March of Marozzo

Marozzo’s progression…I have taught that damned thing so many times, in so many different ways…I’m always eager to abandon it from my teaching repertoire. Familiarity can breed contempt. It’s a bit inescapable, though. Marozzo’s method makes the guards into valuable assets when you have them thoroughly understood. You don’t need them to understand his method. You can parse out the tactical lessons and apply them without needing to use his entire method, but you do lose some of the flair, and some of the deeper lessons. I’ve always been of the opinion that later systems are not so much better as they are simpler. More efficient methods of teaching and learning swordplay, more elegant presentations of the core of the art. Marozzo is the harder path, taking longer to learn and master, but offering more at the end of the day. I’d resolved to include more guard work with my…

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Marathon Training

One of my oldest friends is running her first marathon this weekend. It’s one hell of an achievement. She put her foot on the path some time ago, when she was a much larger woman, used to a life of leisure. At some point, for reasons of her own, she started to change how she ate. And she started to run. Not a lot at first. Just a little. I’m sure the first run was the kind of thing most people would scoff at and deride. Not a “real” workout… It’s so easy to do a thing, and suck at it just a little, and quit. It’s also easy to do a thing and not suck at it that much, and quit. It’s easy to make just tiny little incremental changes, get frustrated and quit. It’s easy to think that things have stalled and you aren’t improving or making any…

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Transition to the Bridge

You see the knife in the hand, and all your training tells you to do anything other than what you are about to do. Block, parry, run, kick, grab the hand and wrest the knife away…anything other than pick your knees up, drop to a squat and expose your back to that blade. But you do it anyway. You drop low as you see the knife start to arc, almost picking your feet up, you bend your knees so fast. For the merest hair of a second, you squat low. The knife is starting to curve forward, but you don’t see that anymore. You can’t change what you are about to do anymore than the knifer can. From the low squat, you drive forward, back exposed but under the path of the cut. Your shoulder slams into the attacker, one of your hands dropping low to trap a thigh. It’s…

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Jab, Hook…and Cut

Jab. Jab. Jab. Over and over, feet moving around, playing at measure, dodging each shot that comes back at you. Constantly sticking that left hand in your opponents’ face, over and over. Watching for the subtle signs, watching for you opponent to anticipate, to plan a counter that will actually land…that’s your moment. The moment when they think they have you, when they know you so well, have read you so perfectly, that they know the next jab you throw will be the one that puts you on the canvas when they counter.  That’s when you throw the right, low to the body…into that big gap that they left. Now they are back to thinking about what you are doing. Their head is still stuck for the moment, though…still holding on for you to do that jab the right way again. You feed them another right, since they refuse to…

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