Francesco Lanza wrote:
Indeed. When training in any martial art or in fencing one always starts by losing bouts to those who are quick and with good reflexes. It is rather hard for your ego, yes, especially when starting out, but it pays as a long term investment, I learned. And this doesn't apply only to the newbs: every time you learn to tap to a new ability, training level, technique or whatever you often stumble on a terrible shakedown cruise of getting thrashed. Then you get past it, and wonder how is it possible that you got beat so much by a bunch of terrible one-trick ponies
Great points, Francesco. Everybody probably noticed that they fought worse after their first few HEMA lessons than before. You’re processing a lot of stuff, trying to use new stuff. Poor fighting, in tournaments or anywhere, is largely a matter of insufficient training.
Lately we’ve taken to doing some old-school intense drilling at MKDF, based on the “plays” in the Zetl. We’ve been doing 30 reps each of each movement. If a movement builds on another movement, then both are performed.
For example, “A” is zornhau vs. oberhau. “B” is the ort part of the zornhau ort. “C” is the oben abgenomen. “D” is the first winding with the thrust. “E” is the second winding to dupliere. “F” is the mutieren from the first winding, and so on. So the drills for zornhau look like:
That’s 180 reps of “A”, 90 of “D” and 60 of “B”. It adds up! It’s also an intense workout for both parties, since for every “A” the opponent is attacking with a zornhau. Then you do it on both sides (DGZPS). It’s intense.
My point is, when you’re fighting under pressure, to include a tournament but often not freeplay, you end up doing the stuff you’ve drilled a million times, not the stuff you’ve drilled dozens or even a few hundred times. The lizard brain takes over.
For example, last year in my final against Axel we had several rounds of oberhau-hengen-oberhau-hengen-oberhau-hengen (ad nauseum). That’s because, 7 years ago, we both trained the hell out of that move. It was a stock ARMA move. It was the first HEMA thing I ever learned, and I’d trained it a million times. Even though I hadn’t drilled it in about 6 years, it came like riding a bike.
The solution to crappy tournament fighting, first and foremost, is better, more intense, and more repetitive training. Incidentally, that’s a cure for crappy non-tournament fighting, too.