Wanted to mix things up a bit so I grabbed an SCA video. It’s longsword, so something I know a bit about though I’m hardly an expert in the SCA use of it. I don’t know these two fighters but they seem fairly competent. My understanding is Ryu is the eastern kit and Adam is the plastic looking armor. So that’s how I’ll refer to them.
First thing I noticed on the first watch through is Adam seems to know some historical stuff. I’m no expert so I have no idea how accurate his techniques are but on first watch he seems to not get much out of it. It’s hard to judge though because going into traditional guards will tend to cause SCA fighters to be uncomfortable so even if no advantage is noticed it might still be there. We’ll see if I keep that impression as I go through it again a few times.
The other initial impression I got was that both fighters seemed to do an excellent job and bringing the blade back into a guard after a whiff. It’s a problem I particularly suffer from.
So at :09 Adam takes two interesting steps forward. The back foot comes up first and actually passes all the way behind the front. I would normally call this poor as that moment when feet cross you’re balance is suspect, making it hard to stand against a shove or even change direction in response to a charge. However because he starts so far out of range it doesn’t seem dangerous. I do wonder what advantage he thinks it’s giving him as he attempts to enter striking range. I assume he thinks there is one, I just don’t know what it is. Perhaps that step makes a lunge easier or disguises the limits of his range. I may try playing with it when I get back from Poland.
There a few seconds of footwork closer to the style I’m used to from both as they feel each other out. Adam attempts to enter by touching Ryu’s blade out of the way. I like that idea, but it seems a little too hesitant here. He taps the blade barely bringing it off line then feints the face into an offside cut. Perhaps the slight touch was meant to cause Ryu to over commit on the block to the thrust. Either way, the offside cut needed to come parallel to Ryu’s blade to land. If Adam’s passing step had been to the left 45 degree angle he would have brought himself off line from Ryu’s return attack and wouldn’t have had to worry as much about that strike, that almost blows through his block. It’s possible that if Ryu had brought his hand up pivoting the blade around Adam’s block he could have delivered a good blow. That would have been quite impressive though.
Ryu manages a nice block with his pommel, looks like between the hands, either skill or luck, but we’ll assume skill. He throws a straight downward cut, Oberhau(possibly a Zorhau, still learning the HEMA terms) and a quarter of a second later Adam answers with one. They both die. There are few things Ryu could have done to survive. Not throw and kept his gaurd is the simplest. However throwing as he made another passing step back or even a full step backward might have taken him out of range. Alternatively a shot towards Adams hands and hilt may have jammed him up and prevented the blow. Any horizontal cut thrown towards shoulder height with a step in would have caught any return blow Adam throw jamming him up. Considering Adam is clearly faster I think he may feel more comfortable in the bind.
The next exchange is…weird. Adam tries some level changes and attacks Ryu’s sword again a few times. It’s possible that’s a trap but I think against a faster opponent that will leave him open as it offers no real threat and no real defense. Adam then tries this big wind around, rotating the blade multiple times. Ryu simply voids, smart. There may be a good option to attack in there but it would require far better timing than I have.
They reset, Adam tries the soft displace again and looks like he wants to throw an offside but Ryu beats him to the punch. He blocks, steps around rolling his blade out and tries to throw, but hasn’t cleared his body of Ryu’s blade. Ryu is able to leverage him up on the arms robbing him of power until he gets a chance to void out. He catches some light contact on the arm leaving because he leaves in guard but presents no threat.
The next couple of exchanges seem pretty uninteresting. Throw some basic horizontal or vertical cuts, block, return strike, block. They trade hip for head neither putting up a valid defense as they strike.
They reset and exchange a couple more blows. Ryu is very static letting Adam dictate the movement of the fight. Adam for his part is mostly obliging at staying line and only occasionally rotating to the side. Around 1:42 Adam is able to get two kills of the twitch, making large fast movements that Ryu can’t react in time for and he ends up throwing into Adam’s block. Ryu needs to be more mobile or keep Adam from setting up those shots by continually threatening him if he comes into range.
The last exchange Ryu begins to press and things work out better for him. For the most part it’s simple on side off sides thrown into guards, so easy to block, but at 2:51 he uses his cross guard to jam Adam up preventing a shot from ever being thrown. He doesn’t follow it up right away, which would be nice, but still a good move. The then feints a thrust and as he brings it back into guard he continues around his head and delivers a nice blow, coming in perfectly parallel to Adam’s blade, making a block almost impossible. I’m not sure why he uses one hand for the blow and it may be why he wasn’t able to get enough power for Adam to take it.
He keeps the pressure on and is able to deliver a vertical strike after Adam breaks from a bind before he can reset his guard.
Take aways. As always, be mobile. Present a threat at all time if you’re in range. Throw parallel to guards. And biggest one, move off line.