Basic Training for Female Fighters
Viscount Sir Alaric of Bangor
(To be used with practical explanation.)
Whether using Sword foot forward or Shield foot forward, balance 60% of your weight on the balls of your feet and 40% on your heels.
NB Most women will find a power, reach and comfort advantage in the sword foot forward stance.
Apparently 90-95% of women have a different style of fist/grip than men. Make sure you hold a sword secure and comfortable. For most women this means that their grip is slightly more open allowing for greater bending of the wrists, compared to the "classic" hammer grip employed by most men.
Stretching all major muscle groups is always a very good idea before exercise. However in conjunction with this it is always fun to warm up with games. One of the best is to place whichever hand foot forward, bend knees, balance on feet as above, relax and then foot tips touching trying to push (don't be overly vigorous) your opponent off balance.
The 3 most basic blows are the snap, wrap and the off hand. The 2 for this week are the snap and off hand. Take a comfortable stance as per last week. To ensure good power transfer from you sword to the pell/opponent target through into the centre of mass that you are aiming at.
If you are aiming at the right side of the pell, target the left side to ensure good power.
The Snap in review
- Make sure of stance and position of the hips
- Relax grip if too tight
- Target through pell
- Hand is held high, preferably behind the head
- Start blow in hips
- Rotate through shoulders
- Let arm follow
- Squeeze grip to ensure good power transfer
- Strike through target
- Relax grip
- Recover to stance (guard)
- (Metaphor: give your opponent a bowl of soup)
After you run thought it a couple of hundred times it becomes more natural
The Off hand in review.
- Basically same as the snap until, "let arm follow"
- Keep elbow and hand close to body
- Rotate elbow out and push sword hand away from yourself, toward but slightly away from opponent's head.
- (Metaphor: dump the bowl of soup on your opponent)
NB 90-95% of you pell time should be technique orientated not power orientated as too much power drill causes stress on your joints. So practice flowing blows and when you think you have the timing down then throw 2 or 3 blows to make sure you can power them.
The third basic blow is the wrap.
When throwing a snap (gently) in air at shoulder height, after passing through your aim point, the sword will tend to "roll over" in your grip. This "roll point" is very useful when throwing wraps, as wraps strike with the "back" edge of your sword.
- Find this "roll point" , it will be slightly different for each person.
- Modify your stance to your stance angle to the pell so that this "roll point" is approximately 30 cm from the pell.
- Gently throw a snap at the "roll point" and assist the roll-over with your wrist so that the back edge strikes the pell.
BIG NB Never, ever throw wraps that land with a locked elbow, always, always!! Land them with a slightly bent elbow. Straight arm wraps lead to tendonitis. AVOID
- The blow is powered by the hip-body rotation as is the snap.
- Slowly increase the speed of the blows
- It is some times useful to place your spare hand in line with your roll-over point to help visualise the blow, also it helps later when you are trying to wrap around your shield.
- Eventually you will be able to wrap around any point and therefore no longer have to modify your stance to throw the blow. Remember we are only beginning.
A second way to help power this blow is to counter rotate your hips. What this means is that as you start the blow (same as the snap) your sword arm hip goes forward, the sword "coasts" to the roll-over point, the wrist assist the roll-over, but at the same time of roll-over the sword arm hip goes back, the shield side hip goes forward (the hips move in opposite directions ie counter rotate). This sounds complicated but in practice it is not so bad, however timing all these body movements to achieve maximum power takes a fair bit of practice.
In the sword foot forward Vs sword foot back stance issue, it seems that sword foot forward stance does not seem to need the extra help of counter rotation to power the blow. Though it is always good to practice all styles as you never know when it might be handy....
Another way of thinking about counter rotation is cracking a whip. The sword flicks out ( to the rotation point) and cracks (rotation point) into target.
A useful hint when throwing wraps is to visualise your roll over point 30cm out as before) but 15cm behind your target as this helps you to "reach" around your opponents defences.