Day Three Thoughts
Material covered: Morning warm-up was reviewing the mechanics of footwork, followed by even more tweaking of parrying actions (at different distances), and adding the parry against a vertical strike. Tweaked distance management by adding half steps back against half rotational strikes. In the afternoon we started with what Mike called a feeder drill, with one partner giving the other cues for parries and a variety of pre-emptive strikes (changing guards or starting a strike in thrusting distance). Then we added an approach that dodges longer-measure thrusts, and the variety of strikes possible on that approach. We ended with a first look at exchanging blows and reading the staff's momentum the moment after a parry--both for the attacker pressing their attack, and for the defender counterattacking.
Initial thoughts: Once again quoting Jon, "It's starting to click." That might not be verbatim. With the introduction of the "exchange of blows" material, it's really beginning to feel like we're learning how to fight, and the first two days have served as an excellent foundation. Everyone's parries and strikes have vastly improved since day one. I know that I still have work to do on both accounts, but more often than not the staff alignment at the end of the parry is correct, and the other guy's weapon is getting enthusiastically knocked aside. Distance management is also improving, but still tricky as well. Especially working multiple parries.
Not sure what it was about today, but the second half went much faster than it did yesterday, when I spent the last hour or so looking at the clock wondering how only fifteen minutes could have gone by. I suspect that it's a combination of somewhat more complicated material (specific approaching footwork, parry, counter or press attack) and not doing any multiple-opponents stuff. That two against one stuff we did yesterday was very fun, but with fun comes a significant likeliness that I'll push myself pretty hard.
Having Mike as a partner is always a fun time. He's willing to play as hard as I am, as often as not, though we should probably save each other for the end of the day since we tend to build on each other's enthusiasm and the intensity quickly escalates.
It's difficult to really realize that we're two thirds of the way through the course. We've covered a lot of material, but it still feels like we've got weeks' worth of stuff that we could be going over. We've barely scratched the surface of the multiple opponents material, and we're only just getting into the meat of fighting.
As we get closer to getting into some more freeplay-oriented activities we're really going to find out the full extent to which we've internalized the basics. I suspect that by the end of tomorrow most of us will be nursing sore thumbs.