Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jogo do Pau Intensive Course: Day Two Thoughts

Day Two Thoughts

Material covered: review of day one material, add side and overhand parries on the backhand side, add basic multiple opponents material (clear and strike combos against downwards blows on both forehand and backhand side), add basic strategic concepts of setup (stance and distance), initial blow, and exchanging blows, with exploration of distance (striking distance and thrusting distance).

Initial thoughts: I really appreciate how streamlined the system that Luis teaches is, and it seems that that's largely due to the influence of his instructor (Nuno Curvello Russo?) who downplayed a lot of material that he had been taught that did not contribute to the effective performance of the art. As a result, we aren't focussing on the entirety of what is possible within the art, but on what in the art is effective. In a lot of ways it's quite the contrary of a lot of historical swordsmanship, especially when it's trying to use entire corpora of works.

We're recovering a lot of material, which is a good thing. "A, then A+B, then A+B+C, all the way to Z," as Luis said on day one. We've actually got pretty much all of the motions in the toolbox, I think. Now it's just a matter of stringing them together.

It's interesting watching the other students. Everyone's brain is melting at a different rate. Even with an hour-long break in the middle of things, five hours is a very long time to be physically active for most people. Even for those of us that do this daily, we don't tend to be training for five hours a day. Luis' occasional (rant) breaks are definitely refreshing and well-received.

Got commended for developing my parries this morning. The secret is to think of them as cross-checks, I think. At least, when I started thinking of them as cross-checks they started making more sense to me. And remembering the stretch reflex anteater/swan pose fixes a lot of mechanical problems when sequencing strikes. There's definitely a lot more to work on, both mechanically and strategically. I keep on finding myself trying to lift rising blows over my head, which is considerably more risky when you don't have a crossbar.

It's too bad that Luis didn't manage to bring more sticks with him. I'll need to figure out how to bring more in. Between that and running out of a number of Luis' books, I hope to have an order form together by Friday for all of the participants who want to order stuff in.

Teaching youth classes yesterday was particularly jarring. Everything I picked up (longsword, rapier) I wanted to treat like a JdP staff. Today was significantly better. The distinct differences in weight distribution between a staff and a sword really help to compartmentalize the accompanying mechanical actions and strategic considerations.

Open floor's going to be weird.

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