This is actually an After Action Report for October 15th and 22nd.
On both weekends we focused heavily on Wylde’s techniques for broadsword. What Wylde calls a “broadsword” is not what people typically think of when they hear about an Insular Broadsword. It is not the classic Highland Basket-hilt; it’s a lighter sword. This is important because trying to hold Wylde’s guard position, with it’s extended arm, with a Highland Basket-hilt is a great way to tire yourself out.
For trainers we use synthetic nimcha sabres from Streetforge Armoury and sticks (rattan and hardwood). While not the same as steel weapons they still are good stand-ins (especially when you train outside and the weather is getting wetter).
After warming up with al Matreg variations, we ran through our variation on Wylde’s Throwing the Guards drill:
~ Begin feet shoulder width apart, sword held loosely at your dominant hand side.
~ With a passing step, bring the sword arm up, let the blade make a circle behind your head, and cut to the Inside Guard.
~ With another passing step, keeping your arm in it’s Place (straight at shoulder level), circle the blade back the way it came, and cut to the Outside Guard.
~ With another passing step, keeping your arm in it’s Place (straight at shoulder level), moulinet by dropping your point to your Inside and cut to Middle Guard.
~ With another passing step, let your blade fall to the Outside and cut a descending blow into Mezzo Cerchio on the Inside*.
~ With another passing step, lift your point in a moulinet on the Inside and cut a rising blow into Hanging Guard.
~ Repeat. This time each step with bring you to the same guard, opposite foot forward. The exceptions are Mezzo Cerchio and Hanging which will each be taken on the opposite side.
*Mezzo Cerchio, as I refer to it, is what is also referred to in some sources as a Low Hanging Guard (think French 7th). It’s purpose is to cover attacks to the flanks and thighs. Wylde does not include this position, nor do many Insular Broadsword sources, for reasons I don’t entirely know but I can guess:
1. The Slip of the front leg is a common broadsword/sabre technique that is a good defense against the low line attacks Mezzo Cerchio covers.
2. The basket or guard on the hand adds some safety to using Inside/Outside to cover low attacks, with a bit of a squat, that isn’t present if you don’t have hand protection. One of my goals is to teach a system that can be universally trained with sticks, simple hilted swords, and complex hilted swords.
So I have chosen to include Mezzo Cerchio in our guards, on both sides as well as the non=dominant side hanging guard.
Any way, after we got our bodies moving we started working Wylde’s techniques for True Play – simple first intention strikes to open targets. No fancy stuff yet.
“When your Opposer makes an inside Blow or Pitch at you, Guard him with an inside, and Pitch quick to his outside, which upon the fall of his Blow will be ex-posed.” Zach Wylde
Stand in Guard, invite in Outside (move from Middle to Outside without a step). Attacker throws a blow to your Inside. Use your core (butt, hips, stomach, and back muscles) to rotate your body & sword into Inside guard. Wylde describes this transition as “a twist of the wrist”. Parry the blow and strike to Attacker’s Outside.
“When he strikes to your outside, Chop quick to his open on the inside, according to the Rule of True Play; and in this Case, let all your Answers be made as quick as the Hand can perform ‘em.”
Stand in Guard, invite in Inside (move from Middle to Inside without a step). Attacker throws a blow to your Outside. Use your core (butt, hips, stomach, and back muscles) to rotate your body & sword into Outside guard. Wylde describes this transition as “a twist of the wrist”. Parry the blow and strike to Attacker’s Inside.
And uhhhh that’s it.
I’m joking, we did more. But seriously that’s the end of Wylde’s instructions on True Play with the broadsword. So what follows is my interpretation based on his instructions for the other two parries.
Using Wylde’s same advice as above, we started in Middle Guard, then invited to either the Inside or the Outside. Attacker throws a Middle blow to the head. Transition up into Hanging Guard (initially the Dominant hand version described in the text, then the Non-Dominant side just to try) and riposte. What was interesting here is that in doing this drill, people were coming into another Insular Broadsword guard that Wylde includes but disparages – St. George. We talked about the disadvantages of St. George as a guard but that it’s still a better option than getting hit.
Parry Mezzo Cerchio
Using Wylde’s same advice as above, we started in Middle Guard, then invited to either the Inside or the Outside. Attacker throws a blow to the open flank. Transition into Mezzo Cerchio (initially the Inside version, then the Outside) using our core muscles and riposte. Here the ripostes naturally fall into thrusts rather than cuts. People did not that the Inside Mezzo Cerchio, with the hand supinated, felt weak to some. We explored ways that could make this feel stronger – lowering the hand, keeping the arm straight, more core involvement, etc.
We then discussed feints but decided to save instruction on them for another class.