Showing posts from August, 2015

Seeing the wood rather than the trees

"these devices are not so set in stone that they cannot be changed in practice - they are merely examples from which everyone may seek, derive, and learn devices according to his opportunity, and may arrange and change them as suits him. For as we are not all of a single nature, so we also cannot all have a single style in combat; yet all must nonetheless arise and be derived from a single basis" - Meyer, 2.19r

Some thoughts on improving reaction time

"You should here learn firstly how to recognize an opening quickly, secondly how to act against it." - Meyer, 2.15r

How do we improve both the speed and quality of our reactions?

1. Simplify the stimulus to only the relevant
2. Limit our reactions to only the optimal

While also making it difficult for our opponent to do this to us, simple huh? No.

"Cognition is the art of focusing on the relevant and deliberately ignoring the rest" - Gerd Gigerenzer & Peter M. Todd

The Principles tell us what information is relevant and then neatly packages this into simplified concepts:
"Mechanics" recognizes that force generation and body language is highly important information. This is packaged into Guard postures and Openings. "Place" highlights that the space between you and your opponent is highly important information. This is packaged into Measure and Line of Fight. "Time" highlights the speed is highly important information. This is package…

Some thoughts on tournaments

The club I hang around with has just had it's annual open invite tournament.

It's the first time I've been in a "proper" tournament, i.e. formal and interclub, in a very long time. I was competing in Longsword, Singlesword and Spear and line judging in Rapier. These are just some thoughts on it:
It's the first "proper" tournament I've done that followed a Franco-Belgian ruleset which was interesting. Surprisingly given that the main argument I hear in favor of the ruleset was that everyone does more fighting, I actually felt like I was standing around more and fighting less than at a "normal" tournament. This could have been down to the number of people, 25+. Each bout was over very quickly and if you didn't spend much time as the King then you didn't do much fighting at all. At least with a "hierarchical" type ruleset you are either progressing up the ranks or you are knocked out and can toddle off to free play. The r…

Sainct-Didier - On ordering the Art

"anyone who wants to put an art or doctrine into order or draw it from confusion for fear that otherwise it will be corrupted, it is required that he is provided with judgement, born of experience gained in the exercise of the art." Secrets of the Sword Alone, Henry de Sainct-Didier 1573

Some thoughts on "Parrying" in Longsword

"And guard yourself from all parries which the simple fencers execute, and note when he cuts, so you also cut; and when he thrusts, so thrust as well; and how you shall cut and thrust, you find that written in the five cuts and in the setting-aside."

This is just some thoughts around parrying with Longsword, specifically parries execute by "simple fencers" or "holding against" parrying as Meyer calls it:

Ox and Plough guard an Opening because "they are in essence the position of a thrust", i.e. they threaten a thrust. The key point however is that this is a counter attack (same tempo) action not a parry and riposte (two tempo) action. If you actually receive a Principle Cut to a high opening that you are covering in Ox you'll notice how you often get your hands cut, end up suppressed under his blade and are unable to riposte without some further work. Likewise if you receive a low cut in Plough your hands are vulnerable and he takes your poi…

Agrippa - on "insignificant" blows

"Let me note that one often places oneself at risk of being hit by insignificant blows in order to emerge the victor and kill the other combatant. Accordingly, you should learn how to void your center, use your unarmed hand, make attacks in time and counter-time and understand the importance of the points, lines, circumferences, and surfaces." - Camilo Agrippa, 1553