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Solo Training in February 2024


We're in month two of three of our Squat and Broadsword solo training. If you're still working on things from January, keep going. This is meant to build you up step by step, so it will be challenging to move on if you haven't finished step one.


I treat the Squat portion as one training block, and Broadsword as another. If I can get a third training block in each week I will repeat the one that needs the most work, or train with a different weapon to break the repetitiveness.


 

Squats


We've all done squats, and we're all in different places with our squats. So here's a reminder why we're working on squats:


Squats require flexibility in the spine and feet, mobility of the ankle and hip, stability in the trunk and legs, and of course strength and motor control throughout to coordinate it all.

Specifically, we're working on deep bodyweight squats with our tailbone between our ankles, our feet flat on the floor, while maintaining our balance without assistance.


So how is your squat progressing? Have you seen a noticeable change in your squat over the past month? Take a photo of your squat from the front, side, and back at the beginning and end of each month to see progress that you might not be noticing week to week.


Spend half your training block on Flexibility and half on Mobility if you need to. If you have the Flexibility, focus on the Mobility piece and the Body Position.


Flexibility


You're going to have to be honest with yourself here. Working on the 'weakest link' means focusing more of your energy on the part of your body holding you back the most. It might be one part, it might be all of them. That's okay, it just tells you where you need to start working from.


I want to reiterate, if you still need to work on the flexibility exercises from January, go do that! You won't be able to progress much if your body physically can't move into the deep squat position.



Mobility


If you're still working on the Crab Walk exercises from January, go do that.


Here's what to do next:






Spend a full block working through the Range of Motion exercises until they become easy. The steps to improve your squat posture will build your strength and endurance quite nicely if you take it slow. And don't be afraid to throw in some of these exercises into your warmups on other training days.


 

Broadsword Fundamentals


Remember, 80% of our training time should be spent on Fundamentals. Are you training efficiently?


We're still working on older Highland techniques, rather than the Regimental techniques we learn first.



I call them 'Fundamentals' because it sounds less boring than 'Basics'. Doesn't change the fact we're talking about the first movements you probably learned with a broadsword. And it doesn't matter how long ago you learned them, expert fencers still work on their fundamentals.



A mirror or cell phone can help you check your form as you train.


The Form


  • How is my form in each position?

  • How is my form as I'm moving?

  • How is my form when I finish each movement?


The Cuts


  • Am I coordinating my body parts correctly?

  • Am I using the hand squeeze and wrist motion to power my cuts?

  • How fast and smooth can you make those cuts?

  • Are they timed properly so my blade lands at the same time as my foot?


The Thrust


  • Do I choose the correct thrust for my opponents position?

  • Does my chosen thrust properly cover me against my opponents position?

  • Can I use footwork to get me into lunge range accurately?


The Parry & Riposte

  • How strong is my parry?

  • How smooth is my riposte?

  • How accurate is my riposte?

  • Am I coordinating my arms and legs appropriately?


The Lunge


  • How deep can I lunge and recover quickly?

  • Am I stable when I lunge?

  • Am I lunging the appropriate distance for my current target?


The Footwork


  • Can I move myself smoothly? Quickly?

  • Can I use the False Step?

  • Can I use the Slip when appropriate?

  • Can I vary my footwork both on the Advance and the Retreat?

  • Am I retreating under cover and returning to guard?



Work on your fundamentals for a full training block.


 

Feedback is always welcome and appreciated. Don't forget to keep track of your training in the Accountability Group!



References:

The Art of Defence on Foot, Third Edition (1804) by Charles Roworth

Storica Defensa - Broadsword Curriculum

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