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Dynamic Targets – Practice
If you do not have a partner, this practice can be done by setting up targets around you on different platforms or suspending tennis balls or cards from strings.
- 10 minutes – Stationary Dynamic Target
- With your partner fixed in place practice continual striking for 20 blows. Your partner should change the targets each time they are touched. Practice 3 sets of 20 per hand.
- Practice moving smoothly with proper timing of hand and foot.
- Keep control and ensure that you keep your partner’s hands and body safe (striking softly).
- Manage your measure in relation to the targets. Remember that you can intentionally miss, allowing you to approach a target from a different angle.
- Ensure that you incorporate thrusting targets as well as cutting targets.
- 10 minutes – Moving Dynamic Target
- Practice the above drill while having your partner move. For added safety you can have your partner where a fencing mask and jacket. Their safety is your primary concern and it is best provided through control.
- Practice 3 sets of 20 per hand.
- Allow yourself to miss if a target moves away while you are striking. Keeping good posture and flow is more important than hitting every target by overreaching.
- Have your partner repeat targets and combinations that are particularly challenging.
- 10 minutes – Cutting to and through
- Add a buckler or focus pad to the exercise. This target allows you to cut through without injuring your partner.
- Safety note: Ensure that when you are cutting through one target that you don’t strike your partner’s other hand on the other side.
- Remember that the timing of hand and foot is different when you are cutting to a target rather than through it:
- To the target – Your sword hits the target as your foot lands.
- Through the target – Your foot is in the air while you are passing through the target. Sword and foot conclude together in a guard on the other side of the target. This could be a larga or stretta guard (for example) depending on how powerfully you are cutting.
- This type of dynamic moving practice is an excellent training tool for flow and mechanics.
- Challenging yourself to perceive and adapt to targets while both you and they are moving is tremendously valuable practice.
- Incorporate a buckler into your practice for extra challenge.
- Incorporate wrist, shoulder, and elbow cuts as well as double cuts from the same side to bring in all aspects of these lessons.