Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

For internal business and projects of Kron Martial Arts. Non-Kron users are welcome to post relevant material.
william_cain_iii
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 814
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:28 am
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Contact:

Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby william_cain_iii » Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:18 pm

One of the things that underpins the techniques of any martial art is body mechanics and the ability to control one's movements, if I understand my premises correctly. I want to see about developing some drills that focus on movement and body control that we can do alongside our weapon-specific curriculum.

Myles, are there any movement drills in Olympic fencing that you think would be applicable to our circumstances in HEMA? Get in touch, I think this will be a fruitful field for discussion.
Do right, there is nothing else.
myself

User avatar
Myles Cupp
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 963
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:18 am

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby Myles Cupp » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:51 am

There are some exercises and drills I know from sport fencing that are designed to build stamina and foot coordination as well as situational awareness of your opponent's moves, distance and tempo.

I can demonstrate some of these drills at the next practice, and maybe the test cutting party if I can make it to Irvine. But basically, sport fencing is interested in purposeful precision footwork and timing. When you combine both of those things, you end up appearing to be a faster person. Who knows? Maybe you do IN FACT become speedier but in sport fencing I've been taught that being faster isn't really important so much as timing. I've fenced against many people who were much slower on their feet and for all intensive purposes barely moved in comparison to me but one well timed attack got me even as I saw it coming but somehow felt helpless to stop it as it was delivered out of my tempo.

As a point of observation, I feel this happen often when I fence Jason. I'll be honest, I don't really feel like his attacks come any faster than mine; he just strikes them at the right moment when I am out of tempo and therefore it is impossible to do anything about it.
Indeed, don't the ancient masters call this the difference between vor and nach?

Also, several training techniques from sport fencing can be adapted. One thing I've noticed about our practices of new techniques is that we are shown the technique and then repeat it statically until it becomes natural.
This in of itself is perfectly fine. You must statically repeat techniques so that way you can learn them correctly, and in our case, learn them safely (its easy to poke an eye or whack a forearm if you aren't slow and careful).
However, in sport fencing, there are training drills you do with a partner that are somewhere between bouting and static drilling.
To do this, you establish with your partner which technique you are going to practice, but you do not tell them when you are going to execute it. In sport fencing, this could mean doing several advances and retreats up and down the strip before the technique is actually executed (such as a fleche or double-lunge).
In blosfechten, it could mean circling the partner, simple stepping or passing stepping in and out of range or even FAKING the attack before it is executed.
This will force many things into the minds of both partners.

For the defender, it forces them to watch for commitment from the attacker. It strips away the peripheral embellishments the attacker might make in a real bout to hide their intentions and reveals certain things an attacker MUST DO in order to execute some particular attack. And on a sidenote, it will force the defender to pay more attention to the attacker thus reducing distractions from other activities that may be occurring in the club thus helping our small discipline problems (of which I am also guilty).

For the attacker, it forces them to learn the distance to properly execute an attack. It forces them to execute attacks with control AND commitment. We don't want to hurt anyone but we still want our attacks to be real and with intent. Therefore, making the attacker choose when the attack begins in a semi-sparring situation will force the attacker to be more subtle.

This is how I trained to learn certain tactics from sport fencing. I don't know how well it will translate into what we do. Obviously to do this we will need masks for the offhand chance that someone may execute an attack poorly or a defense poorly (even the experts) and end up with a conk on the head.
Indeed, I think some of the drills in the DRILLS DRILLS DRILLS thread are very much like this already.

Of course as a sort of personal disclaimer to reiterate something here I have said and what William has asked for, these are drills from SPORT FENCING.
So please, nobody ask me to justify the use of these drills on the basis of any historical manual. ;)
On a sidenote, I'd be interested to know if anyone has researched any of the masters talking about body mechanic exercises or drills.

But in short, there are plenty of things I know from sport fencing that could be adapted to help students of the longsword develop footwork skills, stamina, tempo and timing.
I know those things can be boring when what we're here for is to work with the swords but the fact of the matter is that we will not improve at sparring without a concentrated effort to improve those things. Static drills, as important as they are to learning a particular technique, will not help you to learn when to apply that technique in a real fight unless you do a lot of real fighting.
And since the last 2 HEMA practices have gone without any sparring (at least none I could participate in), then we must find other ways to train the instincts of the fight.

I am glad William brought this up as he and I were discussing this under the pavilion in the pouring rain. Some people are just naturally adept at fighting. Others are not. I am fortunate that I have many, many years of sport fencing experience and the training to recognize threats. Of course on the flipside, I am a bit disadvantaged so I don't know very much about how to deal with cutting threats as I never had to deal with those in sport fencing... say nothing for grappling or full takedowns! Of course, my thrusts are pretty efficient if I do say so myself. :D

Anyways, I'll end this post by reiterating that I am taking William's original question a point farther. Not only should we actively work on the boring footwork and stamina stuff (although if you make it competitive it becomes a heck of a lot of fun!) but we should also work on training at a level halfway between static drills and full on contact sparring.

PS
And yes William, I did think about the "3 attacks, 3 blocks drill" and while those are very much along the lines of what I am describing (especially since it forces people to learn how to block different kinds of unexpected attacks) I still feel it doesn't help the natural fight instincts as much as an attack delivered without any warning as to when it will be delivered even if you KNOW what kind of attack its supposed to be. If the defender doesn't know what attack is coming then all we're doing is full on sparring.
Lifetime HEMAA Member
Kron Martial Arts, CA
Psalm 119:89
"For we all acknowledge that it is with the sword that Kingdoms are protected, Religions are defended, injuries are avenged and Nations achieve peace and happiness."
Salvator Fabris, 1606

User avatar
Myles Cupp
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 963
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:18 am

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby Myles Cupp » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:14 am

One other thing I forgot to mention. While most people in the community knows it I know it hasn't been discussed much at our club so I will say it.
An extremely important part of sport fencing was practicing on a target dummy. In HEMA we use pells. Now for longsword I do not yet have anything I can practice on nor am I sure what to use as a pell given that I have a synthetic waster.

Nevertheless, a pell or dummy is exceedingly important in figuring out on your own time the distance you have to be in for certain attacks to work.

Try fleching at a dummy from 4 feet and you see it doesn't work. Try lunging at a dummy from ten and you might find yourself way more flexible than you ever thought possible (and thats a good thing).
Lifetime HEMAA Member
Kron Martial Arts, CA
Psalm 119:89
"For we all acknowledge that it is with the sword that Kingdoms are protected, Religions are defended, injuries are avenged and Nations achieve peace and happiness."
Salvator Fabris, 1606

william_cain_iii
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 814
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:28 am
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Contact:

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby william_cain_iii » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:29 am

I'm looking into building a pell and a dummy to go with it.

My basic idea is to take a 4x4 post and anchor it somehow (this can be done fairly simply, I'm just poor at construction). Then I'm going to have two coverings that can fit over it.

The first covering is going to be pool noodles. Cut two of them in half longwise, and notch each half so it can go over the long corners of the pell. Secure it with rope or cord or something. This basically allows for your standard firm resistance while padding off the corners so it can be a bit easier on my waster.

The second covering is going to be a denim jacket stuffed with something or other. Probably a mix of old rags, plastic bags, and packing peanuts. This will be mounted on the pell in order to give people a man-like target to hit, to practice striking at specific areas (zwerchau to the head, krump to the arms, etc).

Just ideas I have. I'm not sure how readily we'll be able to get something like that onto campus, given the weight of the thing and me lacking a campus parking pass.

Next time we're at practice together, let's talk out some of your ideas mentioned so far, they look great for starters.
Do right, there is nothing else.
myself

User avatar
Myles Cupp
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 963
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:18 am

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby Myles Cupp » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:12 pm

Almost as I write this I am devising some longsword exercises that incorporate calesthectics (spl?) from sport fencing. Something that is very crucial to adapting any exercises I might have is to make the applications obviously apparent to ourselves and outsiders.
We don't want newcomers to be confused if swords are nowhere in sight and all we do for practicing footwork is race each other to four cone markers. We will be doing that but I am going to add a twist to it somehow. Good thing I have a week to figure it out; trust me, it will be fun.

One thing I will reveal is an exercise I am working on that involves a series of krumphaus to be executed in a "swivel" like manner through a course of cones. This is to be done AFTER fencers have demonstrated the ability to adequately traverse the course using controlled and deliberate swivel steps. Don't worry, its not as hard as it sounds and I'm not the greatest at doing it either. I guess I should say that fencers will try the course with a sword after doing it once without a sword.

A basic rule of body mechanics, and one Jason mentioned at least once in the SRC class, is that the final placement of your feet should give you somewhere else to go. Crossing your legs without enough space between your feet is a surefire way to lose your balance and be placed way out of tempo in sport fencing.
Indeed, when I did ballroom dancing one of the things my instructor always stressed when teaching a new step was the question "so how do we get out of it to return to basic step?"

So, if anyone has any cones please bring them to the next practice as I have only four.

Also, I wonder if anyone else has any input on this question of body mechanics. While its true William singled me out on this, I am sure he wants to hear from other folks as well. I know I do.
Lifetime HEMAA Member
Kron Martial Arts, CA
Psalm 119:89
"For we all acknowledge that it is with the sword that Kingdoms are protected, Religions are defended, injuries are avenged and Nations achieve peace and happiness."
Salvator Fabris, 1606

william_cain_iii
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 814
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:28 am
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Contact:

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby william_cain_iii » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:26 pm

I wanted to get your basic input first, but it is true I want multiple people to comment on this. Jason in particular since he teaches/taught a martial art for some time, so he might have some biomechanical drills we can work from.

Further, I'll be introduce Jake Norwood's lesson he shared with my group in NC, the high middle and low scales, as well as the measure stepping drill. These are fun drills and can easily be worked into a warmup routine before the sword portion of class begins.
Do right, there is nothing else.
myself

User avatar
RJ McKeehan
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 547
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:11 pm
Location: Fullerton, CA
Contact:

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby RJ McKeehan » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:31 pm

Wow while I can't particularly help in coming up ways of practicing body mechanics this thread is very interesting and I think it'll help our training get a little more difficult/pertinent. I like the drill that Myles said where you basically lightly spar and then attempt a specific move. While not everyone has masks yet, more and more of us are getting them all of the time. I think pretty soon all of the advanced members should have them, which would enable this type of training. Nice thinking on this whole topic Will.
RJ McKeehan
South Coast Swords, Orange County, CA
HEMA Alliance Lifetime Member

william_cain_iii
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 814
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:28 am
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Contact:

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby william_cain_iii » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:16 pm

Quick body mechanics drill those of us with wasters and room to practice can do on our own time between now and next class:

Pick a stationary target that you can perform lunging thrusts against. Start out of measure near it, say about ten paces away or so. Approach and thrust, just trying to tap the point. Do it at different ranges. Try lunging from farther out than you're initially comfortable with to see if you can make it stick. Just do it at first without stopping to analyze, but after a few passes try to pay attention to what your body is doing and how it's behaving.

Good luck everyone, see you all next practice.
Do right, there is nothing else.
myself

User avatar
Myles Cupp
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 963
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:18 am

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby Myles Cupp » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:38 pm

If you want to make that drill REALLY hard, do it with a tennis ball suspended by string from the ceiling or the metal railing in the garage. Its difficult enough hitting it with an epee, but a longsword... oh brother just see how accurate you THINK you are!
Lifetime HEMAA Member
Kron Martial Arts, CA
Psalm 119:89
"For we all acknowledge that it is with the sword that Kingdoms are protected, Religions are defended, injuries are avenged and Nations achieve peace and happiness."
Salvator Fabris, 1606

william_cain_iii
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 814
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:28 am
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Contact:

Re: Body Mechanics (Myles, Read this)

Postby william_cain_iii » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:46 pm

That sounds so much better than my idea.
Do right, there is nothing else.
myself


Return to “Kron Martial Arts”