Practicing forms ‘correctly’

An important insight into practicing forms: how should they be practiced?


Assuming we’re doing a form that involves cutting (eg. Marozzo’s first assalto of sword and buckler) I recommend the following progression of study:


1) learn the cuts and how to do them smoothly
2) memorize the sequence
3) practice the transitions


Points 1 and 2 are vital: if you don’t know the cuts as named you’re going to struggle a lot. Similarly, if you haven’t memorized the specific actions in the form you’ll be dissatisfied with your progress


It’s point 3 that I want to cover specifically. I find it’s an area that students often ignore but is typically where they need the most attention.


Quite simply: once you know how to perform the actions and when to perform them you have to practice moving between the actions. My biggest piece of advice: go slow (that seems to be my advice a lot).


As I was telling some students this past week: they practice cuts with some regularity had memorized the form they wanted to become proficient at, but they almost never practice moving between them, and that is where they were sloppy. Because they rushed through the transitions in their desire to get to the cuts their cuts actually ended up sloppy.


Really work through those transition movements. Once you know can move the sword easily into a place to cut from your cuts will move wonderfully.


clintfernandes Having joined Academie Duello in 2004, Clinton achieved his Provost rank in August of 2015. He's been teaching since 2008. Clinton's expertise centers around Italian rapier, longsword and sidesword.
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