Lukrain's Guide to Boffers

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Basic Combat Guide

One on one

This is a guide for people who are still new to boffer fighting. Hopefully, this will give you plenty of early wisdom regarding the sport of padded combat. This guide covers basic combat, what to do and what not to do during battle, and safety instructions.

Before Combat
There are a few things you should do before starting a boffer combat session to insure the safety of everyone involved.

First, check all weapons and make sure they are all safely padded. Any boffer that is unsafe should not be used until it is repaired. Check Boffer Maintenance for testing and repairing damaged boffers.

Secondly, make sure all newcomers are fully familiar with your combat rules, and that they understand how to use a weapon. It's usually a good idea to give a newcomer a few practice matches one-on-one to get them familiar with holding and swinging a weapon.

Thirdly, because boffering is a very active contact sport, you will soon find that proper stretching is very important to prevent injuries. Stretching not only loosens muscles and tendons, but gets your body in a state of readiness for active work. You may also want to wear some protective gear, including a helmet, athletic supporter, and safety glasses.

Simple Combat Tips
If you're new to boffer combat read these basic pointers for a better combat experience.

  • Do not swing directly down on a person. You shouldn't be aiming for the head anyway, but trying to hit the shoulders from a downward swing is very dangerous, and can damage the skull, neck, and spine.
  • Do not get too close to your opponent. The major cause of injury in boffer combat is people hitting each other with their bodies instead of the boffers. When you are close enough to touch your opponent with your hand, you should try and back off a little or you might accidentally elbow them or knock them over. You have a weapon so you don't need to get too close to your opponent.
  • Go easy on smaller opponents. When playing against smaller opponents like younger children, don't try and kill them. This seems like common sense to most people, but I've seen 6 foot tall college students smacking little kids down, it's pretty pathetic. When you're a larger fighter, you have a larger responsibility when it comes to fighting kids.
  • Stay calm! Don't panic when you're being attacked, and try to learn not to flinch. Your body's natural reaction to immanent peril is to tense up. Train your body to remain responsive and keep loose. You won't get hurt by the boffer when you're calm, but if you tense up you might.
  • Stance is important. Find a fighting stance that is both comfortable and minimizes your strike zone. Keep your knees slightly bent and put the weight of your body on the balls of your feet.
  • Keep moving. Standing still makes you a very easy target. Keep your feet moving, so you are always ready to react to an attack. Don't move too much to where you lose your balance though, keep your steps small and controlled.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you back into trees or walls you will lose your balance and possibly even hurt yourself. Try and move in a circular motion instead of a straight retreat. Do not let your opponent back you into a corner!
  • Don't swing if you can't hit them. Know the length of your weapon so you don't waste energy swinging when you couldn't possibly hit your opponent.
  • Pay attention to your opponent. Many fighters give "tells" before they are about to strike. By observing your opponent you will begin to notice patterns in their movement which will give you an early warning about what they are going to do. Many fighters will try and make distractions to break your concentration, don't fall for them. Always keep your eyes on your opponent.
  • Don't watch their weapon. A trick some fighters use on beginners is to spin their weapon around sporadically. The reason is that when people are paying attention to the weapon, they are not looking at the person wielding it, so they cannot tell when the attack is coming.
  • Don't swing too hard. Not only is it dangerous, but it also will put you off balance. Try not to over swing either, as it takes too long to recover. Make sure you control your swings.
  • Change your attack patterns. Many fighters have only one or two attack combos, and they use them over and over again. This makes it easy to create a defensive strategy against them. If you notice yourself doing the same move over and over, change things up a bit.
  • Learn to feint. Faking an attack is a great tool if your opponent is not aggressive. They will expect the attack, and try to block it, only to just get hit by your real attack. Don't bother trying to feint an aggressive fighter because they usually don't worry about blocking.
  • Practice with both hands. Unless your one of the lucky ambidextrous people you use only your dominant hand. However, when forced to use your off hand you are put at a great disadvantage if you've never practiced. Make sure that you practice with both your right and left hands.
  • Fighting multiple opponents is bad. If you're fighting in a group and your teammates have fallen, make sure you concentrate on only one opponent at a time, and make sure you can see all of them. Never get surrounded!
  • The three most important tips are: Practice, practice, practice. Books and advice can only go so far. If you really want to get good at boffer fighting, you will need to pick up a boffer and practice.

Other Methods
Kismet's Blocking Instructions (RTF)

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