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Part V

DISTANCE AND MEASURE

Using Distance and Measure

The concepts of Distance and Measure are interchangeable. The more historical version is referred to as Measure. It means how far one is from the opponent. Roughly, Measure is judged in how long it takes to get to hit the opponent, in a tempo, not necessarily a fixed distance. For example if you could launch a lunge that covered a long distance and it was so fast that the opponent can do nothing more than parry it, the opponent would be in your measure. If you had to take two long steps to get there (two tempos), and the opponent had plenty of time to do something else, you are out of measure. Measure and tempo are intertwined. An alternative viewpoint may be that you can consider Measure a component of tempo and base your measure off of the tempo to act within it.

Further, it is a common mistake to think that your length of arm, or sword, or where you have your sword determine the measure. It does not. Your foot placement determines measure. This may be a difficult concept, but consider that you can play illusions with measure by couching the sword way back, and to be sure the arm and sword come into play. It is rather the capacity to cover distance with the footwork that is the true determinant of measure. Not matter how hard you may try with an extension of a lunge, or a timed hit, if your feet are not close enough to support the action, your measure will be off.

While Saviolo does not have any hard fast rules for what measure is, other that one is in or out of it, it is useful in the SCA fight to have some descriptions of measure. This is mainly to help a fencer establish when they are in danger and how much time it might take to react to it. SCA fighting is a game of inches, since we seek to not over strike an opponent and cause excessive harm, we have to be slightly more concerned therefore of our measure.

Close Measure The closest measure is when you can extend your hand and grasp the opponent;s hilt or body. This is the measure in which dagger fights, or hand to hand occur. It can be referred to as Close Measure. This is half tempo distance.

Middle Measure The measure in which you can extend the sword in a single tempo with a short step and make a touch is referred to as Middle Measure. The English master Silver may have preferred this distance.

Long Measure The measure in which you can make a touch with a long step and extension, done in a tempo and a half is a Long Measure.
Anything that takes over two tempos to hit is considered Out of Measure

Static Measure Drill: Close Measure

Starting out with a stationary target, set up your stance in Neutral, and begin to touch the target with the point of the sword. You want to do this starting in terza, blade at about 45 degree angle with the point in the face area of where your target is. You are dropping the point, with the sword still held in terza on to a target. You can imagine this might be a hand or an arm. This point drill does not have any foot work, meaning it is a hand-eye drill only. You should be within measure to touch the tip of the blade onto the target with no body movement.

Do a set of 10 to 20. After each attack. Step back, break your stance. Move into stance again, acquire your measure and extend the point. Don't be surprised if this ends up harder than it seems.


-Start in teza
-Use a solid surface that can be repeatedly struck
-Go slow. Be accurate
-Extend to the target (no foot movement)
-Target point is a 3"x3" square
-Return to neutral when done
-Do not move the feet, this is a hand to target motion only
-Do 20 reps;

Static Measure Drill: Middle Measure

Reverse Engineer the distance at first. This is useful to understanding the distance you will need to cover. First, place the tip of the sword on the target, just like what you looked like when you finished the drill above. Now, with your tip still on the target, move your rear foot back about 12 inches and then pull your lead foot back, and assume comfortable Neutral stance.

Start the motion, by extending the point, just like you did in the drill above. Once the point is extended, use your lead foot to cover the distance to make the touch. Since Measure is determined by the foot placement, the foot lands the point, not the body. Use the same foot placement from section I, that's what they are there or. Don't extend more than the length of your lead foot. This is not a lunge drill. Just a short paced step drill. You can think of this as using the distance of a normal walking pace to reach the target.

Do this for about 10 to 20 touches on the target. After each touch, break your stance, move out of measure, and then slowly move back into measure. This is very critical to understanding measure and distance. Don't chain the attacks together. Give yourself a visual break between each touch, and let yourself get re-acquainted with the distance by visual judgement each time. This will most likely reflect the combat environment which you will find yourself in. Moving repeatedly, and rapidly, will just teach you bad habits and will not take advantage with learning accurate distance measurement. You will find that you are more accurate than the Close Measure since you have time to visually find the tip and use the motion of the Advance to land the tip on target.




-Start in Teza
-Use a solid surface that can be repeatedly struck
-Go slow. Be accurate
-Extend to the target
-The lead foot will step out approximately one foot length
-Target point is a 3"x3" square
-Return to neutral when done
-Do 20 reps

Points: This is boring work, but is the fundamental to understanding distance. Closing distance is a matter of inches. You should get familiar of this down to say an inch. Do lots of reps, more the better.

Static Measure Drill: Long Measure



-Start in teza -Use a solid surface that can be repeatedly struck
-Go slow. Be accurate
-Extend to the target
-The lead foot will step out approximately two foot lengths
-Target point is a 3"x3" square
-Return to neutral when done -Do 20 reps


Static Measure Drill: Left Slope Paced Step

First, set up with your tip extended to the target, just like what you looked like when you finished the Middle Measure Drill above. Now, with your tip still on the target, move your rear foot back about 24 inches. Alternately, you can just move the back foot back, until your leg is straight, and then pull your lead foot back, and assume Neutral stance. You can consider this using a *Very* long step to get to the target, where the last drill involved a simple pace to get to the target. Again; to figure your range out to a target start by working backwards from it. Be sure to try and affix in this distance in your memory. Start the attack, by extending the point, just like you did in the Middle Measure Drill above. Once the point is extended, use your lead foot to cover the distance to make the touch. The foot lands the point, not the body. Use the same steps from section I. This is nearly a lunge, but don't confuse it with a modern Olympic style lunge. It is not so deep, does not cover as much distance, and will not drop the body so far down. I can't stress enough that you should feel that your thighs are doing all the work with this step, and that the body weight is transferred by the heels. I would highly advise that this section be undertaken with the assistance of someone who can watch your movement, and is familiar with these concepts. One you have it down and are comfortable with this, you should be good to do these drills alone.

Do this for about 10 to 20 touches on the target. After each touch, break your stance, move out of measure, and then slowly move back into measure. This is very critical to understanding measure and distance. Don't chain the attacks together. Give yourself a visual break between each touch, and let yourself get re-acquainted with the distance by visual judgement each time. This will most likely reflect the combat environment which you will find yourself in.



-Start in Teza with a right lead
-Use a solid surface that can be repeatedly struck
-Go slow. Be accurate
-Target point is a 3"x3" square
-Extend to the target in Secunda
-The left foot will pass to the left in a moderate passing step
-Return to neutral when done
-Do 20 reps

Static Measure Drill: Right Slope Paced Step

Doing the Right Slope Pace step is just like what was presented in part III. Start with a right lead and step at a 45 degree angle to the right, landing the tip on the target. The step is not a lunge, but a long step. Don't get too deep in the slope paced step. Avoid lunging.



-Start in Teza with a right lead
-Use a solid surface that can be repeatedly struck
-Go slow. Be accurate
-Target point is a 3"x3" square
-Extend to the target in terza
-The right foot will advance out at 45 degrees to the right
-Return to neutral when done
-Do 20 reps

Static Measure Drill: Volte

Doing a volte is difficult. Really take a look at part III on how a volte looks and try it out slowly a few times without a target. Look down at the feet and make sure you have a tight foot placement. Avoid creeping out to longer and longer distances on the volte.



-Start in teza with a right lead
-Use a solid surface that can be repeatedly struck
-Go slow. Be accurate
-Extend to the target in quarta
-Target point is a 3"x3" square
-The left foot will circle around to behind the right foot (remember, it is not deep)
-Return to neutral when done -Do 20 reps

Static Measure Drill: Incartata

Spacing this one out is important too, so use the similar "reverse engineering" technique to find the touch on the target, and then assemble back to the right lead neutral that you will start with on this. Go slow, watch the balance. It's easy to get over stretched on the passing step and end up unbalanced at the completion of the tempo.



-Start in teza with a right lead
-Use a solid surface that can be repeatedly struck
-Go slow. Be accurate -Extend to the target in quarta
-Target point is a 3"x3" square
-The left foot will circle around to behind the right foot and step as far as possible forward and to the right
-Return to neutral when done -Do 20 reps

Final points to all of the static drills: All of the training here will layer off previous activities. Use the understanding gained in the Advance Pace, Slope Paced, Volte an Incartata. So as to not be repetitive, use the same footwork from Movement and the same concepts in all of these static drills. This is to build in the judgement for doing these actions against a live opponent.

Adding drills with Agent/Patient
Now we are going to start with using an Agent/Patient to enhance the training. The primary benefit of using a static target is that it gives the fencer the chance to get an understanding of the distance and the motions needed to accomplish the particular attack. By adding in a complication of two people into the drill, there is going to be a risk of straying from the goal. Stick with the drill. In all cases, the Agent/Patient relationship has specific learning points. There will be temptations to not be hit or to try your own thing in the drill. Don't. At least not at first. Get a very solid understanding first before improvising. Drills are not realistic. Drills exemplify the most ideal situation that you might find yourself in. A real bout might not set up the circumstances exactly like what you'll see in a drill, but you'll only be able to take the best advantage of the chance if you have a very solid understanding of what it is you need to do. So, drill precisely.

Measure Drill: Middle Measure

Begin with the Patient presenting in Neutral. The Agent will start out of measure, by a good margin, and slowly use Short Advance-Paced Steps to move within THEIR general attack distance. Go slowly. Once the Agent is within distance of around middle measure, the Patient will call out "Distance". This is going to be the distance at which the Patient feels that the Agent can touch the hilt of their sword using a Short Advance-Paced Step. Once distance is called, the Agent will "Prove" distance by just extending the tip. The point of the sword should be within 3 inches either side of the quillons of the Patients blade. This action should be just like the tatic drill.

The goal here is to use the Short Advance-Pace step to gain distance, use inches instead of feet, to get an understanding of where your range is and when you should worry about being hit. The Agent must keep their thoughts of how close they are to the target. The Agent is going to sneak up on the Patient. When the Patient calls the distance, it is to prove measure as seen by the Patient. The Agent will keep note mentally of what THEY think their measure is.

Why this works: In a fight, there is a play between Agent and Patient. The game is to seek to get the Patient to miss judge the measure. Since we play a game of inches, inches matter. Knowing your distance down to within 3 inches is the goal. The learning point is for the Agent to know when they are in Measure to attack and when the Patient should expect an attack.

Break the tempo of this up, don't get into a predictable and clockwork like mindset for this drill. You have to reacquaint yourself with your Distance after each prove. Do these drills for 15 minutes or so.
-Both start in Terza
-Agent slowly steals measure using Advance Paced steps and Gathering Steps
-Agent aims to land the tip on the exposed forearm on the outside line of the Patient
-Patient will watch the measure and call "Distance" when Agent enters Middle Measure
-Agent will halt and "Prove" measure (as in Middle Measure drill above)
-Patient will not react to touch
-Agent assembles back to Neutral in Terza out of distance

Points: This is not a parry drill. DON'T PARRY. This is not a combat drill, go slow. Judge the distance based off of how far the other person is, and then how far away the sword is. Just aim for the hilt of the opponent's sword. There is only one tempo movement when doing the prove on this. DO NOT escalate this drill into combat.

Measure Drill: Long Measure

Begin with the Patient presenting in Neutral. The Agent will start out of measure, by a good margin, and slowly use Slope Paced Step to move within THEIR general longest attack distance. Use right or left steps, go slowly. Once the Agent is just within Long Measure, the Patient will call out "Distance". This is going to be the distance at which the Passive feels that the active can touch the hilt of their sword using a Slope Paced Step. Once "Distance" is called, the active will "Prove" distance by just extending the tip. The point of the sword should be within 3 inches either side of the quillons of the Passives blade. The length of the step to close distance should be a good long pace, not a lunge, but double that of a walking pace.

Start with an Agent and a Patient, out of measure
-Both start in Terza
-Agent slowly steals measure using Advance Paced steps and Gathering Steps
-Agent aims to land the tip on the exposed forearm on the outside line of the Patient
-Patient will watch the measure and call "Distance" when Agent enters Middle Measure
-Agent will halt and "Prove" measure (as in Middle Measure drill above) by using a left or right Slope Paced Step
-Patient will not react to touch -Agent assembles back to Neutral in Terza out of distance
-Do 20 reps of this drill and switch

Start with identifying one person as the Agent, the other as the passive. Roles will switch after each attack. No mask or clothing needed, but this drill is done with swords and gloves.

Points: Be very familiar with Short Advance-Pace, Slope Paced Steps. All of these drills build off of each other. Don't revert to "What you did before" when drilling. You are learning a different method, and the drill will re-enforce this. Be VERY aware of temp. Don't fall into the habit of getting into a "Dance" like rhythm, unless noted that it is OK to do so. It takes discipline to use this style.

Measure Drill: Active/Passive Long Measure

This drill leads up to a full speed version, so don't do it here. Use a crawl, walk, run approach. The drill here is broken down into two parts, an inside line and outside line. The outside line attack will always be Secunda, so now is the time to get used to how to turn the hand from Terza to Secunda in the tempo. For the inside line, stay in terza, or to go quarta if it helps out. Try it with both. The Patient has an important role in helping coach the Agent. The patient is going to use about 25% resistance. The purpose is to help the Agent lean to react to the real motions of an opponent. The Patient will need to offer a slight counter to the Agent. Just a slight one. Just make the Patient earn it a little.

Outside line Start with an Agent and a Patient, out of measure
-Both start in terza
-Agent slowly steals measure using Advance Paced steps and qathering steps
-Agent aims to land the tip on the exposed forearm on the outside line of the Patient in Secunda
-Patient will offer a only 25% resistance by changing wards as needed, but wards only
-Agent, when at long measure, will attack to the outside in secunda
-Agent assembles back to Neutral in Terza out of distance
-Do 20 reps of this drill and switch

Inside line Start with an Agent and a Patient, out of measure
-Both start in terza -Agent slowly steals measure using Advance Paced steps and gathering steps
-Agent aims to make a touch at the belt buckle, in terza or quarta
-Patient will offer a only 25% resistance by changing wards as needed, but wards only
-Agent, when at Long Measure, will attack to the inside line in terza or quarta
-Agent assembles back to Neutral in Terza out of distance
-Do 20 reps of this drill and switch

Measure Drill: Full Tempo Long Measure

This drill may be the most difficult and also represents a drill that will translate exactly to an actual engagement. Start this out with the Agent looking to make a single "one shot-one kill" approach to the hit. Don't keep pressing. Just look for the opportunity to hit either the inside or outside line of Patient. In this case, you are going to go full speed. The Agent will seek to make a touch at full speed, and the Patient will make a parry at full speed. STOP with the single attack.

In order to get here, the Patient will need to make sure that a target presents its self. It's OK to do that. We will get into the reasons why later, but the as with any drill, there's actually two learning points. The Agent is trying to make a touch to a defined target as fast and as accurately as possible, and the Patient is going to parry the shot. It's an attack and parry drill really. So, the Patient will need to make sure that they leave something open that looks maybe a little too good to be true.

Start with an Agent and a Patient, out of measure
-Both start in terza
-Agent slowly steals measure using advance paced steps and gathering steps
-Agent aims to land the tip on the exposed forearm on the outside or inside line of the Patient
-Patient will ensure there is a viable target
-Agent, when at Long Measure, will attack
-Patent will make the best parry possible
-Agent assembles back to neutral in terza out of distance
-Do 20 reps of this drill and switch

Further drills:
By now, the method should be established how you and a partner can mix and match drills. The long measure drill at full tempo can be done at close measure, if you are a glutton, or middle measure if you really want to see how fast you can parry. Paces can be added together in a drill, such as two advances and a slope paced step to make the touch, or any other variable of foot motion and sword attack as you can use. The best advice here is construct a drill for things you need to work on. Drill to the weak points.

Home
Introduction of the Style
Presentations of the Sword
Movement of the Fight
Where to Put the Sword
Distance and Measure
Putting it All Together
Advanced Concepts
Saviolo's Actions
Terms
What to Wear