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Tomas de Courcy

A Baker's Peel Vert

December 17 2009

Fencing last night was great.  I had the opportunity to fight vs longsword.  Very interesting.  I had a speed advantage, but that was balanced by his strength.  When I was using dagger we were very much equals, but when I was fighting open hand I was definatly strugling.  My guard seemed to be perfect at stopping his cuts, and my shorter blade meant that I had to fight close enough that he was on the defensive a lot.  What surprised me the most were the similarities.  Gaining the sword was still the best way to work.  There was a little more need for double parrying, but it translated perfectly into thrusts.  I found that when gaining the sword there was very little difference between that and a rapier, though my opponent was more likely to withdraw before an attack, but that gave me a tempo to attack in, so it was actually advantagious.  Double parrying with the dagger and rapier together was helpful for getting me to actually move both at the same time.  Because of the strength of the longsword any parries done with just my dagger had to be well away from my body, or else it would go through anyway.  To counter that I was using my sword to parry at the same time.  It was much more effective, and as I mentioned previously allowed me to then step in with a thrust and compas step.  I also go to work on closing out a line even if my opponent has his sword pulled back so I can’t completely take the sword.

At the beginning of practice I did my fifty lunges with a dagger, and tweaked that a bit.  Then Lee (from Blood and Iron Martial Arts) did thrusts against me as I parried and attacked.  He gave me some good tips regarding the tempo of my attacks and his.  He also helped me with moving sword and dagger at the same time, and the next move from the initial attack, often a compass step out.

After that was the Longsword fighting, and then some pickups against one of the newer students who was learning about using a shorter blade.

All in all a great practice, and I managed to do my plan.

Next practice January 7th 2010.

To bring us up to speed

Things I have been working on up to now.

Don Godfrey has been helping me work with the shorter blade that I use rather than trying to imitate those with longer blades.  Makes sense.  Instead of trying to mimic the strengths of the stronger blade focus on your own strengths and find your opponents weaknesses.

One new thing on this is that I’m now only using sword and dagger.  The reason behind this is that with the shorter blade I have two choices:  I can stand further out beyond my opponent’s reach (and much beyond my own) and counter punch what they throw, which may be sometimes effective, but I can’t parry everything all of the time; and the second is to close to where I am within a comfortable distance and my opponent is having troubles because I”m too close for them.  What this means is that I”m at a range where I can use a sword, but my opponent will be using his dagger.  In order to combat that I will need to use a dagger myself.  That way I will equalize their advantage, and surpass it.  I will have two blades which I can easily wield at that range, and my opponent will only have one.