At it's simplist, head/leg/head/leg/head/head. The object is to lie with your body about where
you are throwing your next shot. To get a better, smoother, more believable fake....
Start out by appearing to throw a snap to the leg, dropping your shoulder, twisting your body
over to the right, etc, giving your opponent every indication that THIS IS A LEG SHOT! Even let
your hand drop a few inches to show that intent. Then as your body twists to throw the sword,
raise your hand and rock your shoulders back and to the left so as to deliver a snap to the head
The first variant to this, of course, is the falling snap, where you rise up as if to land a head shot,
then drop your hand sharply as you throw to hit the leg.
The second two are the backhand versions. I like to fall off the backhand to the leg into a hilt
high, tip low vertical shot past the opponent's sheild. (a pendulum shot) ] From the head
backhand, just drop into the left inner thigh of your opponent. This can be awkward, you have to
practice getting past your own shield to make this work. Rise out of it into iron chicken to cover
the attack that he will give to your helmet right side.
(first had this used on me by Kaz the Unpronounceable in AS 20 in Korsvag. The Rising Snap
and other variants are very old in SCA use.)
2. Reverse Thrusts
From a backhand to the head, slip your right hand back a little and give three quick light jabs
straight into the face guard. Hard to catch.
(I was taught this by Duke Dietrich, who's Baron of Gyldenholt in Caid these days)
From a vertical shot straight from the shoulder, let your sword fall short straight down the face
of your opponent's shield. As the sword reaches level, tighten your wrist to "pop-up" the tip of
the sword. Your opponent will almost guaranteed be looking over his own shield to see where
your sword went. Lean forward slightly, raise your hand forward slightly, and show him.
(Got this from Duke Wrangvaulter in AS34 @ Darkyard fight practice)
Off a pendulum shot, (hilt up tip down vertical past the shield) after the shot, follow through until
you clear the tip (just), step left one pace and drive down at your opponent's body. Hopefully his
sheild is still swinging back from the block of the first shot, if not try to get over it.
(saw a guy do this at Pennsic a few years back)
If you like fencing, this is for you. After throwing a forehand shot, pull the hilt a bit to clear it
and thrust in quarte to the opponent's right side or head. Keep your hand palm up as you throw
the snap, then even higher palm up to drop the tip on the thrust. To insure force for a body shot,
untwist from the wind up you got out of the forehand. If your opponent takes a backhand at your
unprotected side, go to the "Wow! I coulda hadda V-8" block in the kata (see kata page). This
does not work well on an opponent who's closing, but for one who likes to slip in and out, it gets
you a shot as he's leaving. (especially if you lunge).
(made this one up myself. use it rarely, but for the right situation it's cool.)
3. Hey! Your SHOE'S untied!
Look at the guy's foot, then hit him straight in the head.
(Count Brannos still catches me with this regularly)
For a variant, keep looking at and quickly look away from a spot you might throw. First start to
throw it, then change target in mid swing. Where to change direction depends on the skill of your
opponent. The better he is, the later and faster you should shift. The worse he is, the more signal
you have to give him so he will move where you want him to go.
Act weird. Prance around. Sing. Dance. When your opponent drops his guard (after all, you can't
be serious) to figure out what the heck you are doing, then you attack with as little telegraphing
as you can manage. Remember: unless your opponent is on the ground or hold is called, it's still
Yell at the opponent. He will tighten up, then when you don't attack, he will relax. Attack in
rhythm with the relaxation.
(Got this idea from my kendo teacher in Yokosuka, Japan, as he introduced me to the joys of
Suntori Whiskey in a waterfront bar.)
6. Win a fight by being slower than your opponent.
If your opponent is really a speed demon, win by changing speed from as fast as you can to a
much slower, power-driven blow. This will throw off your opponent's block timing and drive
him nuts. Most speedy fighters never learn timing and that's how you beat them.