Thursday, October 10, 2013
For a light practice where I didn’t do much I learned an awful lot last night. In fact, I probably learned more at last night’s practice that I have at any other practice in several years.
Again, it’s been light. I’ve only logged four workouts since Nutley last week: a four mile hike, a very intense weight workout (I did my off-season arm and shoulder workout, just for fun), and yoga and pushups on Tuesday. Not a lot—way behind what I wanted to be doing.
My shoulder injury seems to have subsided. I am still doing stretches for it but I haven’t picked up the Indian clubs all week. However, my back is bothering me still. Yoga helps.
Again, I was concentrating on the A-Frame defense and building an offense out of that.
Like I said, I learned a lot last night. I fought Vasili, Kelson, Ansel, Douglas, and Jan Janovich.
One of the things I learned was against Kelson: I am letting my focus wander when I start to think “what next.” They take arms at Nutley. They’re happy to do it. Kelson had hit my arm at some point two weeks ago when we fought. I had corrected for that, and was fighting with my elbow in, but after a few exchanges (all of which he won), I was trying to come up with another attack. (waiting him out had already failed). While I was thinking about it, according to him, I squared up a bit and my elbow floated out, so he popped it. That was my mind wandering off my defense. He also said that I was able to totally cut him off, which is a good thing. It mostly came from me not wanting to back out as much. He closed hard and I stood my ground. He says that I cocked my shield up it blinded him and stopped him cold. He said it was a bunny round technique that he hadn’t expected with the heater.
I learned a couple of things against Douglas. The first is that I need to thro more off-side body shots at him. I might have thrown one. I also learned that the A-Frame, for me at least, is useless against Florentine fighters. He destroyed my right arm and hip. I already knew that he would no longer fall for that blow where I throw an out of range wrap at his left hand sword and then thrust. He’s wise to that trick. But I also learned that he doe not like a low-line attack. I did something I’ve never done against him and rarely do against Florentine fighters: I dropped into a low-line thrusting ward, essentially the plow with the left-foot forward. He backed right out and refused to come in. I backed him up. He would not close. It threw him off completely. This bears a lot of though.
It was, however, against Jan that I learned the most important lesson. He had my leg once early on, then I changed what I was doing. I was reminded that he hunts arms when people thrust at him. But the biggie was stance: I’ve had a “boxer” stance for awhile, but only as a set up to one blow, an onside head/onside leg combo from a sword foot forward boxer stance/a-frame. Learned it from Beckenham long time ago. Kelson said at one point that his stance was essentially a boxer stance. This is the way the Atlantians use the A-Frame. I decided to give that a try. When we try something new we basically look at what someone else is doing, copy that, and then change it to fit ourselves. I had mostly copied Kelson’s A-frame (not Stephan’s). It’s a very relaxed, erect stance with the shield and sword presented forward, close together and a little bit away from the body. Against Jan I pulled it back in again and, basically, took a true boxer’s stance—fists held close at face level, weight slightly forward, head down. Jan said it cut off his leg blow naturally. By pulling in my shield a bit I was able to open my view up and I found, instead of looking at Jan’s shoulders or his hips I was now focusing directly on his baskethilt. We fought several more passes like this, a couple of which I won. It improved my offense by about 30% and my defense for about 5%. Good find. My best fight of the night was my last one with Jan. I went back to a high closed form and this time it was working. I was blocking everything he was throwing at me. After a few minutes it got very fun—very intense. I had him backing up. My defense was tight. I had a lot of offense. I just pursued him doggedly around the floor, cutting it of when he tried to circle me. Our exchanges were hard and fast and all over the place. Eventually we took each others legs then I took his hip. We fought like that for a long time. He couldn’t move, so I slid a bit right and hooked his shield, and threw a wrap that killed him. I was the hardest fought bout of the night.
It is 23 days until crown. I don’t know when my next time in armor will be, because I will probably take next week off. My back needs more healing, I think.