Been a while and all that, anyway lets get into it.
Today I want to take a look at a series of videos from the promising young team out of Nebraska, The Ravens. I’m not gonna spend as long discussing each video as I usually do instead I’m gonna talk about general impressions, maybe focusing on one or two important moments per video. Apologies to Baldr and the rest of the team, I’m not sure who is who. If you contact me I’ll update with names. So anyway lets get to it.
Yup. That just happened and no there isn’t a banana peel there(though if someone wants to make that gif, I’d buy them at least 1 beer). Welcome to medieval fighting, traction is garbage, center of balance is way too high, and your vision is garbage. Bro looks like a fool here and that probably won’t be the last time. Sorry, kid, get used to eating dirt.
So now that I’ve embarrased him enough I should probably give some useful advice right? Too bad I don’t have any. Shit happens……..Nah, I got something for you. First, make sure you’ve scuffed the leather on the bottom of your soles. It’s not great but it adds something. Second practice footwork. In your boots. alot. We do 10-20 minutes a practice on just foot work at the Knights Hall. If you haven’t looked up Jaye’s video’s on half, full, and passing steps, do so now. That’s the footwork you want. Shoulders over thighs over feet. Feet just barely gliding over the ground.
There’s another key bit I don’t think is included in those. It’s about gripping the ground with your feet. If you are positioned correctly, you can essentially “squeeze” the ground with the front inside of your foot. Stand in a proper stance, with weight distributed right. Now press down on the ball of your foot while giving your hips and knees a slight twist inward. It’s almost like trying to start pivoting both feet at once but not actually moving them. Drive that force into the ground and you should feel like you’re almost gripping it. That’ll will give a bit extra traction.
Last note, after our unlucky fighter gets his throw off, he keeps his weight forward and head down. If possible, making that throw without leaning and keeping his head up would be best, but often times, that’s not an option. However as soon as he’s free he needs to pop that head and hips up to recent. Your center of gravity without armor sits in the hips to belly button range. With armor it might be as high as your sternum. Staying bent like that keeps your balance way off making your legs have to do twice the work they should to stabilize you.
In the end though, the real lesson to learn here is fighting is chaotic and shit goes wrong in wacky ways. You’re gonna eat dirt and look like a fool sometimes, even after pulling off some bad ass ninja shit. Don’t let it get to you and move on. Speaking of
This next video is a good example of both the effectiveness of weapons when used well and their lack of utility when used poorly. There’s alot of blows landed and very few are placed in a way to really cause an effect. The fighter with the falchion/arming sword in particular seems to want to brawl more than sword fight, preferring the clinch and boxing to sword strikes. The long sword fighter uses a better mixture and while he has the advantage with reach I’d argue it’s his variety that gives him the win here. He also uses lateral movement to great effect.
Give it a look.
Now that you’ve seen it I want to point out three moments as examples of the above.
0:21 -0:25 is a perfect example of both lateral movement and weapon use. Falchion charges in on Longsword and longsword takes the smallest shuffle step to the side at 23 which outs him off line. He then delivers a strong blow with the sword, does a reverse pass into a pivot, keeping the blade on his opponent driving his force with him. As Falchion goes by Longsword reaches out with his right hand to try and grab the back of his and force him down, a really heads up move. Overall a great exchange for Longsword. My only “complaints” would be if Longsword could have held off a tenth of a second more on that swing he would have landed with the strong of the blade making the blow far more powerful and if after he pivoted he taken a step forward behind Falchion he could have probably dropped him there. But that’s some Mayweather timing so I give him a pass.
0:29-0:37 Falchion moves in, even gets the blade out of the way and the only shots he throws are halfhearted with poor technique, all aimed at armored portions. Get there, get that blade free and get to work on that hip. Throw 3-5 shots hard and tight into the upper thigh/hip region. Most armor gaps there and even if it doesn’t it’s often not that well armored. You might eat a few pommel strikes but it’s a worthwhile trade there.
0:43-0:51 this starts with Longsword being ineffective. He goes into halfsword and just walks straight in trying to force the blade over Falchions helmet to lock a throw. Falchion should have made him eat something, hip shot, arm shot, kick to the low leg, something. However after that it’s real nice. Longsword backs out, throws a nice shot while taking a reverse pass, which opens the angle. Side note, I’m now calling that move a fade away shot, cause it looks like your falling away as you land it. Back on topic, it moves Falchion slightly and as he’s resetting his feet Longsword charges in, bumps him hard and wraps him up turning into a throw. The mix of offense options here seems to be what opened Falchion to the throw.
Overall a nice fight from both fighters, Falchion just needs to step up his blade skills.
This next video is interesting mainly because someone took a longsword into a melee, something that’s rarely done. It shows both why no one really uses it and hints that in the right hands it could be devastating. Notice while watching that the longsword fighter lands shot after shot that seem to do almost nothing. Most of them don’t even seem to have the staggering effect a good shield punch or arming sword strike to the helm does and that looks like a big man throwing everything he’s got into it. On the other side also notice how fast he brings that blade around. If he stops targeting the helm with the weak of his blade and instead puts the strong into it or puts the weak into an armpit, now you’re talking about some pretty excellent pain compliance.
Only one moment I want to focus on here and it has nothing to do with the longsword. At 0:25 longsword breaks away from the guy he was wrestling. If he turns here and double teams the other guy they might be able to get a quick take down which almost guarantees the match in 2v2. 2v2 almost always breaks into 2 1v1’s but if you ever get a chance to change that and put 2 on 1 that can change the fight in an instance. Take it whenever it shows up.
I just wanted to highlight the beginning of this video. On the left hand side we have someone charge in and try to throw some sort of knee or something, just to get shut down with a teep kick(redundant I know, shut up). However both fighters end up wrapping up with no advantage here. Guy charging in needs to find a way to set that up so he can’t get shut down, like maybe deek at the last moment and hit the guy on the right. Guy catching him with the front kick. Nice stop, but you could have tried a low kick to trip him or a well timed punch to clothesline him on his own momentum. Personally I think this moment from the first video is illustrated of your best option.
Looking this over, I feel like I come off more negative than I intended. I could fix it and go find the positive things to highlight but I’m lazy. Instead I’ll just say, overall I’m really impressed with Raven’s for guys who are so new to the sport and basically learning everything on their own. Go check out there other videos on their facebook page(linked above) and you can see some more good stuff from them. Lot of offensive output, high work rate, some really nice throws, and some decent teamwork. Looks like they’ll have alot of potential and I can’t wait to have some of them by my side at the next world Championships.
Alright, that’s a lot of stuff. Hope some of it was useful or at least interesting. Feel free to get at me if you disagree(or if you want to give props or something). Peace yall