Attacking without telegraphing, and adapting to it

Theme of this training was smooth entries without telegraphing, and adapting to the opponent’s movements to maintain your superior position no matter what nonsense he pulls.

  • Shadowboxing in mirror with various weapons (stick, broadsword, short arming sword, longsword). Conceal your attack within the context of your ongoing movements, seeking to eliminate any negative timing (pulling the weapon back) or bodily triggers that might notify your opponent of your intentions.
  • Same type of entries with a partner. Maintain effective distance. Hand-check the opponent if he crowds you. Feeder attacks. Defender moves offline, holding stick at each end, and using stick as a guide to check your center position against the opponent. Defender can visualize / zone free attacks with butt end, stab, or slashing attack.

Next drill, defender holds weapon at each end. Feeder pushes on weapon, either straight in towards defender or at angle. Defender maintains good balanced stance and forward pressure, and allows himself to realign to the incoming powerline. Coaching tips:

  • If the power is strong and overwhelming, just maintain your arm position out in front of you and allow your body to slide back, while re-centering to the opponent. Remember, the strength that you need is just pushup-strength. Keep your arms out in front of you and use your arm strength to push your body back.
  • Against a strong incoming force, generally you can shed the power to one side or another to allow you to offline and gain positional advantage. Avoid getting pushed directly back.
  • If the power is weak, maintain your position and/or bust forward.
  • If he pulls down on your arms, let it go and bounce forward again.
  • Angled power-lines can be dealt with in two ways. You either go with the direction of the power (get pushed back in front of the powerline), or cut a passing movement to shed the power and angle to the opposite side.

Every minute change in position and footwork represents a huge opportunity to open attack lanes, so take advantage of it.

Work a brief set using two-handed weapons, from the Liechtenaur tradition: zornhau responses. The drill is a four-step pattern.

  1. Defender allows attacker to land the hit (distance check).
  2. Defender responds with a weak counterstrike, and attacker continues with a stab or a doubled hit.
  3. Defender responds with a large/overpowered counterstrike. Attacker lets the pressure go and double-hits, or hits to opposite side, or moves in with the butt strike.
  4. Defender responds with a solid zoned counterstrike that is trained on attacker. Attacker winds and stabs.

Ended with free sparring rounds with longsword wasters or padded sticks. Good fun and no injuries to speak of.

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