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 Post subject: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Belegarth fighters gain power as they learn to anticipate what shots their enemies will throw. While there is no exact science to a battlefield, I suggest there are common patterns amongst fighters’ shot selection based on their experience level. Swings are most predictable with the most widely used weapon combo on national event fields: blue & board. Thus, this article aims to characterize general categories of sword/board skill level and what shots those tiers will typically throw. Other weapon styles are beyond the scope of this article. Warriors who intentionally use this knowledge on the field will drastically improve their chances of staying alive longer and maybe even kill vets more frequently. As with any theory, there will be assumptions and generalizations. My aim in each paragraph of this article is to discuss broad themes to anticipate followed by practical ways to counter them.

I suggest that fighter skill levels tier out similarly to difficulty ratings given to ski trails: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced-Intermediate, Advanced, and Most Advanced. Henceforth I will describe each group based on the character of their fighting, what shots they most frequently throw, and what you need to do to defend against them. (Note this article discusses specific exchanges assuming same-handedness, like righty vs. righty sword/board).

Beginning fighters typically swing like using a bat or racket for the first time: horizontal. 70+% of the time beginners are swinging horizontal leg chops or trying to backstab you. Some newbs intuitively stab a lot. If so, practice jabbing away the stab immediately followed by a hammer-like chop on their arm or shoulder. On the field be ready to dodge low, keep the fight at max range, and use feints to open an easy shoulder or leg. Aggressive beginners with athletic ability are the most unpredictable fighters on the field. They may swoop around in unconventional ways so be ready to slide sideways and away. Sparring beginners is an opportunity practice baiting your front leg, dodging low, and counter-swinging their arm.

Intermediate fighters add cross shots, vertical strikes, and feints to the mix. Broadening their spectrum of shots and swinging faster, they still typically have two or three shots or combos that they use 60-70% of the time. Generally they’ve learned to swing at legs, sword arms, and maybe shoulders, ribs, or hips. Intermediates rely on patterns like high-low, back n’ forth flurries, and especially high cross-leg chop and vice-versa. These patterns stick because they work on other fighters of equal or lesser experience. Even if these warriors have fast hand speed, they tend to have underdeveloped offensive footwork. Watch for what their typical opening swings or combos are. Learn their feints and practice patient non-response. A winning strategy on field and in sparring is to be ready to move by sliding or galloping. If they favor swinging inside, practice punching into their weapon as you slide towards their shield side and hit them in the shoulder, hip, or leg. If they favor swinging outside, practice counter-swinging their arm or shoulder. You will win more when you move circularly around them with each strike or block.

Advanced-Intermediate fighters ironically have the initials AI: artificial intelligence. Many warriors plateau in a phase of emulating the most advanced fighters they train with or picking up stronger gear like flails, ultra-lights, and large punch shields to increase their field power. Generally, Adv-Int fighters are competent at swinging, feinting, and using combos to the sword arm, inside shoulder or ribs, outside shoulder, and outside leg. They also tend to rely on about three preferred swings or feints that do well for them. Adv-int fighters will kill less experienced warriors 60+% of the time using high-crosses that reach deeply into the torso. This obliterates beginners who don’t weapon block well. To respond, bait your arm low and forward, ready to pivot your shoulder and hip briefly away from a deep high cross. Practice weapon blocking and returning with one of your strongest feint & strike combos. Many fighters in the habit of crossing will hold their shield under their swinging armpit to preemptively defend against a counter high-cross. Abuse this by weapon jabbing the cross immediately followed by a feint fist pump toward the shield and a vertical arc hammering their exposed outside shoulder. Develop feints & stutters (arm pumps, shoulder jukes, or steps) to dissect how enemies will open up. You’ve got to discern where they’re weak and go for it. Note rapidly developing warriors improve hand speed, shot/feint selection, and footwork that makes them less predictable and more adaptable to any opponent. This is how to get better and break through plateaus.

While advanced fighters have mature precision and personal style to their shots, most would fit into a handful of archetypes. We can still predict our opponents’ most frequently thrown shots if we spend a little time observing them fight. Advanced fighters tend to win with the following strategies:

1) Aggro: Fast repetitive swinging towards kill zones: Throws feints & combos to shoulders & hips
a. Combos rapid Cross/Shoulder/Leg, cross/wrap back-forth; Be ready with A-frame guard
b. Flankers who focus on backstabbing or sideswiping lines; slide away hacking hip/leg

2) Self-Preservationist: Picks fights defensively and at range to stay alive: Throws counter swings, legs
a. Will feint with arm pumps followed by going extremely low or high, to leg or shoulder
b. Will drift away or hang at max range while aiming to counter swing- classic “line” fighter
c. Backstab these people or bait them into a bad move that lets you counter an arm or leg

3) Punch/flail: Overpowers most fighters of equal skill or below with automatic wrap on every shot
a. Combos inside/outside & vice versa 60%; be ready to slide sideways away from swings staying mobile between ranging guard and A-frame guard to protect hips/shoulders
b. Practice pivoting your hips and shoulders briefly away from deep reaching wraps
c. Focus on counter swings or responding by feinting inside shoulder to hit outside shoulder

4) Manipulator: Controls the fight by footwork, baiting, prediction: Throws slots, wraps, scoops, shoulders
a. May execute a number of steps, feints, stutters or shifts in guard to see how you respond
b. May be baiting you (If you’re staring at a target and they’re really good, “It’s a trap!”)
c. They want to hit you in the torso so ultimately always be ready to guard/block your torso
d. Practice staying on the move while maintaining strong guard; never stand still
e. Feint into their bait while aiming to strike elsewhere

Getting stronger at fighting advanced fighters will come from observing, sparring them, learning their patterns, and planning a response to their most common strategies. There are three significant equalizing tactics anyone can learn to use against advanced fighters. If you can’t kill them, limb & leave them.

1) Practice fast, precise counter-swinging to opponents’ swinging arm
2) Practice the simultaneous motion of sliding in as you block and immediately arcing down to chop a leg followed by sliding away and leaving them on the ground
3) Stabs. If they’re stronger than you, they’ll aggress by stepping towards you. Watch for opportunities to stutter and dip low at the knees stabbing into their swinging side hip.

Observant warriors of all skill levels may be able to predict an advanced fighter yet not have the speed or techniques to avoid dying. That’s OK. You’re still developing by getting attuned to predictable patterns and being ready to block their first shot or avoid opening your guard to their feints! Even advanced fighters tend to rely on a few patterns that come naturally for them. Those with the most diverse shot selection, footwork, and adaptability of personal style to fit each situation become truly elite fighters.

Elite fighters perfect killing in their own rhythm. They possess intentionality or personal theory behind why they do what they do. Whether consciously or intuitively they break down what they and their enemies are doing and consider how to perform better against their most challenging opponents. The most advanced warriors consider the meta-game, evaluating what their opponents’ are most likely to do and how to lure people into using predictable patterns so they can respond with safe and efficient strikes. The trademark of truly elite fighters is that they will obliterate you whether you understand how they're swinging or not.

This all boils down to a single key insight: Use your eyes before your sword. Watch what kind of enemy you’re fighting first and you can often predict their two most likely opening moves. You will improve your blocking, dodging, and footwork with this practice. At best you’ll be ready to block and counter with effective limb and body strikes. At worst you’ll stay alive a longer during field battles. It’s a Win-Win!

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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:47 pm 
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Yet another gem for my realm's boards.

Thank you much. It's enlightening to see an explanation of just how I fall into these patterns.

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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:37 pm 
Forum Gordon Ramsay
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Great article, I would love to see more like this from you in the future. I read this twice before hitting up practice with you and I was like all types of Dynasty Warrior up in that *.
I would love to see a progression outline for new fighters from you ie what skills to level up during their first years and how to go about bettering themselves in a manner best benefiting said progression.

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Bishop wrote:
Overall I believe the article was positive for our image, loosely defining us as a sadomasochist anti-larp. I'm ok with that. http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/LARP-harder

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But, his sensei passed that style down to him! Literal hours of tradition!


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:20 am 
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Thank you, it was nice to see my style in writing.


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:44 am 
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That's good stuff, Bhakdar. A lot of things I've observed on many occasions, expressed clearly and concisely.

Would you mind if I cross-posted this to the Dag board--or would you mind cross-posting it there yourself?

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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:14 am 
Forum Gordon Ramsay
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Uhhh I might be a * for not asking but I totes already cross posted this on the dag boards. Sorry if I overstepped but knowing you I figured you'd want as many people to see this as possible. I'll be getting on Esam, registering just to post this there if you're cool with it. They might want to you write it as one of their articles, so that might be a venue you pursue asap. I'll talk to you when you get here if you don't read this (MIND: BLOWN) before then.

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Bishop wrote:
Overall I believe the article was positive for our image, loosely defining us as a sadomasochist anti-larp. I'm ok with that. http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/LARP-harder

Caleidah wrote:
But, his sensei passed that style down to him! Literal hours of tradition!


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:55 pm 
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I appreciate that it's perceived as valuable enough to be widely shared. Please just give me author credit and cross-post this wherever you like.

I also have a new video tutorial series up on my youtube channel. Check it out here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Bhakdar?feature=mhee

The 'Baiting' video would be the most complimentary to this article in terms of practicing specific technique.

If you've read the article above and get lost in the terminology, I recommend watching the 'Basic Shots' and 'Grip,Stance,Guard,Footwork' tutorials.

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2. a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:13 pm 
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I know this might be an odd question, but say that a lefty and a righty are fighting. The lefty throws a sword side hip wrap. Could you say punch it away with your sword hand then counter for his or her exposed shoulder, arm, and if lucky chest?

Sorry if that doesn't make any sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:58 am 
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Super helpful, it was awesome to see specific fighters that I have watched reflected in what you wrote.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:50 pm 
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ImJustKu wrote:
I know this might be an odd question, but say that a lefty and a righty are fighting. The lefty throws a sword side hip wrap. Could you say punch it away with your sword hand then counter for his or her exposed shoulder, arm, and if lucky chest?

Sorry if that doesn't make any sense.


You mean sword side block and then do a safe shot: Wrap, Chop, etc?
That's totally ok as long as you have the footwork to back it up so you don't get lefty wrapped again.

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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:28 am 
Forum Gordon Ramsay
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If you step in with your on-side foot and have your guard in a bait that will leave them wanting to throw a deep wrap to your onside hip you can either take another step in with your off-side and slam your shield into theirs or switch your feet in place, effectively taking away that whole side of your body that was just there away from them.
I use this all the time going southpaw and specifically flo.
Just remember people are going to get a lot of depth on you with those big wraps so you have to set it up right. Personally I've been developing a penchant for dropping savage chops down into slots. Greatsword translates into S&B somehow. But I digress.

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Overall I believe the article was positive for our image, loosely defining us as a sadomasochist anti-larp. I'm ok with that. http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/LARP-harder

Caleidah wrote:
But, his sensei passed that style down to him! Literal hours of tradition!


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:38 am 
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This is an interesting journal I wrote a couple years back during a long stint of fighter travel. Sorta relevant to the topic at hand. Dunno if it will help anybody but here ya go.

The four elements of fighting

Earth (the Sentinel)

-patient, enduring, stable.

The earth style fighter is stable and barely moves. Tell tale signs are heightened guard sometimes even drawing the sword back behind the shield. They are incredibly resilient and waste almost no energy giving them a longevity that can be hard to cope with over long stretches. They would rather wait for a shot to present itself as opposed to making an opening
themselves. They are strong against fire whose strategy is wail optimistically on their closed guard till exhausted and sloppy where then Earth capitalizes on a single mighty stroke to knock the opponent completely down and out. They are weak to water whose ever changing style and constant pressure slowly wear down earth and works its way into its guard.

Water (The professional)
-fluid, Adaptable, Streaming

The water style fighter is fluid often striking multiple points and fading away to a side to try its luck from another angle. They move, not fast or slow but often shifting stances and guard location frequently and never sticking with any stance for long. Often when fighting with water fighter you will suffer a barrage of attacks and then when it comes time to counterattack they are fading back, guard up and re positioning. The are strong against Earth whose static defense can do nothing against the creeping and often frustrating floating offense/defense. They are weak to Air whose speed and unpredictability often let water water flow though it without touching it leaving in to get stabbed in the back or worse caught unsuspecting.

Air (The Joker)
-fast, Flighty, Unpredictable

The Air style is commonly recognized by an almost constant pattern of non commitment. They are more concerned with removing themselves from the situation as actually winning the fight. Often times when attacked they with swing for legs and high tail it out of there. High level air fighters will often just gum up the works by floating through the line barely out range drawing out bad shots and letting there friends capitalize on them. They are content to just fleet through the battlefield catching people unaware. It is strong against water whose constant changing style and adaptability does nothing on a target and it cant catch. Often ignoring it until its too late. It is weak to fire whose strong willed single target killing intent is fueled by the thrill of the hunt.

Fire (The bully)
Powerful, Aggressive, Single minded

Fire style is a single target all in fighter who primarily wins his fights by throwing fast and hard. He is in your face and has no sense for nonsense. Often accompanied by a "short fuse" these fighters can be fearsome and frightening. Generally any sense of defense is eschewed for a more powerful offensive presence. It is weak to earth who's powerful
defense calm demeanor and silent observation is often enough to "gate" the beast and send it over the edge where it will undoubtedly make a mistake. It is strong against Air who's flighty nature and goofy demeanor is just begging to be bullied.

This is a basic layout on what I believe the four major archetypes for fighters are. I think all fighters have a natural bent towards one of the elements and will often default into it during periods of extreme exhaustion. Good fighters will need to utilize all four elements and I personally believe any shot utilizing the best aspect of the four is almost a
guaranteed kill.

Some interesting notes:

Air and earth will often not fight each other, and fire and water will kill each other.

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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:37 pm 
Forum Gordon Ramsay
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That's super cool Delfino, and I think it deserves it's own topic in it's self. I also think of fighting styles in the manner of elements you discuss but as pertains to Red Sword. I think you might be absolutely phenomonal with a * sword having watched you fight single sword on a couple of occasions. This week at practice we should discuss in more depth.

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Bishop wrote:
Overall I believe the article was positive for our image, loosely defining us as a sadomasochist anti-larp. I'm ok with that. http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/LARP-harder

Caleidah wrote:
But, his sensei passed that style down to him! Literal hours of tradition!


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:57 pm 
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I like it, it's a cool characterization. Seems to fit many archetypes I've seen on the field in the past.

p.s. I'm thinkin about coming to a Pike practice like this weekend or next.

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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:35 pm 
Forum Gordon Ramsay
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The password to get in is Blackspire Sucks Big Hairy Donkey Dangus

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Bishop wrote:
Overall I believe the article was positive for our image, loosely defining us as a sadomasochist anti-larp. I'm ok with that. http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/LARP-harder

Caleidah wrote:
But, his sensei passed that style down to him! Literal hours of tradition!


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:45 am 
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Remy the Wroth wrote:
The password to get in is Blackspire Sucks Big Hairy Donkey Dangus

So you guys changed it from "Remy loves meat-sword"? It's about time, I feel like that point has been entirely beaten to death by now.

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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Remy the Wroth wrote:
That's super cool Delfino, and I think it deserves it's own topic in it's self. I also think of fighting styles in the manner of elements you discuss but as pertains to Red Sword. I think you might be absolutely phenomonal with a * sword having watched you fight single sword on a couple of occasions. This week at practice we should discuss in more depth.



Thanks Remy. Bhakdars (fantastic super awesome) post got me thinking about it. I feel like it is somewhat dated but it contains points pertinent to the topic at hand. I feel like if you recognize their style then it prepares you for the weight/number/intensity of the shots you will be subject too.

Dangus wrote:
I like it, it's a cool characterization. Seems to fit many archetypes I've seen on the field in the past.

p.s. I'm thinkin about coming to a Pike practice like this weekend or next.


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:02 pm 
Forum Gordon Ramsay
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Dangus wrote:
Remy the Wroth wrote:
The password to get in is Blackspire Sucks Big Hairy Donkey Dangus

So you guys changed it from "Remy loves meat-sword"? It's about time, I feel like that point has been entirely beaten to death by now.

*insert obligatory Lt. Dangles quip pertaining to your genetalia's size/shape/girth(or lackthereof in your case)*

And for sure let us know when you're going to make it out! I'll make sure to bring the camera and we can get some footage for critique afterwards(we could head over to my place after for illicit substance abuse.

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Bishop wrote:
Overall I believe the article was positive for our image, loosely defining us as a sadomasochist anti-larp. I'm ok with that. http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/LARP-harder

Caleidah wrote:
But, his sensei passed that style down to him! Literal hours of tradition!


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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Remy wrote:
And for sure let us know when you're going to make it out! I'll make sure to bring the camera and we can get some footage for critique afterwards(we could head over to my place after for illicit substance abuse.

So you can have video evidence of my suckage? Well, better to jump back on the horse late, than never at all, I guess.

Also: Beer

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 Post subject: Re: Shot Predictability by Exp. Level
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:20 am 
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Remy the Wroth wrote:
you can either take another step in with your off-side and slam your shield into theirs or switch your feet in place, effectively taking away that whole side of your body that was just there away from them.
2 cents as a lefty; the first action is overcommitting and would leave you open to getting outjuked by a lefty that knows more than 3 shots, and has okay footwork (a stretch, I know).

In this scenario Remy, the moment your shield arm cross, your opponent has a safe opening to step back to a safe range and retaliate (probably a chop to your sword side arm). Switching feet basically resets the fight, a much safer option.

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