The mark of a skilled fighter is mastery of the fundamental skills. However, there is something to be said about the ability to use and master the most common guards in warfare, tried and true over centuries of testing. The cuts further provided are the ones deemed to be the easiest to use and drill, as well as generating the most force for minimal effort.
As with all things, these drills and guards are meant to be practiced time and time again, such that the mind can perform the action without even thinking.
The majority of the information in this chapter has been gathered from http://ordoprocinctus.com/tutorials/sword-and-shield.pdf
-- For information on available equipment, see Arms and Weaponry.
-- For information on weapon maintenance, see General Orders.
Written by Dame Alison Clement, Sir Valrik the Exalted, Aeyrendel Dawnblade. Additional credit to Lieutenant Thaddeus Locke
The Bear’s Guard Edit
The Bear assaults his opponents with his arm raised high, ready to be brought upon his enemy. His shield is raised with his forwardmost foot, ready to take flexible advantage of an attacker by crossing forward and decimating his foes. The bear’s arms are wider, using space for every advantage; he isn’t afraid to create more room and impose himself upon the enemy with the healthy use of his shield.
The bear should be self-aware, however; by having his reach so visibly threatening with his massive power, he also makes it a target for removal. His sword arm is unprotected behind, but this exudes confidence; he should never let that deviate into hubris.
The Tortoise’s Guard Edit
The Tortoise is prudent and knows how to bide his time. His greatest strength lies in his defense, keeping his shield closer to his body with the rim under his eye’s heights. He holds his sword behind his shield, keeping his intentions veiled from all enemies until a desired opening is found. The Tortoise does not cut or swing wildly; he stabs and thrusts his foes away, piercing their hides to great effect when he chooses to overwhelm and trounce upon them.
The Tortoise knows that his power requires tact and swiftness when the time to act is nigh. He values shelter and precision rather than the chance to overpower his foes as the Bear might, but understands that if he only defends he will never triumph.
The Scorpid’s Guard Edit
The Scorpid is a conniver; he appears weak and vulnerable from the side, but by doing this he keeps his weapon hidden from opponents. He starts with his point angled away, but is quick to raise it up to mimic either the bear’s potent fury or bring it in and forward to mimic the Tortoise’s forewarning austerity.
The scorpid often surprises the uneducated with his deadliness, though few of the novices who encounter him understand the psychology of his intentions; it is his understanding of the Tortoise and the Bear that assures his success and his strikes are most sharpened with wisdom.
Cuts and Thrusts Edit
In acting offensively, remember first and foremost to keep oneself safe. The primary difference between a trained and an untrained fighter is that the trained fighter is able to protect himself at all times, even when attacking. In all of the shown thrusts and cuts, make sure to keep the shield over one’s body and covering the body at all times.
Remember that in all of these movements to turn with your hips. Power is driven by the body, not the arms. A passing step is more than enough to generate power, but remember to turn the hips with every attack even if one is stationary.
The most common tool for any veteran soldier is the thrust, as it is the least committal, yet can potentially be the most dangerous. To thrust, get in the Tortoise Guard. With a passing step, raise the arm upwards, and partially extended with the sword point directly towards the enemy’s head! Although tempting, do not fully extend your arm, because this actually weakens the force of the thrust, and makes recovery difficult.
Basic Cuts Edit
The Downwards Cut is effective as it brings the sword right down and threatening the opponent’s head, generating a great deal of power easily. To execute a downward cut, assume the Bear guard. Then bring your arm directly down and partially extended in time with a passing step. The blade should end in such that it looks similar to a thrust, yet can go down further to the Scorpid Guard. Remember: To make the most power of the cut, make sure the blade finishes moving at the same time the step is made!
Directional Cuts Edit
The Right and Left cuts are very similar to the Downwards cut, but these cuts are preferable as they can force the enemy to focus on one side (left or right). Both of these cuts are executed from the Bear guard.
To execute the Right cut, simply extend your sword arm in tandem with a passing step just as one might in a punching jab, however be sure to turn the arm with the wrist pointing up at the sky, and again remember to finish the cut at the same time as making a passing step.
To execute the Left cut, turn the arm at the elbow to the left as if it were a lever and step forward with a passing step. The end form should look almost identical to the Right Downwards cut, however the wrist is pointing downwards instead of up.
When executing attacks, be mindful of the enemy! A thrust is the ideal method of attack against orcs and armored soldiers, however the cut is far more effective against unarmored men, trolls and undead. When unsure of how to attack an enemy, look to a veteran soldier’s approach or inquire with an officer.
Weapon Drills Edit
Weapon drills are a great form of physical conditioning, but should be incorporated in a rigorous workout routine, not used as a substitute for one. The two drills listed below are best used with a shield equipped.
“Sword Waggling” (Saber Grip, Hammer Grip, or Finger Grip) Practice leading with the blade and pulling it back, engaging the whole arm in the motion. Start slow and then work up to rapid movements. Be sure to keep the blade straight so you are striking with the bladed edge not the side of the blade. From this motion you can also practice the different “cuts or strikes.” You can practice this without the shield also, swapping hands to build strength equally in both arms.Moulinet: “Sword Circles” (Saber Grip, Hammer Grip, or Finger Grip) This drill consists of practicing the “cuts or strikes” in a circular fashion. Using only the wrist, perform a number 1 cut from the outside, follow the cut through the target area and then turn the blade swinging it up and back down for another cut. Make sure you don’t turn too early or you will strike with the flat of the blade instead of the edge. Repeat this motion for each different cut.
Blocking and Parrying Edit
Mastery of the shield is the cornerstone of the Shielded Infantryman. Any untrained Recruit can pick up a shield and with minimal effort block an attack. However, it is the mark of a seasoned and skilled soldier and their mastery over the shield that set them apart from a Recruit. One of the most important skills is understanding how and when to block with a shield or parry with your weapon. As was mentioned, any lucky Recruit can block an attack, but knowing the right way to block or parry or when to block or parry in order to create an advantage is key. This knowledge is the difference between a raw Recruit and an effective Infantryman. One final note, don't forget that a shield is also a weapon, do not mistake your sword for the only tool in your offensive tool kit.
Shield Blocking Edit
Sword Parrying EditWIP
Within the Infantry Division, a Shielded Infantryman will progress through three stages of training. Each stage will teach the Soldier more about their chosen weapon and how to effectively utilize it. Below is the path of progression from Armsman to Vanguard(Ducal Guard).
Tier one Armsman (Shielded) Edit
Basics and Fundamentals
Physical Fitness Test
Tier two Footman (Aspirant Ducal Guard) Edit
Ducal Guard Rites
Physical Fitness Test
Tier three Vanguard (Ducal Guard) Edit
Physical Fitness TestCombat Trial