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Parry and Riposte – Practice

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Parry and Riposte – Practice

Immediate Practice

Solo or Partner Practice

  • 10 minutes – Single Parries and Thrusting Counter Attacks
    • Practice 10 reps of each parry and counter-attack as a thrust.
      • Ensure that after you parry you immediately extend the arm to thrust. The hand must move ahead of the body for your repost to be fast.
      • Keep your knees bent as you gather back, return with a step only after the thrust has been fully extended.
      • Keep control of your opponent’s weapon while you thrust by keeping your weapon over theirs.
    • Practice 10 reps of each parry and counter-attack as a cut.
      • Ensure that you meet your opponent’s weapon with your middle-sword to their middle-sword in order to have the correct leverage and force to send their weapon away.
      • If you fail to set their weapon aside, counter-attack with a thrust instead of a cut and keep cover over their sword.
    • Practice equal sets with your right and left hands.
    • In solo practice:
      • Make each parry crisply and quickly.
      • Focus on order of movement, ensuring that the sword and body move together when defending and that the sword moves ahead of the body in the counter-attack.
      • Work on keeping the knees bent when you gather back to allow for long and powerful counter-attack footwork.
      • Use a mirror to help guide your defences and to provide a target for counter-attack.
    • In partner practice:
      • Have you partner be consistent with their attacks. In later practice have them slightly vary the line and distance of the attack to force greater perception and coordination in the defence.
      • Remember to
        • Parry with the forte when making a static parry.
        • Turn your centerline toward where the swords are crossing.
        • Make your sword arm straight when meeting in the parry.
        • Bring your point over the weapon of a rising or mid-line attack.
        • Extend the weapon first in the counter-attack.
  • 10 minutes – Parry Sequence with Counter-attacks
    • In solo practice:
      • Move through the sequence from high to low, alternating sides.
        • Practice in place, and then with retreating footwork.
        • Practice 10 reps per side.
      • Move through 10 random parries, focusing on moving efficiently between different parry positions.
        • Repeat transitions that feel awkward.
        • Practice with both hands.
    • In partner practice:
      • Have your partner cue you through the sequence by cutting through all 6 attacks as shown in the lesson.
        • The goal here is to learn to identify the blows and practice the mechanics of the parries and counter-attacks.
        • Practice 10 reps of the sequence then switch hands.
      • Have your partner then attack at random for 10 blows in 3 sets.
        • Ask your partner to repeat attacks when you parry incorrectly.
        • Manage your measure by gathering backward or retreating while you parry.
        • Ensure your arms stay extended and that you do not withdraw your arms to parry at the right place. This should be accomplished through footwork.
        • Have your partner attempt to retreat after an attack to help you get the correct timing of the counter-attack.
  • Optional – Parries with Buckler
    • Repeat the above two exercises incorporating the buckler and its accompanying positions.
    • Remember to
      • Join the buckler edge to the sword to reinforce its strength.
      • Keep the buckler arm extended.
      • Turn to face the blow so that you do not chase with the sword or move the buckler too far to the right or left.
      • Parry the leg attacks using the false edge connected to the rim of the buckler (as shown in the lesson).

Ongoing Practice

  • Work through these exercises in a variety of ways to build your proficiency:
    • Using different guards as your starting point, so you learn to make all parries from all guards.
    • Against different pairs of blows so you become adept at moving from one parry to the next.
    • Against sequences of attacks that come on the same side.
    • While moving.
  • In solo practice, work on “shadow-sparring”.
    • Imagine an opponent and work against their imaginary attacks and defences.
    • Work on alternating between multiple attacks and multiple defences.
    • Pay particular attention to the efficiency of changing between defence and attack.
    • Set a timer to challenge yourself to keep moving for 1-5 minutes.
    • Practice on both your right and left.
    • Consider using a video recording of yourself to review your form after each training session.