Second week – “Please sir, my brain is full”

Week two of training with Némésis.  I enjoyed this week even more than the first which is cool because last week was pretty good.  Top of the list of improvements was the arrival of some proper training swords.  At the moment it’s only single handed swords, the two handed variety being a bit behind in delivery.  This was a big improvement over last weeks ‘sticks’ though, and goes to highlight the fact that the club is still pretty new and just getting going.  More on the single handed sword later.

This week we started with a recap of the basic moves from the first week.  I’d been practising quite a lot at home and thought I had this pretty well covered, but was reminded of the point of actually training as the instructor (Aurelien) constantly corrected my stance, technique, step length etc.  Little corrections to be sure, but the sort of thing an experienced instructor will see and correct and that you don’t notice on your own.

Next we moved onto some new cuts.  These were the “Couronne” (I’m not sure about the French here, it’s what it sounds like anyway…) and the Tranche/Taille.  In German Longsword speak these would be the Zwerchhau and Zornhau (more on “Terms” in another post).

One thing I did notice was that turning the blade to keep it flat was quite hard.  I’m probably the least flexible person ever and my forearms are no exception.  Turning my hands palms up to make the blade flat was awkward, but should get better with ease.

At the end of the first hour I had serious trouble actually executing the requested move, it’s very much at the cognitive stage at the moment where I have to think what each term means, how that move starts and where it’s going before I can act.  At one point the instructor must have thought I hadn’t heard him as it took so long for me to move after he’d                 called out the move that he asked for it again and I had to explain I was still working on it!

Session 2 was single handed sword techniques again, this time with a proper practice weapon.  The main difference this made was that it was much harder work.  Keeping going for an hour with a heavy single handed sword was a real struggle, holding the stance at the end of a cut for the instructor to check it was like some form of ‘stress position’ torture.

So far in single handed techniques we’ve done the straight cut (brise), couronne, tranche and taille, just like for the 2 handed.

We also practised (again) the drill with an attack/block move, where the blocker then grabs the hand and pushes it away before attacking with their own cut, from where the drill continues with the actions reversed.  This tended to build in both speed and strength leading to a few nervous laughs as we discovered we both seemed to be actually trying to hit each other..

All in all a great session, but my right shoulder is going to be seriously sore in the morning.

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