Skip to main content

Attack & defend drill

Attack & Defend Drill

Partner up, find measure so that you require one step to strike your partner. Taking a short step forwards (i.e. a lunge) strike at your opponent who will defend with the appropriate parry. Defender can either remain still or withdraw the front foot when they parry. For this drill follow this cutting pattern using flicks to start with:

Cut 1: crown strike (starting from your right but ending straight down)
Cut 2: diagonal strike from your top right
Cut 3: horizontal strike from your right
Cut 4: under strike from your right
Cut 5: under strike from your left
Cut 6: horizontal strike from your left
Cut 7: crown strike (starting from your left but ending straight down)

In this drill you take turns and you both follow this pattern so it ends up looking like this:
1.    Person1 lunges and performs crown strike, person2 parries through high guard
2.    Person2 then lunges and performs crown strike, person1 recovers into high guard
3.    Person1 lunges and performs diagonal strike, person2 recovers and parries through high or low guard
4.    Person2 lunges and performs diagonal strike, person1 recovers and parries through high or low guard

This drill encourages people to train with all the cuts, trains people to parry as a part of their recovery, drills measure and is significantly better than having doing solo cutting drills. It’s important that participants are actually in measure and landing their cuts so that if participants are not parrying currently they get struck.

It is also very, very important to highlight that unless you are doing 19th century historical fencing within the rules and customs of that time, however that this turn taking approach is just a strength and muscle memory trainer not something that you would expect to reflect a real bout.

There are many, many variations depending on what technique you wish to drill, such as:

1.    Perform the same cuts with moulinets
2.    Perform the same cut lines but with the false or flat edges
3.    Intersperse the cuts with thrusts so that it goes, for example: crown strike, parry, high thrust, parry, diagonal strike, parry, low thrust, parry etc.
4.    Change the footwork so that one partner is advancing with every cut while the other is retreating with every parry
5.    Change the type of parry, for example if you are working on beating you can parry with a beat rather than a static parry.
6.  Random strike, number all the strikes from 1-4 (or 7 if you're doing both inside and out) and get someone to call out the number. This introduces a random element.
7. Practicing with your off hand it's a great way to build ambidexterity 

Longsword variation

To make this drill work well with longsword it's best alternate between inside and outside strikes, striking from the left and then the right changing the lead foot each time.


Popular posts from this blog

Kit mod: heavy sparring glove 2

This is a follow on to heavy sparring gloves and SPES arm protectors.

Finally: a pretty good HEMA glove.

Essentially I've created this final stage by removing the cuff from the gauntlet and attaching Velcro so the SPES arm & elbow protection attaches to the gauntlet. The Velcro attaches under the lip of the arm protection providing a solid join between the pieces.

My photography is lame but I hope you get the idea:

Good protection.

I would say that this setup has good protection from injury from sparring blows from fingers to elbow. Against full force blows it takes it down from injury to some mild discomfort and possibly light bruising, against moderate blows you feel some pressure with no discomfort. The fingers are where I've invested the heaviest protection but there is still some room for improvement.

Light weight

Because the weight is distributed along the length of the arm rather than at the wrist/hands end and because they can fit quite tightly to your body they seem…

Halberd Waster

Several times through my historical martial arts career I've got it into my head that I'd like to do halberd. However, the issues with a suitable waster have tended to put me off, specifically creating anything that can be used at something approaching full intention. The issue is that if you make the head from the usual materials (steel, aluminium, wood, leather etc) you have to exercise extreme caution at very slow speed because all you've made is a giant heavy mace on the end of a 6ft lever.

Recently I was working on making foam swords for another side project and while doing this it occurred to me that foam was the obvious solution to the halberd head issue. Pretty quickly I developed this simple waster.

The head is cut from EVA foam matting. This material is importantly both ultra light and pretty robust. To get a good strength I cut two head shapes out and stuck them together. The bracket to attach the head to the pole is just PVC piping with a slot cut into it for th…

Absolutely no absolutes

The more I study and learn of historical fighting, and the more I teach, the more I become careful in throwing around "absolutes" in terms of technique. I find that to say that something is "wrong" is a sub-optimal way of thinking about fencing that hinders development. Rather I like to highlight that everything is situational, i.e. with a proper understanding of the principles of fencing that there is often a time and a place where a particular technique is optimal and that you should not completely discount anything.

For example:

(and I'd like to make it clear that I'm not being negative on these examples, I liked and remembered both these videos I'm just using them to illustrate a pedagogical mindset.)

In this interesting video, the view is put forward that you should cut and step at the same pace to ensure that your hand and body land together. This is so that you cut with maximum strength and for reasons of balance.  The idea of not stepping and cu…