Tuesday, 13 September 2011

12/11/11 Training - Longsword 101

This post is mainly a place holder until I have some time...
Edit: Now being edited by a very tired Mike, being fuelled by Red Fang, courtesy of Johann.

The IDC session was split into two groups - one, mostly of regulars, had a play with the sabre material that they've been looking at lately. The other, a mix of new and old faces, were subjected to a class on my current, temporary and probably incorrect interpretation of the Zornhau. A zornhau is essentially the fancy name for what is essentially a gurt big cut. I mean, erm, 'When you are angry and raging, then no strike is as ready as this upper strike [Oberhaw] struck from the shoulder at the opponent'. Yeees.
For more information on the Zornhau I'd recommend taking a gander at the old post, Just Hurry Up and Hit Them With Your Sword.  

Ran a session introducing fighting with a longsword, the main point of which was to get across that yes, there is a system underlying all of this, we're not just wailing on each other with glorified sticks. Interesting mix of previous backgrounds and time spent in HEMA - hopefully everyone was able to get something out of it. Lesson plan (Don't judge me! This was for personal reference and saves me having to type it all out) was something like:
The doodle is terrifically important. It adds gravitas.
The warmups were covered by Johann in the end, which I'm perfectly okay with. 

although, of course, no plans survive contact with the enemy. It ended up taking up almost all of the two hours we had available. I'm okay with this, for this kind of lesson and the intended audience that it had. People did seem to improve over the session, from JP's footwork to Bruce's willingness to actually hit the other guy with his sword. 'Crazy arse Zwerchau' is a technical term, from the manuscripts.

I need to send various emails when I have time - Links to sources, links to equipment, the IDC logo to JP, etc.  This has been done. Now, for something a bit more wordy...

To break it down, I guess it ended up being something like:
A downwards, diagonal cut as the most natural aggressive motion.
Letting people get a feel for what we're up to, and also used to moving in a fight-like manner, yet being watched over. This means hitting eachother on their masks. Tangent: I'm completely in favour of absolute new people being allowed to swing at eachother in a monitored and controlled (but as natural and like-a-real-fencing-as-possible) enviroment. How else are you meant to learn if they're safe, what they need to work on, how to go about changing their behaviour in a fight etc? Ooooh, controversial. Artifacts etc.
Refine that from a mechanical point of view a bit. Already, we're playing with some of the principles behind a fight as well - vorschlag, nachreisen, tempo, initiative, other zufecthen type stuff. To be honest, I don't think that I can teach that material in a coherent way right now, it's something that I'll keep focusing drills on.

Introduced the same cut as a response against the first cut. Explained the possible outcomes, depending on who does it better from a structural point of view. Again, letting people have a play with it in the same manner.

After that though, I think that I made the mistake of trying to explain yielding to strong pressure before I did zorn-ort/just stabbing him in the face. Je ne sais pas. But options wise, that was 'Your opponent wins with his first cut', 'You win with your counter-cut' possibilities covered. 'Opponent overbearing in the bind' partially covered in terms of abnehmen, zucken and other disengages (but leaving out duplieren), and 'You end up in a structurally good position in the bind'.

Finally, I introduced the concept of displacement/absetzen, on the ground that it's pretty important. It also meant that we got to play with Ochs and Pflug. Which meant that 'Opponent ends up in a structurally good position in the bind' was covered a bit too. Hell, you could make flow-charts out of this, bro.

Which is a lot of material introduced. From there the session was mostly just trying to train and incorporate that. I've promised a session next week on similar stuff, and I intend to deliver. I think we'll need to cover the same ground again, especially since we've had a fair bit of interest from people in giving HEMA and IDC a try. Which is nice! This time I might focus on displacement a bit more, and perhaps bring in the zwerchau if it happens naturally and people are doing well with the material so far.

The feedback that I've had so far has been, well, very good. This makes me happy, and also sets a target for next week. Especially if we have even more people, which of course might begin to make space and kit an issue, although it wasn't really this week with a group of seven using half the hall.

I need to lay my hands on a camera to record some of this stuff...

As always, feedback and C&C are more than welcome.

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