Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Always Learning

Notes from working with Duke Marc d’Arundel
 Soft Skills
Reading Centerline

 Attribute Training
Strength – weight training
Power – plyometrics; bands; efficient movement
Speed – patterns
Balance – static, movement patterns, footwork integration
Mobility – static vs. dynamic; active vs. passive
Flexibility – range of motion
Reaction time – ball, drills, hot hands

 Mechanical Skills
Good weight shifts – balls of feet

 Application Skills
 Engagement control
‘cut around” concept
“wedge” concept – defensive concept; the further range you have, the bigger defensive wedge you have and the less you need to move your tools to intercept bad guys’ attack Clearing lines
Tool exchange – if you go low with sword, go high with shield – area blocks
 Maximizing solo training – pell, movement Partner drills – ghost and blind man
Fighting Scenario Training & problem solving

 Pell Drills
• Drag Race – pell work with a partner – one is the driver and the other is the follower – follower pays attention to driver’s cues and mirror what driver throws. Looking for tells. You want to hit the pell at the same time w/ the same shot. No tell flat snap; offside; leg – 1. Know; 2. Guess; 3. All three • What’s Next? – have 2 shots, set up with first shot the opening for where your next shot will be.
 • What Guard? -- Pretend the pell is set up in a guard and try to hit the openings in the guard – makes a more three dimensional fight (1-6 drill, the numbers would change locations depending on what your opponent is presenting)
• Now – anticipating what your opponent will throw, make the block and then moving to where you need to be to hit the opening
 • 1-6 drill – should practice the footwork, gather, pass, pivot, offline between blows – always moving • 1-6 drill/ thrust – add a thrust between each number 1 – thrust -1; 1 thrust 2, etc.
 • Undercut lead – lead in with point threat, leave sword out in front, use wrist circles and feet/ core to drive power and direct sword; footwork weight shifts are in ankles, not quads or body
• Double thrust snap – pump, pump, snap, hand in front
 • Double thrust leg – pump, pump, leg – hand in front
• Sword Redirection/ Floats – work redirection of sword w/ sword “float” points – feel them w/ two fingers on sword and then work on redirecting the sword in the opposite direction at the “float”. Example – backhand head – float over to snap, don’t complete the snap blow, but when you feel the float, redirect the blow into a backhand
• Squat throws – as you step in, squat down with sword tip forward into opponent, feel the float and then throw an offside leg shot or stand up into a short stick face shot (footwork/pell) Work on hitting the pell with the sweet spot of the sword always, all about timing, line and position. Staying in the range to hit with the sweet spot will help keep a better defensive wedge as well. Partner Drills
 • Blind Man – partner throws blow, defender uses sword and shield to block where the blow is going, partner keeps pressure on sword/shield, as pressure is released, defender closes eyes and moves into position to block what the defender thinks the bad guy will likely throw next; catch the next blow and repeat. If you miss the block, open eyes, set to where you catch the blow and then close eyes and keep moving. Use defensive wedge concept and tool exchange.
 • Ghost – partner throws a slow blow and you use footwork to dodge the blow/ move out of your partner’s range (no ducking or leaning – pivots to move into where the sword in coming from and off the “bubble” of the sword arc), into a position where you still have range on your partner – as they miss blow, you show you are still in range by “tapping” your opponent at the opening that is accessible to you.Work the footwork and stack your sword/ shield with your head body so you are defensively offensive.

 Gather step – illusion of being further out of range than you are
Pass through step – changes lead leg
Pivot step – pivots are important not only for power generation but also to keep stacked, maintain the defensive wedge and stay protected defensively while executing offense.
Offline step – use to manipulate centerline

 Stay on ball of feet, when you step, do not commit weight to front foot right away – check yourself (tapping) and moving back to original position, so that you can change direction at any point to react to what is open or what the bad guy does. Practice the steps forward and backward. Practice steps together – gather/pass, pass/gather, pass/ pivot/ offline – etc.

 Notes to self: • initial thrust too hard, too committed, too often, use more secondary attacks; try to work the thrust off the backhand more • get my feet under my body; my shoulders are getting ahead of my hips • work on sword blocking – this will help me lose my leg less if I can use my shield to cover my leg and sword block my head

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Criticism and Judgment

It seems like I cannot escape people telling me how to do things better or finding fault in the way I teach or communicate (I am not talking technique feedback by the way, I wholeheartedly welcome all of that). On the one hand, it is a good thing because it means I am approachable and a certain amount of criticism and feedback is worthwhile as it aids in giving me direction in which to evolve. On the other hand, it can feel overwhelming. Even when I am trying hard to do my best, I am giving of myself to others both in time and information, I am cognizant not just of what is going on in the fight, but how the fight may be perceived; there is still fault, judgment, criticism, and accusation. I am not perfect; I will never be perfect. I do my best. I strive always to encourage, to raise others up and not put them down, to be impeccable in my behavior and judgment on the field, to respect my opponent and the fight in general, to bring honor to my consort and my mentors and on the whole, I feel pretty good about the job I am doing. But then someone tells me their perception and it makes me question everything. It makes me wonder if striving for my goal is worth it; whether my self-assessment is not sound, whether some of this "feedback" is really mental machinations or mind games from people I am competing with. Even going there sucks. I was raised to be honest, to do my best, to encourage and lead by example and not to tear others down to lift myself up. But today I am tired. Today I feel like the standard I am being held to is unfair. Today fighting is not fun.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Basic Sword and Shield Stuff

Going to start transcribing some of my fighting notes from my big notebook of doom. Starting with the sword and shield section. Basic sword and shield -- your arm is not swinging a sword; you are using body movement to swing the sword (Lucan) -- you balance should be shoulders over thighs over feet (Lucan) -- a right leg lead gives a right handed fighter better range; off side (Lucan) -- your back foot drives your movement (Lucan) -- balance is most important, stops you from telegraphing (Lucan) Slots (Thorin)3 types -- Step to opponents sword side (across center line) to open up target and then hand follows curve of shield and at last moment, grip with lower fingers and project tip into nipple area (body slot) -- the basket hilt follows the face of the shield, tip projects over top edge; footwork: sword foot forward, shield foot behind, keep shield in front, sword foot back (face slot - heater) -- can also cut across the face of the shield and take a step in and project your tip into your opponent's head (face slot round top shield) -- to defeat the slots -- follow your sword hand with whole body, not just your shield -- block with your feet and stay in original alignment Shield work is all about position - make your blocks look easy and you can break your opponent's confidence (Brannos) Your movement should be all about where you want to go for range. You want to be in the range that is best for you. Your ideal range is determined by the sweet spot of your stick -- where can you access the best targets with the sweet spot of your stick? physically closing range is easy - just step in. Psychologically closing range is much harder -- when you step in, you need to be prepared to fight. me = kill use footwork to deliberately manipulate the range you want to be in and not get into a range you are not ready to be in or do not want to be in. true range is where your (or your opponent's) feet are -- not where their shield is. shifting to sword leg forward puts you 4 inches closer into range with no movement. use footwork to deliberately manipulate the reange you want to be in and not get into a range you are not ready to be in y

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Inlands practice

It was much smaller than the last one, but the sun was out, it was not too hot, it was relaxed and I got fight, so a pretty good day all around. I worked on capitalizing on pauses in my controlled aggression and throwing the wrap with my hand in front of me. I had some good snaps, some good slots, some good thrusts, and a couple of good leg wraps. I missed having some really high level fighters there to push me, but Rodrekr handed me my ass a bunch so that was good. Rodrekr also told me that he really likes fighting me because I fight hard and aggressive but without ego. Fighting without ego is something I have been focused on for awhile and it is great that my opponent can feel that. It makes me feel like I am on my way to really living the only person I can control is me mantra and not chasing it. If that makes any sense. All around a good day, I just wish there had been some more top level fighters there.

Friday, April 3, 2015

I am my own worst enemy

I think too much. I care too much about whether other people are having fun or learning or whatever. I put other people first, even when putting myself first would get me closer to my goals. I need to stop. My window for meeting my goals is closing -- my body is not going to support fighting 2 to 3 times a week forever. Reaching my goals and realizing my dreams is important to me. I need to start acting that way. I have nobody to blame but myself when I don't use my voice and make my needs important. I need to tell the people who want to support me what I need and then I need to let them do it. I am worthy of people's time and instruction and I need to ask for it and then make sure I get it. No more putting myself last. Lesson learned.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

One Day at a Time

Yesterday made 50 days in a row of cardio, pell work, shield drills and body weight exercises. I am finding that now that I have made doing these things everyday a priority, that they are very easy to fit in to my lifestyle. Also, my last two fight practices have reinforced that doing the daily pell work and fitness and shield drills is translating in some very good ways into my fight at speed. Still struggling with actually losing weight, so I will need to refocus my efforts on the food front. My armor at practice last night did feel looser, so even if the actual weight is not coming off, it could be that my body is reshaping. Next fight practice I will get video and try to compare it to what I was doing a year ago to see what I have improved, what has deteriorated and where I need to refocus my efforts to eliminate deficiencies.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I have to figure out this trust thing. Not trusting certain opponents is sucking the fun out of fighting. Such a hard place to be.