevent the Student from anticipating.
Step 3: Coach parries Student’s sword to the inside, Student disengages and strikes the back of Coach’s hand (again, avoid falling into a rhythm). (Note: This parry can also be performed the other way, but the inside of the forearm is a deeper target than the hand, making it difficult to land that touch)
Step 4: Coach extends on outside and lunges at Student’s sword shoulder.  Student recovers from his lunge while parrying, then counter lunges to strike Coach in the arm (below elbow if possible).
End: Reset, repeat.


Train lunge-recover: Instead of disengaging, student recovers and immediately re-lunges.
Train disengages in tempo: Coach performs parry in the tempo of the lunge. Student disengages parry to strike the next target in sequence.
Train redoubles and passes: After Step 4: Coach recovers and parries Student’s counter-lunge.  Student disengages and redoubles or passes forward. Drill can end here, or: Coach retreats, raises his sword presenting the underside target.  Student redoubles and strikes underside of the hand, and now you’re back to Step 1.

Posted February 5, 2016 by Wistric