Here are some youtube links to the nylon longsword tournament held at Swordfish this year in Gothenburg. The first is the final between Scott Brown (German style) and Tim Gallagher (Fiore). It was great to see an exponent of Fiore in the final.
The next two clips are of one of my fights. Each fight consisted of two 60 second bouts.
I got a new ganbeson as well. Yaay!
I had a total of three fights (six bouts) and lost all three. So, I didn't do so well, at least tournament wise. I did enjoy the experience and when I realised that my bouts were posted on youtube, I felt a sudden rush of adrenaline just like when I stepped onto the mat for my first fight. It's an unusual experience, a kind of heady, exciting, kind of sick feeling. So, I got to experience adrenaline rush. I don't really know if it affected me so much over the course of the fights, but I was already much less nervous about the whole affair by the second bout. So, why did I get hit so much? These are my conclusions:
I let him walk right into measure, from where it was relatively easy for him to launch sniping attacks to my hands and he was often just too close for me to react in time. In fairness, Axel almost never came straight at me, he almost always approached in a zig-zag or at a diagonal to help confuse me about the distance between us. By comparison, the attacks I launched (perhaps lobbed is a more accurate verb) were from a pretty much static position,and I went straight at him. Result? I got hit on the hands or once, on the head.
At one point I looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights as he danced about before catching me once across the lead leg and once on the hands and I didn't even move! It was almost as if the connection between brain and muscles had been cut. As Guy would say, "you're asleep!". Quite embarrassing really.
As with the distance issue, I let him come to me and in doing so, I sort of "gave" him the fight. I should have moved more and been more active in rushing him, particularly as the theme of the day seemed to be stay in giocco largo and hit the hands and arms. In my first bout I managed to get into giocco largo distance and score a point with the pommel (although it was technically an illegal move, oops! :-)). My opponent did not like it one bit when I came in close and personal. I was going to say "aggressive" above instead of active, but I'm not sure this is the word I'd use. I didn't feel afraid in the fights and when I went in and made my attacks, regardless of the results, I wasn't really thinking anything apart from "go for it!". I could have kept moving all the time rather than waiting in guard, but without the bouncing and hopping around done out of distance by a lot of the other competitors. One of the judges said later that my guards were nice-looking but that I need to be more active.
So, am I just crap at this stuff? Thinking about it realistically, I don't think I'm crap, just not so good at it yet. Sure, I need to work hard on a lot of things: distance, awareness, footwork, and practice a hell of a lot more in free play and pressure play if I want to improve. And I do! Not solely because of tournaments, but for my overall improvement in this Art. Although I didn't win any of my matches, that wasn't ever really an expectation, I learned heaps.
The Art vs. the Tourney
Although I entitled this post as "How to do it.....", I'm not so sure that the final was necessarily a fine display of overall swordsmanship, or of the Art, be it German or Italian. I think rather it was a good example of tournament fighting, i.e. these guys know their stuff and knew how best to apply it to the tournament rules we were given. I hope this doesn't come across as sour grapes just because I lost all my matches though. I think only Emil went for a takedown in the entire nylon longsword tournament, and there were almost no giocco stretto engagements at all, let alone disarms, nor many thrusts for that matter. I believe a good demonstration of swordsmanship would include engagements at all distances, involve disarms, locks and takedowns, thrusts, cuts and pommel strikes. As Roland W. said, that we are not seeing these in the tournaments means that either we don't really understand yet how to apply them, or our skill level is simply still too low. This should motivate us all to train more and harder so that we can use our repertoire, not just at the training salle, but also in the tourney.