Friday, 31 May 2013

Thought For The Day: Don't Begin In Distance

I returned from a tournament to try a "regular" sparring class at a local club. One thing that stood out was that locals skipped over the Zufechten. In the tournament, you began in your corner, and enjoyed a phase of manoeuvre, feeling out, and trying to steal an angle or distance on your opponent. Often there were false starts, feints with footwork, and other incomplete efforts to encourage the opponent to compromise himself.

At the club, they tried to start in my face, a step at most beyond cutting range. We lost that Zufechten approach phase, so that freeplay was either a succession of almost footwork-free insta-hits or else they'd begin by leaping backwards while lashing out. In the former case, there were often ugly doubles; the latter often became a Benny Hill routine of chasing the opponent down while covering hand-snipe attempts.