Respect can be hard

I had a good sword class today. There was much sparring with many different weapons.

At one point, Sensei Varady and I faced off, him with paired shortsword simulants, me with a longsword simulant. It went pretty well for me; sensei is bigger, faster, at least 20 years younger, and more skilled than I am (he runs the school), but he kept letting his guard fall just a _little_ bit too low and I got in three or four good clean kill shots on his left neck-and-shoulder pocket – a favorite target of mine at any blade length.

Understandably this adrenalizes him some and the next time my block is not quite fast enough he fetches me a whack on the ribs that he immediately realizes was way overpowered. Starts apologizing, grins, and says something like “You’re a good, tough fighter, I tend to power up automatically to deal with it.” (Sense exact, words not.)

I said “I am very happy that you treat me with that respect.”

And absolutely meant it. Given a choice between taking a bruise occasionally because the instructor has to play hard to beat me and being ineffectual enough that he always has control of the fight…I’ll take the bruises, thanks. And enjoy how I got them. A lot.

6 thoughts on “Respect can be hard

  1. I believe Elvis Presley had a similar arrangement when he was being trained by Ed Parker during his Kenpo days. It got so intense that Pricilla gave up on the lessons due to the blood that was drawn just from sparring.

  2. Yep. An honest, well-earned bruise/cut from training is a sign that things are going well.

    A long while back, I did some training with real spears that had 3/4″ ball bearings welded to the tip. Even through a padded fabric undershirt and real chainmail, my ribs hurt like hell…but I got a damn sight more capable in a hurry ;)

  3. I can vividly remember taking a hard liver shot that nearly shut me down while sparring with my instructor. I didn’t go down, but I was mostly useless for the rest of the round. After I had regained control of my body, I was grinning — sore but content. He and I both knew I had leveled up in that encounter because he had to work a bit harder to stay ahead of me.

    • >I took my “companion” test on Saturday at the Rocky Mountain Swordplay Guild (http://www.rmsguild.com/) and passed it.

      Congratulations!

      Judging by that webpage I’d fight right in there. My basic training derived from southern Italian cut and thrust c.1500. I probably look a touch more German nowadays, but I’m sure that’s well within RMSG’s range.

  4. Oh, and in regards to:

    Starts apologizing, grins, and says something like “You’re a good, tough fighter, I tend to power up automatically to deal with it.” (Sense exact, words not.)

    My usual response is “This isn’t knitting class”.

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