How far? Just far enough.
by, 03-22-2012 at 04:23 PM (534 Views)
The new kid was ready, so I tested him on the parts of the weapon. He didn't get them right, so I made him go through it several times and then told him to do ten push-ups for getting it wrong and gave him a weapon. He's pretty coordinated so I think I can get him up to speed.
I gave the boys a quick lecture on distance, emphasizing that in order to hit with your attack, you have to be close enough to hit. I gave them a quick line lesson with push-pull, so that they would hit when I stopped, and the second time around I also made invitation to head when I stopped so that they could begin to understand the idea of hitting target instead of hitting the blade (I love novices).
Then I had them do a distance drill - at extension distance, drop your hands and keep distance, with one fencer leading and the other following. When I say "Halt!" check to see if you're still at extension distance. It was interesting to see which fencers prefer to stay too far away and which ones come too close. The second part of the drill was that you were allowed to hit your opponent if you got him to come too close.
I talked a little about right of way, and I finished up with a grand game of Pirates & Spaniards, and by gum they were finally ready to have some fun with it. There were some spectacular deaths - my tall kid with the long arms fell flat on his back and stuck his legs in the air. I saluted them, shook their hands, and dismissed them to spring break.
The 7th-8th grade math teacher told me he and his college friends used to do "hall fencing" in his UMBC dorm with wooden dowels, stuffing pillows under their shirts. It apparently got pretty bloody at times.