The “Cloak” is a large swath of weighted fabric used as a defensive side. They slow your opponent’s weapon down by enveloping it and surrounding it, making it difficult to move. They are not solid, so they can’t stop a thrust, but they can move incoming blades offline. No matter their size, they cover a large defensive area and can be difficult to wield. Because of their unique properties, cloaks provide a variety of defensive options.
Points of safety
You wouldn’t think that a sheet of fabric could be dangerous, but wielding them in a sword fight can create potentially dangerous situations. Mindfully using your cloak can help mitigate those moments.
- Made of Tear-Resistant Fabric: Cloaks should be made of tear-resistant fabric such as denim, trigger, heavy linen, or upholstery fabric to avoid tears and catching on equipment.
- Watch Your Hand: Your cloak hand becomes a prime target for quick snipes, so be aware of its position and wear gloves.
- May Become Entangled: It’s common for cloaks to wrap around equipment in a fight, so be mindful of the cloak’s situation and be prepared to call a hold.
- May Block Your Vision: Fanning your cloak naturally limits your vision. Be careful with shot management.
- No Throwing: Keep a good grip on your cloak. As tempting as it might be, you should not throw your cloak.
The cloak is the one piece of equipment that isn’t rigid, and its potential defensive qualities are quite high. It’s highly underestimated and few people take advantage of mastering it. As you’re learning cloak it can be one of the more difficult sides to learn, but it can be rewarding.
- Holding a Cloak: Common ways to hold your cloak is by weaving it between your fingers or pinch gripping it between your first finger and thumb. You can also just grip it in your fist. Be aware that a strike through the cloak is considered valid while a draw may not be.
- Fanning/Spinning: In order to fan, using the pinch grip is recommended. Fanning is one technique that can be used to distract your opponent or to defend a large area of your body.
- A Soft Deathstick/Buckler: Even though it’s soft fabric, cloaks offer defense as well as a deathstick or buckler. The speed and weight of your cloak can influence the power behind your blocks.
- Draw Their Attention, Not Yours: Be mindful not to become distracted yourself. Your focus should be on stabbing your opponent. The more you practice your cloak, the less distracting it will be to you.
- Fighting Against a Cloak: Attack the cloak hand, do not get distracted, and keep your sword free. Time your shots to wait for the opening.
- Fan Service: Grab a cloak and practice the grip for fanning. Once you feel confident in fanning/spinning, grab your sword and try to stab at objects without entangling your own sword.
- Cloak Alone: Get a partner and fight them only wielding a cloak. Use different grips and see how long you can survive.
- Cloak Fight: Fight with your cloak against a partner who’s also wielding a cloak.
- Cloak Safety: How can you safely use a cloak? Do you know what to do if a cloak becomes entangled? How do you protect your hands?
- Cloak Basics: Are you able to fan and control a cloak in a fight? Are you being distracted by your own cloak? What is a valid strike if someone attacks your cloak?
- Cloak Training: Do you feel confident in implementing cloak on your own?