Monday, 9 March 2009

Obsessing over obsessios

Well, we went over the basics on saturday last and it went....ok. The wards and rolling exercises were generally no problem but as soon as we went to the 1st play of halfshield vs. prima custodia things got a bit bogged down and I have the feeling that people may have gone away from the class feeling that 1.33 is shite and that the next time they have free training, they'll just stick to Fiore longsword instead. Here's some of the problems encountered:

-Students found themselvs either moving too late and/or not moving far enough to the side when "falling under", resulting in they got hit or ended up "stuck", with blades crossing at the fortes, and the besetter then not being able to bind down properly on the defender's blade.
-Other details such as the shiltschlac were somehow "forgotten" or done with the buckler arm bent, as they just wanted to hit the other, often with the false edge.
- To make the durchtritt "work", some students extended their sword hands well beyond their bucklers when "falling under".

Not their fault of course. The "blame", if we want to call it that, lies squarely on my shoulders. I should have gone more slowly and stepped the drill more. The way things turned out, I guess I was trying to make them run before they could really walk. Some of the students coudn't see the link between the movements in the rolling exercise and those in the counter to the overbind, leading to durchtritt, mutacio gladii, or the wrap. Perhaps this is just a question of starting again from scratch and drilling the wards and rolling exercise more.

In fairness, the plays in 1.33 are "difficult", in that they are rather subtle in terms of timing, distance, tactical intent and awareness of what is supposed to be happening at any step in the drill, however this is no different for longsword. In my case, I didn't ensure that each step was trained enough. I think though that if the students can get the hang of the rolling exercise, apply it to the first play and get it right, then everything will start to fall into place.

I love the 1.33 treatise, from the beards and moustaches drawn in later by some child in the last 800 years, to the enigmatic smiles of the priest and student, and the confident and assured "voice" of the priest wisely telling us, "If you would be judged by my counsel.....". Priceless. All I need to do now is practice, practice, practice! It's great that the basic plays are available on youtube from both the School of European Swordsmanship: and from the Hammaborg School in Germany:

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