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Try and define it: a good defense.

You can avoid being hit and lose a fight. The sooner you realise this the better of a fighter and a Larper you will be. Before we go all metaphorical I will kick off with the basics of blocking though:

SAFETY: Block their weapon – not their hand. Blocks tend to be very powerful and if you twat your opponent on the hand they won’t thank you. Just because you’re not on the offensive doesn’t mean you let your common sense tune out.

  • Hands on. When trying to block your opponent blade block close to their hand. The wrist generates the movement. The closer you are to it the more chance your block has of connecting. You’re less likely to miss the split second zone you need your sword to be in.

cool guy

  • Stand ready. In the stance post we spoke about getting that sword ready. It is then in the middle of your body and will be a big blockade for blows. If you return to this between every shot then you’re ready to respond.
  • No weak wrists. No bent arms. Lock your elbow and don’t let that weapon push through your block.
  • Actually block. If your head block is lower than the top of your head: I will hit your head. You don’t get marks for effort, folks. Remember – if you are short these blocks need to go the extra mile.

strong block

  • Fight with the weapon you’re holding. If you haven’t got a basket hilt sword: don’t block with the basket hilt. If you have a stick remember to keep your hands out of harms way when blocking.
  • Ranges: we have a whole post coming on this. Suffice to say – if you don’t want to get hit be stood out of the length of your opponent’s max lunge + arm + weapon length.
  • Allies: sometimes people will block for you. It’s okay to be judgmental here: who – if anyone – is going to save your life? If you’re unsure better get those blocks in
  • Saw you look! Most people look before they hit. Some smile. Some grimace. Some breathe. (An astute friend of mine pointed out I retract my arm about half a centimeter: we fight a lot.) Check people for tells – it is a lot easier to block a shot you know is coming.
  • Best defense is a good offense. It’s over said, I know. If you want someone to back off? You need to make sure they’re tasting foam every so often.

But there is more to it than that. A lot more.

The law of absence. The best way to not die in battle is not be in a place you can be hit. Losing the fight? Run. Run faster and further than the other guy. There may be IC reasons you cannot or will not and that is your dilemma (which you should relish) but this is a universal truth.

Taken with a pinch of salt it will lead you to dodge shots. Do you have to block this shot? If the answer is no get moving. Quick (safe) back steps can get your opponent outstretched and in a perfect place for your counter attack. Side steps are your friends. If your balance is good dodge without stepping. (More on this on my signature move post to come.) Note: don’t jump over weapons. It is not safe.

Eyes on the prize. Imagine walking all the way to Modor and forgetting the ring. Remember you can win every fight but if you lose sight of your objective then it can be for nothing. If it is defending your healer or capturing the flag know what matters and where it is.

This is especially important when achieving an objective can stop monsters spawning. Gank that necromancer and then mop up the skeletons. Save your stamina as that is as much as a resource as your healing potions.

Reputation as a shield. One good win can set you up for hundreds. Let your legend fill the ears of others. Fight every fight with your all because it carves your legacy into the minds of larpers. If you larp with the same people repeatedly you will find certain people holding certain weapon sets can be enough to trigger behaviors. Sometimes it can be avoidance. Maybe it is better to call this ‘reputation as a double edged sword’ as sometimes it can be everyone clubbing together and throwing all they have at you.

If you’re with people who don’t know you show swagger like your balls leave tracks in the earth you walk can be very effective! Like a miller pretending to be a millionaire it only lasts as long as the money does: if you’re found out drop the act and focus on survival!

Anything that generates fear is a great defense. If there are ten of you mob up, shield wall locked, make some noise and close. If you can scare the enemy with the reputation of ‘guys who have their shit together’ you enter the battle with the momentum to change it. If there is only one of you stride like you wouldn’t stop for an army.

So to summarise: Block well, avoid blocking by avoiding weapons, focus on defending what matters and look well ‘ard.

Next time we’re going to look at movement and ranges. Possibly the most important theory for larp fighting.