August 22 Practice & What I learned from my bruises

Practice yesterday went wonderfully.  We held it at Fraser River Heritage Park again and we had some nice sunny weather.

After last week I had been thinking about and practicing footwork all week.  Godfrey had mentioned that I was lunging and planting, which was allowing him to step just out of measure then come back in to hit me.  Yesterday’s practice had a lot more movement.

Luther complemented me on my growing sense of measure.  I was able to hit targets that I used to fall just short of, or just off of.  I managed a number of thrusts over my opponent’s dagger, and was able to keep my dagger moving to defend myself.  I’m still throwing the occasional sloppy shot, but they’re slowly becoming rarer.

I also got some fighting in with Oak which is always fun.  He has a very different style than most fighters, so it lets me see what I do that is only effective against Tir Righ standard, and what I do that is good technique.

Because we were in the park we had a number of people come by and watch us, but we had two people come up to use and ask us about what we were doing.  We showed them some fencing, and Oak got out his heavy gear to show them that.  They seemed interested.  I”m hoping they come by next week.

I have three bruises from practice, one on the inside of my elbow and two on my chest.  At first I figured it was just normal bruising, and then I set up into my guard.  They form a line through the outside right of my guard and in.  Looks like I have a hole in my guard just to the right.  I’ll have to adjust my guard slightly out to cover that.  It’s interesting to see what I can learn from bruises.

Swetnam Ch. 12 first the true gard of rapier and dagger for the defence either of blow or thrust

This is part of an ongoing project to summarize and provide SCA focused commentary on The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence by Joseph Swetnam, published in 1617.

For links to the other sections of the Swetnam Project please go here.

I am using this facsimile: for the project.

This first subsection of chapter twelve introduces us to the basic guard for the Rapier and Dagger

The true guard for the defence, either of blowe, or thrust, with Rapier and Dagger, or Sword and Dagger.

Keep your rapier hand inline with the pocket of your hose, without bending the elbow, while your dagger hand should be inline with your left cheek, with your arm outstretched (not bowing the elbow), and with your rapier and dagger points within two or three inches of each other.  Make sure that you can see your opponent clearly, and that your left arm is high enough not to obscure your view – you should be able to see your opponent with both eyes.  Keep your opponent centered between your rapier and dagger.

An artists (poor) rendering of how you should stand

Have your head angled slightly toward the right shoulder, and have your shoulders square to your opponent, slightly tilted forward.  Keep your thumb on the nail of your fore finger, rather than upon the blade of your weapon (which was the current fashion) so that you have a more secure grip upon your sword.  The heel of your right foot should be in line with where your toes meet your foot.

Use the picture as an example, but if there is a discrepancy follow the words, not the picture.

Continue reading “Swetnam Ch. 12 first the true gard of rapier and dagger for the defence either of blow or thrust”

Swetnam Chapter 11

This is part of an ongoing project to summarize and provide SCA focused commentary on The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence by Joseph Swetnam, published in 1617.

For links to the other sections of the Swetnam Project please go here.

I am using this facsimile: for the project.


This chapter is set out as a discussion between a master and student and covers the weapons which will be taught in the rest of the manual and what to what to do with your life once you’ve mastered the weapons.

For this chapter I will use the same setup as Swetnam does, going between Master and Scholar.

Chap. XI. Questions and Answers.

I like what you’ve said so far, now I would like to learn some skill.

What weapon do you want to use?

Whatever you think is best

Continue reading “Swetnam Chapter 11”

January 14, 2010

Note to self, taking three weeks off is a little too long.  I had a rather punishing practice on the 14th.  I did my 50 lunges, and then worked on my dagger parries, we were practicing moving sword and dagger as one.  Then I started practicing with Don Godfrey.  It was rather punishing, but I learned some more about defeating beats.  I’m currently working on my footwork in conjunction with bringing my tip back online.

My new dagger is great, I”m loving it, but I need to add some leather to it before Winter’s Tourney, otherwise the grip loosens too easily.

Winter’s tourney is tomorrow, so I expect for all of this to be put to the test.  I’m hoping for a round robin so I can get a lot of practice in against various opponents.

The big one is Investiture, which is in four weeks, but I only have four oportunities to practice before then.  Here’s hoping.

Tomorrow is going to be my first time fighting in a tourney in almost two years, and my first time fighting in a championship in over two years.

Practice Plan Jan 14, 2010

Back to fencing tonight after the winter break.  I’ve got two tournaments coming up, so I’m trying to get back on the horse in time.  First up is going to be Winter’s Tourney on the 23rd, which should be a lot of fun.  It will be my first full tournament in quite a while.  The next one will be Tir Righ Investiture a month later, which will be my first time fighting in a principality level tournament.  I suppose I need to renew my membership before then :).

Tonight’s plan is to start putting together everything that I’ve been working on, fighting close, counter-punching correctly, closing out lines of attack without needing to contact their sword, and dagger parries.

So the plan for the evening:

  1. 50 lunges against the pillar with dagger in off hand
  2. Work on dagger parries, hopefuly with Lucien (Lee)
  3. One on one fencing with rapier and dagger, getting geared up for tourney fighting

Luckily I have a new dagger grip.  It’s a bit short, so I’ll have to pick up something to use as a spacer tonight.

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.

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