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The pre-fencing

The Zufechten is the phase for setting up attacks, seeing openings and generally preparing our win, but if you want to fence from the Nach it’s also the time to show the opponent the openings you want them to attack into, to prepare your counter ahead of time, and to make them uncomfortable enough that they’ll throw a poorly executed attack that will be easier to defend.
Recent posts

Tournament 2017 Thoughts

So, my Club has just completed their 2017 open tournament. This post is a summary of my thoughts around this experience and follows from this post from 2016 tournament.

A bit of background, the tournament is open to all other Clubs or individuals in New Zealand and sometimes further afield. It usually attracts around 30-40 people. Many of those are from my own Club but there's usually about a third comes from other Clubs. Last year I organised the tournament and spent most of the time marshaling and judging. This year I managed to duck out of organising altogether and spent most of the time training in the run-up. I also did a small amount of judging at the event.

The rules for the tournament are based on the Fechtschule New Year ruleset, or a round-robin style with each engagement limited to the first blow. You have three lives and different weapons have slightly different scoring and restrictions. Given the need to cater for a wide variety of practice in terms of safety equipme…

Antonio Manciolino says strike that hand

The wounding of the hand, not of the enemy, is registered in the account of blows in play. Because the hand is the chief in exposing itself, thus in combat for earnest it is the most singular wound, because that member of the enemy must be offended which offends more than others, and this is the hand.  Antonio Manciolino, Opera Nova 1531

Better Drilling.

"I see techniques as illustrations of the real learning, principles. Students must understand the principle of what they do. I find techniques can be dangerous as the student can obsess about getting that one thing right and never understand the application." Rob Runacres

Over the years if there's one thing I've not done as much as I should and that is drilling. I should define what I think "drilling" is, as it's a common term and therefore probably understood differently. To my mind to drill means "to practice something." Simple right? However, I'd say that drilling tends to be as understood as practising a specific move or technique by rote, but that is only the most fundamental understanding.

For many people I'm sure, including myself at many times, their training has only had two modes: rote learning (solo drill and isolated specific techniques) and completely free-form sparring. But the most important thing to my mind is that as s…

Halberd Waster

Several times through my historical martial arts career I've got it into my head that I'd like to do halberd. However, the issues with a suitable waster have tended to put me off, specifically creating anything that can be used at something approaching full intention. The issue is that if you make the head from the usual materials (steel, aluminium, wood, leather etc) you have to exercise extreme caution at very slow speed because all you've made is a giant heavy mace on the end of a 6ft lever.

Recently I was working on making foam swords for another side project and while doing this it occurred to me that foam was the obvious solution to the halberd head issue. Pretty quickly I developed this simple waster.

The head is cut from EVA foam matting. This material is importantly both ultra light and pretty robust. To get a good strength I cut two head shapes out and stuck them together. The bracket to attach the head to the pole is just PVC piping with a slot cut into it for th…