overthinking student

Possible future career?? Become a combination of Terry Deary & Martin Brown (along with Peter Hepplewhite, Neil Tongue, Mike Phillips & Phillip Reeve), create something historically accurate yet fun. Better than writing bad historical smut, becoming a curator or living in an archive. Now to better myself in writing and drawing for the next couple of years in my life….

This is what I think about at 1am

Also one of the few people I know who READ THE BOOKS before the whole television shenanigan (I miss primary just solely for the books & games)

“Overlearning” fencing actions

One way to make fencing actions easier to learn is to use what some people call “overlearning”. That means that you take an action that has been drilled, and make it a part of a few longer sequences. The idea is to make the action automatic. Instead of having the student overthink the technique in a simple drill, we complicate the drill and just get a lot of reps in without them consciously thinking about the actions. 

In Foil, one example of an action we want to over-learn might be a feint, deceiving the parry and then finishing the attack. We might do the following types of drills:

  • Compound attack by feint-deceive
    • Student advances and extends to faint
    • Coach parries
    • Student deceives the parry and lunges
  • Compound riposte by feint deceive
    • Coach advances, student retreats
    • Coach lunges, student does a simple parry
    • Student extends arm to riposte, coach goes to parry
    • Student deceives parry and finishes the riposte. 
  • Compound counter-riposte by feint-deceive
    • Student starts with an advance-lunge, which is parried and riposted by the coach
    • Student parries the riposte and does their riposte via feint and deceive as above.

In Bolognese Sidesword, you could do the following to overlearn a falso manco parry followed by an imbroccata thrust. Dall’Agochie provides the following sequence:

  • Coach stands with their arm over-extended
  • Student advances to do a dritto sgualembrato to the sword hand, and does a full cut to porta di ferro larga
    • This is a provocation, not necessarily meant to hit, 
  • Coach voids the attack by withdrawing their hand and thrusting.
  • Student parries with a falso manco and ripostes with an imbroccata.

Another sequence that I’ve used

  • Coach advances to attack with a mandritto. 
  • Student parries with a falso manco and ripostes with an imbroccata.
  • Coach binds the sword, retreats and start to parry by moving to coda lunga
  • Student remises with a tramazzone to the head, accompanied by a chasing step. 

By placing actions that have been taught into different tactical contexts, the actions start to become more automatic. Doing the same for longsword is left as an exercise for the reader, but Meyer has plenty of examples.