Speaking of training in my below post, just as a recap, last Friday was a blast at the VA Dueling (as opposed to “Duleing,” Dan 🙂 ).
It became fairly hard training for a bit. We started off on longsword, as is usual. I’m finally starting to get the hang of the specifics–I was showing a young maiden some of the proper form, and asked her to strike at my head on this side… however, as I was attempting to hold the proper guard on that side, she actually struck to the other side.
To my very pleasant surprise, I acted without thinking and actually executed the proper parry on the side receiving the attack. It has always been thus–I seem to actually execute best technique when surprised (after much training, though). So I think some of it’s finally starting to kick in.
And–not surprisingly, it happened as I was… instructing. Yep–I’ve found that when I have just enough knowledge and skill to be, err, knowledgeable, instructing someone somehow ends up crystalizes what I’ve been learning into something usable. To me, that’s one of the joys of teaching. Helps ya learn.
But, altogether, that portion isn’t yet particularly active, because we aren’t at point where we can do a lot of free play without too much danger. The longswords are meant to thump, and thump they will, whereas rapier and smallsword are much more congenial to earlier freeplay, being lighter and more intended for poking.
So, when we got into the rapier portion of the class, we had a little bit of instruction, then it was: “go find a partner and go half-speed until you are comfortable with some technique, then free play.” And so we did.
And that was a riot (almost literally 😀 ). My first couple of guys were pretty young and active, so I got a good workout, though my skills in épée seemed to have carried over pretty well, and I gave them a pretty good workout too, including giving a good disarm to one of them. Great fun.
That’s one of the things about fencing I love, is that you can really go almost all out, and still not do too much damage, like when you play with a good aikidoka.
In fact, because I get my adrenaline going, I have to be careful that I don’t play through too much pain or injury, ‘coz I just don’t feel it until I’m done. I had really twisted my ankle last week, badly, and I went ahead and played through the first Friday of the injury, then the next on. I was still limping a bit, beforehand, but I actually think it felt better afterward. And now, I only notice a bit of stiffness when I stretch it in the direction I hurt it.
(Note that I went to friend Nicki’s Steak and Pool party the day after my injury, so I think that helped a great deal–thanks Nicks!).
But it’s been a while since I fenced with that much intensity, so I felt it a bit in the hamstrings the next couple days. Nothing debilitating, just enough to know that they had been worked. And I can feel it in my main shoulder a little. But that’s a problem I have to watch out for–I can go at it so hard I hurt myself. I actually cooled it a little with the Olympic-style fencing a while back because of that.
Older styles of fencing, and balanced martial arts (that you practice bilateral training in, such as Systema and Aikido) take the strain off of your “leading edge,” that is–the side you’re holding your weapon, so it’s easier not to overtrain the one side.
I can really feel it when I fence sabre, because for one thing, I use a freakin’ club (practically–it’s still a blade, just a big, stiff, thick, heavy one), and really extend out there, so that leverage is working against me. Fortunately I have the strength to do that, but it comes at a price.
And of course, I did a couple of light workouts with kettlebells the last couple of mornings. Good stuff. I was hoping to get in some swimming and tennis with some friends, but it didn’t work out last weekend. Maybe this weekend, we’ll see.
The kbells, swimming, and jacuzzi (yes, I hit the Y) are good recovery for the explosiveness that I fence with. I probably could use a good massage, too. But who couldn’t? 🙂
In Ferro Veritas