10 – 11:30am
Alex, Sean, and Sephine
Today we started our 3 month focus on single handed cutting weapons, mostly based on Zach Wylde’s 18th Century manual.
We warmed up by covering basic types of footwork.
We started by simply walking a distance several times, noticing how our hips moved, how our shoulders moved, how our heads stayed level and didn’t bob up and down. Then we worked passing steps up and back focusing on the same points – hips, shoulders, heads. Then we turned to Advancing and Retreating, focusing not just on the same points as above but also that we were pushing off the rear/front foot respectively, not just reaching out with front/rear foot. While reaching out and following is absolutely fine and good, it wasn’t what I wanted to focus on today. I wanted to work on using those steps explosively.
We got out the swords (synthetic Nimcha sabres courtesy of Street Forge Armoury) and ran through Zach Wylde’s broadsword guards. Well, four of the five he lists. I’ve omitted St. George as, in my opinion, is a derivative of the Hanging Guard. These guards are Inside, Outside, Middle, and Hanging. To Wylde’s list I’ve added a low hanging guard or mezzo cerchio guard, called 7th & 8th in French sabre. This guard is designed to protect the low lines – flanks, stomach, thighs, etc – and Wylde (much like most other broadsword systems) doesn’t include it because he advocates for slipping when attacked on the low line. But I like it so it’s in there. My school, my rules. Neener neener.
After practicing the guards in situ we moved on to a variant of Wylde’s Throwing the Guards drill where you cycle though all of the guards via cuts. As previously mentioned, I’ve omitted St. George and will be adding the mezzo cerchio into this drill at some point. We first ran the drill without footwork, then on the march with a passing step for each blow, forwards and backwards, then on the Advance & Retreat. We finished up by alternating passing steps and squats with each blow.
We then discussed the three types of parries/crossing – Static, Beating, and Ceding – but focused on Static parries today. The following drills were all done off of Inside, Outside, and Hanging parries against Inside, Outside, & Head blows respectively:
* Parry the blow
* Choose to either grab the blade/arm and riposte to the partner’s Inside or Outside lines
* Explore possible grips & targets
Then we added thrusts into the mix – straight thrusts as well as angulated thrusts. Straight thrusts were parried with Inside, Outside, or mezzo cerchio guards, then the same options as above. Angulated thrusts were treated as blows coming from that angle and parried accordingly.
I forget when but at one point we dipped our toes in evasion drills but more on that later.