Bring me to a Fencer, I will bring him out of his fence trickes with good downe right blowes
-George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence
Singlestick is a game with simple rules. It has been practiced for centuries in Scotland. You stand, without moving your feet across from your opponent with the stick for which the game is made raised and protecting your head in the position the Scots called St. George’s Guard. Your opponent does the same. On the command of “go” you attempt to strike each other on the head with enough force to draw blood without him striking you in return. There are occasionally variations, but that’s the gist. Singlestick is a game with simple rules but endless complexities and strategy. Continue reading
I have had the privilege of knowing and training with some truly awesome fighters. Fighters that work hard and show the results. Every now and then, though, I come across an odd breed of fencer. These folk win many of their fights with what can only be described as trickery. These sneaky tricks often make use of bad technique. Now it’s important to mention that I have no wish to disparage these fighters and I will shortly explain what I mean by “bad technique.” It’s also important to note that were I called upon to train someone for a life or death duel, I would teach them to fight exactly as I described. I have a repertoire of deadly tricks that tend to work exactly once and if you needed to defend your life in a one time duel, I would drill you with one of these techniques. It’s my feeling, however, that reliance on tricks severely hampers the development of true skill. Continue reading
I have been working a lot recently with the broadsword. That is to say, the basket hilted sword that is also sometimes called the backsword. Not any of the following examples.
Broadswords belong to a class of weapons that are primarily designed to cut. Cutting is a funny thing. I equate cutting to punching. Hand a person a sword and right away they are going to want to cut with it. Put someone in an unarmed situation and they are probably going to want to punch. Just as it is with cutting it is with punching, unless you’ve received quality training you’re going to do it wrong. When teaching unarmed fighting I tell my students it will be about three months before they are going to be able to throw a proper and effective punch and this seems to be about right for most people. Continue reading