Some words on going slow today. 

Those of you were at Longsword Focus (Mon @ 5:30; Wed @ 12:00) were given homework: cut 30 fendenti and accompanying falso riverso sotanifor a week. It's really easy to do; 30 cuts takes about 1 minute. 

If you're going fast. 

And, if you're only concerned about going fast you're only concern - or perhaps the only one you can really notice - is going from A to B as fast as possible. But are you considering - are able to consider - the journey? 

That's what I started thinking about while doing my homework. By moving slowly through the cuts I was able to self-diagnosis several things that needed improvement (and a few things that I was doing well!). In my case I noticed that my elbows were splaying out to the side. I'm not sure that this affected the power of my cut or my ability to cu when I really needed to but I did notice a much greater smoothness in the cut - I was better able to direct and control what I was doing. 

It's very tempting to practice a technique as fast as you can - it looks cooler. But that doesn't mean you're doing it as best as you can. 

Here's today's drill. I took it straight out of the this week's Green cord curriculum. 

First, the set-up and the ideal situation:
A finds P on the inside

  • P's goal: disengage to the outside, find, gain and strike
  • A's goal: strike P in contratempo

However, instead of keeping the point online, P is going to disengage, bring the fortehigh and cross A strongly (pointing offline). This will have the effect of defeating A's lunge but will also prevent P from striking.


A defeats this by using a passing lunge, keeping their sword high, rolling to primaif necessary.


The drill, then, goes like so:

  1. A moves to find P on the inside
  2. P disengages and brings their sword up high; A rolls their sword (expecting to be able to strike)
  3. A, feeling the blade interaction, determines they can't strike using a lunge so strikes with a passing lunge

That second step, where A follows their original plan is important to keep in the drill. Don't anticipate that P is going to disengage high or you'll regret it when they don't! And that's the way to expand the drill: sometimes P disengages high (strike on the pass) sometimes P doesn't (strike with a lunge).

Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
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