Measuring Marozzo

With only a simple lunge to deal with, measure control with a rapier can still be a complex issue. You need to build skill in absolute measure…knowing your reach and timing to touch a static object. You need to have that skill at all the quantum stages of your lunge, as well. From arm extension to maximum reach, you need to know your ability. That takes work…and all of that for only a beginner level of skill. Real ability is understanding actual measure, the distance and time between you and an intelligent, moving opponent. With simple thrust attacks, that’s a complex business. To develop the same skillset with the arcing actions of cuts is far more complex…and also a touch easier, too. The math of understanding what goes on is more complex, but the continuous action gives more overall feedback to the brain. That ease is removed, though, when we…

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Measure Control From Sword to Hand

Swordfighting can give you a great sense of measure. With good work and attention, you can reliably lean back out of an attack so it misses you by millimeters. You can sneak just inside an opponents measure well enough to kill them with the slow hand, a gentle partial extension of the arm that just touches them. You can lunge the length of a room and hit an opening the size of a button at full extension, knowing your opponent has relaxed, thinking you are too far away to worry about. But boxing and wrestling have measure demands of their own. Those demands require specialized training, as much as swordplay does. Fencers often have a problem boxing because of this. Hand measure can be learned fairly quickly, but the knack for understanding the flow from hand to foot measure can be tricky…and bridging the final gap to wrestling range can…

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Gala Nights

Two fencers face each other on a narrow strip, in a darkened theatre. Two champions vying for a moment’s supremacy, while a hushed crowd of over a thousand watch. I loved that image when I first read about it, from the turn of the previous century. It spoke to me a of a time long lost, when the art of the sword was respected, when a skilled fencer could be known. One of my goals when I started Academie Duello with Devon was to try and make that time come back. I was only able to attend the Saturday night Gala at the recent Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium. I would have loved to have spent the entire weekend there, fencing everyone I could and enjoying the classes, but time and money spoke against that. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that much. I got to see something more important…

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Shut Up and Learn From the Newbies

Sometimes the best way to learn is to shut up and listen. Some times it’s the best way to teach, too. Ditch the ego, and just do the work with the students. Class is about learning, and that applies to me as much as it does to my students. We were short on students last night, as expected. It worked out well, having the people with the most detailed technical training being absent. Coming in to class, I was excited to work on more basic things without worrying about splitting the class up by skill level. I had planned a simple series of basic drills to cover our fundamentals. It didn’t work out that way, as is so often the case. We wrapped up the workout portion with some boxing skills, working on power and accuracy. On a whim, I finished up that portion with slow work sparring.  We were…

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Talking To Each Other The WMA Way

Seems to be a lot of dead forums out there, some are just zombies pretending to hang on. Lot of dead blogs, too. Forums and blogs all start out with good intentions and enthusiasm, but it doesn’t take long for the death crawl to start. Forums seem to die when no one has posted anything for a month, at which point the thing only exists as a death trap for those who wander deep in google searches. Blogs die as soon as the blogger posts a promise to update more frequently, or to turn over a new leaf. Sometimes the blog dies with a little more dignity, an expanding logarithmic curve of time between posts, until they either end or you expect the next one is scheduled for the following millennium. It’s no exaggeration to say that the WMA world was built from internet communities. There were two or three…

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Death Comes, What Have You Done With Your Sword?

More than once in life, I’ve walked away from my martial arts practice. When I hit thirty, and realized I was too old and out of shape to compete in MMA. A woman or two, from time to time, has pulled me away from regular practice. And I’ve felt the bitter sting of betrayal a time or two, burned by friends or loved ones, and sworn off the thing I loved because it reminded me of pain. There may have even been a year or two were I was just tired of the whole thing, and felt like there was more in my mind that could be contained in the same-old same-old practice. Injuries and sickness have taken their toll and cut out their time from my life. I’ve trained in certain styles because friends did, or because of a lady. Sometimes because work required it, and I felt obliged…

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