Safe line fighting

Fighting in a line with lots of people around you requires you to modify your fighting style from that used in more open, one-on-one situations. These exercises are designed to improve your skill in line fighting. They aim to

  • Improve perception of distance
  • Improve awareness of what's going on around you
  • Make sure you are fighting safely for a close-packed line situation.


Technique-wise we will emphasise compact technique for line-fighting, correct targeting of blows, pulling blows. Mental calmness and
control will also be emphasised. Self-diagnosis of fatigue and over-excitability will be emphasised. The people in charge of the exercises, and all experienced members present, should look out for:

  • Tired freshers
  • Heavy-hitting
  • Bad co-ordination and targeting
  • Getting carried away

All of these are to be dealt with immediately. At all times, emphasise that practicing at reduced speed is wise if the fresher is not sure. If they elect to do this, they should tell their partner, who should slow their parry accordingly.


General stretching, forearm strengthening exercises, distance gauging exercise. [15 mins]


Two experienced people to demonstrate the difference between techniques for choreographed fighting (big, aggressive, telegraphed blows, head allowed if called, different guards used) and line fighting (compact blows, limited guards, no head shots). We will point out the technical differences, but emphasise the common aspects: control, calmness (even when seeming aggressive), control of distance and spatial awareness between you and opponent. [10mins max]

Line fighting exercise 1: Pulling blows

With wood or steel as is felt appropriate. Split into small groups, practice pulling blows in eights and three/five randomly. Ideally we will have two experienced Wychwooders in each group, one to direct, the other to be hit. The drill will be: 8s all pulled, 8s with parries and some missed parries, to emphasise the need to pull even when you think the partner will parry. If someone hits too hard or off target the Wychwooder being hit should nicely, but immediately, correct this. [15 mins]

Line fighting exercise 2: Round-robin gauntlet exercise

With wood, not steel at first. Form a line (not too compacted), experienced Wychwooders interspersed with freshers. At least two Wychwooders watching. Emphasise that anyone should pull people up for heavy hitting. The line will begin relatively widely spaced. At the head a couple will face each other, the one facing the line will give the 8 pulled blows, their opponent will parry. They will move down the line to the next person, repeating this, until everyone has done everyone else. When facing freshers, the freshers will be instructed either to parry everything, not parry anything. Experienced Wychwooders will parry some and miss one or two parries (we will not warn them about this). [20 mins]

Line fighting exercise 3: Round-robin gauntlet exercise

Repeat 2, but random threes with wood. Compact line to line fight tightness. [15 mins]


Glove fight?

Line fighting exercise 4: : Round-robin gauntlet exercise

Repeat 3, but with steel. [15 mins]

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