Food for Thought

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Bill Welch
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Bill Welch » Wed May 04, 2011 6:00 pm

Kevin Maurer wrote:
Mike Cartier wrote:For the record we don't have any angst over tournaments.


Damnit, i was just starting to enjoy that moniker, Tournament Angster, bemoaning the buffels.



You should put that on a bumper sticker.

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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Ruhala » Wed May 04, 2011 6:10 pm

Mike Cartier wrote:Point 1. Buffalos are whackers, simply jumping in and whacking people is not the art, this is told to us in many ways. My point was simply to bring attention to this and thereby not turn a blind eye to the obvious injuries and so forth going on at tournaments because peopel are trying to prove skill by applying too much speed and power.


I can't agree more. A problem we have right now is there's no adequate hand protection for KDF. Hand cuts of all varieties are popular in our club but we try to make a point of keeping them calibrated to the actual level of protection our gloves provide. If I can hit your hands using a lower level of speed and power obviously I can hit your hands if I go faster and harder. It doesn't take a lot of either to make that hit, it does take some strategy, awareness, timing and efficiency in motion... in other words art.

I do think pain is part of the equation. I don't see a lot of reason in going "all out" or "high intensity" if you're so well protected you won't really feel the blows... while it's cool to swing fast and all there's no real penalty for getting hit. We tend to go relatively light on protection, we wear enough over the critical areas that we aren't afraid to really attack eachother and we are unlikely to damage anything in a way that will interfere with training but if you don't protect yourself there's some pain associated with that and it's a good motivator.

There's a suicidal fencer aspect to this as well. The truth is it's really darned hard to defend against someone who is willing to trade his life for yours. While I consider this to be poor fencing I don't mind having to go up against suicidal fencers for the same reason I don't mind having to go up against buffaloes, they often show me where I'm weak and force me to strengthen my ability to hit without being hit.

I don't hate buffaloes, they have their uses, but for their own sake they should improve their art or they'll never be able to contend with a more well rounded fighter.

As far as fighting "raw" goes I'd try that with you or one of your guys I know with two exceptions... I want eye pro and I have to wear gloves. I don't mind being bruised, bloodied or mutilated but if you do anything short of actually killing me I have to be able to train the next day... can't do that without eyes and fingers. Actually I'm seriously considering switching to my left hand for KDF so if it gets injured I can still manage the finer motor control required in classical fencing, I've had a few close calls. That said I have come to believe that the puffy clothes worn by the fencers in Meyer were protective gear of a sort. They're even wearing cups.

Let me put it to you this way, how many guards do you see in your average tournament? or even average freeplay.


I agree with this too and it's something we work very hard on here at home. Ben and I will both be coming out to Turkey Lake on Saturday, a few other fighters might be coming with us too. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion on our fighting after the event. Nobody's perfect but being able to fight effectively with the art is one of our guiding principles.

As far as American pride goes I've twice heard Jake talk about putting together a Team America and we're down with that. Heck, we were hoping to go fight the Euros later this year anyway. I'm probably not quite finalist material yet but I reckon I could knock a fighter or two out of the running and help clear the way for the big guns.
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Ben Michels » Thu May 05, 2011 5:17 am

Mike & Kevin: Would you agree that the art is supposed to be able to deal with buffels? Or that perhaps you don't see as many historical techniques in tournament videos as you'd like because, thoughout most of a tournament, you rarely have two awesomely technical fighters against each other?

As the people you see as buffels get better, and the middle-of-the-road people get better, it will force the upper-tier people to get more technical to deal with it.

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Jake Norwood
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Jake Norwood » Thu May 05, 2011 6:56 am

It’s the nature of long threads that they lose track of whatever they were supposed to be about, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Scott’s post felt like it was part of a different conversation, or that any one of us feels like a large chunk of what we’ve posted has been ignored.

Likewise, you’re right that there’s baggage for the tournament crowd which gets brought into this. As an ex-member of the tournaments-are-the-devil-crowd I’ve been on both sides of this line, and I get why this thread would read this way. So perhaps Scott and Lee should be asking more and reacting less, but that’s probably true of the other side here, too. Lots of people want to be heard, not many folks trying to listen. Certainly applies to me.

Anyway, thanks @Mike for re-focusing the discussion. I propose that we all latch onto that. Mike questions:

1. What’s a Buffel?
2. Why don’t we see more of the art in tournaments, freeplay, etc.?

I think of a Buffel as an aggressive, unskilled fighter. Therefore, I think most of us are (at least sometimes) Buffelen (is that the right plural?). I’m guilty of attacking like a Buffel as recently as last week.

I think the symptoms are double kills. That easy. Fighters who run in with minimal regard for their own safety, who attempt to out-power (and therefore out-speed) their opponents without use of “the art.” I think its root cause, more than tournament/freeplay nerves (though that’s a factor) is a misreading of the old KDF masters’ admonition to attack and seize the Vor.

What are the specific techniques which are supposed to beat the Buffel? In early KDF it’s the Schielhau and the Durchlauffen, off the top of my head. The former involves stepping offline, letting the attacker move into your space (IMO). The latter involves passing through the attacker’s space and using his energy and over-commitment against him.

I’d wager we don’t see these solutions often in freeplay because we don’t train them in that context. I know I don’t do it enough.

Second, as to why we don’t see the guards, etc., in our freeplay, I can only say that it’s because more people suck than don’t.

I use guards in my freeplay and competition fights. I also use as many historical techniques as my repertoire allows and I don’t believe I use any “ahistorical” ones. In my recent videos from FA2011 I can find specific examples of:

Zornhau/zornhau-ort
Absetzen
Krumphau
Shielhau
Zwerchau
Zucken
Versetzen
Nachreissen
Uberlauffen
Zwei Hengen
Das Gayszlen
Vom Tag (head and shoulder)
Alber
Pflug (Meyer’s and earlier KDF style)
Ochs
Langort/Sprechfenster
Rundstriech (Meyer’s version, in the Dussack)

I am less pleased in that I don’t recall using the following, although I know that I’m capable. OTOH, the opportunity does have to present itself.
Winden
Mutieren
Scheitelhau, at least “textbook” version
Durchwechseln
Feler
Schnappen

I didn’t use, because I’m still not very good at:
Durchlauffen
Duplieren
Abschnieden
Hende Trucken

I also don’t recall not being in a guard, or being frequently locked into one for “too long,” although both of those are fairly subjective issues. Same goes with the above assessment—if people don’t agree that I used all of those techniques, it’s probably because we don’t agree on what they are.

Here’s my point: you don’t use every technique in every fight. Sometimes because the opportunity doesn’t present itself, or because you pick a different solution to the opportunity. Alternately, you don’t use a technique because you’re not good enough or not practiced enough or because you forget. And you forget because you’re not good enough or practiced enough.

That’s why we don’t see stuff. People aren’t good enough and don’t practice enough. I might add that they don’t study enough, and don’t work on developing the skills that they’re studying. If they did, we’d see more.

One more note on why we don’t see stuff. Sometimes we don’t need it. I’m not going to use an “artful” technique when an easy one will do. It’s fighting, not dancing.

If you’re dumb enough to bring your ankles into my range and plant your feet too solidly, I’ll throw a one-hander at your feet. If you parry my opening zornhau widely I’m just going to throw another oberhau at the other side of your head. If you hold your vom tag like Conan, with your hands too far forward, I’m going to hit them. Crappy technique is beaten by easy technique. Good technique requires the more complicated technique to beat. We see lame technique out of good fighters because they don’t need to use better, because there aren’t enough good fighters fighting each other.

It’s not tournaments, or the weather, or the gear we use (or lack of it): it’s bad training. We should be focused on improving our own (and others’) training, then, if we want to see this improved.

Now, this isn’t Meyer, and Meyer’s focus is a little different IMO, but I don’t think he’d necessarily disagree with this, either. From 3227A (Dobringer):
    For you should cut or thrust in the shortest and nearest way possible. For in this righteous fencing do not make wide or ungainly parries or fence in large movements by which people restrict themselves. Many Leychmeistere say that they themselves have thought out a new art of fencing that they improve from day to day. But I would like to see one who could think up a fencing move or a strike which does not come from Liechtenauer’s art. Often they want to alter or give a new name to a technique, all out of their own heads and think up wide reaching fencing and parries and often make two or three strikes when one would be enough or stepping through and thrust, and for this they receive praise from the ignorant. With their bad parries and wide fencing they try to look dangerous with wide and long strikes that are slow and with these they perform strikes that miss and create openings in themselves. They have no proper reach in their fencing and that belongs not to real fencing but only to school fencing and the exercises for their own sake. But real fencing goes straight and is simple in all things without holding back or being restricted just as if a string had been tied or as if they had been connected. When you cut or thrust at another in front of you, then no cuts or thrusts before or behind, nor besides or wide reaching movements or many strikes will help if you hold back and lose the chance. Instead you must strike straight and direct to the man, to the head or to the body whatever is the closest and quickest. This must be done with speed and rather with one strike than with four or six which will again leave you hanging and giving the opponent a chance to hit you.

…which is why I, personally, use a simple technique when a simple technique suffices.

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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Jake Norwood » Thu May 05, 2011 12:44 pm

The FA11 Belgian vids aren’t up yet, no. Getting video up is something we event organizers aren’t very good at, still, unfortunately. After speaking with Scott last week or so, the main issue is just time and manpower to go through the videos, cut them apart, and upload them to YouTube. So I’m still expecting more. We’ve only seen maybe a quarter of the longsword qualification pools so far, and maybe half of the Dussack.

But, to your questions on the invitational:

Also, how many buffels would you say were present in that? If any.

Well, probably a few. More accurately, there was some buffel-style behavior in a few places, particularly early on as people were getting used to striking with the flat and generally feeling out the rules—most fighters had never done anything quite like that before. I know that when Hal Siegel, who’s a giant of a man, was King, I asked Axel to “take him out for me so I don’t have to fight him.” Axel agreed and did so. :) I did that because I knew Hal hit like an ox, and after we’d broken 2 or 3 hanweis we went to sturdier blades. But I wouldn’t call Hal a buffel, just an ox. :)
Were there injuries (serious) during this Invite only steel tournament? If so what did they consist of?


I’m not aware of any. Then again, the overall injury report for the entire event was quite low, and usually is, when you compare number of bouts to number of injuries. But yeah, no injuries in the Belgian that I know of. The main contributors to this were, I believe, the limited target area. One, not targeting the hands means that hands are only getting hit with incidentals. Second, not targeting the legs means that there’s much less of your body that you have to defend, so defense is easier and tighter.

Do you think the Invite only tourney was a success, If so, why? if not, what was wrong with it.

I totally think it was a success, but I won, so I really can’t look at it impartially. There are two issues here that I can address, though. (1) Was the invitation-only element a success? And (2) was the tournament format a success?

The (1) invitation only thing certainly made me feel safer. I knew these fencers weren’t going to hurt me through malice or through sloppiness. However, we were almost all new to the format and to the flat-strike-only rule, so I think we’ll see a lot of newb behavior when the video comes out, since we were all newbs at that game (and it’s totally a game).

I like the idea of steel tournaments requiring some kind of qualification, since the risk of injury is greater.

The (2) format was also successful, but there were lessons learned, too. Some things could be improved, certain statistical quandaries remain, and so on. I felt like it was a good game that rewarded a number of skillsets, and if/when more people play the game at higher levels of competition, there’s a whole bunch of Meyer handwork that will become really, really relevant. I strongly felt, in fact, that many of Meyer’s devices were perfect for this form of competition, especially as the target area shrunk. So it’s a game, but it’s one that focuses on a pretty specific skillset—the fight at krieg—which I think most of us agree is the part of the fight that, as a community, we need the most work on.

Was anyone disappointed that they werent invited?
I don’t know. My impression was that anyone who showed sincere interest in fighting probably would have been let in.

How was it determined, who got invited? Who selected the fencers?
It was fairly informal, especially since it was very much an exhibition type tournament, fought during lunch time on the last day. The first group of fighters was invited by the event organizer (i.e., Scott). Each of them then got to invite one or two fighters to the event under the understanding that they were “senior students or instructors.” Then they invited any event instructors or anyone that ran a club. Finally, folks that made it into the last 12 at the longsword tournament the day before had a chance to compete (if they weren’t already in at that point). So it was informal, but also fairly inclusive. There were 19 fighters, I believe, which is more than half of the 37 that fought in the nylon open.

The purpose of making it an invitational, other than safety considerations with the steel, was (a) to pick fighters that were likely to grasp the rules quickly, since there was little time to prepare and (b) to try to get more technical, good-looking fights.

Back to the success question, I think it sort of worked. Some fighters, like Matt Galas, used some pretty artful winding to get his chalk mark on the other guy. In other cases, the first, oh, 20 fights were just Lee Smith one-shotting people in the head. It took a while to figure out how to beat that. That’s a success for the event (we learned something), but a failure for us as fighters (it took us a while, and literally everybody got hit by Lee at least once). Goes back to my earlier point about a simple technique (scheitelhau) being all that was required because the rest of us didn’t present a greater challenge initially.

I’d like to reverse the question for a minute. I know it was about 6 or 7 months ago, but what went well at the DK2 tournament, what worked, what would you have changed? Was the event successful? Would it have been better as an invitational? If so, how would the fighters have been selected?

I’m glad to see this is still a constructive discussion. It was touch and go for a minute…

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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Cartier » Thu May 05, 2011 3:12 pm

I’m glad to see this is still a constructive discussion. It was touch and go for a minute…



WTF is that SUPPOSED TO MEAN ?
You are so mean ......

*runs crying from the room*
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Mike Cartier » Thu May 05, 2011 3:25 pm

anyways on to more serious discussion...

Back to the success question, I think it sort of worked. Some fighters, like Matt Galas, used some pretty artful winding to get his chalk mark on the other guy. In other cases, the first, oh, 20 fights were just Lee Smith one-shotting people in the head. It took a while to figure out how to beat that. That’s a success for the event (we learned something), but a failure for us as fighters (it took us a while, and literally everybody got hit by Lee at least once). Goes back to my earlier point about a simple technique (scheitelhau) being all that was required because the rest of us didn’t present a greater challenge initially.



Well that sounds good not bad to me, I imagine the solution to that issue was the Art. Simple technique is still Artful IMHO. Its when it breaks down into stuff thats not the art that is bothers me, there is so much simple yet effective stuff in the art there is no reason for us not to use it even in simplified situations. But like you said too, without the level in everyone it may not be necessary so that could indeed be the problem. My own personal experience with that is that the art wins hands down everytime when trying to solve a problem, at least thats been my experience.

I’d like to reverse the question for a minute. I know it was about 6 or 7 months ago, but what went well at the DK2 tournament, what worked, what would you have changed? Was the event successful? Would it have been better as an invitational? If so, how would the fighters have been selected?




I thought it went well personally, not enough art of course but thats always the case, I have yet to feel like enough art was used in any of my bouts or any of the members in the guild. This might be the side product of us being devoted to a master whose works are so exact and descriptive. But I remember seeing several very cool techniques, use of the Schlussel guard (no not me ) use of the Rose and Absetzen at the tournament.


I am not sure there is any solution to this that we can legislate away in a tournament but we will try to think up some stuff.

I definatly think any rules designed to punish double kills is legislating to effect more use of the art and I think thats a good direction to go.

great posts as always Jake thanks.
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Jeffrey Hull
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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Jeffrey Hull » Fri May 06, 2011 1:11 pm

Has/Does anybody utilise the tourneys for purpose of vengance? You know, to punish guys whom they dislike. Just asking, since that would make it even more appealing to me. ;)

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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Jake Norwood » Fri May 06, 2011 1:14 pm

Bwahahahahah...

Not that I'm aware of. I like the people who compete. The ones who don't compete are the ones I worry about... ;)

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Re: Food for Thought

Postby Francesco Lanza » Fri May 06, 2011 1:17 pm

Jeffrey Hull wrote:Has/Does anybody utilise the tourneys for purpose of vengance? You know, to punish guys whom they dislike. Just asking, since that would make it even more appealing to me. ;)


I suppose that's what judicial duels are for :D
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