Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Before, during and after from Jeet Kun Do

While reading this article from a Jeet Kune Do website I came across the following:

Which made me laugh and shows that really many of these concepts are universal. Or perhaps Bruce Lee was reading Longsword? :)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Perspective on UK HEMA scene

When reading this article, which is mostly a plea for an open discussion on why European HEMA seems to be performing better than USA HEMA, I particularly noted the following:

"I think it's because we're just now creeping out of the back-yard club phase. We're still very much in the instructor-led club phase, where a single personality really holds this all together within a given geography. The Europeans don't have that problem anymore, except perhaps in the UK where they seem to be suffering from a similar problem."

This sounds right to me. It always seemed, as a former UK based fencer, that not many people in the UK took the fencing itself all that seriously. There was lots of noise around clubs, events and tournaments but I remember that when a German, Swede or Dutch person rocked up at a tournament you could pretty much pack up and go home because they'd be walking away with the prize. So it doesn't sound like much has changed.

I think the author, and some content from the following response, really nail the issue which is how those parts of the world that take the tried and tested methods developed for training physical activity are doing well.

From my experience this kinds of knowledge was largely ignored in the UK. From my recollections this was down to (a) HEMA long being considered to be the "sport" of those who didn't like "sport" (b) a long standing aversion to mixing anything from "sport" fencing with Historical Fencing and (c) the very nature of UK clubs, often run by proud self taught dictators whose longstanding focus on holding their club together meant that their fencing knowledge/abilities had atrophied.

Anyhow, cynicism aside, it's great that there is more recognition of the fact that knowledge of the Art is enhanced by being athletic rather than somehow in opposition to it.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Great quote

 "there are a great many Men, who by their Awkwardness will puzzle a good Fencer" 

Captain John Godfrey, A Treatise Upon the Useful Science of Defence 1747

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Monday, 16 March 2015

Why Meyer advocates practicing all the cuts - true, false and flat

I sometimes have to explain why I advocate doing cutting drills with all the cuts: true, false, flat on both sides even when some of these cuts are patiently awful (cutting the undercut on your right hand side with the false edge for example). Of course I can always say "because Meyer said so" but I like to offer a potential rationale. So reading this occurred to me as a nice technical explanation: we train all the cuts, even the awkward ones because of Permutational analysis:

"if I get into a new situation I cannot produce a useful action in the moment - whatever I do will be uncoordinated and slow because it is untrained. As such it is useful to dedicate a part of training to a wide variety of arbitrary variations, specifically to make it less likely that your feet will end up in a truly novel position. This is also the reason to switch up the drills every few months.”

Because if we need to do an undercut from your righthand side with the false edge because in that situation that is where the opening is and because of the guard you are in, you'll want to do it quickly and efficiently! I've described it in the past as having a full set off tools in your kit box, yes you might not need certain tools or only use them very rarely but it makes life much easier to have them when you do need them. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Calling BS on other pracitioners

Firstly, yawn, yawn and efing YAWN. If I wasn't trying to distract myself at work I wouldn't even bother.

Nicole versus Samantha 

How it tallies up:

1. Someone in HEMA calling someone else out publicly for Bullshit is a pretty big step and frankly I approve as there's plenty of BS in the HEMA community.

+20 points to Nicole for calling out BS

2. But the "calling out" frankly reeks of sour grapes and doesn't so much focus on the main issues, i.e. detailing how Samantha Swords is full of BS for her alleged lack of achievement, but rather how the author is better and more deserving of recognition.

-10 points to Nicole for her own BS

4. Oh shit, the author actually knows nothing anything about the Harcourt Tournament but assumes it's BS because people are in Fantasy/Historical fancy dress rather than HEMA fancy dress.

Unfortunately in reality the tournament could be argued to be more hardcore than the HEMA tournaments the author assumes are the ultimate proof of ability. The Harcourt Tournament is allows many more historical techniques such as pommel strikes, kicks and throws than the HEMA tournaments the author sites. Not to mention the fitness required with wearing heavy period armor rather than lightweight HEMA gear.

Also, word is on the grapevine that Samantha Sword has apparently won some Canadian Tournaments but isn't, apparently, bragging about it. Och.

-20 points for Nicole for not knowing what she's talking about

5.  So the author, while extolling her virtues as a HEMA role model, doesn't actually call out Samantha Sword to a 1-1 combat to prove who is the better role model. The author simply challenges Samantha Sword to defeat two entire tournaments worth of fighters. An achievement the author does not claim for herself despite apparently being the paragon of HEMA virtue.

-10 for lame

So the result of Nicole versus Samantha, so far, a total of -20 to Nicole without Samantha even entering the ring. Presumably, this being the HEMA community, we can expect other people to weigh in with more BS.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Excellent article

Great article on HROARR at the moment, specifically I enjoyed this concise summary :

"for me being advanced means to understand the logic between the individual devices and techniques and being able to interconnect the bigger picture."


"They are able to perform an absetzen in practice and in ideal condition, but fail to do so in a freefight. One of the reasons behind it is using extremely simple, improper and incoherent stimulus – reaction methods, mixing illogical actions and often limited by what is written in the surviving fighting manuals"

This really nails it for me, I'm uninterested in hearing about the latest interpretation of blah technique but very interested in hearing about drills, games and other training methods.