Monday, April 25, 2016

Yet More Practice Report

The Lochleven Spring Practice was this weekend, which meant Sunday had a lot of time being outside, watching melee practices, and getting in some good singles practice for me.

I approached it more as a functional practice than a purely manual practice, and it worked out pretty well. I felt a little off during the day, but that's probably just because I wasn't super focused for a number of reasons.

I noticed that being able to flow smoothly between a more upright Italian stance and down into a Fabris guard was working pretty well for me. While I'm still not as explosive as I'd like (especially from a lower stance), being able to shift between them really opened up my options (as well as being super period, so go me!) and when I was using a dagger, it let me deny my sword to people who were either being very proactive with a dagger or other offhand in terms of molesting my blade, or just letting me close off differently. In particular, I think it was helpful against the good Doctor Deth, who has a particularly vicious gliding beat with virtually no telegraph.

Working case into my Italian game went fairly well. While it'll never be a major form for me, it was working well as a counter-pick to Deth's case. I've been using an off-hand cane for a while there, which let me close off enough area that it let me work more safely, but being able to actually threaten more with my off-hand changed things up much more.

(It also led to some interesting thoughts about how various case fighters use case, and how I'd much rather just use dagger out of stubborn principle. Sometimes - I think the majority of the time, really - I can, and it works out well. Deth though, hits enough problem areas for me that counter-picking a weapon form gives me much more leeway.)

I need to work more on keeping the tip of my sword free. More disengage/yielding drills, including working on disengaging over the dagger. I need to be much, much more responsive there. I should also fight more single rapier, just to really dial in on these things as well as forcing much more opposition practice. These should also help against beats - either disengaging them or yielding and collecting them.

Explosive footwork and aggressive responses are things that have been problems for me for too long, and I need to dial those in. (Also, once again, making passing steps more instinctive.) There's going to be some focus on that with drilling for the coming Mondays, which will be super good. Likewise working those offline steps and more body voids (and general body English in general - Edward and Malocchio both are good examples of that for me) which is also a reminder for me to stretch more. Some of that I can work on in my own backyard, which is convenient.

Finally, gonna have to pull out the sidesword and start in on basic cutting patterns. I'm happy to use my rapier in C&T, but broadening my game into a solid Bolognese footing (and eventually Italian longsword, which reminds me, go get one) will be fantastic fun.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Quick Practice Report

I'm doing this mostly to keep myself thinking and accountable. So!

The big things I took away from last night were:
  • Keep drilling opposition. Work up to opposed drilling regularly. Make sure I'm doing everything right. Details matter.
  • Keep practicing open and closed dagger guards. Test them.
    • Work both of the above together. Opposition while using a good closed guard. All at once.
  • Mobility. Work on it. Both pure foot-based movement as well as just getting my body to be willing to move itself around. Body English.
  • Lunging in good order. Also, diverting into passing on the lunge.
  • Merging everything together. Cavazione while stepping in, leaning, forming a closed dagger guard. All at once, and all.
Which is basically just "practice fencing," I know, but still. Breaking it down like that is super helpful for me. Plus, I can at least do some of that solo.

Two sets of bouts really stood out to me, though!

Working with Malocchio brought a very different fight from our usual out; we were both working on very specific concepts from Devon's workshop, and it led to some really interesting exchanges. I wasn't contesting opposition to the degree that I usually do, instead moving to cavazione instead. He was committing a lot more and using a very different posture with the cane. It was all around really great.

I found myself unable to land any solid attacks on Kenric in opposition to my outside. Given that he's a lefty, and that my outside is his inside, this makes some sense to me. Still, the mechanics of my movement in from finding felt off, so I want to work on that next Monday. (Or possibly this Saturday, but probably Monday.)

Nothing huge, but worth putting down to keep me honest!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mair's Sickle, Plate Four

Time to dust this off, keep on going, and just add to the backlog of things to work through with Doroga and post followup entries on!

Since it's been a while, I'll mention that I'm using the translation here. Wiktenauer has a picture from a different manuscript of the plate here.
The action once again begins with the fighter on the left initiating. Fighter A is standing straight up, legs together, right hand holding the sickle above your head, and your left hand on your left hip. Fighter B awaits in a lower stance, with the right leg leading, the sickle on the inside of the right leg, and the left hand on the left hip.

First Variation
  • Fighter A steps forward with their right foot, striking downward onto B's head. Done!
Second Variation
  • Fighter A steps forward with their right foot, striking downward towards B's head.
  • Fighter B parries upward and outward to the right. B then steps in with their left foot and strikes A's right leg.
Third Variation
  • Fighter A steps forward with their right foot, striking downward towards B's head.
  • Fighter B parries upward and outward to the right. B then steps in with their left foot and strikes at A's right leg.
  • A grabs B's right elbow from the outside with their left hand and pulls it towards them, interrupting the strike. A then strikes B in the right shoulder.
That's it! Hopefully between Courts at Coronation on Saturday, Doroga and I will have a little time to work through the third and fourth plates, as well as touch up the first two as well. Thoughts will be posted about that, and once they settle, we can move on to the fifth plate, where it seems like the initial setup is a bit more complicated!