Kill Pocket

The purpose of the Kill Pocket lesson is to learn how to defend a Choke Point against an opposing army, even if the army is bigger.

For Teachers

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Kill Pocket

The Kill Pocket is a defensive tactic that is designed to maintain a defensive position behind a Choke Point. A Choke Point is any terrain that limits the amount of soldiers able to move through at one time. A bridge, doorway, or gate are all Choke Points. 

The Kill Pocket is a formation where everyone on the team can strike at anyone passing through the Choke Point. As long as you remain in formation and play defensively, you will always have the advantage in the Kill Pocket.

Form a semi-circle around the Choke Point. Everyone in the Kill Pocket should be able to reach the “Point of No Return” with their sword. If anyone crosses that point, there should be multiple swords ready to kill them and those who follow.
As the opposing team advances past the “Point of No Return”, multiple blades should be striking the nearest opponent passing through the Choke Point.

Performing a Kill Pocket

Setting up a Kill Pocket is as simple as setting up a half circle around the Choke Point and ensuring that everyone can reach the Point of No Return. Long Swords should be on the edges of the Kill Pocket with shorter swords near the middle.

As the fight goes on, always address the line. Make sure that no part of the Kill Pocket is creeping too close to the Choke Point. Reckless Cowboys are the weakest points of any Kill Pocket.

In the event of a rush or push attack, try to kill opponents as quickly as possible and move on to the next target soon after. Do not engage in swordplay, if you can. Also, do not retreat unless commanded to.

Breaking a Kill Pocket

It takes speed and commitment to break a kill pocket. 

The goal is to break through a single point of the enemy line by methodically picking off opponents who stray too close, or by pushing through a single point. When performing a rush or push attack, concentrate your effort to the weaker side of the kill pocket. 

Fencers who die in the rush should keep moving forward or else they risk clogging up the Choke Point.

Journal Prompt

How do you feel you participating in a Kill Pocket What are your thoughts when facing a Kill Pocket?

Ready to move on?

You’ve completed the Kill Pocket lesson! The next melee tactic is used to out maneuver an enemy line: the Flanking Maneuver.

How to teach

Kill Pocket


Use the following EDGE Method lesson summary to guide you along.


Explain the following parts of performing a Kill Pocket. Emphasize that the Kill Pocket tactic requires patience and defensive play to be effective.

  • How to perform a Kill Pocket
  • How to break a Kill Pocket


Demonstrate the basic setup of a Kill Pocket. Point out how to address the line and keep the Kill Pocket from slowly inching forward. Demonstrate what to look for when faced with a Falling Wedge and how find its weak points.


After demonstrating, form a Kill Pocket with the assistance from several Swordsmen, depending on the number of students. Utilize the following drill to practice:

Kill Pocket Drill

Working as a group, the students will form a Kill Pocket behind a choke point and defend a point against an opposing army. The opposing army should perform a basic rush against the Kill Pocket while the students defend. After the students successfully defend the point, address the line and then switch roles.


At this stage, each Novice should be able to recognize and participate in a Kill Pocket on their own. Run through the following challenge before finishing:

Kill Pocket Challenge (Block the Attack Progression 2)

Working as a group, the students should form a Kill Pocket, facing a line of Swordsmen. The students will attempt to defend a point with a Kill Pocket while the Swordsmen attempt to break through their line. After the students are successful, switch roles and have the students attempt to break through a Kill Pocket, while the Swordsmen attempt a Kill Pocket.