How I’m teaching my son to do Boffer Fighting

By Caladin Ironhearth caladin (funky sign you know ) io (dot) com



My son, at the time of this writing is 5.75 years old, just a little to young to officially do boffer, but I’ve started to teach him to do boffer and take him to unofficial practices to let him try out his stuff. He seems to be having fun and doing well. My sons name is Lochlan, and mines Eric, I’ll use these names when who’s doing what is not clear. I have this broken up into phases that roughly corresponded to weeks for me, let you child learn at his own pace, and if it takes several weeks to pick something up, don’t’ worry about it.


Philosophy: I read this great book on teaching soccer to young kids; it’s basic philosophy I boil down to a few points.


1.      Make sure the kids have fun first and foremost.

2.      Basics, Basics, Basics, no piece of the puzzle is to small to teach.

3.      Teach them things in the smallest pieces possible 1 or 2 per week

4.      Disguise your drills as fun games.

a.       Example, to teach kicking the ball and not looking at it, have the kids play follow the leader, and occasionally change the leader at random.

5.      Be lavish in your praise, encouragement and enthusiasm..


To this list I add a few of my own.


1.      Consistent, regular, slow learning is the best answer at this age (about 6) Older kids I assume can go faster, but I don’t have older kids, so I can’t tell you for sure.

2.      If you take it too seriously, you will ruin all the fun for both of you.

3.      Being silly is more fun than being serious.

a.       Example: Falling down and thrashing every time when you die is both more fun than just falling, Its also teaching them to fall down each time when they die.

4.      Bribery + blatant praise is a wonder full combination. A little extortion goes along way too.

a.       Example, when Lochlan said he didn’t want to do and boffer the third day in a row. when I asked him, on the 3rd day I made a point to explain that if he kept telling me no, that it would make it not any fun for me, and I’d stop wanting to teach and play boffer with him when he wanted to. Then I dropped it and let him go his way (forcing him would never work) after 5 or 10 min of playing, he came back to me and wanted to go practice “beating me (Caladin) up”. (letting him beat you up when you are only sorta blocking is great pell work)





Lesson Plan: Phase 1: The rules.



Learning the rules


I picked teaching the rules first for 2 reasons.


  1. I consider them very important and was not willing to let him fight at all, until I felt he understood them, applying them 100% will come over time.
  2. We had not gotten any equipment yet, and this can be taught anywhere, even in the car as you go places.


The first thing I did was print out a copy of the rules, and read them thoroughly myself. Then put it in the car.



find the rules here  Goto section 5, on youth combat (page 30 I think)


Then next time we were driving somewhere I asked my son if he knew the rules of boffer fighting. I think he said yes, so I started quizzing him (we quiz a lot in the car, it’s fun). The first time we just went over each rule one time, told him the correct answer if he did not know, then re-asked ones he’d missed. We did this till he got all of the questions right. (The familiarization phase) Lochlan’s mom read the rules and I drove and mentioned any that I missed trying to do it from memory. I also told him that he had to know these rules to be allowed to fight, if he did not know them, no boffer for him.


Hopefully this is a list of all the questions and all answers we taught him. If I miss any of the big basic rules let me know.


Can you start fighting whenever you want or only when everyone is ready?

            Not only do both of you need to be ready, but you both have to be in full armor, with weapons, and you have to be told its okay to start fighting.


What does ‘Hold’ mean?

            Stop fighting, right away.


What does “lay on” mean?

            Lay on means you can start fighting. Also sometimes people say “lezze aley”(how ever you spell that)


What do you do if somebody calls hold while you are fighting?

            Stop immediately.


Why would somebody call hold during a fight,?

            If somebody might get hurt, like missing armor or breaking something.


Who can call hold? Anyone, or just some people?

            Anyone can call hold.


Can You (the child) call hold if you see something is wrong?

            Yes you can, and you should, it’s part of your job.


Where are you allowed to hit each other?

            Head, chest tummy, arms, and upper legs


Where are you not allowed to hit each other?

            Hands are not allowed to be hit.

            From just above the knee down cannot be hit

(If you can point to the spot do it now, both on him and you)

            You can’t hit them on the back when you are behind them, only when you are in front of them.


Next I went over each body part and asked him again (cause this was important)

            Can you hit on the head?



            Can you hit on the upper arm?



            Can you hit on the lower arm?



            Can you hit on the hand?



            Can you hit the tummy?



            Can you hit the Back?

                        Only if you are in front of them, not if you are behind them.


            Can you hit on the thigh?

                        Yes, except for the part right next to the knee.


            Can you hit on the Knee?



            Can you hit on the lower leg?



            Can you hit on the foot?



            Can you hit the ‘wee-wee’ area?

                        You can on accident, but not on purpose, that’s mean and we don’t allow that.



What do you have to be wearing or carrying to be allowed to fight?



Ask him if he knows what a gorget is, and then explain it’s a neck protector,

So getting hit will not hurt his neck.


            Cup or the wee-wee protector

Explain that he needs a cup so his wee-wee will not get hurt fighting and that it would hurt A

LOT to get hit there; he really has to have it

            A weapon.


Can you hit someone when you are behind them?

            No, this is not allowed. You cannot hit from behind.


How had do you have to be hit to be killed?

            All they have to do is touch you, and you are dead, even a little tiny touch of the weapon can kill you.


Can you hit as hard as you want?

            No, you can move the weapon as fast as you want, but you can’t hit them hard.


Are you allowed to hurt somebody?



Are you allowed to lose you temper?

            No, if you lose you temper you will not be allowed to fight.


How old do you have to be to fight boffer?

            6 years old.


Can you go fight all by your self or do momma and I have to be with you?

            You can’t fight by yourself, but only one of us needs to be watching you for you to be able to fight.


What is a Blow?

            A blow is when a weapon, like a sword, hits you.



I think that covers all the basic rules for boffer combat, the rules may change to read them yourself and if you see any I missed seen them to me at


After he’d had a once over, randomly, and right before we practiced any boffer combat I’d ask him a couple of these rules to see if he knew them. I told him when he knew them we’d go get his stuff. This and all the lessons will require review over along period of time to make them come to the child naturally, take your time, let your child learn it at his own pace. Keep you goals very, very small. (IE starting each fight in stance, then occasionally putting his shield back in front of himself during fights.)




LESSON PLAN: Phase 2 Making armor



            Getting a kit of armor together

            Introducing the child to the basics of how his armor goes together.

            Making sure he feels comfortable in the armor, and comfortable with the idea of making armor as

 something he can help do


Next we went and bought all the required pieces of armor, plus gear to make swords. We tried everything on we could, and made decisions together, I explained the benefits and detractions of each decision, and then lochlan chose. One of the main things I stressed to Lochlan was heat, in Texas; heat will kill you faster than any opponent, so when we talked about adding more armor, a padded gambeson, etc, I explained that the pieces would make him hotter when he was fighting. He got to make the decision. If he wanted it enough to be willing to be hot wearing it, he was welcome to it. (Pretty consistently he did not, but he’s still talking about getting full body armor, so he’ll probably get a set eventually)



What I bought


Adjustable Youth Street Hockey helmet – (White) Academy $29 (they had white and black, but I figured white would not be as hot in the Texas sun. Actually I told lochlan to choose which he wanted, that the difference was that the white would be cooler and the black would be hotter when he wore it. He chose the white (That’s MY boy J ). Black would have been fine too.


Youth XS cup with supporter fits size 6 (Lochlan’s size) Academy, - about $12-$15 I think


Youth XS batting gloves – Academy - They only had one kind of XS gloves, I don’t remember how much they were, but I fight in black unlabeled batting or racquetball gloves and I recommend them to you.


4 golf tubes – 50 cents each, some people told me to use 2 tubes per weapon but the rules say single golf tube

only. Till I get to talk to an authorizing marshal, I made one of each, so he can fight either way. I want to see how they both hold up.


Padding – I bought 1’ i.d. pipe insulation first, but that was 3/8 of an inch thick, and the rules required ½ inch

of foam, so I built it up with a piece of camp pad and contact cement.   


Recently I found a very light full adult sized pool float at Oshmans that was over ½ inch thick

and big enough to make plenty of swords out of, it was about $16 I use that now. It’s a bit stiff to

wrap around the sword, but a layer of duct tape around the circumference held it fine. I’ll try to

go into this in more detail later.



I also bought…


1 4’*8’ sheet 1/16” white ABS – U.S. Plastics, ordered online, $22 plus shipping (less than $10) (Here) If I had it to do again, I’d have gotten the 3/32” instead, I suggest if you want to go this way that you do too. Tell them in the notes to cut it up into 24’* 48’ pieces for cheaper shipping. ABS can easily be heated in an oven and then formed into shape. It becomes easily worked at about 170 degrees (max 185) (use gloves to handle it), and if you buy a 4*8 sheet you’ll have plenty to play with, I used about 1 square foot of it, and had plenty of scrap from the 12” by 12” piece I cut out. When I go into armor making in another article I’ll explain how _I_ do this, so you can try it yourself, at your own risk of course.


1 set of 6 or 8 differently colored wiffle balls in a nylon mesh sock - Academy less than $10. I got this to use

as a training aid, that I will describe later, I think it’s a good one, you can make you own if you are not lucky enough to find one of these.


1 small Mesh bag - Big enough to hold his armor, like the on I keep my armor in – Had this laying around, but

 they sell ones like it at Oshmans.


2’ * 4’ * ¼” sheet of BC plywood – at any big hardware store, pick the lightest one out of the stack.


7 feet of clear 1/2'” od HDPE tubing - to edge the shield got it at Lowes off a roll by the foot. 6 feet probably would have done it, but I was going to make a rectangle at first, and changed my mind and sent to a round.


½ in ID pipe insulation – to edge the shield, get the lightest kind.


That weekend we spent tome together making patterns and making armor to fit lochlan. We made a gorget and articulated plates to cover the gap at the back of the head. I did this both because it looked cool, and because it was a lot less hot than the other options I thought of..


Airflow good. I’ll go into this step in detail in another article.


But in quickie form, first I made patterns, then I made prototypes out of camp foam, then I made the plastic ones. I tried to make sure lochlan helped me every way he could in making the armor, holding tools and materials, drilling holes, hammering rivets etc. It took longer than I could have done alone, but the experience, for both he and I, was totally worth it. It was one of those memories you treasure for the rest of your life. BUT I already know exactly how to make each piece of armor, so didn’t’ stress this part at all. Take you time and don’t get frustrated. Let the kid take plenty of breaks to go watch TV, get water etc, so it stays fun for you both.

If you don’t get it done this weekend, keep pecking away at it.


Oh and when you hang your shield out to dry, don’t put in front of the automatic water sprinkler… trust me J


From then on, when lochlan wanted to play boffer he had to wear at least his helmet and gloves, which was not effort as he was enchanted with them, the gorget was hot, so he was less enchanted with it.


Basically my goals for this week were to get him used to wearing the armor, and putting it into and taking it out of his bag when he was done.


There is a lot of heavy weapons info on my site that applies to the making of armor for kids, take a look at my site here. You mostly have to adjust the sized and the materials a bit, but it’s good info.








Understanding where to hold the shield

            Understanding where to hold the sword.

            Returning to stance “Closing it up” after you throw a blow

            Understanding WHY to close it up after each blow.


I’m teaching lochlan what I consider to be the simplest and easiest of styles, I’d never teach an adult to fight this way (although many out of our kingdom do), but it seems like a good place to start. When he’s master this style, we can work up to a style that involves more complexity.


The Shield:

That style is Center grip round shield and single log sword, in the Horse stance. Or “Center grip round”.

Lochaln’s shield is a 18” diameter ¼’ plywood round shield with a center grip and a boss.


It was made basically following the system I use for my large rectangles, but with a few modifications. For now go here Here, scale it down to fit you child. And leave off the Aluminum U channel and add a later of pipe insulation around the outside edge. Later on I’ll put something together on how to do it exactly like I did, in detail. I happened to have just the perfect piece for a plastic shield boss lying around, but you can make it out of light leather or some such pretty easily. Its not going to get hit very hard.


<drawing shield>


The reasons I chose Center grip round and this style are pretty simple.


  1. It was the easiest and most natural to learn of the sword and shield styles.
  2. The horse stance is basically the way we normally stand; so he wouldn’t have to worry about to many things at once, which is what normally overwhelms new fighters..
  3. Lochlan is Ambidextrous and likes to change sword hands when he gets tired. With this shield he can do that quickly and easily in combat.



<drawing stance>

This drawing was done very quickly and has lots of perspective errors; I’ll try to get a photo up later.


The important points are. Child is standing normally, Shield in front of tummy, sword up in front of face and angled so that he can see under the sword. Elbows in behind the shield. The sword is cocked so the “strong muscles” that accelerate the sword away from him are already tensed slightly.(So he will not have to wind up his shots)


<photo lochlan in stance>





Movement should always be in a 1-2 movement, Offensive movement starts with the front foot, Defensive movement starts with the back foot. Left right, or Right left



Practice: Do the throwing blows practice below but don’t worry about technique or speed, concentrate only on throwing a blow, then going back into stance, every time you pause go back into stance. This is what you are teaching him. It’s very simply the hardest thing to learn about heavy fighting. He will never master this completely, he’ll just slowly overtime, come out of stance, lest often for shorter amounts of time. I’ve been fighting for over a decade and I’m passably good, but I have not mastered this. Keep up the slow shaping and

Have fun with it.


Remember to ham it up when he hits you.




LESSON PLAN PHASE 4: Hitting people.


Lesson 4.0 Timidity training



            Get over any latent issues with hitting people


While I more than willing to believe if you child is interested in boffer he seems 100% behind the concept of hitting people. But when I took Lochlan to his first fighter practice he seemed a bit timid hitting strangers, and didn’t’ really get into the groove with a stranger quite like he seemed to at home. So I’m rolling that into my very basic “how to throw a blow” instruction so your child can hopefully avoid having to go back and learn it.


The way to get you child over this is to let them hit you as fast as they can again and again and again, you fall down each time you are killed, just like you are teaching them to. Concentrate on the fast blows, then if he gets timid with strangers remind him to use “fast blows”.




Lesson 4.1 How to throw a perfect blow, the mechanics.


“Slow = Smooth, Smooth = Fast”     

-US Army Demolitions Instructor



            Knowing the mechanics of a proper blow.

            Learn to throw a proper blow when practicing with you.

            Learning to throw “fast blows”.

            Throwing blows from the “horse” stance.


            This is really hard to teach in words, so hopefully I can get some pictures for you to help understand it.

Concentrate on understanding the movements first, then try to make it as smooth as possible and a single motion. You sword should start in stance, and end on you opponent as on movement, don’t wind up, that’s 3 movements and takes a lot longer.


How the arm works.


The arm basically has 2 sets of muscles, not physiologically, but logically for throwing blows. The first is a strong set that moves the sword away from you. The second is a weak set that pulls it back towards you. You want to use the strong muscles as much as possible and the weak only when you have to. Turning the wrist at critical moment, which I will explain later, does this.


Holding the sword.


You want to hold the sword head high, next to your head (or in front of it) with a slight angle so that the strong muscles are already tensed. The tip of the sword should be behind you and the pommel pointed towards your opponent.



<picture holding the sword beside head>



Accelerating the Pommel away from you.


Next you accelerate the sword directly away form you pommel first, letting the sword fall almost parallel to the ground.(Because from parallel along the arm you can throw a blow in any direction)



<picture acceleration>



The hand will begin to snap the sword all on its own


As your hand moves away from you the natural tension of your muscles will cause the tip of the sword to start its tip to come up and over your hand.



<picture tipping>



Crack the Whip!


At this point you snap the sword from pointing behind you to pointing away from you, trying to hit your opponent. This is called “the snap”, or “snapping the blow”. There are some tricks with how you hold the sword the make this a lot easier. I’ll talk about them in a second.



<picture the snap>

(Note how the elbow never goes completely straight, this is to prevent elbow injuries)



The feeling you are trying to get is smooth fast acceleration away form you. Muscles loose and moving as fast as you can, then as the sword starts to come up, your body should snap like a whip and all your muscles should tense. This is where the power of the blow comes from. You child is young enough that he’s not going to hit to hard very often. But you’ll have to talk to him about hitting soft when you teach him this, incase it comes up later.


Loose muscles = speed,

Tense muscles = power


Think like cracking a whip, or snapping somebody with the end of a towel. It feels a lot like that.

Probably feels like pitching a fastball too, but I’ve never done that J. Smoother and more fluid is faster.


Practice it really slowly 10 or 12 times, then try half speed, then try full speed, smooth is most important. Start slow and smooth, and speed it up, keeping it smooth the whole time.


Concentrate on speed and ignore power all together. That’s true for heavy, or boffer. Speed is everything, if you do this heavy, the power comes on it’s own.



The grip and the snap:


When you hold the sword let your thumb and index finger hold the sword, and your other fingers just hold on by the fingertips as the sword moves. Then when it’ time to snap, tighten all the loose fingers to make a fist then immediately relax the index and pointer fingers. This will have the effect of accelerating the sword a bunch. It’s an advance technique though; so don’t worry about it for you kid yet. I’m just putting it here as an fyi if he seems to have trouble with it.


When your kid starts throwing blows, he’s going to have a lot harder time hitting some blows thanothers. For most kids (and adults) the shots that hit on top and on the same side as the sword hand are easiest, but the ones that are on the other side of the target (cross body) are much harder to learn. This is perfectly natural. Just give him plenty of time, and explain how that side is trickier.





Practice in full armor, if you have it, get armor for you too, at least a helmet and face protection, it can be a heavy weapons helmet, a fencing mask or a motorcycle helmet. You want your child to not be shy at all about hitting people in the head. So get some head protection for yourself and let them whale.


After you teach him basic form. Have the child start facing you in stance, you on you knees so you are the same height. Each blow starts in stance, then recovers and ends in stance. This is critical. The hardest thing you child it going to learn is to stay in stance while moving and throwing blows, emphasize going back into stance consistently during practice, and occasionally during “sparring”.


Now you are going to be the pell for your child in practicing this. Teach them to try to hit you and block most of the shots at first. Each time he throws a shot faster than the others, let it get through, then praise him. Explain to him how “fast is what hits, cause slow it so easy to block”  (Maybe let him block to few to see the difference, but throw the fast slow and the slow very very slow.) make a big deal about how he’s hitting you and beating you up, be silly, act mock upset, just basically ham it up to make it fun for you child. Make it a game you play together, not work. This will be a very empowering feeling for your child and if you play it right, he will love it, and he’ll get a big boost of self-confidence.


Remember to slowly ratchet up the speed he has to throw to hit you, when he’s hitting you a lot, block a little faster, and keep repeating that, if he’s not using proper form remind him to do that too.


You basically just want his muscles to get used to how it feels to throw the blow right. Muscle memory is the key to all fighting, and repetition is the key to muscle memory. Perfect practice make perfect performance, but let him take his time getting there, slowly pattern him, closer and closer till he’s hitting fast and accurate every time (Realize when he gets to fight for real most of this is going to go right out the window, but the more you practice it now, the more often it will happen when he’s excited and having fun.


Tell him that this week’s fighter practice, you are working on “fast blows”, and ask him several tiems over the week to repeat it.


When he goes to fight at practice ask before each fight, “What are we working on this week”

He should repeat, “Throwing fast blows”.



<picture – The Ball trainer>


At this point I also introduced the multicolored wiffle ball trainer. Basically I totally ripped off a drill the Sigmund-ites do, (yay sigs!) and scaled it down to his size. The see-through sock with the different colored balls hangs from the top, the Right side is a 1- shot and the left side is a 2- shot, these are just names to prevent getting messed up if we are on different side of the balls.


At first I just called a color and he had to tap the right colored ball. Then I started saying the “which side” number also (red-2) and he had to throw the right blow at the right place and then return to stance. After he had tapping down we started hitting it full speed.


Then I started putting combos together. (red-1 , green-2, Blue-1,2) I didn’t worry about his form on the combos.

The purpose of the drill is to get him used to seeing something and instantly hitting it, and to continue to reinforce the idea of throwing a blow (or combo) then quickly getting back into stance.


You can make this same trainer with multi-colored balls of any type stuck in a stocking, or hung on a single rope in series. I think the idea of color and number is critical to prevent confusion.




LESSON PLAN Phase 5 - Target Selection


“From now on we are going to hit’em where they ain’t”

-         General Douglas Macarthur



            Learning to throw blows “where the sword is not and where the shield is not”



This plan will reemphasize, “hitting fast blows” and add one new practice. Picking where to throw the blow.

I tell lochlan to hit where the sword and shield are not. After explaining this to him, give him some exaggerated visuals to practice on. I tell my son this mantra (despite the bad grammar)


“Hit ‘em where the sword and the shield isn’t”


Get in your stance, and ask him where the best place to hit you is, (probably your legs or around you sword) and then have him reach out and tap you there with his sword.


Then get in your stance, but raise you shield off to you side and ask again.


Keep deliberately making big openings with you sword or you shield (one at a time) and have him tap you.

Try to cover all the possibilities. Ignore the wraps and such, but let him take little steps to one side or another to

Get the blows too.


Once he has the basics let him start hitting you full speed.


Gradually keep making the “holes” smaller and smaller, if he misses seeing a hole, block, stay in that stance and ask him where the best place to hit you is. Then tell him if he still does not see it.


This week when he goes to fight his goals are


“Fast blows” and “hit’em where the sword and shield isn’t”

(or are not)


Do the same asking him and getting him to repeat through out the week and before each fight as before.


Remember 5 minutes he enjoys is better then 10 minutes he hates, let him do it at his own pace.



Lesson Plan PHASE 6: Sword blocking.


I actually slipped this into some of the earlier Phases, but I’m reemphasizing it periodically. This Phase it is the focus of our practice.


Basically you just do a drill where you each take turns throwing to blows at the other while the other blocks it.


The first drill is hit their sword side, then their shield side, then you block the same two shots while they throw them at you. Back and forth.


If this one get boring try mixing it up. Throwing to different locations, and hamming it up.


Remember to tell him to get in stance between blows, (i.e. block in stance)


Still trying to figure out a fun game for this, but it’s a superb trainer of muscle memory




Lesson Plan PHASE 7: Review going back into stance.

This time while moving AND throwing blows


This Phase you are going to probably have to move outside for you practice if you have not done so already.


Basically you are going to review all the things we’ve practiced so far, but doing it while you are VERY SLOWLY backing up away from you child. This will be a lot harder for him than you think. Be patient and

Give him to get it. Instead of reminding him, ask him questions about what’s the right way to do things.

He needs to absorb these lessons and be able to regurgitate them without thought, then slowly ever so slowly learn to put them in practice.


Back up, let him hit you, if he gets way out of stance throw a really slow blow at the opening and say

“UH OH, here it comes, you’d better block it.” The head is blocked with the sword, the rest with the shield. Then tell him how he came out of stance. I.e. “Your shield is not in front of your tummy”


As before gradually speed up these shots till he’s doing it naturally..


Then do it all again with him backing up instead of you..


Then do it moving sideways each direction.


Then repeat. Add funky changes like taking turns who’s backing up


Remember ham it up and make it fun.


You can continue this for several weeks. I expect this to be a regular feature.


This is as far as my lesson plan goes, simply because I need to see what my son needs to learn next. I’m about to go home and practice these drills with my son. For the next several weeks I plan to continue doing all the drills from the different weeks till I see something that needs special attention.


Movement for the NEW style begun in Lesson 9




Movement should always be in a Crab Like sideways1-2 movement, Offensive movement starts with the front foot, Defensive movement starts with the back foot. Left right, or Right left


Remember to try to make the steps as smooth as possible, so that once you get good at it, each move is, really one smooth hopping step, not two separate movements.


Diagrams are a really hard way to teach this, I’ll try to get some Video or something, once I get my disk quota increased






Moving offensively forward at an angle (sliding)




Moving Offensively to follow your opponent




Defensive Movement



Some folks say never to cross your feet, others to only cross your feet a little, I’m of the latter camp, but it’s good to learn the no crossing style first.





A Faster way for a retreat is done like this.





I call this the “big move” and it’s only for when you want to retreat in a big hurry,

I’m not actually going to teach it to lochlan at first, but I’m butting it here for completeness,

You can do the same big cross and hop moving forward too.





Retreating to the sides correctly





The Big Move, Retreating and turning




If you do these correctly, it’s really one smooth hopping motion backwards.


Remember in all things physical, Smooth equal efficient movement, and getting each movement more efficient is the only way to get markedly faster.






Lesson Plan PHASE 8: The Shadow of the shield, Wraps, Scorpions, Off-bodies and fighting opponents on their knees.


Kind of in a hurry today, so what I did was grab a sword and shield and let my son beat up on me a lot.


Then I taught him a new blow to hit me with,


Then I started blocking his shots except for that shot, until he was able to hit me with “fast shots” (Meaning that they were crisp and snappy.)

Or if he didn’t return to the starting position after each shot, I’d block that too, and explain to him why.


I constantly reinforced him on throwing the blows “Fast”. If they were slow, or he gave them away with a ‘tell’ (I.E. he wound up for the shot) I’d block it.



Lesson Plan PHASE 9: Results in a tournament, and a new beginning..


Still in a hurry, Took lochlan to a Boffer tourney at Loch Ruadh, he had a lot of fun, but it was very clear to me that other kids who were being taught the

“stronghold” style of  combat were clearly and radically dominant on the battlefield. There was only one other kid in Lochlan’s age class, He was 6 and she was 9,

So he was pretty outgunned reflex wise as well, He did well, and had fun, but it was obvious to me he was fighting at a disadvantage because of the style I’d chosen to

Teach him.


So we’re starting over and I’m going to teach him a more “Ansteorran style”.


I’m going to start with the Stronghold style, and then add more as his ability warrants it.


Here are the Primary facets of the stronghold style.


A Big square shield.

A Good closed stance, very erect in it’s posture.

Low/Simple foot movement

A Strong passive defense.


Basically I’m making him a brand new shield, and starting teaching stance over from the beginning. It’s going to be kind of a pain as he’s been practicing the old stance,

But it seems like best the thing to do.


Teaching him to fight the round shield style to the level of competence needed to be at parity with the effectiveness shown by the family of “stronghold” style fighters,

Would take a very long time. The game is a lot more fun when you are fighting at an approximate equality. Getting beat up all the time isn’t much fun IMHO.


So here we go


Here are some simple diagrams of the stronghold style





With a Shield scaled to be a 2’*3’ equivalent.





I think the kids I saw were fighting with a larger shield than I made. The shield I made today was the equivalent of a 2’*3’ rectangle, scaled to fit lochlan.


That being 16” * 24”


I noticed that the kids at the tourney had complete coverage of the head and legs. So I may be making a longer shield in a bit once we’ve played with this one.





I’m hoping I can teach lochlan to use a wider stance than the pure stronghold style, although it will make the footwork harder to learn. If it does not work

I’ll just have him stand up straight and make him a taller shield. (the wider stance has better movement once you get used to it, but it’s harder to learn)


Once again, for instructions on making a shield go Here, scale it down to fit your child. And leave off the Aluminum U channel. Previously I said to add a piece of pipe insulation

over the edge to pad it. But nobody else was doing that, so leave it off this time.


As to scaling it down, I used 1/4” ply wood, and ½” plastic tubing for the edge.




This is my Plan of attack for next week, plus some stuff I covered before and forgot to put up.


I’ll let you know how it turns out.


Lesson Plan PHASE +++ (the Future): Things on the horizon.


Future topics:


Blocking, perpendicular and parallel

Lateral movement.