Just before the Blademasters Cup a couple of weeks ago I started making a new Pell to train with. The pell is basically an upright pole that I can step around and make strikes against. I particularly wanted to train quick sequences of strikes as some of my opponents have managed get success with such things against yours truly. The opening strike of the sequence, even if defended successfully creates an opening elsewhere and as long as the attack is quickly and accurately executed it is very hard to defend second and subsequent blows. The defender is at a disadvantage as they don’t know for sure where the next blow will come from.
It was also pointed out to me in free sparring after the tournament that I was making secondary attacks but I wasn’t stepping as I made them. If I had been making a passing step toward the opponent but off the line of the original attack I would have avoided their counters more effectively and put myself in better position to land a strong blow. So the pell as a static opponent will allow me to practice the timing and direction of my steps and make them a fluid part of the sequences I will be practising.
The pell is made from a tyre off my van that got badly punctured very early in it’s tragically short active duty, a suspension spring, a larch pole and a shed load of stones and cement. I won’t bore you with my decision process between a 5:1 or 4:1 ballast to cement ratio but suffice to say I went for a relatively sloppy mix so that the cement got nicely in between all the rocks. Making sure the tyre was level and the spring perpendicular to it was the hardest part; I used a cross of re-bar to tie the spring into the ‘crete. After that was done I left it to set. I actually should have left it a little longer than I did because premature messing caused a bit of damage that could have been avoided but patience was never my strong suit.
When it was all set I placed the larch pole into the spring and found that despite seeming really firm during the ‘testing phase’ (me trying to bend it with my bare hands), the spring was generally much softer and less boingy than I expected. This means that the larch tends to lean over even before I hit it and stay lent over which isn’t ideal but it is still very usable.
I shot some video of me using the pell for your edification and my own vanity but due to the WordPress plan I am using you will have to head on over to my Facebook page if you want to check it out.
Now I have the pell I will just have to work on my personal discipline to make it a regular and consistent part of my regime. I can already tell that the multiple repetitions it encourages and makes possible will do wonders for my form when carrying out sequences of strikes.
Along with adding an extra night of sparring to my weekly schedule I hope that this will help me get into top form for the Horned Crown, the next leg of the IHFL coming up on the 3rd of June in Wexford.