Friday, 6 February 2009

More counter remedies and talking about stuff

Training was interesting last night. I decided to do some more dagger counter remedies. At the last training session we covered some of the more "complicated" counters, or at least, the ones that appear farther down the play list. This got me thinking about why Fiore shows them in the order he does. I mean if the attacker attacks a fendente mandritto, the remedy can be a disarm/strike, a break, a lock or a throw, and this response will affect what the counter will be. Perhaps the most common remedy is a disarm so last night we looked at ways to counter it. I also though that if the remedy can be categorised into 5 things, perhaps we could do the same with the counters.....This is what we came up with:

-Avoid: Change the line striking under the defender's arm into the armpit/ribcage. This one is particularly sneaky as it's easy to do and quite difficult to defend against.
-Deflect: This can be done with the dagger or with the offhand. In the former, the defender is allowed to make contact with the attacker's wrist, who hooks the dagger inside the wrist and drops their hand to thrust at the belly/chest. The offhand can be placed on the heel of the dagger to reinforce the stab. The attacker "walks" the dagger point into the defender's chest/belly. Alternatively, as the attacker makes the initial stab, he uses his offhand to grab the defender's incoming wrist and turns him, before stabbing him in the back.

-Offend: As the defender's hand approaches the attacker's wrist, the attacker changes his line and raises his hand bringing the point down on the defender's forearm, between the radius and ulna. In theory the dagger passes through the defender's forearm and the attacker's offhand can grab the emerging point to control the defender's forearm, by twisting clockwise or anti-clockwise. Nasty!

-Collect/Trap: Here the attacker may be slow reacting and the defender gets his hand to the attacker's wrist. Again the attacker hooks the dagger over the defender's wrist and brings the offhand up to grab the dagger, trapping the wrist. The attacker then crosses his wrists causing the defender to turn his back, whereuopn the attacker stabs him. This trap is ok, but not as good as the counter remedy involving a roverso strike: it's relatively easy to slip your hand hand out. Then again, this trap isn't supposed to be a long-term thing, it's primarily a facilitating move allowing temporary control before you do something nastier.

We then did some dagger flow drill and then on a signal one of the drilling pair did one of the above remedy counters after attacking with a fendente mandritto. This worked quite well and further highlighted for me the versatility of the dagger flow drill, i.e. the flexibility to introduce breaks in the flow with remedies (one of five possible tactics), as well as counter remedies (one of the above four categories). Fiore ALSO shows some counter-counter remedies....hmm, food for thought..

After we did some cutting practice, I randomly picked two people from the line, told one to pick a random guard, and got the other to pick a guard they might use to break the first guard. We then did a stepped drill. One attacked with whatever attack they chose (no response). A second identical attack was followed by whatever remedy the defender chose (no counter remedy response). Finally, the same attack and remedy as before, but with whatever counter remedy the initial attacker thought would work. Ok. Then I stared asking both participants questions:
1. What guard did you pick and why?
2. What strike did you attack with? True edge or false edge? What footwork?
3. How did you defend? etc....

The point of the exercise was to encourage them to remeber the details of what happened using Fiorean terms. Naturally this can be done in whatever language the student is most comfortable with. I guess it's a really basic form of free play preparation. By encouraging students to see and react to what is really happening and not what they anticipate or what they think is happening will help them later when they come to doing pressure drills, and later free play itself. Sometimes talking about stuff can be a positive thing, as long as the talking is to the point, and the point being made is clear to the students. Who says pedagogics isn't interesting!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, the observation of these four categories is good, and quite complete. But consider its relation to the five things done against the dagger attack.

    The initial remedy - if we accept that a movement that negates the opponents initial action is a remedy - can be made by

    1) avoiding the attack
    2) guiding the attack
    3) stopping the attack (more or less offensively)

    I leave the grab out because it can be built into any of the above three, like guiding the attack and grabbing the hand, stepping out of measure and pulling the hand, or stopping the attack by grabbing and entering. The distinction between a grab proper and any contact that keeps you covered is also not that clear.

    So your division applies to the remedy stage as well. The biggest difference between a remedy and a counter is the frame in which the action has to happen: in most cases the counter has to be shorter in time, and happen in one action rather than in two times as many of the remedies.

    This is why a proper counter, and a counter to that is tricky to do: the timing gets very precise. It is easier to attack and make the partner's remedy fail, than to counter properly in time.

    But the counter itself, however initiated, can involve strikes, locks, breaks and takedowns just like the remedy (or the action following the remedy).

    Makes sense?