Monday, January 23, 2017

Iron Bog and other stuff

It's good to be back in armor. Yesterday was only the second time I've fought since Crown. But it's not like I have been idle. Two weeks ago, in honor of Kido, I began doing the century drill. I haven't done it in years. It's quite simple: you hit the pell 100 times a day for 100 days. If you lose count on any day you start over again from blow #1. If you skip a day you start over from Day #1. It is about discipline as much as it is about form.

There's lots of ways to do pell practice. I have a pell in the back garden, a concrete pillar in the basement, and various items upstairs in the apartment. I've got old swords, sticks, and a flex bar. So far, I've used the flexbar twice, just as an experiment. The rest of the time has been in the basement. Sometimes I do the 1-6 drill (which, when I do it, comes to 78 strikes) plus 22 other strikes. Sometimes I just throw 100 of the same blow in succession. It's important right now because power generation has left me for the moment.

On Saturday, I also took another German Longsword class.

Yesterday was practice in Iron Bog, and we were essentially practicing for Birka. I held a short class on closing range, then we warmed up, then we did a bearpit.

Have been great. In addition to my 50 push ups and 50 squats everyday, I have been throwing 100 blows at the pell.

There are many ways to close range, but as Firoe and Liechtenaur and Silver and everybody else explain, you always want to move the hand before you move the body or the foot. I refer to this as clearing a path then following it. In SCA combat, we usually have a shield, this means that, in contrast to what Silver teaches, we can step without striking, so long  as we step behind our shield.

I used two exercises to demonstrate this point. The first was a silver-like cut and step (time of the hand, time of the foot) using an exercise Duke Paul teaches. From just outside range, throw a blow at your opponent's shield, and let the momentum of the blow carry you forward into a step. You are advancing behind your sword. Once your sword impacts their shield, step forward with your left foot, so you are now square to them, bringing your shield up to crowd them and fame them. Then step out tot he right, opening up a new angle for you to attack, either with a snap or a wrap to the head.

The second exercise was following the shield. When someone throws an off-side body shot, block it, then follow the block, by first stepping off line with your left foot then passing with your right. Essentially, you move the shield into the block then follow behind it. As you pass on the right, you again square to your opponent, throwing a snap or wrap as you do so. This also has the advantage of demonstrating Old Castles technique of attacking on a tangent.

I was fighting without a thrusting tip, so I was working on edge technique. I was unfocussed otherwise, and it lost me a few fights. I was intending to work mostly on the A Frame, but I found I needed more offense. I was having trouble generating power, and the A-Frame only exacerbates that problem, so I worked in some technique from the sword behind my head, but I was tentative a lot.

This was a great practice. Brennan, Harold, and William were the other knights there, and I fought each of them at least once going through the bear pit. My wind is such that I will have to be careful at Birka. As expected, I can barely remember most of my fights. A few stand out. Brenan took my leg then pounded me, inspite of my knowing it was his plan. Still having trouble with leg blocks. I had a couple good fights against William, including one where I beat him with a "rule of three" game: fake high, strike low twice, then throw the wavy-rising snap (fake high off side, fake low, strike the on-side head). This worked. I killed someone else with a rising snap too. I beat Harold at least once with a backhand. My best fight was against Donnan. I use paul's technique, were you square up to the pole arm and sort of waddle toward him with short steps. It worked extremely welll, especially considering that Donnan is taller than I am and has a wicked back edge cut. I managed to take his leg then hit him with a body shot.

I also looked lost out there too. I fought a different pole arm fighter and tried to wait for his attack before I rushed in. I peaked over the top of my and he snapped my head back with a face thrust. Terrible technique. Since I didn't have a thrusting tip, my mind was not always where it needed to be, including in that fight. I was thinging that I couldn't use most of my recent attacks against polearms, because U body thrust them a lot. Also, mys usualy ward agaisnt a polearm presents the tip, which you shouldn't do if you don't have one. After my fight with Donnan I was incredibly winded, and struggled through three more opponents. However, some stuff was working great, especially my cuts from a high guard.

There are five days until Birka, which will be my next time in armor.

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