Had a great first practice back. I am not currently allowed to fight more than about 15 minutes of slow work at a time, but as I was using my new sword that was probably a good thing.
First: I had forgotten how heavy a double wide was. On the other hand it’s much harder for my opponent to push me out of the way. It’s also significantly longer.
Heavier: I think my sword blade is over twice as heavy as my previous one. This means a few things. On the plus side it evens things up a bit on the controlling the blade side. It’s harder for my opponent to push me off line unless I let them, while easier for me to control my opponents blade. On the down side my right wrist, arm and shoulder are sore. I need to work on arm strength again. Ahh well, that can be done while I’m gaining tip control. With a blade this heavy my arm gets tired quickly and with that goes tip control.
Longer: From 36″ to 42″ is a huge difference. This is both good and bad. The bad is that I”m not used to the length and hit Sebastian a little too hard several times during slow work. The good news is that I can make my attacks from 6″ further away, I can parry earlier, I enter range at the same time as my opponent instead of a step later, I have a blade more suited to the type of period sword play I want to do, and I’m sure I’ll find many more. Don Pierce used to say “an inch is a mile” so what is six?
Balance: very similar to my previous blade. The balance point has moved about an inch further forward on the blade. That combined with the new length means that the balance point is essentially the same based on total length of the sword. This is helping because my sword is quite similar in handling to before.
I haven’t been able to pick up a sword in over two months. I haven’t even been in stance for about that long. So some issues my stance has had because of this: my back foot wants to be in perfect line with my front. When I move it my body wants to square up. My dagger position needs to change, I no longer need it to protect my body, my sword is now more than long enough to cover nearly all of me, so my dagger no longer needs to have such a prominent position – allowing me to turn my shoulders a bit more. My lunge sucks. Part of the back issue I had affected my leg muscles (long story) this means that my right thigh was in agony the day after practice. I’ll need to do many lunges to get them clean again. They were slow and wobbly. I think I need a lot more individual solo practice – lunges and thrusts – before I’ll be even close to ready for full speed.
I got to play with what some period wards looked like with my new blade. They seem a lot more natural and protective now. Sebastian dislikes most of the period wards as they don’t protect the center line enough. I keep thinking that the only reason they don’t protect me as much as I want is that I don’t know the wards well enough. But I’m going to leave that to the experts. I’ll be focusing on a central guard – Tir Righ Standard – until I’m more comfortable with my sword, or until I get to that part in Swetnam.
I had a blast at practice even though I only got to actually work for about 45 minutes total due to mandatory breaks. On the plus side my back was not strained at all by practice. Now my arms and legs on the other hand….
It’s going to take me a while to get back into fencing shape. I’ve lost some weight (down to 217), but I’ve also lost some muscle. I’ll have to gain that back in slow work. On the plus side I don’t expect to be okayed for full speed work until August, so I have a while to work.
This also gives me time to focus on the Swetnam work I’ve been doing.