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Sarcasticgrrl

Society for Creative Anachronism?

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I did it for a bit (technically not SCA, but another European MA society which used broadswords). Unfortunately, there are a number of swordfighting styles practiced in the SCA, so I can hardly give you specific advice.

My advice to you, therefore, is to practice, and to look out for toxic practice partners. You are fighting for sport and training, not to actually fight. The fighting part of the SCA (yes, there's LOTS of other parts) tends to attract people who really enjoy the idea of letting loose on another person. That is not safe or healthy, even with practice weapons. Find people who will not go easy on you, but who also won't be complete assholes to you.

Oh, also, drills. Find some drills for good weapon swings, stances, movements, and blocks, whatever your style. Drilling form gives you good form. Good form, even in a pitched battle, works wonders. I've had my butt kicked by enough good fighters to recognize that they're using technique, not just better reflexes. That's something you don't get without constant practice.

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Former SCA member. Would still be doing it, but there's no group where I live now.

For the standard stick & shield setup:

(1) Make sure your body is covered in armor. More than the minimum required. You'll get hit in places that are against the rules. Accidents happen a lot in the SCA.

(2) Make sure your helmet is well cushioned. The interior cushioning of your helmet is your safety against a concussion.

(3) When using your shield to block, use the edges. Blocking with the flat of your shield opens your entire body to being hit.

(4) When attacking, twist your hips. All your power is in your hips.

(5) Think of the stick as being like a whip, not a club. Your strikes should start at your hip, travel up to your shoulder, and move along your arm to a wrist-snap, which transfers all that built up power and speed out to the stick.

(6) The most natural attacks are done with a supinated wrist. But learn how to twist your wrist into a pronated position during attacks to increase your versatility. Pronated attacks change the angle of the stick and are very good for arcing the tip of your stick around behind your opponent's defenses.

Those are the basics really. Beyond that is mostly learning specific shots, a little footwork for opening angles, and how to bounce your stick off your opponent's blocks to create momentum for combos.

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I've got pretty alright power generation-and I've been workin on basic swing and whatnot. The real issue is holding the sword or shield for an extended period of time hurts my fore arms like a bitch-was wondering if anything other than push ups or handstands would be good ways to strengthen those? friend suggested holding out a water jug in front of me until I can't

(am also ambidextrous for sword, so I want to work both sides)

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The best way to get stronger at something is to do it a lot, and that's definitely true for holding heavy objects.

Honestly, though, you'll be much better served by a full body workout. Biceps, triceps, delts, traps, lats, pecs, quads, calves, abs, and everything else. They're all important for power, agility, and endurance in a fight.

I know that a NF member advocating strength training is nothing new, but it really is a good idea.

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The real issue is holding the sword or shield for an extended period of time hurts my fore arms like a bitch-was wondering if anything other than push ups or handstands would be good ways to strengthen those?

Barbell curls and overhead presses. Getting stronger on those two exercises will make using your shield and stick easier. And Ditto on what rbw said. Getting armored up and practicing a lot, combined with a weightlifting routine to strengthen your entire body, will help tremendously.

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I have no clue what rules or common weapons SCA uses, but with any swordplay I can tell you that footwork will be your very best friend. If your feet are improperly placed, you will strike poorly and defend even worse. Feet should be approx. shoulder distance apart, dominant side forward with your weaker foot back and to the side, angled about 45 degrees from forward. Practice walking and maintaining this solid position. Practice it with your weapon so you understand how it feels while you're moving. Keep your back solid and straight up, this will help keep your balance as you strike and defend.

Reading a master's manual by yourself will not be as useful as being able to study it as part of a group, but it should still help. This is a link to one of the popular Masters of medieval fencing, Fiore dei Liberi's "Flower of Battles." It covers several styles that might interest you. Personally, I recommend starting with the Longsword. Properly done, you should be able to be successful against almost anything with a longsword. This is a link to the Longsword section.

Check some of this out and practice your footwork and striking, you should be off to a very good start if you do these things.

Edited by notanartmajor

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I have to admit-I'm worried about using weights in case of damaging myself. I don't know what I'm doing with weights as much as bodyweight exercises...but I'll give it a shot

You're entering a hobby in which people will hit you with sticks until you stop moving. You're much more likely to get an injury from SCA than you are from weights.

However, if you'd rather stick to bodyweight, well, believe me, I understand *points to Assassin logo*. You can get stronger without iron. Please join us in our bodyweight strength forums. We'd love to have you around!

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The assassin's forums, or the bodyweight strength forums?

Yes.

You think I'm kidding, but the Assassin challenge forums end up getting a lot of bodyweight tips posted in them that don't go anywhere else. As good as our more educational members are about spreading the knowledge, even more ends up in our challenge threads. However, if you have specific questions, or are looking for a knowledge-focused thread, the bodyweight strength training (and, sometimes, the parkour/gymnastics) forums are your best bet.

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Feel free! I'm happy to share what knowledge that I can. However, I do encourage that you use the forums themselves, even for small questions. There are many approaches to bodyweight training and to martial arts. Getting multiple perspectives is essential to improvement. Even the best source (which I'm not) is still one source. We here at NerdFitness have a firm belief in helping those with questions who seek knowledge and improvement, so don't hesitate to ask anyone here any question that you have.

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Greetings from Calontir!

It's been a while since I was in armor, but hopefully I have some info to pass on.

What sort of shield are you using? The standard heater or kite shield forces your shield arm to stay pretty static. Center-grip shields make for a more mobile defense. You can actually move your shield to intercept blows, rather than just waiting for them to land. If you haven't already, try a center-grip round or a buckler and see how you like it.

I would second the bodyweight exercise recommendations; being able to move and control your body through multiple planes is an excellent skill for a fighter. If possible, work out wearing some of your armor. This will get you accustomed to the extra weight and the limitations it imposes on your mobility. Go easy at first so you don't end up with armor bites or nuked joints.

Pay special attention to joint health and mobility. A lot of older fighters get tennis elbow, blown knees and shoulders, and other injuries from improper training. MobilityWOD.com has a lot of excellent instructional videos, although it's geared towards CrossFitters.

The pell is your friend. Use the pell to practice full-power combinations (again, wear your armor) and work out mechanics. Slow training will also get your muscles used to certain movements like wrap shots and offside head shots.

Watch out for Tuchuks, or anyone carrying a left-handed Mongolian pandybat.

Above all, have fun. If it ceases to be fun, it ceases to be.

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They've been lending me a standard kite shield-which gives me less trouble then the center grips, but I think that's lack of arm strength.

Moving the shield to blows is a thought....

I haven't been able to get my hands on a buckler yet, no.

when I get proper armor, I was definitely going to be doing push ups in it at least.

Man, what is it about Tuchuks? And...pandybat? Do I even dare ask what that is?

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They've been lending me a standard kite shield-which gives me less trouble then the center grips, but I think that's lack of arm strength.

Everybody's got their preferences. I fought with a kite for a while, then used a heater for years. When I tried a center-grip, it was a revelation. My defense was better, I won fights against people who could regularly trash me... it was a good day.

The thing with a kite shield is that it's a cavalry shield. It's designed to protect the length of your body and leg while you're on horseback. Not so good for one-on-one, though in a formation it can be useful. (I like a big scutum myself, but then I'm Calontiri. ^_^) The arm strength for a center-grip shield will come; keep working at it.

when I get proper armor, I was definitely going to be doing push ups in it at least.

Pushups, squats, Cossack lunges, anything you can think up. Strong, mobile fighters are good.

Man, what is it about Tuchuks? And...pandybat? Do I even dare ask what that is?

Little joke there. 'Left-handed Mongolian pandybat' refers back to the days when rattan was first adopted as the standard weapons material for the SCA. There were fewer rules about weapons back then, so people were bringing all sorts of exotic creations to the list field. So, 'left-handed Mongolian pandybat' is a blanket term for any sort of weird weapon that might not be list-legal.

As for Tuchuks... you find them mainly at Pennsic. They're a SF-fandom group based on John Norman's Gor novels. They have a reputation for being overly aggressive and ignoring the usual rules of combat. (Note: there's a lot of overlap between Gor fandom and the BDSM community. There's a lot of master-slave play, lots of leather and rabbit fur bikinis, and plenty of room for misunderstandings between SCA and Tuchuks. Ask some of the older members in your group and you'll get several earfuls.)

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Armor is gonna take awhile-been looking in to lamellar in pieces and putting it together.

kite shield is almost as big as I am! (5'2" and 106 pounds of skinny nuthin)

I know about the Gor novels, and I know about the kink relation :P rather well. I get never ending amusement out of Goreans.

I keep hearing OF the Tuchuks, and most of the stories give me a chuckle (ex: guy sexually harassing 'their' ladies got duct taped by them, upside down, naked, to a tree, bits exposed to the scorching sun at Pennsic) whether true, I'll never know.

Ahhah. Well, by regulation rules I'm allowed to have a hammer as long as it follows the rules for hammers. I just can't have one til i graduate sword/shield

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kite shield is almost as big as I am! (5'2" and 106 pounds of skinny nuthin)

My first SCA friend was about that height, and probably not much heavier. She had big coke bottle glasses and a librarian's bun hairstyle. She basically looked like a 20-year-old grandmother. And she was an unholy terror on the battlefield, fighting in the heavy armor/weapons division. It's all about skill and attitude. You'll get a lot of satisfaction the day you're up against some 6' tall guy who thinks you're gonna be a pushover and you proceed to destroy him in seconds.

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I've been part of lochac (australia in sca) for most of my life and one thing i can suggest is make a lighter shield, I make mine out of ply wood about 3-5mm thick and they are strong and light. I have cut the wieght of my armour by about half by limiting my materials used. also you only need a shield to be about as wide across as your shoulders (if you can put the shield between your elbows and hold your hands together that is best) and length should go to mid to top half of your thigh. these are the dimentions of foot slodier's shields during most of the sca covered time period.

I hope this helps if not pm me and i can try and be more helpfull.

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Greetings from the Midrealm! I'm also relatively new--I authorized to fight in July and fought my first Pennsic in August, but I've been doing A&S for a few months before that. I only fight sword and shield, both melee and tourney, though mostly melee because that's what my household focuses on.


kite shield is almost as big as I am! (5'2" and 106 pounds of skinny nuthin)

 

I'm one of the smallest people in my melee unit, and the only female fighter, so I can empathize. We're part of a Roman household, so in melee we use those ginormous rectangular scuta, and when I brace mine on my greaves it covers my face almost completely. A big shield compared to your body can be an advantage in melee--it's hard to get speared when your entire body is covered with shield.

The strength comes as you practice. A quick trick I used to build up strength and endurance right before my authorization (for a variety of reasons, I didn't have a lot of ime to practice) was to carry my shield with me around the house and hold it up in a guard position while doing random household tasks, or watching tv, or whatever else I happened to be doing. Plus, this also gets you thinking of the shield as an extension of yourself because you get so used to having it in your hand, which helps make your guard more natural.

And I'd definitely recommend plenty of pell work in addition to your regularly scheduled fight practice. Pell drills for us are like scales for musicians. You can never do too much pell work, in my opinion.

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If you are looking for actual historical European combat techniques, check out a local HEMA group (if there is one in your area).  Check out www.thearma.org or www.hemaalliance.com

 

SCA is an outlet for many and varied fighting styles but is not a "martial art" in its own right.   unless someone in your group already knows a few techniques or you hook up with one of the few groups that spends a lot of time looking into historical manuals, you are unlikely to learn historical technique through SCA on its own.

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I am former SCA and Now live steel fighter in The Adrian Empire. I wanted to chime in here lol lamellar is a good style what material are you looking into useing?? Also have to looked in to fighting rapier? less armor but more foot work needed and you can still develop good combat skills/habbits.

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