Day Four Thoughts
Material Covered: Rather than covering new material, the bulk of the day was spent on perception drills, building from attacks against the forehand side up to seven possible strikes (descending to head or knee, or ascending, all on both forehand and backhand sides, or vertical). Once we'd covered all of that, we got into some medium-speed freeplay, alternating blows and strikes. We learned some "knight" footwork approaching on the other side. The day ended with what Luís called "approaching parries," horizontal parries against descending strikes while closing distance to grapple.
Initial thoughts: Staff fighting is fun! Getting into freeplay was incredibly satisfying. I'm told that when Mike and I were paired together the hall was filled with the sound of staffs clacking and both of us giggling.
Today marked the start of the staffs dying. Jon's exploded, then Matheus broke his, and Dave broke two in a row. Fortunately we've got enough staffs lying about to replace the broken ones, and we've been taping them up right away to increase their longevity. The replacement staffs are just 1-1/4" dowelling, and it's noticeably heavier and more rigid than the tapered staffs. Both characteristics significantly change the handling of the weapons, but they do pretty well.
Hands and knees continue to get clipped, but I think we've still managed to keep the injuries down. Devon's thumb was particularly bothersome for him at one point after taking a hit from Matheus, but he seemed all right by the end of the day.
Tomorrow's the last day, then I'm ordering staves and books for the trainees. I want to find some way to keep up training jogo do pau, but I'm not sure where to fit it in to my schedule. I'm already involved in the wrestling and duelling sabre study groups, and I think that for this I'd like to organize something more formal than just a one-hour study group.