Blog posts of '2009' 'October'

Analysis: Brennon/J-Lee

I visited a Belegarth park just north of Oklahoma City on the 17th of October. J-Lee and Gabriel (HFS Sword knights) took me along for the ride, and I had a great time. We also got to do some one-on-one sparring while filming with a 60fps video camera, and it's given me a great opportunity to go through and analyze what is going on in each fight. I've decided to take three things to work on from each series for myself, and make three observations about my opponent as well. There are a lot of things that could have been taken from these videos, but these are the ones that were the most interesting to me. Make your own observations and comments by joining the Fighting forum at
Brennon: Florentine: 15 wins 68%
J-Lee: Sword and Board: 7 wins 32%


Brennon Analysis:
1. I'm leaning instead of moving my feet to close distance. It's working for me, but it's sloppy, and leads to a few situations where I'm out of position to take follow-up action. I'm going to fix this by trying to consciously step, switch stances, and center my weight back over my hips better. 
2. I'm also not punishing people for crossing to my right side regularly enough. When they cross to my right, I really ought to be pounding them with my left regularly. The video really helped me see how much time I had during their shots where I'm not doing anything productive with my left hand. I'm going to work on that by consciously thinking of countering with my left any time they go 2/3rds into a shot that crosses. I should be able to hit it and return to guard before they can change course, even if it is a feint.
3. I'm more open to stabs than I would like. That might be a function of being constrained by the limited space of the camera and not having as much distance control going on, but a certain amount of it is just that I'm not catching them early enough. I need to practice catching stabs from the dark behind the board specifically, as most of the successful ones are coming out of there.


J-Lee Analysis:
1. J-Lee is really letting me work that shield side shoulder. I would suggest he try and keep his shield face more parallel to his opponent on the vertical axis; that's going to be a big help in cutting off those angles needed to wrap over and tag that shield. It's also letting me sneak in the occasional hip wrap.
2. J-Lee throws to the outside on the left too often, which generally ends in a block riposte with the left or a block left wrap right combo. I would suggest working on other same-side openers, and drilling outside shot to circle block to riposte patterns.
3. J-Lee tends to float his guard up after throwing a shot. That's fine if you can bring it back down in time to block a low, but it's probably just better to keep returning your guard below the guard of your opponent as a rule of thumb. This keeps your block strong, while not putting you close to low guard position if they go low.


Practical Concepts: Florentine Left Side Bait

I use this a lot on fighters who are either reactionary, or want to maintain range. They see the 'weak' left side coming in, see the guard drop, and it looks like the perfect opportunity to get an easy kill.
The trick to this is to be able to anticipate your opponents swing height. That's pretty hard to do, so it's generally better to just keep a low guard, perhaps even choke up on your swords a bit, and make the motions as automatic as possible. Most people aren't going to be capable (at least not at first) of seeing, interpreting, and reacting to their opponents motions swiftly enough for this to work. Instead the idea is to setup a series of automatic stimuli and a pattern to follow that will catch their response automatically. Don't think of it as "Step, see the shot, block the shot, hack the arm" but rather "Step, dip the guard, come back to guard, mid cross hack." Think about following the pattern rather than trying to be faster than your opponent.