Glove and Other Unarmed Drills

The following drills are all from Walter Triplette, and also my days as a collegiate strip fencer

Advance-Lunge Drill:

Start: Fencers at measure, armed only with a glove held in their sword hand
Step 1: Fencer A takes one advance and one lunge to attempt to strike Fencer B
Step 2: Fencer B can move as much as he wants to avoid the strike
Step 3: After the conclusion of Fencer A’s attack, Fencer B has one advance and one lunge to strike Fencer A
End: Repeat ad nauseum

Notes: Warmup, new fencers, targeting specific issues (e.g. crap lunge after footwork, bad measure maintenance)

So what does this work on? Footwork.  Lunges.  Good retreats.  Measure.  Form.


Slap-hands with Gloves

Start: Fencer A has a glove in each hand, Fencer B’s hands are held in prayer position in front of his body, standing at arm’s length from eachother
Step 1: Fencer A’s goal is to slap Fencer B’s hands, Fencer B’s goal is to dodge
End: Switch when Fencer B dodges, repeat.

Notes: No feints, no twitches, either move or don’t.  The hit only counts if it’s on the hand (not forearm), and not a graze.  Also, male fencers should be careful not to swing their hands into their sensitive bits when dodging.

So what does this work on? Reaction time, noticing tells.  Ultimately, relaxing the body and holding it in readiness.


Glove-drop Drill

Start: Coach holds glove in right hand, at head level.  Student is in guard, at measure.
Step 1: Coach drops glove
Step 2: Student attempts to catch glove without sacrificing good form
End: Switch roles, repeat.

Notes: Start with the glove higher, lower it down as the student gets better.  Student should not lean forward or otherwise disrupt good form. For extra challenge, have Coach stand behind fencer and throw the glove in front of him.

So what does this work on? Reaction time, fast and clean lunges

These drills were borrowed from Don Ceallach

Slap Hands/Lunge

Start:Agente’s hands are held flat, palms up, Patiente’s hands are flat, palm down, resting lightly on top of Agente’s.

Step 1: Agente attempts to slap the top of one of Patiente’s hands.

Step 2: Patiente parries the slap offline while simultaneously lunging to poke Agente in the chest.

End: Repeat

Notes: This develops an automatic single tempo lunge-and-defend response, rather than just a “move your hands out of the way” response.  The slap can become a smaller motion, or even a tell somewhere else in the body.


Tells Drill

Start: Agente in guard, armed.  Patiente holding two fingers up  at shoulder height, away from body.

Step 1: Agente lunges, attempting to hit fingers.

Step 2: Patiente attempts to void, by identifying any tells.

End: Discuss tells and improvements of lunge form.

Note: Agente’s goal is to develop a tell-less lunge, Patiente’s goal is to learn to detect the slightest tells.


Scarf Drill

Start: At or outside measure.  Student in armor but unarmed.  Coach armed and with a scarf hanging on his chest.

The Drill: Student attempts to close range, steal the scarf, exit range, without being wounded.

Notes: This works blade control.  Initially, Coach cannot retreat or disengage his sword.  As Student’s skill improves, add in retreats, disengages, and counter-attacks.


Posted February 5, 2016 by Wistric