Wednesday, September 5, 2007

McCaren Park

McCaren Park practice keeps getting strong. There were eight fighters in armor last night. I spent most of my time training. It's a good variety too: two mostly polearm fighters, a greatsword fighter, a bastardsword fighter, a buckler fighter and only three regular old sword and shield fighters. And all of them were mixing up weapons a bit as well.

I was training Gil, the buckler fighter a bit. A number of issues come up with that that are worth contemplating. Is buckler a reasonable form for chivalric combat? (Hugh insists that it's not) You obviously can't do a lot of I-33 style buckler in SCA combat because you are armored. Are there *any* techniques from I-33, Liechtenaur, Silver, etc. that work in SCA combat?

Now, I won the I-33 buckler tournament at Pennsic this year, but I didn't do it using a lot of I-33 techniques. I used a classic western/bellatrix style and mostly hit people in the leg because it was a first blood tournament. My opening ward in every fight was the classic Paul stand (see Paul) with the shield presented a bit more forward, which I guess makes it an old style Jade stance. If I did the classic Ward 1 from I-33 at all it was for show and nothing more. I've lately come to think that the best ward with the buckler is Hauoc's normal stance, since his shield is about the same size as a buckler.

Anyway, I showed Gil the classic I-33 ward, the Hauc ward, the Lichtenaur ward (which also appears in I-33) and the classic open style, and what you could do from them. As boring as it actually is to watch and fight, the Hauc style is probably the most effective. I only have maybe two techniques from any of the manuals that actually work in SCA combat:

from the I-33 low guard (sword foot forward, sword on the left pointing back and down, buckler covering the hand), when someone strikes at your head pass forward with the left foot while deflecting the blade high with the sword and the buckler. End with your tip pointing toward his face. Thrust. This is actually a longsword/polearm technique found in Liechtenaur, Fiore, and Jeu de la Hache.

From the Liechtenaur high-guard (sword foot back, sword on shoulder, buckler covering hand) when your opponent strikes at your head block with the sword and buckler together, the sword making a deflecting parry, and strike out at the head.

there are others I'm sure. I may even have used them without really planning to or making note of it. But this is it. In reality, I find that buckler in the SCA is just SCA fighting witha buckler, not anything resembling real period combat anymore than our sword and shield combat does.

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