This has several components, which are:
- Competitive drilling, where in a set drill, the players try to make their action work. If the drill has an attack and a parry, the attacker tries to beat the parry with speed or power, the defender has to deal with it or get hit.
- Degrees of Freedom, where choices are added at various stages ina set drill. A simple degree of freedom would perhaps allow the attacker to strike differently- say either mandritto fendente or a thrust. The defender has to deal with the unscripted changes.
- Pressure drilling, in which sufficient speed, power, fatigue and risk are employed to challenge the player to act well under pressure. The three man drill is a good example: defender in the middle, attackers take turns with no let-up or pause to attack the defender, who has to deal with it, turning to face each new attack as it comes.
- Freeplay, with limited degrees of freedom, e.g.: taking turns to attack.
- Memory drills: eg:
This drill works best with three fencers, an attacker, a defender and an observer. Switch roles after each phrase, to develop your ability to remember phrases from the inside and the outside.
• designate an attacker and a defender.
• allow free choice of attack and defence, but no continuations (attacker can’t counter).
• Attacker attacks as he likes, defender tries to defend. Notice who gets hit.
• First one, then the other, describes in clear fencing language, in detail exactly what occurred.
• Allow progressively more steps until fencers can easily recall at least 6 actions in a row.
- The Freeplay Cycle:
Set drill, to establish a specific action or principle- Degree of Freedom, to recognise the context for that action or principle- Competitive drilling, to establish the action under pressure- freeplay, to test the action or principle in a freer context. Freeplay should highlight an error, for which we have a corrective set drill, and so the cycle repeats. Select the drill, and repeat.