From Drills to Free Play: Putting Practice into Practice (Part II)


Bill Grandy, Director of Historical Swordsmanship at the Virginia Academy of Fencing

In Part I of this article we explored a few variations of drills to help develop both tactical proficiency as well as fluidity between actions under pressure. Those drills allowed more dynamism than static drills, and yet they are still a step apart from full out free play.

When engaging in free play, one has to accept that it is less of a learning exercise and more of a test of one’s abilities under fire. While learning occurs, the moment your brain goes into competitive mode it is spending less time analyzing previous maneuvers and more time adapting to the present and future maneuvers. Because of this, in order to gain the most out of your free play, you should consider variations that limit you and force you to adapt certain tactics.

Here we will look at some…

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