Tuesday, October 7, 2014

One Christian Martialist Uses LARP

Live Action Role Play (LARP) can provide an avenue of training for those whose economic state prohibits paid lessons in combatives. One long-time follower of WARSKYL wrote to tell me a little bit about how he approaches his foray into the world of medieval LARP.

As you read, see if you can identify training value he receives from his participation. My own observations will follow his comments.

I have a few light bruises from my medieval LARP group.  In the end, I don't mind at all (they are foam weapons anyway, so it takes a very strong swing to actually cause pain).  I have gone to practice with a strong headache now as well.  What's the point in only fighting when you are at your best?  What orc will not strike you when you are at your weakest?  

You can see here that I'm applying this in a martialist mindset.  I had no idea people actually got together to fight with safe swords, flails, spears, and shields.  You can fight, and no one gets hurt, and you all go home friends.  It is a wondrous thing to me.  I know it's far from say, judo, or something actually modern, but I'm intent on sucking every bit of value out of it I can.  The fitness is a major plus, and  also the fact that it is entirely free.  The most I will need to spend is when I need to get my own weapons and such and they are quite inexpensive ($20-$30 for a sword, for example).  This is a far cry from the expensive martial arts classes I used to take, and nobody minds if I knock them to the ground this time.  It is FULL contact!

It is wonderful a cardio workout . . . on the plus side I am not nearly so bad off as I had assumed).

A benefit I've learned was to not necessarily look at my opponents.  I've thought of this before, but as I'd never had the chance to try it out, I'd forgotten about it.  My mind dusted it off as I had the two against me at once.  I kept on swinging my head left and right to check each one of them (as two were united against me).  I disliked this rapid movement, and I was suspicious of it also making me appear to be frantic (I can see the merit of using that deceptively, but at least for now I'd prefer to appear intimidating).  So, my brain dusted off the idea and shoved it into my cognitive mind and I looked in between them, not directly at them.  I instantly could see both of them with my peripheral vision without any issue.

Other practices can be a bit of a chaotic battle.  One such practice recently ended in me losing most fights, and I got killed from the back many times.  This will be a good training program to watch all directions.  I know it's impossible to be perfect, and even the greatest warrior will always die, but it's still a good idea to try your best in training.  The most I got were three kills before my own death (I attacked some brand new members--weak points!).

Okay, it's not WWII combatives or Krav Maga, but I see some real training benefits here:
  1. The opportunity to switch on the full aggression mode without actually killing or maiming anyone allows him to practice initiating and controlling the adrenaline dump in a socially acceptable manner.
  2. The fitness training comes as an important side benefits of this activity -- not just cardio, but also muscle endurance.
  3. Dealing with multiple attackers does not usually come up in most martial training at the beginning. In LARP, he has had to deal with the problems of multiple attackers in terms of tactics as well as his fighting skills. Switching to peripheral vision gave him the advantage that peripheral vision perceives movement much more readily than focused vision. To fully benefit here, he must continue to develop control over his adrenaline dump (see #1 above) to avoid tunnel vision.
  4. He is getting at least a small glimpse of the chaotic nature of violence. No one is able to choreograph a violent confrontation. Learning to act decisively, efficiently and effectively in a chaotic environment will help him -- even in a small way -- to prepare for the real thing.
Those are few observations off the top of my head. I invite you to add your own observations in the "Comments" section below. I really want to hear about how you might use LARP to augment your training, if you had the opportunity.

P.S. I wrote about the European Martial Arts of America in a previous post. To read it, CLICK HERE.

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