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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Thu 03 Apr, 2014 7:19 am    Post subject: Speed drills/exercises         Reply with quote

As usual, every few months or so I get the impulse to take videos of myself practicing and then get so embarrassed by the poor techniques and mechanics shown within that I never let anybody else see the videos. Anyway, this time what I noticed the most is that my actions aren't as fast as they should be -- in fact, I think I might even have grown slower since my previous videos from several months ago -- and it probably wouldn't hurt to focus on some speed-oriented exercises this time, especially ones that don't come at the expense of technique. So would anybody like to share their favourite exercises for improving speed?

(Just for background, I mostly do German stuff these days, especially from earlier texts like Talhoffer and Ringeck, but I certainly won't mind hearing about exercises based on other traditions or even modern fitness and martial arts.)
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Chris Friede




Location: Austin
Joined: 15 Mar 2014

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Thu 03 Apr, 2014 10:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you tried pylometrics? Helped with my lunge speed in foil fencing...should be good for footwork.

There is always having wrenches thrown at you...
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Jimi Edmonds




Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Joined: 25 May 2009
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 12:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Go Slow, learn fast. Go fast, learn slow.

If you slow down and take time to think through your actions they will become naturally fast.

I not long filmed my progress on oberhaus, and went back and looked at film from when I started. It was ugly, wide, stiff etc. now after four and half years my cuts flow and stance etc. is tight and generally much better.

Though on this I am still yet to perfect my cuts and swordsmanship, and the test is applying what is learnt through drill into sparring/freeplay, as should you film that you will find things that you don't do in drill!
I am continually correcting myself and learning and re-learning what I have learnt.

I also get times where I am fast and on form and times where I am slow and feel like what I do is not what I have learnt and is rubbish!

and still I am not even on par with a common fencer, not even close..
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Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
Joined: 06 Sep 2011

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 12:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't worry too much. Pretty often in martial arts, you get to a point where suddenly techniques you've been doing for a while seem to get more awkward and hard. Mainly because you've gained enough knowledge to realize that you've been doing things wrong and start thinking things through a lot more. One of the great paradoxes of martial arts. A complete novice is often better than an apprentice, because they do a lot of their moves without thought and rely more on instinct. After training though, you stop using instinct and start trying to use technique, but its slower and more awkward. But, once you get techniques down to instinct, it goes back to being fast and fluid.

And the fun thing is that this can and does happen multiple times, particularly when you add in new knowledge to your repertoire

As for speed drills, I usually find that free flow, quick, unrehearsed bursts where you just execute a series of cuts and thrusts work pretty well. Don't use a routine, but try and connect them into a fluid, logical series. Be sure to keep martial intent as well. Ten minutes or so every practice seems to work.

Also, don't let them take the place of more structured drills. In my experience, its really easy to let sloppy technique start creeping in because you are just going at it. These are a supplement, not a replacement, for training.

Still, they can be a lot of fun.
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Mark T




PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In terms of speed training in the context of accuracy, check out this video from Cipriano Ortega of work with a pendelzeil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_jBlRhBJ0E

For more information about this training tool, check here: http://hemaalliance.com/discussion/viewtopic....pendelzeil

Chief Librarian/Curator, Isaac Leibowitz Librarmoury

Schallern sind sehr sexy!
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Sat 19 Apr, 2014 5:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting one, that. Looks a bit expensive from my current viewpoint (still stuck in Southeast Asia), but I suppose I can look into ways to make something like that myself (or having it made locally).

On the other hand, what exercises are particularly good for upper-body speed? Having rechecked the videos (and done a couple of new ones), it seems that I don't have so many problems with the speed of my footwork, and it's my handwork that looks particularly slow. I've been doing plyometric (clapping) push-ups all along but I'm not sure what else would be particularly good for this purpose.
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Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
Joined: 06 Sep 2011

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Sat 19 Apr, 2014 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A pretty simple method is practicing punches. Start in a standard horse stance and your hands at hips level, palm up. Punch out and try to bring it back twice as fast. Repeat x 100. Keep them controlled and don't over-extend your elbow. Your fist should also be twisting at the last moment to the punch position. Also keep your body relaxed and try to avoid any telegraphing. Builds explosive power and quick reflexes. It's not perfect for swords, but a lot of these skills and ideas transfer pretty well. Perhaps doing meisterhauw similarly (quickly, explosively, and drawing into a guard as quickly as you can) might suffice.

Another thing to try is practicing in water. Obviously not great for swords, but chest deep water provides a decent resistance for strikes and forces you to perfect technique and root yourself. Otherwise you tend to slosh yourself around without accomplishing much. A side benefit is a really good workout as well.
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