We worked this week on the stretto play where the inside line is open. We got there by having one guy attack and then having the defender pass forward behind a mezzano.
We prepared for this by working first master dagger catches and counters.
We started out with standing pressure drills, general focus on balance and grounding, reducing footwork to the minimum, transferring force through the supporting leg, working on sitting on the hit, the oval hit and recovery.
- Feeder and worker connected fist to hand, feeder moves around, worker pushes feeder back and passes with a strong side attack to pad
- Milling around pushing each other, recovering, getting used to shrugging off the force if it’s on the shoulders, or deflecting at the elbow if it’s in the middle. Working on transmitting force through supporting leg on the push.
- Doubled hitting drills with palm stick and pads (hitting down into the pad, hitting forward into the pad, always recycling with an oval hand motion and ready to strike again).
We did a little drill with palm sticks whereby both people have daggers:
- Attack strong side
- Defender makes catch and then counter strikes with dagger (first remedy master first play)
- Attacker catches, performs middle key bind, strikes and then gets away (first remedy master third play)
We then worked the sword drills. Attacker and defender line up strong side guards, matched leads.
- Attacker strong side fendente
- Defender counter-hits mezzano for the attacker’s temple and passes behind the hit, ending in a right lead.
- Attacker draws hands in to prevent from getting hit, resulting in a crossing with pressure. The defender ends up with his inside line open.
- Defender attempts to enter, maintaining the crossing at the middle, moving himself around rather than moving the attacker’s blade too much, then availing himself of inside line grapple opportunities (grab pommel, push hands away, etc)
- Timing issues are key on the counterstrike in (2). If you aren’t ending up with a middle crossing (if the crossing is on your forte) you are probably moving your body too early and so your sword is late.
- Maintain the middle crossing as you pass forward. Don’t move your tip away from him or he can hit around).
- Bad mechanics such as breaking or crossing your wrists, or having your hands high, will foil you in these drills and present opportunities to your classmate.
- As with all drills, stay relaxed, keep moving, focus on your balance and effective pressure.