I was delighted to be able to travel to Longpoint this year to teach a pair of lessons at the event. Although I didn’t manage to make my registration in time to participate in the tournament triathlon that interested me most, I did have a chance to do some sparring with people on a more friendly basis.
One of the people I managed to do some sparring with was Jake Norwood. The experience was a real pleasure – it always is, every time I have managed to do some fencing with him over the years, and this was no exception.
The bout began with Jake taking me apart on every exchange, catching my hands and arms in particular, and I struggled to keep myself safe while trying to do my Liechtenauer tactics against him. About halfway through the bout, I changed it up, and began using more of the common fencing tactics and techniques that I was going to be teaching later in the event, and this began working much better for me!
The main difference was that I stopped trying to go directly to Jake’s openings, because it just wasn’t working for me. The openings were too far away (he’s tall!) and he was doing too good a job of keeping himself from my various attempts. Instead, I started using slightly more elaborate sequences to set up the openings that I wanted to hit, and using the sequences of sword movements to cover my attempts to play with distance in a more advantageous fashion. This led directly to an improvement in my fencing, and allowed me to land hits against Jake’s deeper targets, with a couple of especially nice Nachraisen strikes to the head.
I usually go into a fight with the intention of fighting in a Liechtenauer style or a common fencing style, and I usually make the right choice from the outset. This time, however, Jake was just breaking my Liechtenauer attempts, so I had to switch up my approach halfway through. That was quite an interesting experience to go through in my own head.