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Many sports and martial systems use a 'drag' factor in their training. This is often a way to train harder so that excertion under pressure is easier. Swinging three bats when on deck for a baseball player, swimming or running with weights.
I have been wanting to introduce the notion of 'drag' into bouting practice. In most competitive traditional bouts the demand of the 3-4 finger bend of blade has almost eliminated false positives. Which is good. But when I observe fencers applying this same criteria during regular training what I see is rather than eliminating a false positive, a reward for poor defense. For example, if my attack comes so close to your target that you choose to defend but due to something like an ill chosen line of defense or bad parry my attack lacks a certain flex or force, or maybe even lands a little flat. Is this not training to trade a lesser injury for a greater? Would fencers not be better served by improving their overall defensive reactions by acknowledging attacks that get past their defenses even when the touch itself is a little lacking?
Fencing drag would be a scheme in which fencers durng a bout would acknowledge not just palpable touches but also well executed attacks which breach the basic defense employed. Those are the "I know you got me" moments - when the touch is redundant. I happen to be very fond of those exchanges. Are there ways in which drag is being incorporated smiliarly or differently out there?
> Fencing drag would be a scheme in which fencers durng a bout would
> acknowledge not just palpable touches but also well executed attacks
> which breach the basic defense employed. Those are the "I know you
> got me" moments - when the touch is redundant. I happen to be very
> fond of those exchanges. Are there ways in which drag is being
> incorporated smiliarly or differently out there?
I understand what you mean, when a touch "should" have happened but didn't, not
because of good defense, but because of an error made on offense.
If I were the attacker, I wouldn't want a touch counted if it did not land cleanly and distinctly,
so I don't think I would do this. But I can see what you mean from the other side.
Either way, it isn't an issue here because we rarely keep score anyway. Counting or not
counting any particular hit is relatively irrelevant. Even so, I'm sure that people recognize
when their defense could have been better. It isn't that there is a touch counted against
them, but they still KNOW if they made an error.
We do several other things to train harder than bouting conditions.
For one, we run interval footwork drills that are far more demanding than a bout.
Our basic attitude is "no one will ever beat me by training harder than I do."
Another thing we do to make practice more demanding is to use a limited target.
Sometimes the swordhand half of the torso.
Other times, a piece of duct tape on the jacket- size varying from about 2" x 4"
to an inch square. (Try the small one on the bottom edge of the flank!)
Another option is to limit defense to certain parries, or exclude certain parries-
like 6te and 4te. Eliminates reflexive "windshield wipers."
Sometimes we bout for extended lengths of time, or run several bouts in a row,
changing partners, but without any rest in between.
Anyone have other ideas?