- I’m pretty sure I wrote something about footwork drills. Here are a few suggestions relevant to the topic of the rest of this class, but use whatever warm ups and stretches work for you:
- While jogging, swing your arms in circles with straight arms (i.e. shoulder warm up) in time with running - so arms point down as you land with the left foot etc. Coordinating arms and legs is a useful skill, whether in wrestling or swordplay.
- Similarly, skipping while jumping as high as possible and reaching up with the rising hand. You should feel like you’re really exerting yourself with this. You should also feel ridiculous.
- Include some side-to-sides, possibly in wrestling stance (i.e. low), and stepping outside/inside with hips turning. I hope you understand what I mean. I’m going to cover some material where changing the line is important.
- Hip opening/closing. The “Stoeppler Tai Chi” drill. It’s all about the knee-hip opening and closing, and the chest one, and keeping legs bent enough to notice.
- Warming up with cuts. I like it, you like it, we heard a rumour Axel likes it. Also that he warms up by chopping down a telegraph pole with his leather dussack, and doing handstand pressups on the tips of two sharp arming swords, but we’re going to start light and work our way up. Next week - cutting down garden canes with Del Tins and doing elevated leg jumping pushups on basketballs. Wait, those sound like good drills and this was meant to be a joke...
Idea for useful variations:
- air cutting while walking along (e.g. zornhau from right to langort/sprechfenster, recover up to vom Tag on the left, zornhau from left...) with *drumroll* a panel of critics. Get a pal or two to watch, then give feedback. Then have one of them do it. With a few groups, you will have room and time to do it with a decent number of reps before you walk into something, and time to get feedback. Try to work out a way to switch partners/groups regularly. Focus on getting movements smooth, cutting effectively, and keeping posture and balance.
- Alternately zorning and covering with an upper hanger. Almost like doing singlestick :P
From here, move into...
TechniquesWell, the plan is to build up a sequence/play based around the bind resulting from meeting a Zornhau with a Zwerchau, to Introduce the techniques, Isolate them to allow some proficiency within a set play, and Integrate them a little in the context of a “sensible” flow of techniques. Ideally, it’s one we can recognize in Lichtenauer, although even as a study of what this bind could result in, it’s very incomplete as a set of techniques. For reasons of comprehension, we’ll assume the Patient is a man and the Agent a woman. Make sure both partners swap and let the other person practice each technique/role. Switch partners from time to time too, even if it means starting at the beginning.
There’s quite a bit of material, so I hope I’m not being too ambitious for one session.
- So, we start with precept one of the Lichtenauer system - killing people. Patient waits in vom Tag. The Agent will approach from zufechten distance, close and kill him with a Zornhau as soon she’s in distance to connect, without breaking up her footwork too unduly. I don’t really care if you shuffle in with small gathered steps then leap into the Vorschlag, or do the KdF Approved Technique of lots of natural, small passing steps that just stroll past someone as you give them a new centre parting.
- Precept two - acting Indes. As the Agent strikes her Zornhau, the Patient now strikes a Zwerchau to counter it. The idea is for the Patient to be able to pull the technique off against a real threat. The Agent shouldn’t help him too much - if her Zornhau is weak or out of distance or off target, the Patient ain’t gonna learn much. Make every technique alive, and try to complete it. It’s your opponent’s job to stop you, WITHOUT preempting you and “cheating” the drill.
- Now add another element - winding. If the Patient’s Zwerchau doesn’t hit his opponent, he can wind against her blade and secure a thrust. For this, the Agent may have to deliberately go weak on the bind to help.
- Next step - Abnehmen. The Agent will strongly resist the wind, and the Patient will use the energy he is given to Zwerch around her blade and hit her on the other side of her head to the one he was previously targetting.
- Next variation - Mutieren v play 3. As the Patient tries to wind up, the Agent will fall over his blade to thrust at his lower opening. The Fuhlen in 4-6 is pretty important here, and so we’re going to show a reasonable spread of options by allowing
- A last technique - Nachreisen v the Abnehmen in 4. As the Patient comes off the bind to strike to the other side, the Agent will either thrust to the face or Zwerch to the (default: Agent’s Right/Patient’s Left) upper opening, which covers the Agent as well as hurting the Patient.
This means we now have a situation where depending on the pressures of the bind, trying to run through the drill will result in:
- The Patient being hit with a Zornhau
- The Agent being hit with a Zwerch
- The Agent being hit with a winding thrust
- The Patient being hit with a mutiered thrust
- The Agent being hit by a Zwerch to the other side
- The Patient being hit by a Zwerch under the one he was trying to connect with.
Hopefully, the timing involved will become obvious if each move is done with intent. Try to dissuade use of a hangen-and-schnappen or durchlaufen as a “solution” to the bind. It sort of works, but it’s too easy a distraction.
I’d be happy if a group could get the complete play set working in 40 minutes. That’s probably optimistic. Make sure you switch partners regularly to help offset boredom. That gives you an hourish of material before allowing freeplay.
Final Point: Not really a lesson plan, but I’ve noticed that other MA classes I do use a quick few minutes of stretching out afterwards, with it’s attendant not doing much and sitting in a circle, as a chance to get messages out. Also, shaking hands with EVERYONE in class afterwards.