Monday, 24 January 2011

24/01 Training

Well... that was interesting.

First session that I led class. On the spur of the moment, which wasn't ideal. Turn out was seven, including instructors and also one new person who showed up for the first time. Johann took him to one side to run him through introductory stuff, which I didn't really have much to do with.

Warm ups - 'wrist grabbing' game. Not that intense for me, but I think that some of the others got a bit more of an intense warm up seperately.

Then on to cutting practise, simply because people were holding longswords at the time. 10 fendente/zornhaus each, round the circle, to posta longa/langort, and then another set down to boar's tooth/pflug. Then back up with the false edge, rabat style.

Which led to the drill I did on the spurr of the moment. It began with a simple rabat set up, because that's what I could remember. Person A comes in from out of distance, goes for a fendente. Person B beats it upwards with the false edge from a low guard, clearing the centre line, and enters with a cut. I've done it with IDC, and also with Matt Easton's Schola Gladiatoria back in times long gone. Tried to emphasise that Person A's cut had to be realistic and with intent, and that B had to make use of the space that they had made.

At some point, one of the guys asked me if we could do some blade on blade stuff. Winding or whatever. So on the spur of the moment I modified the previous drill to have Person A, when their sword has been beaten away, pull it back and under/round Person B's blade, and come in with a thrust, protecting themself by going into Posta di Fenestra/Ochs. I forget the technical names for it, zucken or whatever. Kind of like the finishing section of this play.

TBH, people weren't getting it all that well. We haven't done anything like it really, and I probably wasn't explaining it too well. As area to think about and work on.

Final part, because lots of the time people couldn't clear their tip around the opponent's sword, I introduced coming in under a hanging guard (ochs/posta di fenestra again) to enter into grappling. Again, a bit rushed and poorly thought through, but hey.

After that, got people 'structured sparring', essentially starting quite close and being reset whenever they got too far apart, or used silly German meisterhau to win the drill.

Things people wanted to see more of: Wrestling at the sword. Winding.
Things I want to see more of: Planning, structure, clear explanations. Sure, I can do that move fine, but everyone else should have been able to do the zucken technique at least in the drill.

After that, sparring. Off the top of my head, sparred Johann, trying to offer him a choice of 'Either we can do this from the bind, or play a tempo and distance game in which I smack you on the hands.' I seemed to be re-assuringly all right at the tempo and distance game, but I hope that Johann's thumbs are ok, and am interested to find out his thoughts on it. Was a continuation from looking at the videos last week - none taken this week. Damn it.

Finally, sparred Ben. Good fun as always, and I tried to concentrate on using the basic German fundamentals well (offsetting, guards, meisterhau). Of course, he keeps getting better. Damn him! Never quite heard if he made his mind up about buying shinies though. Felt bloody unfit after though...

No guy whose hand I hit hard last week. Damn it.

Eugh. Feeling pretty shattered and an early start tonight, so hopefully I'll get a chance to come back and mull things a bit.

Conclusion: Hopefully worth the £5 for the regulars, and we did something a bit new. Need to build on it though.

Comments and Criticisms please!


  1. Firstly, the explanation wasn't that bad, I was just trying to get you to expand on it as hey you are new at this and expansion helps everyone.
    Secondly, Sparring was good, definitely as always and although you punish my hands, that's a good thing as I need to learn to stop you after all! Also no worries, it wasn't too hard..almost but it was fine :p

    Oh you heard but forgot, I am actually waiting for my payment to go through after getting the price down a little and awaiting receipt of a shiny new piece of awesome.

    Also Sparring Johann with the one handed sword was definitely a good move, I have missed it and I think it actually went pretty well with some good passes by each of us, always a plus.

    I agree with you on wishing we had recorded some more though, would have been good to see the sparring vs yourself and Johann back again, definitely.

  2. I'm glad that the explanation wasn't bad. It'd definitely be possible to run a whole class on the 'pulling out of the bind' thing that I touched upon on Monday, as well as teaching people other types of bind-work; - displacing, duplieren/mutieren and all that stuff. I should think about it, and ask Johann whether he wants me to concentrate on teaching new people if/when they show up, or the main group of longsword fans, or what.

    [Tangential Rant Time]
    TBH, I think that the Lichtenauer system gives a better framework for working in the bind. A lot of the Italian explanations that I see have basically boiled down to 'doing what Lichty tells you to do because it's effective, dropping the bits that don't leave you covered, and then justifying it based on the ambiguities of the text.' At least one Fiorean group basically interprets Posta Breve as Pflug, with the Lichtenauer 'U' of hanging guards and everything, based on things like how Posta di Finestra is described as 'often go[ing] from a guard to the other to deceive the opponent'.
    My problem is that I don't think that that is a justified extrapolation from Fiore because of the way that the right wrist is drawn, and the lack of 'thumbing the blade'. Why not just teach the students Pflug, since it's more stable and generally just better, the Lichtenauer 'U' etc. and let them draw their own comparisons between the two systems?
    [/Tangential Rant Time]

    But generally, I cut too hard when sparring when I get fed up with myself for not being able to perform a technique as well as I think that I should be able to. It's a control problem, and one that I need to work on. Beating on people in sparring is not cool. You know what could be cool? Test cutting as a supplement to sparring. Someone buy me some sharp longswords please? ;P

    Congrats on the purchases though! I wonder how The Knight's Shop is getting on with sabre/broadsword/messer nylons...

    As I mentioned in IM, I'll have to look into borrowing a video camera and tripod from the University...

  3. No worries with regards to beating on people have been experienced by me thus far so don't sweat it. However I do agree with you that should it happen it would be decidedly uncool. After all rule #1 is don't break your toys.
    As for your rant :D you know I have time for and appreciate some of the German stuff but that said I do like the Fiorean style, that's just me..that said I don't necessarily agree with a lot of the interpretations I see out there of most systems. At least not until I can prove them over and establish a soundly reasoned background provenance thereof, which as we know is the main pitfall of what we do.