Guy's Blog

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Still Down Under

I could get used to this. Sat outside in the shade tap-tapping away, (still at a lugubrious 10wpm or so) in glorious 30 degree weather. Not sure I'd get much work done in the long run though. But Sydney is a lovely city. I spent Thursday and Friday being shown the sights, including the most excellent Aquarium, including the totally lethal iddy-biddy blue-ringed octopus and the astonishing dugong, proof that 60kg of lettuce a day will make you fat.
The weekend seminar went very well, I thought (and confirmed by the student feedback, according to Paul). On the Saturday we cantered through a basic overview of Fiore's glorious system, its core mechanics and its tactical base, starting with the idea that your actions are predicated on those of your opponent. We started with the first play of the dagger (Mastering the Art of Arms vol 1: The Medieval Dagger, p 52; as many of the students present now have the book I'll include page references where applicable), and varied the drill by who moves first (p 50). We then looked at being lead into the specific play by the attacker's response to the defence, using the fourth master variations (Chapter 11, pp 87-94). This set up the core idea of the seminar in a concrete, visceral way.
So onto swords, with basic cutting exercises followed by distinguishing between cut and thrust, in the context of the defences of the dagger against the sword (pp 139-147). We then applied the same basic idea using the plays of the sword in one hand, specifically the first, second and eighth. And all that before lunch!
After lunch we covered the key plays of the sword in two hands, specifically the second and third of the second master of the zogho largo, then the second and third of the zogho stretto, using the four crossings drill as a magnifying glass for examining the blade relationship that will lead you into one play or another. You can find videos of all these drills on the wiki, of course.
I continue to be baffled, given that it has been three years now since I figured this out and made it public, why anyone would continue to view Il Fior di Battaglia as a catalogue of techniques organised inconsistently by measure, rather than the detailed development of a single basic idea (hit his sword away) based on what actually happens when you apply it to an opponent with ideas of his own. One of the great pleasures of this trip has been the way that the Australians have been so receptive to new ideas, and gladly abandoned old ways of thought when presented with something better.
I'll carry on with my adventures down under in a couple of days: right now I have to get my spine ready for a 30 hour trip home. It may take longer as I am changing planes in Heathrow, and they had three whole snowflakes at the same time, so all is plunged into Chaos. Hey-ho to the frozen North!

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