Close this search box.

Guy's Blog

Guy frequently keeps this blog updated with thoughts, challenges, interviews and more!

Tag: exercises

Last Tuesday I was still away in the USA, teaching a seminar for Lonin and doing some consulting for CLANG. Ilpo Luhtala covered the beginners’ course class, and this post is compiled from his notes.

There were 17 beginners attending, plus a few more experienced students, and overall Ilpo thought it went pretty well. I had asked him to prepare the class for second drill, which I intend to cover in tomorrow’s class (the last of this course), by taking them through the 3rd and 4th plays of the 1st master of the dagger. (They covered the 3rd play last week, so only the 4th is new.) He took the opportunity to tweak the class towards his own current training interests, without introducing inappropriately advanced material, by emphasising grounding and hip work in the dagger plays and in 1st drill. The exercises after the warm-up also focused on these issues. The message was: your hips are stronger than your arms. (Ilpo is currently working on remaining grounded while moving.)

Though the class did not go through 2nd drill, he demonstrated it at the end, underlining the connection to 1st Dagger Master 3rd and 4th plays, so when we do it tomorrow, they will at least have seen it.

The class went like this:

18:00 -18:15: Warm-up, introducing pair push-ups

18:15-18:27:  Four guards drill, emphasising what it is for. Grounding pair drill. Push hands game.

18:27-18:58: Dagger plays: 1st Master 1st and 2nd play; then 5th play; then 5th and 6th (note 6th play is new); then 3rd, then 3rd and 4th (note 4th play is new).

(For those unfamiliar with Fiore’s dagger plays; 2nd counters 1st, 4th counters 3rd, and 6th counters 5th, hence the pairing.)

18:58 – 19:12: Solo sword training: Mandritto fendente and back; roverso fendente and back; Cutting drill, part one.

19:12-19:30: Pair sword training: First drill: 1st and 2nd steps, then 3rd step added, then 4th step. (All familiar material.)

Free training ran from 19.30-20.30.


This course is proceeding apace, helped along by the exemplary attendance record, and their tendency to show up on Thursdays. 21 out of 24 were there on Tuesday, which is pretty good. We began with the warm-up and as usual took a familiar pattern of exercises and added a few bits and pieces. This week we added kicking squats and push-ups with one foot off the ground. Falling revision was followed by re-checking the correct placement of the weight on the feet, then we looked at tailbone placement, for absorbing vertical energy (gravity, carrying a TV upstairs) versus horizontal energy (pressure from an opponent). We then took that data and applied it to posta longa, with gentle pressure from a partner to check for correct positioning.

Then revision of the four steps, and we added the meza volta (half turn). We then did the stick exercise which generated natural tutta voltas (full turns), which we then took out of context and practiced solo. Volta stabile next week I think, and the three turns as a chunk to add to the four steps.

We then revised the first and second plays of the first master of the dagger, and added a disarm done against a roverso (not quite the full version, the first two plays of the third master from the Pisani Dossi, that’ll come next week). But we did do the counter-remedy to the third master, just for fun. It’s a lovely trap.

I then, at last, took them to the book to show them the third master material.

This brought us to 7pm and the salute, followed by striking mandritto and roverso fendenti; we have now dropped the natural swinging as unnecessary. This lead us naturally to a mandritto fendente finishing in posta di dente di zenghiaro, returning up to longa with a thrust or a roverso sottano. Then the same thing on the other side, so creating tutta porta di ferro.

From tutta porta di ferro thus created, we went and revised the first two steps of first drill, which took us up to 7.30. I had promised them last week to teach them the pommel strike counter (step three of the drill) “next week”; but I had been careful not to mention which day of the week I’d teach it. I pointed this out and promised to cover it on the Thursday class (which I did). This seemed to do the trick, as fully half the course came along last night, so with 15 regulars and 12 beginners we were a trifle full. Last night’s free training gave me a chance to work one-on-one with a beginner who has arthritis in his left wrist, finding alternatives to push-ups, and to teach three of them how to do the shoulder stabilisation drill with much less effort, in addition to the usual pottering about fixing problems as they arise.

All in all, great progress!


Recent Posts

Warsaw for the Win!

I’m just back from the International Rapier Seminar, held in Warsaw last weekend. It was