Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Back from Gothenburg!

Well, I'm back. The event this year was a blast as usual, but I am still knackered after the trip back. The nylon longsword tournament was an interesting experience and apart from the first bout, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. I got beaten in all three bouts but I learned some things too. Firstly, I need to control distance better. The other fencers (which were mainly doing german styles) just walked into distance in Vom Tag and dropped their swords onto my hands, and I let them do it. Very silly. I got better with the distance issue in the second and third bouts and tried to take the fight to them instead. Even though most of the attacks were sniping blows to the hands and occasionally the front foot, I started to sense when they were just out of distance. We weren't allowed to use pommel strikes as they were considered too dangerous (?). Ok, their house, their rules. I managed to get one attack in, and when the guy parried, i changed sides and came in with a light pommel and a cut to the face. The distance thing was hard because they other guys always always stayed at mezza or even punta spada distance, and as soon as I did anything "unusual", they backed off like a shot, making it hard to rush them.

Secondly, I need to learn how to protect my hands, I got cracked across the hands a lot, mostly from downward blows. Good job I had gauntlets on.

Overall, it probably wasn't the best display of swordsmanship overall, not least from myself, but it gave me a good experience of how I performed under pressure, and things to go away and train more.

Ilkka's falling seminar was excellent! Well planned, interesting and with lots of "eureka" moments, particularly when he talked about natural movement. I am not a fan of forward rolls from a standing position, so this was a really useful seminar for me. The other seminars were ok, I learned some stuff which I can incorporate into training in Turku.

It was fun to chat with other guys from Denmark about their styles and how they train. The only thing that bugged me a bit about it though was that some of the things from Fiore were "stupid" to them. I really didn't feel like arguing about it because as far as I could see, they were interested in taking medieval techniques from the German styles they were studying and applying only the "useful" ones to modern street fighting techniques for self-defense. Everything else they dropped like a hot brick. Nothing wrong with that at all and a valid approach. From their viewpoint, trying to avoid a stab with a 35 cm spike with the first Master disarm was a stupid thing to do, because it would "never" work against a knife. One of the things I remember from Scott Brown's lecture on mindset in training was that a misunderstanding of contexts is, and has been one of the biggest causes for disagreements, splits and faction forming withing the martial arts world. I disagreed with some of his points but not this one. I didn't have the energy to try to explain to the Danish guys, who were sound and friendly, that we were looking at the same thing from different contexts.

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