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Adventures in Rapier

So last weekend I took Dante's class on using your plateau as your new platform. I must say, it was a great class and I got some useful information. I also promised Dante to keep him posted of any progress or what my experience was. Since last night was fencing practice, I decided to put that new knowledge to good use.

I must say, I found the new format a little bit awkward and I must have been doing something wrong because I started feeling some stress on my left knee. The stance is rather different from what I have been using, and it does take some shifting mind gears on how everything works.

Nevertheless, and knowing that I would probably get my ass handed back to me while I was trying to think what to do next, I plunged into my fights with gusto, and with a single sword. (The latter not being a problem, since single rapier is my favorite form. Call me a purist. So there.)

Sure enough, it was rather weird. Not as bad as I thought it would be mind you, but I did get hit more than usual. Plus, I am early in the game and I have the feeling that it will get worse until it gets better and I get the gist of this thing.

Small price to pay for getting a better game.

Later on, I managed to engage Cosimo and ballistabob to become my drill "buddies" and see if I can finally figure this out without turning myself into a habitual human pincushion.

After some argument and explanation on what I was trying to accomplish, we finally got our act together and I started to get the idea. I must say, as awkward as this is, I was thoroughly surprised at how fast you can throw a shot and what little force you need to accomplish it.

True, now you need to move your body more, but your bladework gets a lot more efficient and with smaller moves. It is as if the blade has a mind of its own, and it sings along with you.

The best part? Now I can't lead with my head lest I stick my head in my pommel. It did wonders for my posture.

I think I can get to like this.

Of course, it is not nearly perfect. Not by a long shot. And getting it right in drills is not the same as getting it right in a real fight. But it helps.

I'll be posting more later.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
dante_di_pietro
Oct. 26th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
As far as the knee strain is concerned, take it easy. I had stress sensations for a good long while until my body got strong enough. I recommend taking brief moments throughout the day to stand with all your weight on your back leg, knee bent, for 30 seconds or so. Your body will adapt and it will become comfortable *eventually*. Fencing is bizarre in that very little of good form feels natural at first.

The important thing is that your energy to effect ratio remains positive, i.e. that you get a maximum effect for minimum energy. The amount of movement (of the body) is less important than the time it takes to move and the effort needed to do so.

2000 successful repetitions is the minimum amount needed for an action to become instinctual. Have fun. :)

The tough part with this is that everything has to work in conjunction to be really effective, so you have to move on all things in bits and pieces rather than working on X, then Y, then Z.
belfebe
Oct. 26th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I was wondering about the knee thing myself. I'll have to work on it until I can do it effectively without hurting myself. :-)

The tough part with this is that everything has to work in conjunction to be really effective, so you have to move on all things in bits and pieces rather than working on X, then Y, then Z.

That's what I am trying to figure out. Right now, I am trying to get the stance, attack and defense on 4th (the one with the palm up? Damn my dyslexia!). Of course, I cannot stay in that stance all the time and work from there. I need to get all the other bits and pieces to work in conjunction with everything else. But it's a start :-)

I think I need to print out your entire document. It's hard to remember everything, but I was really happy when I got some of that moving. At least in drills.

I am not sure what, if anything, I will be able to incorporate by Holiday Fair, which is my next programmed tournament, but we will see. Will you be there? I would like to pick your brains.
dante_di_pietro
Oct. 26th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
Baby steps with the stance. The weight distribution is the most difficult and least necessary thing to get down, IMO.

I will be at Holiday Faire, and will be happy to work on anything you have questions about.

Fourth IS palm up. It is good for engaging on the inside, attacking on the inside, and attacking on the outside with a yield (punta riversa). It is the most supple of the guards, but is weaker on the outside line than third or second.

I suggest reading the paper and highlighting things that definitely make sense, definitely don't make sense, and things that require clarification as well as any questions you have about issues not directly addressed. We can talk about them here, there, or whenever.
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