1 Jan

Doing my daily ten minutes of footwork has been a challenge during vacation — there’s only enough space in our bedroom for about ten small advances — but there’s a mirror I’ve been using, something I haven’t made available to myself at home.

It’s not a full-length mirror like my coach recommends, its bottom edge being at chest level, but i’ve been using it to correct my form:

* I crouch down until my armpits are no longer visible, and watch as I move to make sure I don’t come up

* I keep my shoulders level, telling me that I’ve got my center of balance in the right position

* I keep my back shoulder in, not swinging my chest out. This is a flaw I noticed when doing my “surrender footwork,” both arms straight up as I advance-retreat — my left arm was way off to the side, leaving more of my target area directly exposed to my opponent. I’m wondering if bringing my back shoulder in will help in my quest to more effectively parry those straight attacks that have frustrated me.

* In keeping with the previous observation, I’m keeping my left arm fully back, rather than letting it dangle off to the side. In foil, the back arm brings nothing but trouble, aiding in balance but little else. Lately I’ve let it just hang there, comfortably outside the target area (bringing it forward is a foul — yellow card and warning first offense, red card and opponent’s touch each time after that), but I feel the need to more consciously keep it further away, so that my hand could easily touch my rear.

I’ll be interested to share my observations with my coach when I return next week. And I’ve got to figure out a way to install a mirror, preferably full-length, in my practice area down in the basement.

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