Alex Hanning - Swordsquatch (2016) I.33 Session notes

General tips:

1. We will change partners frequently, based on a timer. If you want to stay with the same person for a bit longer, that's fine too.  Remember that weapon simulators should match - wood to wood, steel to steel etc.  Thank your current partner and move on rapidly.  If you're looking for a bit more of a challenge with a particular drill, one side of the room will be designated for people like you - look there for your next partner. If you're looking for less of a challenge or some tips on how to get the current drill to work best, the other side. 

2. If you're not used to this, your arms will ache in weird places, as will your legs. The practice rounds are short, step out for one, shake it out, rejoin the next round but make sure you watch and learn from others. Also try using the wood wasters and bucklers which are lighter. 

3. There are a mix of weapon simulators, from foam to steel. Try to work with them all as there are benefits to each. Wear the appropriate level of protection

Session 1

Things too basic to be mentioned in the text: 

*if there’s an exposed hand/arm then cut it. While thrusting would be nice, arms are a lot easier to hit with a cut due to movement. 

* When at range, and often in close, cover your sword hand with the buckler. Try to keep the buckler on the same side of your sword hand as the opponent's sword.

Sword solo practice

* In general, from any ward, cut to the center. Add a rotation around the buckler and thrust or cut again. Don't give up the center!

Game 1 "Own the center" - either have your sword in the center and try to keep it there, or start from outside the center and try to knock the other person's sword out of it without overly committing.     

What if you mess up? Shortening any swings that pass through the center - >  schutzen. 

 

Halbschilt (HS) game - 

Basic drill: One person is in half-shield. The other just has a sword and feeds cuts to different angles or a thrust to try to get through half-shield's guard. Cuts to hands and arms are always good! Cuts should be to, rather than through the center. If the defender is consistently successful, add fakes, chained attacks and a bit of stepping until success rate is less than 75%. 

Added complexity: 

    i) If they know how, Half shield person can follow up with eg shield-knock, tread through, nucken etc. 

    ii) half-shield person initiates by moving in with a thrust, and tries to be successful, but will convert to counter an attack using half-shield. 

 

Underbind/Overbind game (ub/ob) - Starting close or in sword contact, without withdrawing from the center or moving out of range, both people try to get and maintain the overbind position.

    i) allow the underbind person to attack low. Counter as taught!

Underbind/Overbind game with nucken

Underbind/Overbind game with nucken or schiltslach 

    i) sword grab if close to buckler hand, and arm wrap are options.

Choreography : sequence from ub->mutate-> ob -> nucken, countered by fall under = ub

i) each person can attempt to beat the other by performing their assigned move better/faster, etc. 

Underbind/Overbind game with nucken or schiltslach starting from separation

Starting out of range, you can only move towards each other - pick whatever sword position/ward you like but the goal is to get the overbind when the swords make contact. To succeed, the overbind person needs to then finish immediately (nucken/schiltslach). Underbind person needs to get to overbind to end and force a restart.

 Are you doing I.33? Signs and symptoms

You don't expose your sword hand when attacking from distance.

You cut to, rather than through the center.

Once you have control of the center you don't give it up. You immediately attack. 

You take the overbind whenever the opponent is in or threatening the center.

 

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Session 2

Previous class game practice:  negotiate with partner for whether ob/ub, nucken/schiltslach/attack from ub/sword grab/at range and practice it!

Revisit where we left off: 

Underbind/Overbind game with nucken or schiltslach starting from separation

Starting out of range, you can only move towards each other - pick whatever sword position/ward you like but the goal is to get the overbind when the swords make contact. To succeed, the overbind person needs to then finish immediately (nucken/schiltslach). Underbind person needs to get to overbind to end and force a restart.

Thrusting game - "if they do nothing....." Both start in 5th ward.

if opponent is not controlling the center, as soon as you think you've a chance of succeeding, enter with a thrust while covering their line of most direct attack. Other person must get an overbind while deflecting the thrust for the game to reset. Cuts to the sword arm are allowed if it is separated and exposed.

    i. Both sides can cut to bind the sword as well

    ii. What amounts to light free sparring but only thrusts (and cuts to sword arm)     count

Halbschilt game - with stepping, sword person initiates

Basic drill: One person is in half-shield. The other just has a sword and feeds cuts to different angles or a thrust to try to get passed their guard and to the center (cuts to hands and arms are always good!). If the defender is consistently successful, add fakes, chained attacks and a bit of stepping until success rate is less than 75% or so. Half shield person can follow up with eg shield-knock, tread through, nucken etc. 

    i) half-shield person initiates by moving in with a thrust, and tries to be successful, but will convert to counter an attack using half-shield. 

The eternal question: Start with an attempt to bind and then thrust if you notice an opening, or start with a thrust and cut down into a bind if their sword threatens. 

 

Halbschilt vs 1st and 2nd ward game

Feeder starts in either 1st or 2nd ward, and initiates by cutting directly from there. Half-shield counters using change of measure and controlling the center, or can thrust if feeder gets too close. Bonus points for cutting exposed and separated arms!

 Halbschilt vs a couple of other wards!

    As above picking a similar pair of wards!

Countering some non-I.33 methods

1. Buckler as Talisman of Protection from Death! 

2. Separating sword for a low cut

3. Hit and run tactics.  

 

 

 

Lonin's Most Peculiar Sparring Rules. 

Requires a Ref & an odd number of judges, and 7 rounds of 20 seconds each.  

*For PNW Swordsquatch 3 judges will be used at a time, rotated through by competitors as well as other interested people present in the session who aren't competiting in that particular match.    

Fighters: Breaks will NOT be called after each weapon contact. The fighting will be much more continuous than other tournament systems. This may include eg a person hitting their opponent several times, or hitting, withdrawing out of measure, and then attacking again. You will follow the Ref's instructions to break and restart. 

Very light or indicated (but not landed) strikes with the buckler and pommel are considered by judges but contact level must be highly controlled or will lead to immediate disqualification. Grabs and wrestling controls are allowed, and given consideration where a clear strike is subsequently performed, but no throws.

Referee: The ref doesn't judge!  Ref keeps order, awards penalties for actions that are dangerous or outside the spirit of fair competition. Penalties may involve the standard range for such tournaments. After each 20 second interval they call break, at which point judges decide who did best over that interval. The ref also breaks and restarts competitors if eg people are locked in a clinch, or if there are some fight ending sorts of blows that don't end in the fighters separating themselves. The ref's goal is to keep the fight going as continuously as possible, much like what usually happens in unjudged sparring. 

Judges: Judges will observe quality and placement of landed cuts, quality of defense, ring dominance,  (see below), and over the course of the 20 second interval will build an impression of which fighter did better.  During this time both fighters should continue to attack and defend and their actions will be considered accordingly.

At the end of each round, the judges vote for the fighter they think did the best, and will indicate the winner. The majority decision wins the round. Any judge that considers the round indecisive, where the competitors were entirely evenly matched,  will openy flip a coin and award their decision to the winner of the toss. A second similarly even and undecided round would have that particular judge give their decision to the other fighter, and so on.   

There are a couple of options for double hits, the default choice being the first. Combatants can decide amongst themselves which they prefer, or go with the default.

1. (Default) Judges in the case of double hits and blow+after blow will give preference to the target likely to have a more immediate disable. 

[Optional 2. One person is designated the "automatic loser in case of double hits" in each round, alternating between the fighters. For the last, odd, round, format 1 rules apply if no clear winner has emerged by then. The ref will notify the judges at the start of each round which fighter has the advantage.] 

Consideration by judges should be given for .....

    Target, placement, and contact level - how quickly you think the wound would disable the opponent

    Solid defense against attacks that leaves the opponent open for a counter

    Chaining of actions

    Good use of time/measure/judgement, boldness, stability and structure, quickness - that kind of thing :)

    Ring dominance and generalship

    Effective aggression