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At festival I dropped in on a class taught by Greybeard all about fighting in close.

The key points of this class, were: that it is better to control the sword than the arm or elbow of the opponent and that once you have control of the sword via the quillons or pommel you should take you time to position yourself for a fight ending blow as opposed to striking the most immediate target, which may allow the opponent to block with the hand.

My partner’s technique after gaining the pommel with his hand emphasized bear hugging his opponent in order to deliver a false edge cut to the inner thigh or back.
This technique while effective is, I believe, taking advantage of the rule-set we play in and ignoring the realities of fighting at this distance, what Fiore calls the gioco stretto. At the gioco stretto the martially true response is to wrestle denying my partner the opportunity to strike such a long tempo blows.

This experience made me think about the difference between my fighting philosophy and that of others in the SCA; I want to succeed in the combat sports of armoured combat and rapier using techniques that would still work in a life or death situation. In other words I want to use the combat sport to practice historic martial arts and not the other way around.

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