Gabriel’s skills are undeniable. There’s a reason we gave him the “Weapon Master” moniker. He’s incredibly skilled even before he becomes Dracula, and then he gets tons of awesome vampire abilities and multiple lifetimes worth of combat experience to amplify those skills. The guy is so dangerous that death itself fears him, which is pretty awesome. Let’s look at how we can learn some of those skills for ourselves!
Combat Cross/Shadow Whip
Obviously the most iconic weapon of the Castlevania series is the whip. Whether a combat cross or a shadow whip, these flexible weapons have been the tool of choice for Belmonts across basically every iteration of the game. The cool thing about this is there are TONS of resources out there to help learn how to wield and do cool tricks with bullwhips!
First off, you’re going to need something to practice with. Now, you can definitely buy a pre-made bullwhip, and while that’s quick and easy, sometimes it’s fun to make your own! If you’re interested in making your own, here’s a great video tutorial for it!
Now, when it comes to whip tricks, there’s honestly a whole bunch you can learn, but you should start with The Cattleman’s Crack. Here’s a great video tutorial on how to perform The Cattleman’s Crack.
After you’ve got the Cattleman’s Crack down, then you can start to learn a few cool tricks to do with it. Here’s some tricks you can do with just The Cattleman’s Crack.
Ready to try something new? Take a look at The Overhead Crack!
To be honest, there’s TONS of different whip techniques and tricks to be used, and it’s beyond the scope of this blog post to teach you ALL of them. Once you’ve got the basics under your belt, you should go check out Adam Winrich’s Youtube Page for tons of cool tricks and ideas to try. If you get good enough, you can even start developing your own!
Whips in Combat
Now, of course, tricks and cracking are all well and good, but what about whips in actual combat? The whip is a pretty unique weapon in that it’s got a pretty significant range (between 6 and 8 feet, typically), somewhat like a spear or pike. Unlike a spear or pike, the whip is flexible and easy to extend and retract. It carries some utility that spears do not like the ability to wrap around/grapple limbs and weapons. It also has some weaknesses, like the inability to block with the shaft, and the lack of danger anywhere other than near the tip. This latter weakness can be augmented by making the body of the whip more dangerous, with spikes or small blades along the length of the whip.
Historically, whips are used in combat mostly in duels, which makes it pretty fitting for the Belmont clan, given their penchant for 1v1ing otherworldly horrors. When fighting with the whip, you need to keep in mind, as with all flexible weapons (like nunchaku or flails) that there is inherently a period where your weapon is out of your control, when it is rebounding out of your strikes. As such, you need to account for this motion and compensate accordingly. Practicing against a solid target and playing with rebound angles is key to learning how to fight with your whip. Also, you DEFINITELY want to wear eye and face protection when practicing.
Beyond that, you just really need to work on your accuracy (which the trick practice helps with), and maintaining proper distance from your opponent (if they close with you you basically have no recourse or defense). I’d recommend on utilizing The Combat Glide in your footwork to make it easy to approach or retreat from your opponent.
Blades and Blades and Blades
In addition to his whip, Gabriel/Dracula also utilizes swords, mostly of the longsword variety. He wields mostly one-handed, and as such, we also want to learn some one-handed sword techniques. Luckily, I found a HUGE sword tutorial playlist for you to watch on Youtube! Check it out here!
Additionally, there’s the Chaos Claws to consider! Interestingly enough, even with the name “Chaos Claws,” the movements Gabriel uses when wielding them are more similar to punching attacks, rather than claw attacks. As such, this weapon is more like a cestus or brass knuckle style, rather than a “Wolverine” style. Rather than swiping attacks, there’s straight thrusts, crosses, and hooks. As such, we’d be best off studying boxing or another punching-heavy art. For that, I refer you back to The Skills of Little Mac!
The Powers of Dracula
After becoming the Lord of Darkness, Gabriel gains access to some seriously inhuman strength, speed, and abilities. Unfortunately, I can’t teach you how to turn into a swarm of bats, fly, or use magic. However, we can work on reaching the very peak of human potential. The Gabriel Belmont workout, of course, is a great first step. Another great step to take is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep! This something I actually have a hard time with, and it’s not to be undervalued!
Additionally, you want to begin to attain a superhuman mind, as well. In addition to attempting to learn and study everything you can (think of it as lifting weights for your brain), you should also look into beginning a meditation regimen. I wrote a beginner guide on meditation here, which you should definitely check out. Meditating on a regular basis can increase focus mental acuity, intelligence, and memory. It also reduces stress levels, and can generally improve your life as a whole.
Interested in more info about exceeding the average human’s abilities? Check out one of my previous articles, Becoming Superhuman!
That’s it for The Skills of Gabriel! Q&A Tuesday will be going up on the Youtube channel in a bit, so keep your eyes upon for that! Our next and final post on Gabriel is coming this Thursday, with The Mind of Gabriel! If you haven’t voted for our next character yet, go vote now!
Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace