We have been running our swordpractice for approximately six weeks now and ever so often people from other swordfighting groups and reenactment societies show up at the training to check us out and everytime without fail I am invited to come and test my metal against their group.
So yesterday I picked up my swords and got on the number six tram to visit one of the groups here in Riga. I was hoping to get some good training and to get some ideas for drills and such. But I was dissapointed, while the practice was fun it contained no element of training or discipline, it was simple a place to come and play with swords. Mostly padded PVC pipes swung at full power SCA style.
And I started to understand Guy Windsors comment about how a historical fighter easily can get discouraged in such an environment. I had one of my students with me who put on a fencing helmet and a pair of lacrosse gloves to spar. He was toyed around with by a guy who fought the longsword like it was a rapier. My student got hit repeatedly everywhere and soon started whipping around the padded pipe with no control or technique to match the style of his opponent.
My encounter was similar, but the player I sparred with fought with the padded weapon like it was a one handed baton, at least I have some experience fighting like this from the SCA. He hit with such destructive force that I thought he was going to beat through my mask. I tried to use some of my Marozzo and Saviolo against him but the padded weapon was to slow to execute those plays. Finally I decided to treat the weapon like a longsword and I waited for him in boars tooth. It caught him by surprise when my sotani strike easily deflected his powerful blows and came back in a full powered fendente.
So it seems that sticking to techniques you have trained over and over again repeatedly really works well. Full marks to Fiore on this one. Two hours later I went home soaked with sweat, bruised but happy. It was loads of fun and I made new friends. I do miss the high tone of chivalry in the Schola but other than that they where a fine bunch of fighters, I can’t wait till we have gotten more training and more armor so the whole study group can go there and test our metal.