Would Someone Critique Our Sparring?

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Would Someone Critique Our Sparring?

Postby Isidore2daMax » 10 Nov 2015 04:06

Hello Schola Forum,

I ought first to say that I understand this forum is dedicated to the development and betterment of HEMA and HEMA-ists, and that it might be awkward or even selfish to use it as a way to simply get people's attention and ask that they watch a sparring video. I understand if this post is taken down.

That said, my partner (Mattias) and I (Ellery) are 26 and 18 respectively, and both have done martial arts for the better part of our lives, and have spent the last eight or so months trying to independently train HEMA Longsword. Our training has thus far been founded upon Windsor's books and a few others, in addition to the excellent online presences of so many HEMA practitioners and instructors. Unfortunately, our training time is limited, as I am a college student with almost no peers interested in HEMA, and he lives in our hometown in Washington without a training partner most of the year. We have no instructor.

Our routine originally was relatively structured (exercises, solo and pair drills, reading from translations, etc.) but recently we've only been able to get together on sparse weekends with enough time to spar for a few short time. Thus, our technique and perspective has somewhat diminished. The lack of instructorship or at least a larger group within which to consider and discuss has been a limiting factor for us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHUsWG0HrvE - This video is from a few weeks ago when we got together and did a little bit of sparring. I notice so many technical problems on my own but would be humbled if someone with more experience training or even teaching might take the time to watch the video at least once and comment their observations (general ones or those specific to the exchanges in the video). We have meant to travel to HEMA groups in Seattle or Victoria however can ill-afford the time away from college or work whichever it be. Watching tournaments and demos on the internet is inspiring but hard to use as instructional material, so I was hoping sometime to hear someone's words about our fencing and what we might improve, even if the video is short. Thanks for reading, and thanks doubly if you take time to watch us flail about with Regenyei's poor feders.

Sincerely,

- Ellery
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Re: Would Someone Critique Our Sparring?

Postby Herbert » 10 Nov 2015 08:08

The video is set on "private"…I am unable to watch it.
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Re: Would Someone Critique Our Sparring?

Postby Isidore2daMax » 10 Nov 2015 20:23

Hello, didn't change my defaults, I'm sorry. The video settings are updated and it should be publically viewable.

Thanks,

Ellery
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Re: Would Someone Critique Our Sparring?

Postby Herbert » 11 Nov 2015 07:44

Hello again,

first of all I'd would like to applaud your effort to put a video up and be brave enough to ask for a critique.

Here are some thoughts, others might have different ideas.

Apart from the first fight, you almost always start in too close a distance. You should start further apart, which will lead to better techniques. The whole surprise stabbing is a clear indicator that your distance is wrong.

Try to make your attack to the person and not in front of them. This is very clear also in the first bout. You both very often hit the sword and not the person. An experienced fencer would go for a Nachreisen there. Try to work in the correct distance. It will change your whole fighting as the other is forced to do more than simply tap your blade. One of your main problems is distance.

You both show a surprisingly good sense of Fühlen given that you train alone. Very well done in some instances, again both of you. Congratulations for this!

It is natural to use the Versetzen (displacement) a lot, but it should be done right. A good versetzen will leave the opponent momentarily without the control of his sword.

These are just a few thoughts but I think if you try to observe them it would help your fighting a lot.

Thank you for your patience!

Herbert
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Re: Would Someone Critique Our Sparring?

Postby Isidore2daMax » 11 Nov 2015 20:01

Thank you Herbert!

I appreciate your advice. The video is cut thus that it doesn't often show us resetting, but we do always begin the exchange at least twenty feet apart. That said, I notice we get too comfortable standing too close and my thrusts don't even accompany the proper footwork and I can still surprise him/vice versa. We will have to work on this.

Sometimes my greatest apprehension is that we don't apply enough intent. Not in terms of force and speed (because I still lack a jacket), but we often initiate/Zufechten and by the third or fourth tempo have lost either our footwork or withdrawn due to lack of follow-through. Some of those exchanges don’t even end with a decisive strike.

Regarding our bind, Windsor and several others that I’m reading tend to say that you should have no trouble if you are shorter than your opponent, but I find that reach is a difficulty for me against my partner, since my first actions are almost always displacements of his sword (thus I strike his sword all the time). Should I be closing more and being more deliberate with my Versetzen?

Again, thank you for input Herbert, your taking the time to watch our sparring is invaluable to us, given our lack of experience.

- Ellery
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Re: Would Someone Critique Our Sparring?

Postby Cosmoline » 12 Nov 2015 19:21

Looks really good! You guys are getting a feel for measure and fulen. One suggestion would be to be less eager to disengage. Though it's hard to see if some of that is because a hit was scored. As a beginner myself, I always find I have a tendency to start doing the "Curly Shuffle" and kind of dance back out of a bad spot. My stooge-kata is strong :D One trick my instructors have tried to pound into me is that once I have the center, I shouldn't be too wiling to give it up because it's really difficult to safely back out esp. with a longsword coming after you. And if I need more space and time I can get both by simply changing my angle slightly. So sometimes instead of trying to back out, it's better to move forward but alter your attack. That's where all the fancy fulen moves can come into play. I'd suggest talking a look at Wallerstein for some nice ones and also take a look at the funky new displacement "corkscrew" winden that's been discussed lately. I can't find any videos of it off hand but maybe someone knows of one. IIRC it comes from Talhoffer and involves a displacement of the blade quite a bit further than we had been doing using the lat muscles and then "corkscrewing" into the head from the side. Feels weird, but it seems to work better in freeplay than some of the more traditional first and second winds.
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Re: Would Someone Critique Our Sparring?

Postby Isidore2daMax » 16 Nov 2015 23:50

Thanks Cosmoline,

I really feel that distance and intent are some of our biggest problems aside from simply our lack of reflexes to wind and bind. Like Herbert said I think we don't seem competent at close measure as our technique deteriorates at that distance. What you say about keeping the center and winding makes sense, however I see a lot of people from reputable HEMA groups running around one another and doing fancy winds/mulinelli. Can't tell if that's stylistic or just more suited for tournament fighting.

With the SPES Heavy gloves being a little big for me and the side rings often catching on the backhand shell, I dropped my Feder twice that day and have been wondering if a more tactile set of gauntlets might be better for me, but given how successful some people are with the SPES heavies I suppose I shouldn't be blaming the equipment :P.

I'll look around for those winding techniques, because we both need to work on making more coherent actions from the bind, especially when blades are horizontal rather than vertical.

Thanks again for your time,

- Ellery
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