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    Articles

    Drill:
    Diccon's Dastardly Drills


    Contents


    Introduction

    So what's with the funny title??? It's inspired by the effect using this first collection of drills in your training can do for your fencing ability. This is what I hope will be an ongoing collection of drills developed by members of the Guild. The first collection of drills were written by Provost Diccon Shorthand, for whom this regular feature will be named. I've seen the effect these drills had on members of the Politarchopolan Guild School. I'm a big believer in footwork as the foundation of all fencing, and I saw one particular Journeyman go from mediocre to outright nasty in the space of 3 months. When I did some digging into how one man could improve so fast, I found out Diccon had been hounding them all with footwork drills. So now onto the drills! - ibn Jelal.

    Footwork Drills

    by Diccon Shorthand

    Originally published in Punta Dritta November AS XXXVIII (2003)

    Put random marks all around your pell 6 cm circles up and down your pell. Then, place the person to work around the pell hitting the circles with cuts and hits. This enables 360 degree training both in range and footwork. This can commence slow or be made fast. To enable variation you can make the circles different colours and call what colour you want hit and how.

    Use a rope tied around the waist of the two opponents. The length is just enough for the two swords to be in range keeping the rope taut. It forces the opponents to move around to enable clean cuts and hits. It also forces clean technique to be used so sword does not tangle in rope. Particularly mean!

    More Footwork Drills

    By Diccon Shorthand

    Originally published in Punta Dritta June/July AS XL (2005)

    Have fencers face off within distance of each other: call one "Fencer A"; and one "Fencer B".

    Call paces, steps, compass steps, slope paces to one of the fencers; their partner responds to the movements to stay in line and range. For example: "Fencer A - three compass steps right". Fencer B then matches movements to stay on line and in range.

    This is an interesting exercise for movements and footwork. It can be made even more interesting (and useful) by making Fencer B wear earplugs, so that they cannot hear the commands and must respond only to the movements of their partner.

    Reaction Drills

    By ibn Jelal

    Originally published in Punta Dritta June/July AS XL (2005)

    One of the most important skills we can teach our students is the ability to respond instantly to those minute openings that present themselves during a bout. The trick is to train them so that they react to an action made by the opponent using varied reaction drills. (Which, if you examine Diccon's drills closely, all revolve around reacting to the movement of the opponent.)

    1) Have the students form two lines, with each person in a line. Bring them on guard without weapons, and leading hands nearly touching palm upwards. Drape a glove over the hands. One row get designated as the leader, the other as the follower. Start with simple advances and retreats. The follower must try to keep the glove from falling by matching the steps taken by the leader. The instructor calls "CHANGE" at random intervals and the positions reverse, ie the leader is now the follower and vice versa. Keep a close eye on the paces taken, ensuring everyone steps cleanly and crisply. Slow pairs down if they get sloppy. As students progress you can add in crossover steps to the allowed range of steps.

    2) Working in pairs, have one person hold the glove, while their partner holds their hand open in a C shape just below the glove, ready to catch it when dropped. Drop the glove at random intervals without warning - the catcher must catch the glove. Repeat five times with both hands catching, then swap roles and repeat. Repeat the exercise, but this time with the catcher on guard, such that they have to extend their arm to catch the glove.

    You can also repeat again with the catcher set to lunge to make the catch and lastly to step-lunge to make the catch.

    3) As above, except the glove is held to the side and the catcher is this time trying to hit the falling glove with a sword thrust. Start at close range where an arm extension is required, then repeat at lunge and step-lunge ranges.

    Last updated on 8 Apr 2011, 12:34:07.