Nothing like a wee morning coffee and a good read of The stickfighting adventures of Faust. Beats the daily global news any-day.
Great, you feel better. As an old timer you know to better ease into exercise again.
This is the very first time anyone has called me an “old timer”
When you have your repertoire of punches down and can combine them at will in an instant, that is when you start to what I'd call freeflowing.
I understood you first time I was just squeezing out of you how you lay down the foundation to then get to that point.
Now with the sticks we started to attack and defend at random, at almost slow motion pace obviously but it came as a surprise how often both of us could react without thinking on how to react to a certain strike. You see the beginning of the motion of the stick or the arm or whatever weapon and anticipate its way. Of course this was with linear complete strikes, no partials with a sudden change of direction or abanico style artistic strikes.
Nothing wrong with training slow while learning. I am forever asking both my coach trainer to slow down as its just too fast for the naked eye to follow when he is imparting something, so he slows it down to learning speed for me. My training partner as when he gets too fast his form can collapse and “fuzzy” stuff starts to come out. Reacting to angles or lines of attack ( familiarisation) is for me where your actually using a lot of your previous prior combat skills. A simple primitive example could be I sway my head face upper body backwards( elastico) out of the way of a wild hook to my jaw( boxing) . Same elastico now as that stick / weapon gets swung at my head. Same could be said for previous footwork developed before stick fighting study ( get out of , retirada or off that line of attack , mobility delivery system) . So for me I find a lot of the previous decades of training do indeed have a place and serve well in the current training.
It is challenging enough to separate the strikes to different parts of the body/limbs. We increased the pace and withdrawed whenever one of us got too confused with the strike coming.
This step brought a new level of reality. It is one thing to block and disarm and repeat and repeat to get the skeleton of the move down and then speed everything up and get dynamic
Yeh for sure, some sort of mental hiccup, short circuit and a kind of technical meltdown, a loss of free flow. Increasingly ramping up real time , real speed , real power tends to do that, it can overwhelm the processing and ability to handle the incoming vortex.
We kept it perfectly safe, used light sticks (much better for the knuckles) and tried to improve from the at first quite static stance to a more dynamic action/reaction pattern.
Do you have any protective equipment to allow for a certain % increase in power strikes and specific targeting, hands , arms ,knees, face ?
Example I bought protective finger hand type gloves, they can take a padded stick and rattan to a certain non-damaging hurt level. Then one day I took one of my worn boxing gloves, cut the leather thumb retaining section so I could hold a stick right inside the crook of the grip. When I then stuck my finger padded glove inside the boxing glove, it meant we could seriously up “pulverising” the hands as targets in training. Same for our forearms, knees and face head guards.
Speaking of power development, grip, weapons retention integrity, do you have a striking war-post , pell or tyre, some sort of striking dummy thing that you can practise increasing the strike power on?
Obviously tyres ( or even sections of tyres) are hung up. Fixed on walls and so on or held up by partner in some fashion. One easy way and very portable location friendly way is to get a lightweight tyre which you can still fasten up or hand hold up. Go into a motorbike / italian scooter type shop which has second hand or slightly used tyres circumferences and widths vary . I got a little 3 inch wide, say 16inch circumference tyre for 5 bucks. These are not as big as car truck tyres, more training bag or car boot friendly and your partner ( while protecting his hands at the rear while holding) can allow you to open up a bit with increased velocity on the tyre or even move it about from angle to angle for you. Sometimes I hang this small tyre up for quick mobility as when you hit it dances backwards forwards or circles round faster than larger car truck tyres move.
Another idea is to get out your boxing MMA type focus pads and while using say a softer padded stick (or even a rattan depending on how robust your focus pads are) get your partner to feed you the focus pads just like you do in boxing. Static or flash feeding and whatever speed reaction drills you used to do can come back in here.
It reminded me of my first partner drills in boxing decades ago, when you don't really hit your partner but try to get used to whatever you can do or your partner does.
Distance sparring is interesting also. Some systems take distance sparring with live bolo / swords to an almost anxiety inducing proximity level when you see it.
soon age is coming from behind and your body suddenly feels it limits more than ever before. Now you can rely on your proficiency and still keep your pace up. Wherever in this process you stop learning, your performance won't increase anymore or will even decrease.. When you see a champion, you see someone who succeeded in coordinating his physical and skill development.
So when you see someone really active in his older days, you can almost bet he spends significant time in honing his skills
However having also said this , I now feel inclined to pass and accept with a strange mix of humility and pride the category of “old timer” with a sense of complete glowing satisfaction at getting “this far”
This age thing as you mentioned before is a reality, however I think it needs mentally shrugged off as it becomes a sort of default psychological complaining habit in everyday conversation with certain middle aged men. “you know at our age we really should be” …should be what? Retiring from training? Quitting it altogether?
Yes the body attributes may slow but you still have to work with what’s there. Like your blade weapons you also need to stay sharp not rusty and unfit for purpose so the analogy between a sharp sword and the person behind it also being as sharp as they can be holds pragmatic for me. There are guys in wheelchairs seriously upper arms limbs disabled who study and practise Weapons , when I see that, it humbles me to the point of shame to even think of complaining about a slight % loss of anything. I liked what Mayweather said to Mcgregor as he Connor touched on the “old man” bit. “Yes I am not the fighter I was 20 , 10, 5 or even 2 years ago but I still got enough to take you” or as the old imperial wizard of OZ said " we do not believe in death"
I know I can only get better with the sticks. At least to not hit my own glasses anymore!
I once took a heavyweight Bahi 450 grm stick and almost full force it ended up smashing into my knee, luckily a glancing blow. A well known guy let a bahi stick slip out his hands fly across the room and it knocked chipped another guys front teeth badly. So yeh shit happens and weapons retention integrity is a big part of things, nothing like losing your weapon mid flight during a trade off to teach you that.