June 27 Practice

Had good practices the last few weeks.  On the 20th Godfrey came out and put me through my paces.  It was good to fight someone of his caliber again.  It reminded me that I’ll need to get out to other practices as I progress.  My accuracy is still lacking a bit, but it’s coming.  The biggest issue is that I’m a bit too predictable.  So Godfrey has me working on various multi-step attacks.  Planning out two to three attacks ahead.

This week we had two newer fighters.  One who had been out a few times, and one brand new fencer.  I love having new fencers out.  It gives me the opportunity to re-examine what the fundamentals are and to think about them in a different way as I try to help a new fighter understand the basics.  It made me think a lot more about proper hand positioning, and how the spine lines up for proper combat.  It was interesting to compare our combat stance with almost a dancers back posture to the postures I see and read about in historic manuals.  Though the back position we use is closer to that which I find in Swetnam rather than in the Italianate manuals.

I’m hoping that we continue to grow.  I’d love to get back to Lionsdale having a strong rapier contingent.  We’ll be at the Canada Day Family Festival in Abbotsford this week.  Hoping to attract some new fencers.

Sep 8&9 practice

Had a great two practices this week.  I’m sore and a bit bruised, but none the worse for wear.

The first practice was Lionsdale’s Wednesday practice.  It went really well.  It was our first day indoors, the hard packed dirt is amazing on the knees.  It lets you practice a bit harder without the knee pain that I get occasionally from lunging too much on concrete.  We started out with a bear-pit to warm up, as we’re all getting ready for the fall tournament season and shaking off the dust from war fighting.  I haven’t fought in a tourney since Sir Eddies, and I”m planning on fighting this weekend, so I needed the practice.

With the bear-pit I started working on the semi-refuse guard that we were taught a few weeks ago.  It seems to work well for defence and fits in perfectly with my current style.  It’s very aggressive while allowing me to defend quickly.  I was still having some issues with controlling my opponents blade, but not too much.

After warming up with just the three of us (Sebastian, Alejandro, and myself) a fourth person got there, Cion.  He’s working on getting authorized, so we decided to test him out on the basics.  We had him teach us how to stand, how to lunge, cut, and Parry.  He taught us how to use a dagger, a shield, and a baton.  We didn’t work on cloak, as we didn’t have one with us that day.  He’s doing pretty good.  Then we quizzed him about the rules for different things like engagement, holds, melee, and weapon requirements.  He’s got most of those down too.  That just left combat.  So we started a four man bear-pit to test him out.  He seems safe, though we haven’t tried unsafe activities against him yet, which is a major portion of the auth test, dealing with others mistakes.

Continue reading “Sep 8&9 practice”

July 8

Had a fun practice time on Thursday.  Lions Gate practice has been moved to two hours, so it now runs from 8-10pm.  I still have to head home at about 9 in order to be home and functional the next day, this created a problem in that I would only get an hour of practice.  So I went over to Blood and Iron on Front Street in New West (not that far from Saperton Hall where Lions Gate Practice is).  I hung out with Lee, the head instructor there and talked rapier and research, then did some warm-up and drills.  I did cutting drills for about an hour, and worked on accuracy and control.

After that I went over to Lions Gate practice and did sparing for about 45 minutes total, against Godfrey and a gentleman I hadn’t fought before.  I had a blast, working on integrating cutting, and trying different things.

When I started this fencing journal I had a few goals:

  • To learn to use the advantages of a shorter blade against the disadvantages of a longer blade
  • To learn better use of the dagger in both defence and offence
  • To increase my aggression

Since then I’ve added a few goals:

  • Knowing my thrusting range better
  • Controlling my cuts better

Continue reading “July 8”

June 23

Had a great practice tonight.  We started out with work on interception parries, something that I need to work a lot on.  We did them for about an hour or so, and then I worked with Sebastian on slow work.  Some great work on it, I haven’t worked with him in a while.  I noticed a significant difference.  I was feeling more confident, and was able to analyze appropriately.  We did slow work for about a half hour then went to some full speed.  The good news is that my aggression is pretty close to where it was before I stopped fencing.  The bad news is that though my thrusts are better, I need to become more accurate and controlled at my cuts.

After the full speed I took a break, and then worked with Cion, a new fencer.  Started him on working with sword and dagger, and getting him to remember he has two weapons.

In other news my wife is nearly done my new fighting doublet.  Also, my dress doublet is back from adaptations and fits much better.  I won’t be bringing my black doublet with me to AT War this weekend.  It will now officially be retired from events, and will become my practice doublet.

April 29

I had a very fun practice the other day.  We did some high energy warmups, the glove game, which was very good for situational awareness, hand speed, and foot movement.  Then we did a bearpit to let the new fighters see how we fight in tournament.  To give them all a chance to play with new toys we did london  masters style.  I didn’t learn a lot of new things, but I did get to try out full speed aggression on Guilliame while we were both using single sword.  It was deadly efective.

The only other thing was that I’ve come to realize something that Godfrey tried to explain to me months ago when he started teaching me brawling.  When you get hit, you get hit hard.  When you’re fighting in close your opponent doesn’t have time to cushion blows.  You do, but only because you know what shots your throwing.  When you’re playing 6-12 inches closer than your opponent is used to they aren’t going to remember that they have less time and distance to cushion shots.

I got to fight some more at the demo on sunday as well.  I learned two things.  First, brawling is very hard without an eric to fence in your opponent, they just keep running back and never let you close.  I’ll have to remember this for when I’m war fighting.  Brawling won’t work then.  I’ll have to focus on defense and work in a partner situation.

Second was that I don’t know my lunging range anymore.  I was continuously a 1/2″-1″ away from my opponent when lunging.  This is likely as a result of my focus on close thrusts for the last few months.  I need to start practicing lunges as well as thrusts if I’m to be effective on the tourney field.

Practice and Eddies

Had a great time at practice.  We did some running and high energy exercises.  There were a number of new fighters there.  I got to do some slow work with Giuame, and that was very good for helping me settle some actions, like fighting close.  Then I got to work with Godfrey and we worked on brawling and fighting close.  I had some trouble closing, but once I had I was able to be effective.

Two days later was Sir Eddies.  The fighting was good, and I fought about the level I expected.  About half way through the tournament I was pretty exhausted and allowed two very quick losses that should have been more difficult.  I managed to hold of most opponents for a while, and got in a few good shots.  My greatest weakness seems to have been when I let up the pressure.  I’ll have to work on keeping my aggression high.  I had only one fight that I did not like the outcome of.  I won’t go into a name here, but it was a fighter I had not met before.  Throughout the fight he threw multiple shots without being aware of his aim or the power behind it.  I have a sore hand from one particular shot which got him a talking to from Oberst Luther.  I also had to call a hit on him.  During an exchange I managed a beautiful cut across his hand while I had his sword out to the side.  He managed to move his sword enough to cut my dagger hand on our way apart however.  I put my dagger aside and turned back to begin the fight again to notice that he had not put aside his weapon and was in his guard.  I pulled back my sword to show that I wanted to talk and asked him if he had felt anything on his hand.  His reply “I thought I felt something, but I didn’t think it was there long enough”.  I replied that I saw it as a valid cut, and asked the marshal.  The marshal thought it was a valid cut, but asked Oberst Luther, who was watching the fight, his opinion.  Luther agreed that it was a very good cut and the fighter switched weapons.  The fight continued and I let a shot through my guard and he cut my arm.  I accepted the blow, and though I didn’t like the fight accepted the result.  After reporting I asked Luther about the fight and he told me that the final cut that ended the fight had no pull at all.  The other fighter had not called back his bad blow.  I was disappointed, but as I had accepted the result I told Luther that I would leave it with the whitescarves to work out.

The end result of the tournament was a top four with Don Godfrey, Warrick, Giuame, and Callen.  Godfrey and Warrick were out in the semi-finals, and Giuame won over Callen in a wonderful, skillful, and honorable finals, watched by Prince Ieuan.

With the one exception it was a wonderful tournament.

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.

Continue reading “To bring us up to speed”