Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Dempsey Roll

While the subject line has absolutely nothing to do with this post, (or does it?) I have been obsessing a little bit about Hajime no Ippo, a terrific boxing manga that has reignited my zeal for practice. The fact that my big test is coming up in less than 30 days may also have something to do with that, but in any case, it's been a big inspiration for me to come up with better training methods. Over the course of the past few months, I feel like I've gradually refined the source material, which tends to be a bit scattered at times, to several excellent drills. First, let's talk about defenses.

The great thing about Dall'Agocchie's system is that there are only a handful of actions that repeat themselves over and over again, as provocations, attacks and defenses. In fact, there are really only six defenses, two of which can be used against any attack:

1) Left foot behind the right: Guardia di Testa against a mandritto. (Two tempi)
2) Right foot towards the attack: Guardia d'Entrare against a riverso, imbroccata or stoccata; Guardia di Faccia against a mandritto or stoccata. (One tempo)
3) Right foot to your right, left foot swings around: mezzo mandritto against a mandritto, stoccata or imbroccata. (Two tempi)
4) Left foot to your left: riverso sgualimbro against any attack. (Two tempi)
5) Right foot to your left, followed by a passing step with the left foot: falso manco and second cut against any attack. (Two tempi)
6) Either the footwork described in 5 (right foot to your left), or a withdrawal of the front foot: riverso ridoppio against a mandritto or an imbroccata. (One tempo*)

There are a few specialized defenses (using the offhand, voiding, throwing a cut to the sword hand while leaving, etc.), but these are the absolute essential defenses, and the ones that constantly repeat themselves.

The wonderful thing about Dall'Agocchie's system is that nearly all of his provocations are the same as his defenses. Last night we worked on the following ones in Coda Lunga e Stretta, and in some cases, their counters:

1) Falso dritto (left foot behind the right) followed by a dritto tramazzone (increase of the right foot). The counter is to parry the tramazzone in Guardia di Faccia.
2) Punta riversa (step to his right with either the left or right foot), followed by a mandritto tondo to the head (step to his left with the right foot). The counter is to parry the punta riversa with a falso manco (step to your left with the right foot), and the tondo in Guardia di Faccia.
3) Mezzo mandritto (step to your right with the right foot, left foot swings around) followed by a punta riversa to the chest. The counter is...well, there are a few!

All of the above actions can and will lead to a true on true stretto play, which I would like to expand on our options for next class.