Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hey Buddy...Can You Spare A Dime?

Right after advance....retreat....lunge, the first thing you learn is how to hold your weapon and come into a proper enguard position. Typically this is in 6 and it "closes the line" ( protects) to you arm.

After all this time I still have a problem with this. Partly because I have done it incorrectly for a long time and partly due to martial arts training. (<~~~~ This is my personal assumption....not Coach Millers) Part of the reason I have pretty good hand speed is because I think of a thrust like a punch.

When you throw a reverse punch...you start relaxed and tense up at the point of contact. ( Greater speed than from a position of tension to a position of tension.) You also throw this punch to the center of your body. Your hand twist from palm up to palm down as you strike. If you start in a " horse stance" it is angling in to the middle of your body. This is sort of what happens when I attack with a blade. My weapon hand drifts into 4, as I move my weapon ( more to the center of the body) and my blade turns a bit, rather than the blood grove on top...thumb on top of the grip. NOT good.

Coach Miller had an idea for an exercise for me to fix this embarrassing problem. He lent me a blade that had no bell guard or grip and placed a dime on top of the blade. I am to practice attacks with the dime balanced on the blade.

When Coach explained the exercise and offered to lend me the blade I said," Coach...I have a bare blade at home, I don't need to borrow one of yours."

His matter of fact reply was, " This one is canted right."

I thought about this on the way home and I studied and studied that cant. It is down a bit, but not to the left as far as I would move it. What kind of human being can look at a bare blade and tell that this is canted right for a dime balancing exercise? I often think in fencing........." How can I have learned so much ....and know so little." If knowledge of fencing is like a mountain range, I will never live long enough to get to the mist covered high ground. That doesn't matter though....I like the climb.

Editors Note: The blade I borrowed from Coach was made in 1997 and still looks to be in excellent shape. My thought was if a blade survived that long it is worthy of some respect, plus I wanted to return it to Coach cleaned up as a tiny payment for lending it to me. ( Always leave your camp sight cleaner than you found it. I was taught this as a kid.) It was "gunked up " and had some tarnish on it. I cleaned it up in various ways including steel wool. Clever guy that I am, I know that steel wool contains an oil which keeps it from rusting and that that will transfer slightly to a blade when you clean it up, thus helping it for a short time not to tarnish. NOTE TO SELF: Jim.......you don't want to put oil on a blade if you are trying to balance a dime on it and lunge. Hey!...It seemed like a good thing to do at the time.

While I am on the subject of Coach Miller, I was looking at Susan's on-line pictures the other day and she had a picture of Coach Miller she had taken next to small statue of Grumpy from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" I almost spewed coffee through my nose as I laughed. I need to ask her if I can copy it and post it here. I think that picture would brighten my day more than once.

Today I leave for Mexico for nine long days of hot work. There is no use in complaining.....but I wish I did not have to go.

1 comment:

Indigo said...

I was laughing (Yeah, I know at the time it wasn't funny) just imagining you trying to balance a dime on an oiled blade...

Grumpy and Coach Miller in the same picture...now that's funny..

Try to stay cool and enjoy Mexico dear friend, you in my thoughts. (Hugs)Indigo