Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So, who *is* buried in Grant's Tomb?

We have been planning to start up a practice at Grants Tomb in Riverside Park, Manhattan for a while now. It is across the street from the former Viceroy's apartment and close to most of our people who live in Manhattan (north of 96 street is much more affordable). Gui decided that we should do a trial run on Sunday. He went up and scouted the location, and then we advertised it and pushed it hard. The result was the best practice we've had since BAT closed, and maybe for a while before that. It was well attended, there was parking, and both Alail, who came from Jersey, and Tycho, who came from Suffolk County, said it was easy to get to.

There may be a problem with how I approach practice. Normally, I will start with a technique I have a lot of faith in and try to win the fight as though it were in a tourney. As soon as I get one technique to work I try something else, both because I don't want to pattern myself and because I want to try several things. But if you look at the great fighters--Jade, Torgul, Lucan, Paul--they tend to have one technique that they practice over and over again and, particularly Jade and Paul, they repeat it constantly in armored practice as well as at the pell. My best techniques are the hook-thrust and the downward slot out of a weak high closed form (described below). Id practicing other techniques a waste of time? Does it make it harder for me to succeed in tourneys? Maybe I should just do one or two things -but then people will always know what I am going to do. That doesn't seem to hurt Jade much--though I have seen it work to Paul's disadvantage against Radnor.(Radnor has the deepest bag of tricks in the world, and he is the fighter I always wanted to grow up to be).

My elbow feels great. My Achilles feels great. My left elbow hurts a bit, which is odd, but that is not my sword arm and it doesn't affect my fighting.

I had some troubles last week getting everything in. The week of the second I was able to get all three of my weight workouts in (Arms and Shoulders on Sunday, Chest and Back on Tuesday, and legs and abs on Saturday), plus Yoga, a three mile walk, and Nutley Practice. Last week Christmas started to get  in the way in a couple of different ways. I managed my arm workout on Sunday but did a simple aerobics and yoga workout on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday I skipped because one day I had a party to go to and the second I was recovering from said party. Plus something was making me queasy most of the week. I got in an amazing 1 hour 45 minute class on Thursday--weights, kickboxing, abs and stretching, but nothing on Friday and just a two mile walk on Saturday. This week is starting out pretty good, though.


There were nine fighters total at practice and I was in armor from 12:30 to 3:30. I fought sword and buckler and fought sets with everybody else who armored up. I used all my sword and buckler techniques. By the time I got to fighters 7 and 8 I was a step slow and making some mistakes. I also did some unarmored training (more on that in a sec).

As mentioned last time, I fight three primary wards when using sword and buckler. I use a high-open form, a la Bellatrix, a weak high closed form, a la Hauoc, and the first ward from I:33. My primary style is the weak high closed form: "high" because the shield is held high, right in front of my right cheek bone; "closed" because my sword is forward to close off the off side; "weak" because I stand with my sword foot forward. This opens up pretty much everything from my elbow down on the on-side. The idea is to invite a shot to the on-side leg which, because you are goofy footed, your opponent has to reach for. The block is a rotation block with the buckler and the sword coming over to protect against a rising snap. Most people when reaching for that leg come out from behind their shields. As soon as anything is struck, you throw a shot at the space just to the inside of your opponent's shield. This blow comes in half time--extremely fast--(Radnor said all fights are won in between beats, or on the up beat), and when done right it is almost a continuous motion. It is not block/strike. The blow is a molinee that, if it happens to end up blocking a blow, merely deflects it incidentally. The timing, though not the technique, is like the deflection block in Fiore's long sword  Usually you will either his shoulder, helm, or bar-grill as they lean into their shot.

Occasionally I have trouble with this shot. As I detailed after the Spring Crown in 2010 Artos found a problem in my delivery of this shot, my hand traveling straight down instead of punching toward the belt-line. Lately I think I have been bailing out while I throw it, afraid of a second shot (which makes no sense, as there is very little chance of one). I need to stand in and move forward as I throw it. This is what Hauoc does.

I probably lost more of my fights with Landon, Lou, and Alail than I won. The newer fighters I was mostly training instead of fighting. Because he is up in An Tir where they fight that Torgul inspired weak low closed form (which is supposed to be Viking but is really a renaissance Spanish style) he is now a sucker for a rising snap.  I managed to get Lou out of the Iron Gate. I like to knock the tip of his blocking ax away and thrust his belly. That didn't work, but as he parried my thrust I cut out and took his sword arm. We fought single sword with me using the Fiore sword in one hand technique until I took his other arm. Best moment, however, was when I killed him with a lazy over-hand thrust from the hip, shield down, as I closed--a technique I learned from Jade. Stabbed him right in the throat.

It is 37 days until Birka. I don't know when my next time in armor will be.


-Anton said...

I can absolutely see why one would want to grow up to be Duke Radnor. I met His Grace at Great Western War this year and was fortunate enough to spend a goodly length of time talking to him. Phenomenal person!

Max VH said...

"I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times."

Bruce Lee

Anonymous said...

Always a good question.
To some degree it does help you win if you have somehtnig you can do effectivaly and at will. You become practiced in creating the oppertunity to use your best attack. How ever I alway assume I will run into someone who will be able to cloase off/counter such a winning move. What then, do have some other techniques you can now use?

I always work with my students to constantly work on their basics. Do not get too compex but have enough that you can change and addapt.

Are you training to win fights or to become the best swordsman you can be?