Gonna attempt to breakdown this Sword and Shield singles fight between my boy Brandon the Goon and Mike Burkhart. This is an on going attempt for me to improve my ability to understand fights, pick up on fighting strategies, and see the strengths and weaknesses fighters possess. I am not good at these skills and no one should take any thing I say here as an accurate analysis of this fight. With that said, lets begin.
Mike starts the first round out with a lot of energy, real light on his feet, alot of lateral and backward movement to keep Brandon guessing how he’ll attack. Seems to pay off as a lands an early strike 8 seconds into the fight, catching Brandon’s return easily on his shield. However he fails to keep up this energy throughout the round. I know his shoulder gets injured somewhere but I didn’t see it happen here, so I’m guessing he just gassed. It’s a problem I’ve had all to often, a quick flurry to start of the round and then barely hanging on as the round ends letting my opponent destroy the lead I worked so hard to get. Cardio is king, but pacing is what lets you keep the crown.
After giving up that first shot Brandon goes into full on bully mode. Mike takes a step back to retreat and Brandon charges in head down, no strikes, no footwork(he’s gotten alot better at that). It’s not actually as Brandon is clearing controlling the fight for the next few seconds. He gets 3 shots to Mike’s 2, though neither scored with their swings. Brandons shots are wild, but it’s his second singles sword and shield fight and he’s only been swinging a sword a few months. Had his targeting and form been better he’d probably have been able to land two of those and probably even thrown two more. Everything he threw was an onside to the hip or leg. Switching up to the head or throwing an offside at Mike’s arm as part of a combo would have almost guaranteed a few points. Right around the 1:13-14 mark he has Mike’s sword trapped up with his shield and then drops the shield while Mike’s arm stays in the high guard, elbow cocked out. Perfect opportunity to come around with an offside.
All that said, I think Brandon would have been better served trying to trap Mike against the rail. Mike is clearly the more technical fighter, with better weapon and shield skill. Brandon has him in size and strength though and keeping him pinned up would prevent him from throwing sniping shots. Brandon could use his superior strength (and possibly stamina) to wear Mike down and try and get sneaky shots in.
After the separation Mike comes right back in, still bouncing, foot work still pretty good. Lands a glancing blow. Might be good might not, depends on the judge. Brandon has barely gets his guard up after losing Mike in the break and drops it immediately hyper focused on leg chopping. That probably cost him that point. He might land a leg shot there but it looks like shield. Needs to go lower if he’s making that trade. Ankle, not foot, and shin shots are almost guaranteed to land. He tries for a combo, which is good thinking, but his form isn’t there. Looks like all arm and comes right down the top.
Brandon tries to go bully again, but doesn’t commit and Mike rolls out. During the reset Brandon stands in range and lets his guard down giving Mike a free shot. Great awareness on his part to pick up the momentary lapse. Brandon realizes his mistake and backs out of range.
The rest of the round is pretty much Brandon chasing Mike at half speed. Mike uses good foot, a better guard than Brandon, and timing to throw shots to Brandon’s head as he leaves the right side open throwing shot after shot. There’s one moment worth noting at 1:36 where Mike uses a high feint, bringing both his shield and sword towards a high guard to get Brandon’s open up his legs, takes a deep step and throws for the thigh. With a better shield Brandon may have been able to catch it, but never with the punch shield point. He need to void out which is usually the correct block for a leg shot anyway. They sit at the end of the round both looking gassed.
Brandon starts the first round pretty well. He comes out with good foot work, tries to snipe a shot in. Then after playing around for a few seconds gets tired and goes into bully mode again. Charges in throwing sword strikes and punches(illegal ones at that) wild hard shots leaving his guard way open. Foot work disappears and Mike lands a couple of shots. In the second flurry it looks like Brandon’s punch or possibly pushing with the shield afterwards is what G’ed up Mike’s shoulder.
Brandon is a little hesitant, appearing to not know if he should continue instead of going full shark on the injury. I’m of two minds on this. Respecting our opponents and giving them a chance to withdraw if they are injure is an honorable thing to do. On the other hand, if they aren’t throwing in the towel, the match is still on, they still want to fight. Brandon could have probably picked up a round here had he gone full killer mode, but I understand the choice.
However he does decide to keep fighting I’m not sure I agree with the decision. He leads with the shield which at first I thought left him open but looks like he intended to use it to pin Mike’s sword arm. That’s good. However he only throws one strike instead a flurry like before and doesn’t really bang Mike into the rail either. A hard charge to open Mike up would be acceptable though a bunch of sword strikes while he’s still regaining himself would be better. At this point it’s clear Mike wants to keep fighting, so give him his wish. Hit him hard, hit him fast.
Another illegal punch to the face as Mike leaves, followed by a cocky swagger, and then another face punch. I think this is where Brandon went full Goon and decided he didn’t care about winning, he just wanted to hit things. Mike recovers though, puts his guard up, uses good foot work to retreat and just picks his shots as Brandon leaves himself open. Brandon does land a few nice blows himself but the trade was not in his favor.
During this bit Brandon decides to show us very bottom of the barrel of bad footwork, but also some very close to perfect foot work. 3:15 I suggest watching in half sped if not quarter speed. Brandon approaches, decent passing step, throws a punch and misses. Brings his right leg all the way across his left leg, leaving his left planted. You can see how twisted off balance his position is. However he follows it up brilliantly. His left leg comes across and his right moves in. It comes a bit too far as his feet touch putting him in a semi-precarious position, but as soon as his right drops he’s de-weighted his left foot. If he were to be pushed in that instant he would go backward but the left foot should be able to catch him. Better if he were shoulder over thighs over feet, keeping him sturdy, but what he did still works. He pushes with the right foot, driving to the left, lets the left land and repeats the process. An almost perfect half step at an angle.
Overall thoughts on the fight. Brandon needed to bully more when he bullied and needed to be more cautious when he wasn’t. Throw some kicks, grapple on the fence, make it a brawl not a sword fight. When at range, back out and stay beyond Mike’s reach till he was ready to make the fight happen on his terms. When he wend full Goon style he shut down Mike’s offensive and opened up a lot of angles in Mike’s guard he wouldn’t be able to hit standing at range and sniping. Mike’s use of footwork, timing, and a decent guard gave him the fight. He could have made it a lot more one sided had he been able to stay out of Brandon’s Goon tactics and just kept punishing him for leaving his guard open. He backed out straight to often and near the end was not as light and bouncy as he could have been to really pick Brandon apart.
All said and done it was a great fight by both fighters. For a second singles fight Brandon rocked it. Especially when you consider he’s using a shield that’s only marginally meant for defense and mostly designed to make punching hurt alot more. Mike displayed great technical skills and a whole lot of heart fighting on after his shoulder pretty much shut down in the middle of the fight. Can’t wait to see each of their next forays into the Singles arena.