Ian suggested at last Saturday's fight practice that to improve my skill at fighting two sword, I practice fighting sword and shield left handed. I decided that this was a great idea, and have started working this for part of practice.
First thing I found out is that my right side has NO idea what the hell to do with a shield. My first instinct was to punch someone right in the face with it, which, while awesome, is not the most legal or practical use. I also need to train my right arm to deal with the weight... though my right side is stronger overall, it has not been used to hold a shield, and it's a foreign sensation.
I generally fight sword and shield with my sword foot forward, but since I am doing this to benefit my left being used in two sword, I decided to fight with sword foot back, where it will generally be when it is my secondary weapon. I had difficulties getting my body to do what my brain wanted it to... I am used to the force transferring differently when firing from the opposite stance. Sir Rhys worked with me at Tuesday's practice and we figured out where the movement was short circuiting... now I just need to drill it properly and get it into muscle memory.
This all made me think initially that I was cheating on my right handed shots... not using the proper body when throwing and relying on arm strength. I don't think now that this is exactly true. I know I do cheat on some shots, but what I was thinking was cheating is actually that I am firing power across the body...left foot across the back and out the right arm. I'm not sure this is RIGHT, exactly... but it's not all in the upper body like I was afraid it was. Still going to require some analysis and drill.
This is all a very interesting experience... it is requiring me to break alot of what I do down to the fundamentals, and i think it should only help my skill overall. If nothing else, it should clean my basic technique up so that when i tire and fall into simple muscle memory, it is at least CORRECT muscle memory. I watched Sir Douglas Henry fight at Birka, and watching him tire was awesome... because his technique was so CLEAN as he tired, he just let his body do what it knew, and what it knew to do was right.
We're heading down to Balfar's Challenge this Saturday, and hopefully I'll get to do some pickups with folks. Will be a fun tournament, even if I don't.