Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Drills: correction

In my haste to post the drills in anticipation of Monday's session (which went very well, I thought), I neglected to put in the interruption drill between the cavazione di tempo and the defenses done in place. So the drill list should read like this:

1. Lunges
2. Footwork
3. Tessitura
4. Approaching drills
5. Cavazione di tempo
6. Interrupting step
7. Opposition or cavazione counterattack in place
8. False attacks
9. Attacker vs. Defender

Tomorrow we'll have a camera (and some time) at our disposal, so photos and video of rapier and sidesword will be going up tomorrow night. Until then.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Sunday Class

After a number of schedule changes over the past few months, we've finally settled on Sunday afternoons for the Italian rapier class. All in all, I think it went very well, and I hope in the coming weeks we can make it even more efficient, which will allow us to accomplish more in less time. Specifically, once everyone learns the basic drills (which I described in the previous post), we can save lots of time by moving from one to the other immediately.

Everyone did remarkably well today, and aside from a few scrapes and bruises, we all made it out alive. I already mentioned a few issues that came up today after class, but it would be useful to repeat some of them here, as everyone was doing one or more of these at some point during class.

1. Overextending on the lunge: this can manifest itself as rolling onto the left ankle (which will ultimately lead to the destruction of that ankle), coming up onto the ball of the left foot (which hides your true measure), or sliding the rear foot as you attack (which also gives you a false sense of measure).
2. "The sinking lunge": this is related to the first one, but with a different physical manifestation. While it may seem like a good idea to lunge low to gain more distance, you are committing two major errors: a) your vita is not moving in a straight line, so it is not the most efficient movement, and b) you are abandoning any leverage advantage you might have had; in other words, you are giving your debole to your opponent.
3. Circling: Capoferro strongly discourages the practice (see "On those who circle", in the second part of his book), as it is not particularly useful for someone standing the Italian guard, nor does it allow for most of the defenses that we practice.
4. Over-reliance on cutting: while I am entirely guilty of cutting on a regular basis, the rapier is optimized for thrusting, with cuts coming in only if the point is no longer of any use.

We'll work on some of these issues tomorrow during drill time.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Italian rapier drills

This post will primarily be of interest for those who come to the drills only session on Monday nights, but is useful for anyone who comes to rapier class, either at FAC or at UofT. I've been thinking of ways to make our training more efficient for two reasons: 1) I don't have any time to waste (and this is quite literal), and 2) If we already know the drills and are familiar with them, we can skip the often-long demonstrations of each drill, which means more fencing time. As we gain more experience and become level 2 or 3 fencers (with a +1 bonus to attack and defend), we can modify/upgrade or even replace some of the drills listed below; but as of now, here they are:

1) Thrusting: 15 thrusts at misura stretta, 12 lunges at misura larga, and 10 passate at misura larghissima.
2) Footwork: leader/follower drill with frequent role changes.
3) Tessitura*: 20 continuous attacks against a cooperative partner in various hand positions and various ranges.
4) Basic approaching drills, aka "The Spiral drill": beginning from out of measure, approach and strike the opponent using cavazione only, opposition only, and a combination of the two.
5) Cavazione di tempo drill: during the agent's step to misura larga, the patient will perform a cavazione and lunge, striking the agent before his foot lands.
6) The rock defense drills, aka "The counter-Spiral drill": if the agent attacks with a cavazione, counter with an opposition; if the agent attacks with an opposition, counter with a cavazione (with or without a piegatura di vita); alternatively, counter with a scanso della vita on either side.
7) False attack drill: knowing that the patient will defend, the agent will do a false attack to draw out the defense, and follow on with an appropriate second attack (under the sword, transport, cut, etc.)
8) Attacker/defender: application of all the previous drills in a restricted game.

*Literally, this term means "weaving", which resembles the interplay between the swords. I can't explain it in words, so I'll get some video on Sunday and put it up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back to the drawing board

We're well into the New Year, and nary a post from me to be seen. But no longer! I'm back into the groove, and the number of sessions I'm running per week at AEMMA (and at UofT again) has doubled since last year. I've been working on a lot of new drills for our Dall'Agocchie study group; our seminar with Jared Kirby has given us plenty of rapier drills to master, and sword and dagger is not too far off in the horizon...in short, there is plenty to look forward to.

As for this blog, it's become quite clear that rather than posting up long sections of text, it would be much more useful to regularly post shorter descriptions of the class with photos and video from each session. Considering how difficult it is to interpret the systems from the written version in the first place, it only seems to add more confusion when I paraphrase the masters' words here. So instead, I'll be making much better use of visual content in the coming weeks.

For those of you who haven't been around recently, here are some of the events that are going on right now, or in the very near future:

  1. Monday 18h00-19h00: rapier drills
  2. Wednesday 21h00-23h00: Dall'Agocchie study group
  3. Thursday 16h30-18h00: rapier class @UofT
  4. Sunday 13h00-15h00: rapier class

Events and seminars
  1. Starting 22 January (this Saturday), I'll be teaching an introductory course in Italian rapier at FAC through the ROM, from 14h00-15h30.
  2. On 30 January (next Sunday), FAC will be having its annual open house, where all the schools that make up the Collective show off their stuff to the public. Everyone is welcome! 14h00-16h00.
  3. On the first or second weekend of May (to be confirmed), we will be hosting Maestro Ramon Martinez for another Destreza seminar. More details to follow in the coming weeks.