Since this is the first class of the fall semester, we began with an simple introduction to the school, its instructors and the other students. I was very happy to see a bunch of shiny, happy new faces, and bid them welcome!
I also began with a group warm up and explained that while on many occasions, there would be no group warm up per se, on some ocassions I wanted to do group warm ups and games in lien with the class. The warm up was simple, with some laps around the gym running forwards, backwards, etc., had students drag one another across the sala floor using precise mechanics to work the legs and core, and a grappling game where a baton was placed in the middle of the mats and I called out numbers assigned to each student so that they crawled as fast as possible to the center, grabbed the baton, then tried to get back to their “base” all while having the other person prevent it.
Basic footwork exercises followed, after which there was an explanation of each abrazare posta and its use. Poste were also explained in their relationship to one another and how they counter one another.
Following this, partnered falling exercises were done to ease the transition for the inexperienced and experienced alike.
We then performed some drills centred around the first four plays of abrazare and how they are lessons on pressure. Emphasis was on mechanics and controlling the partner all the way to the ground. the drills went thusly:
- From wide measure, the Companion enters and grabs the Player’scollar to strike a blow.
- The Player thwarts this strike with his left hand, bringing it down and towaards the right, beginning to break structure.
- As this occurs, the right arm shoots up using boar’s tooth to the Companion’s outstretched arm. A slight acressere back might help to straighten the arm and facilitate the armbar.
- Volta stabile to the left, this shifts the hips and locks the arm and shoulder. As pressure is applied, you may release the Companion’s right hand with your left and bring it to bear on his elbow, adding “more strength.”
- Keep the elbow close to yourself, bringing it to your hips (porta di ferro) and then drive the shoulder into the ground, locking it.
- Bear your weight down on the arm, keeping it locked to your body with your left hand, draw your dagger with your right and do what comes naturally.
- If the Companion retreats, pulling back his arm to save it, step in with your right foot behind his left, His weight is naturally moving back.
- Push him against his throat or chin, emphasising the unbalanced situation.
- Pick his leg with your left hand, pulling it towards you and up while pushing his head back and into the ground. While this can be done with a pivot so as to spiral the Companion down, I preferred the more direct method, which mechanically has the back of the head driven into the ground by the Player.
- If the Companion collapses measure to save his arm, wrap your arm around his waist or grip his belt (similar to an obi otoshi in Judo). “Swim” your arm over his (which is now in boar’s tooth, having bent it to save it) and apply posta longa against his chin or adam’s apple. Crank the neck around and back, applying pressure and compressing the neck and spinal vertebrae. You now have a spine lock.
- Break him into two and drive him again into the ground head first.