Monday, September 5, 2016

Fundamentals Intro

Someone pointed out that this blog was dead, it isn't quite.  Posts will be super sporadic thanks to a fairly busy work schedule.  I will try to do better at rolling out more posts much more often. This particular post has a good chance of being a bit of a rant, but it seems like it might be a good place to start for future posts.

With "new guy season" well underway, I've been thinking a lot about the fundamentals of different equipment and what to focus on when teaching newer fighters.  I started out thinking about how I fight with glaive, and realized that almost all of my style just boils down to the few fundamentals executed efficiently.  As we think about weapons that are safer and lighter, we start to see more divergence from fundamentals into odds and ends of "advanced" or "situational" techniques. (quotes here because some of those "advanced" techniques are things vets can get away with, despite being bad form)

This all came to an interesting conclusion: our more dangerous, harder to use equipment is easier to build fundamentals with because the variance in technique is much lower than things like sword and board.  For example, glaive can be broke down into three two-handed swings, a one-handed swing, and stabbing.  While it make take some time to practice and perfect those techniques to refine placement, combos, and energy efficiency, it is easy to focus on these core techniques.  If we look at sword and board, our introductory weapons set, there are at least 6 basic types of swings to learn, plus a few stabs, and a lots of shieldwork.  While that isn't a huge amount to learn, it all gets muddled with a much larger variety of possible attacks and combinations with shieldwork and swings.

Designing a class or one-on-one instruction around the fundamentals of sword and board seems fairly straightforward, but the most common interaction between vet and new fighter comes on the field at practice.  Many times, the "wow, what did you just do to kill me?" response from a new fighter draws the vet to explain an advanced technique or unique combo.  I wonder how this impacts a newer fighter's development of the fundamentals.  Are we distracting them from the core techniques, or giving them an incentive to build them?

With all that in mind, I think the next few blog posts will be geared towards the fundamentals.  While I am temped to start with the overall fundamentals of swordfighting like footwork, stance, and situational awareness, I think it may be more beneficial to focus on the building blocks of how to swing a sword.

Now, of course, others have already ventured down this territory.  The Amyr, for example, teach a class at about every Midwestern event about the basic shots.  This is good instruction to learn what types of shots are possible, but I would rather look at the various motions that combine together to make those shots happen.  After all, if we want to work on the fundamentals, mastering the basic motions of a shot allows one to adapt a shot to hit where they might need to.

The next post, then, will start with the super basic "how to swing a sword".  As always, questions, comments, and suggestions are always welcome.  Stay tuned!


  1. I disagree with your statement of dangerous equipment has less techniques to learn and therefore easy to build fundementals on.

    There is way more than 3 fundamentals needed to be efficient.
    I would wager there are 6-10 basic swings and 5-8 stabs just like fighting with a sword, defence has 3 components, footwork and range control are vital to survival as well as understanding their role in a line fight.
    There is a large variance in fighting styles and techniques with more dangerous equipment.
    Especially glaive figthing...
    I am glad your posting new blogs... always a good read thx

    1. I didn't aim to imply that there are less overall techniques to learn with something like glaive. I may need to reword that section to better emphasize my point.

      What I aimed at is that the most essential shots of a glaive are a smaller set than the most essential shots of a sword. While there may be slightly different ways of executing a particular shot with a two-hander, the overall motion of the weapon can be grouped up into a fairly small set due to less free range of motion with two hands.

      Now, what you might be considering a "basic" technique and what I was referring to may be different. My plan with this series of posts is to try to focus on the core techniques that are the building blocks of others that I would have a newer fighter work on.

      Of course, you and I both know there are silly glaive swings we bust out once in a great while.

    2. Very true... I look forward to the blogs

  2. Thanks, this is really helpful!