New fencing video

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New fencing video

Postby bigdummy » 16 Jul 2008 06:12

This is free sparring from our group Systeme D'Armes here in New Orleans, footage is from Jun 28, and July 12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6gn44NL0M8

Comments are welcome. If you have a comment specific to a particular fighter as opposed to a general comment about the group or about the video, please specify who you are referring to.

I am the fat guy "big dummy".
Zarlor from this forum is the guy with the steel barbute helmet in every fight
Skip is the black guy with gray shirt black pants in the first part of the video, black shirt and khakhi shorts in the second part.
Christian is the thin guy with the white helmet, wearing shorts and a gray tank top in the first part of the video, and long khakhi pants in the second part.

Fighting here is done with padded wasters. If you have other questions about the training equipment I can answer them.

Every bout ends with one (or in a few cases both) fighters being 'wounded' by the other. The person who was hit will usually raise their hand or tap to indicate wherever they were hit, unless it's very obvious.

My only caveat is that it being July in the Sub-Tropics, the daytime temperature here right now is 36 degrees centigrade even in the shade and 80% humidity so we are moving a bit slower than usual.

We welcome anyone interested in posting other videos for comparison as well.

BD
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Postby Cutlery Penguin » 16 Jul 2008 06:41

Thanks for posting this BD. One of the things I noted was that you seem to be the only person that attacks with a string of techniques. Most of the guys seem to put in a single attack and then pause. I suspect it is both why you seem to have more success and why you seem to get grappled more.
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Postby Herbert » 16 Jul 2008 09:08

Distance seemed to be sometimes a problem. Often the opponent moved backwards to avoid an attack which is valid an really unnerving with time. But often people didn't attack their opponent but were simply hitting too short.

Another thing is that you tend to stop after the initial attack (not you as a person but you as the group of persons - bloody language this is). You should try to press your opponent harder and keep going at him until a decisive blow was landed. This stopping after the initial exchange of techniques is not really good. I know it, I did it for too long.

Besides that...there were some nice hits in the video.

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Postby bigdummy » 16 Jul 2008 12:49

thanks guys, good observations. I think part of that pausing is due to the summer heat, we all want to 'take a break' all too easily, but part of it is a rut we get into. Everybody likes to counterattack too much I think. So you pause and wait for the other guy to make an aggressive attack so you can 'own' him. How do you get out of that?


Good point too about striking too 'short' , sometimes I tihnk that is an effort to engage, to get past the onset, but every strike should be to kill or wound, not just to find a bind!

BD

EDIT: I wouldn't say I have more success than the other guys, we do about equal, I do a bit better in a grapple probably because I'm so fat. If I come across like I'm winning more often in this clip it's probably because I edited it together :) I thought it was about even though ...
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Postby Herbert » 16 Jul 2008 15:27

bigdummy wrote:So you pause and wait for the other guy to make an aggressive attack so you can 'own' him. How do you get out of that?

You get rid of this problem by keep attacking. Tell yourself that you want the Vor - you want the initiative in the fight. Don't let the other one catch his breath.
Go for it, even if you don't have much of an idea what you should go for. Try to be the first one who moves. AND BE PREARED TO GET HIT! Especially in the first weeks you get beaten because you have to adapt to your new way of fighting. So if your ego can't take it, you won't get out of this "hole". But afterwards you will see the huge benefits of it.

bigdummy wrote:Good point too about striking too 'short' , sometimes I tihnk that is an effort to engage, to get past the onset, but every strike should be to kill or wound, not just to find a bind!

Absolutely right. Aim for the man not his weapon. There are excuses of course like the Fehler but basically it is the other man you want to hit - so go and hit him.

I just wish I would be able to do everything I tell other people to do...

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Postby bigdummy » 16 Jul 2008 19:24

I don't really care if i get hit, and certainly don't fear closing I actually prefer to be in krieg, but there can be the opposie problem, when both fighters are too aggressive both tend to get hit simultaneously. You can get the whole "invincible warrior syndrome" some people talk about. The idea as I see it is to find the initiative and then hold it down by keeping the pressure on with continuous attacks, but there is always the rub, you have to have the timing right, sieze the vor etc. You might do that in a counterattack or from your first cut..

But you don't want to try to close the distance if you opponent has "read" this intent already do you?

Another problem, less martial more just practical - some people are uncomfortable with closing or have less of a pain threshold or whatever. How do you cope with that in your group, from a purely organizational standpoint?

And there is a third issue, some people like to fight in the onset or in the abzug for perferctly sound martial reasons. Zarlor for example has a background in Italian fencing, Marozzo primarily, and specializes in effective attacks while sidestepping a pursuing enemy. While that is against the doctrine of most of the Lichtenauer tradition masters, it's not martially unsound fencing, is it?

Not trying to be argumentative here just interested to open up discussion and learn more...

BD
Last edited by bigdummy on 16 Jul 2008 19:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bigdummy » 16 Jul 2008 19:32

On a slightly related note, when is the best time to attack? We tend to assume the best time to attack someone is when they are changing guards. As a result I notice sometimes there is a little dance of changing guards before any strikes are made. One person gets into a guard that makes the opponent feel vulnerable, and they change, and then the first person changes immediately to another guard which threatens the new one and so on.

There can be a sense of vor and indes here too, in fact if you predict your opponents guard change and make the right attack against it you have 'won' this game.

Is this a bad fencing habit? Are there guards which kind of trump other guards or is that purely an illusion? Is it better to attack your opponent when they are waiting in a guard or when they have just transitioned? Should you change guards before engaging defensively, (go high against high etc.). or offensively, or not at all?

BD
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Postby Axel » 16 Jul 2008 19:39

Cool stuff Jeanry, thank you for posting. i think a lot of it looked good, and it is fun to see the long way you have come comparing this clip to the first ones you posted (another good thing with putting alot of videos online).

And i don't think moving around very much is a bad thing in a athletic activity :). I like to change guards, attack out of distance to draw a response etc. You only give him a tempo to exploit by this if you mess up our distance (of course that happens).
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Postby bigdummy » 16 Jul 2008 21:35

One of the differences from before, and perhaps part of the source of some of our current bad habits, is that we used to use short "hand and a half" sized longswords, around 43-44" because thats mostly what we had available for training weapons for a while.

I finally realized that the shorter weapons were distorting the way the fechtbuch techniques work, so we switched to our larger wasters, 48"-50". It completely changes the fight.

I have to make some new ones though because the ones we have were a kind of experimental design and are very heavy (almost 4 lbs) and the grips are way too wide ... which is why you see everyone dropping weapons so much.

With the shorter swords your footwork isn't as important, they are so quick you tend to cut in half the time of a larger sword, the tempo of the hand is almost double that of the foot... you tend to cut more with wrists than with shoulders etc. it really distorts everything. With the large wasters everything 'clicks' more, counters work like they are supposed to etc. I'm going to make some new ones this week if I can find the time.

BD
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Postby bigdummy » 16 Jul 2008 21:44

Herbert wrote:Go for it, even if you don't have much of an idea what you should go for. Try to be the first one who moves.


This is one minor point I disagree on. I don't think you should attack blindly without having any 'plan' of what you should go for - that is a recipe for a mutual death or defeat. You need something to go on even if it's only a wisp of intuition.

BD
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Postby AdamR » 16 Jul 2008 21:55

Hi BD

First - nice one for putting vid up online - it's always good to see how people do things.

Next - as a caveat to the following comments - I think your 'style' is quite different to 'ours' so I'm keeping these observations as generic as possible so they stay of some use to you - I hope!

The first thing I noticed was the tying of arms and feet. Looking at you in the bout - often your follow in strike uses a 'lunge' step (the other guy has often moved out of distance backwards) rather than following with another passing step.

This ties to my second thought for you to consider. Smaller passing steps can be performed pretty quickly and are less likely to have you pinned by a wide stance. Have a go and see what you think.

My last observation is to do with the other guys mostly - there is a first 'opportunity' strike with no follow on - rather than a vor and nachschlag. I suspect the swords may add to this - they look kind of bouncy which leads away from the more usual -strike - bind - handarbeit sequence that I am more used to seeing. Or perhaps it's a preference of attack process - once I strike I try to keep the point on for the thrust or an alternative attack - not to bring the weapon back to a guard and restart.

These are just my thoghts to share, for you to pick and choose as you feel is right. We are all following slightly different paths and I am not a believer in 'this is right and that is wrong' arguments!

All the best. Thanks for the clip again

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Postby bigdummy » 17 Jul 2008 02:53

Howd you like the music?
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Postby AdamR » 17 Jul 2008 08:53

bigdummy wrote:Howd you like the music?

Rather fine :)

Do you guys use Meyer as a major source rather than the medieval fellows?
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Postby Herbert » 17 Jul 2008 09:25

bigdummy wrote:
Herbert wrote:Go for it, even if you don't have much of an idea what you should go for. Try to be the first one who moves.


This is one minor point I disagree on. I don't think you should attack blindly without having any 'plan' of what you should go for - that is a recipe for a mutual death or defeat. You need something to go on even if it's only a wisp of intuition.

Sorry for my bad expression. Of course you should have a clue what you are doing. But having a plan when you attack is really a bad thing. You should attack with your chosen technique - everything else that follows is dictated by your opponent. I always tell my students that its not them who chose the technique they are using but its their opponent. His stance, movements, openings, his errors and succesful techniques create a situation in which you should use a certain technique - all you have to do is execute the technique. So having a plan is a bad thing. Instead one should try to be able to read the opponent and the situation and decide on the spot - without a plan. That is also why Fühlen is so important.

People who have a low pain treshold and who don't like to go in:
I usually train with them on a level where they feel comfortable. We start with shinai and rather slow sparring. In the first sparrings there is no real pressure and no real force behind the techniques. They get used to hit a person and being hit in return. All very playful.Then you slowly speed up and put more pressure into it always explaining why you do so. You show them that certain techniques they have learned are not functioning in their free play because they lack force. You show them that they can hit someone else in the club with force and that it is ok. They usually go from there to accept the hits they get. Sooner than you think they are cheerfully trashing around with the shinai.

Next step is using steel and there everyone has his own treshold. So people talk beforehand and tell the opponent to go smoothly or to go full speed. The level is decided before each bout between the two. Usually it is only a word or two but everyone knows what is meant. This communication is very important.

Basically it is just a "getting used setup" until a certain level and then they decide for themselves. Besides one differs on every day. One day I am happy with hard fast sparring, next week I am more in a soft mood and prefer slower but more "beautiful" sparring.

Best time to attack:
I think the best time to attack is either:
• when he is between guards
• when he is feeling secure and confident (they tend to get sluggish and slow)
• when he is not really ready (within limits of course, hope you know what I mean)
• the exact moment he starts his attack but your attack has to be more convincing than his.
• after you forced a reaction of him. This can be done by different means.


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Postby AdamR » 17 Jul 2008 12:42

Herbert wrote:Sorry for my bad expression. Of course you should have a clue what you are doing. But having a plan when you attack is really a bad thing. You should attack with your chosen technique - everything else that follows is dictated by your opponent. I always tell my students that its not them who chose the technique they are using but its their opponent. His stance, movements, openings, his errors and succesful techniques create a situation in which you should use a certain technique - all you have to do is execute the technique. So having a plan is a bad thing. Instead one should try to be able to read the opponent and the situation and decide on the spot - without a plan. That is also why Fühlen is so important.


I agree - just to add - although they choose what you do next - you can greatly influence the options they have open to them. Most especially when the threat is maintained.
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Postby bigdummy » 17 Jul 2008 14:27

AdamR wrote:
Herbert wrote:Sorry for my bad expression. Of course you should have a clue what you are doing. But having a plan when you attack is really a bad thing. You should attack with your chosen technique - everything else that follows is dictated by your opponent. I always tell my students that its not them who chose the technique they are using but its their opponent. His stance, movements, openings, his errors and succesful techniques create a situation in which you should use a certain technique - all you have to do is execute the technique. So having a plan is a bad thing. Instead one should try to be able to read the opponent and the situation and decide on the spot - without a plan. That is also why Fühlen is so important.


I agree - just to add - although they choose what you do next - you can greatly influence the options they have open to them. Most especially when the threat is maintained.


And therein lies the "plan".

Similar to a chess game. You have an opening move, your opponent responds, which initiates a back and forth where you try to narrow your opponents options to a predictable range that you can plan ahead of (even if in the case of fencing, it may be only a fraction of a second ahead) and he tries to thwart your agenda with unpredictable responses to turn the tables and sieze initiative back from you, so that he can start making you predictable. .. and controlling you. Once you are predictable in fencing, you are doomed. Same as in chess.

Except even Gary Kasparov can't win a chess game in one move :)

BD
Last edited by bigdummy on 17 Jul 2008 14:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bigdummy » 17 Jul 2008 14:34

AdamR wrote:
bigdummy wrote:Howd you like the music?

Rather fine :)

Do you guys use Meyer as a major source rather than the medieval fellows?


In a word, yes, currently.

We originally used David Lindholms ringeck translation, that was the first manual we had. This was later informed by Toblers ringeck and his more generic interepretation book, which was useful to understand some basic concepts. We also had Tallhoffer but I couldn't make head or tails of it really.

But more recently we got a copy of the Jeffrey Forgeng Meyer translation which has been inspirational because it's so (comparatively) clear and precise, its easy for us to understand. I also attended an ARMA event in 2004 which emphasized Meyer to some extent (the deep stances etc.)

In addition, one of our members has been studying Marrozzos greatsword from his own translations, and we have been perusing a variety of other sources online, including Goliath, Paulus Hector Mair, and some other Italians such as Vadi.

So we are kind of an amalgum but Meyer is a strong influence.

BD
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Postby bigdummy » 17 Jul 2008 14:42

AdamR wrote:Hi BD

First - nice one for putting vid up online - it's always good to see how people do things.

Next - as a caveat to the following comments - I think your 'style' is quite different to 'ours' so I'm keeping these observations as generic as possible so they stay of some use to you - I hope!

The first thing I noticed was the tying of arms and feet. Looking at you in the bout - often your follow in strike uses a 'lunge' step (the other guy has often moved out of distance backwards) rather than following with another passing step.

This ties to my second thought for you to consider. Smaller passing steps can be performed pretty quickly and are less likely to have you pinned by a wide stance. Have a go and see what you think.

My last observation is to do with the other guys mostly - there is a first 'opportunity' strike with no follow on - rather than a vor and nachschlag. I suspect the swords may add to this - they look kind of bouncy which leads away from the more usual -strike - bind - handarbeit sequence that I am more used to seeing. Or perhaps it's a preference of attack process - once I strike I try to keep the point on for the thrust or an alternative attack - not to bring the weapon back to a guard and restart.

These are just my thoghts to share, for you to pick and choose as you feel is right. We are all following slightly different paths and I am not a believer in 'this is right and that is wrong' arguments!

All the best. Thanks for the clip again

Adam


I actually agree with all of these comments. I agree about my stepping, my footwork is awful (it used to be even worse) One question: do you usually do passing steps and switch from side to side with every step?

I agree about the pausing,

The difference in the binding / winding is somewhat to do with our training gear. The weapons we use allow full-contact thrusts and strikes more than nylon or shinai, wasters or most steel swords, so we are a bit more leery in the entry to krieg - you can really get nailed. Some European HEMA fencing looks to us like people are intentionally entering bind / wind almost by mutual consent, and missing opportunities to strike at the openings in the onset. or thrust (and ignoring the risk of such while closing).

I think that is the source of much of the 'difference in style' that you see, it used to seem very strange to us to watch European HEMA fighters, but now I'm used to it, I can see the overlap. I find the swedes fight in the most familiar way to us.

That said our wasters are somewhat poor at winding due to their lack of smoothness (something we are working on) and more importantly I don't think we have done nearly enough winding drill. We have been trying to concentrate on basics for a long time, but maybe if we have the basics somewhat down now it's time to practice winding more and really learn it. I am planning to do some work on that this weekend.

BD
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Postby Paul B » 17 Jul 2008 19:31

bigdummy wrote:.... and more importantly I don't think we have done nearly enough winding drill. We have been trying to concentrate on basics for a long time, but maybe if we have the basics somewhat down now it's time to practice winding more and really learn it. I am planning to do some work on that this weekend.

BD


This one has worked wonders for us:
http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB2/vi ... php?t=8479

Its basicaly just the sticky sword dril that most people do, but with quite a few options added to train different things.

2 hours solid should get you to variant 3. Then go back to 1, and work up again. I have done this with steel and shinai (up to variant 5) but not with padded wasters or nylon, so you may get different results.
if you find ways to make it better, or just think it sucks, let me know.

If noting else, its a good warmup :)
.... or I could be completely wrong.

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Postby AdamR » 17 Jul 2008 19:51

Hi BD
Meyer - I thought so - the cut through 3 guards comes across - our way is more a strike to a longpoint variation and work from there - there's a key difference.

Strike to mutual consent bind - yes - indeed, sometimes it is so - and nothing wrong with that IMHO - indeed - it is Meyer who presents it as a method of entering the bind.

Yes - the swords make so much difference. It's a perpetual pain. we use shinai with quillons, Hanwei federschwert and rebated steel to try to negate as much of the bad things we can. All contain wrongness - but as long as you are aware of what the wrongness of any given simulator is - it's a step in the right direction! The rebated steel is my favourite - but having to fight with the 'brakes on' does limit things. Using cutting dynamics based around moving the sword around the point of balance NOTpush/pull hands helps the abiliy to 'pull' the blow though - and it is the good way to strike.

Good stuff - have fun!
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