Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A few notes on our historical swordfighting discussion last week

Our historical swordfighting class turned out to be more of a round-table discussion about how to bring more historical swordfighting techniques into SCA rapier, and how to teach historical rapier. It was energizing for me, and helped remove some of the bitter taste of not being able to fence for the time being.

I feel energized by the possibility of teaching more, to tell the truth. I feel like I have more of a purpose in the SCA, you know?

My Don and I spent some time re-affirming how we're going to work together, too. We'll spend time doing swordwork, and time going through manuals. All very good stuff.

A few of the key points we touched on in our discussion last week:

1: How to use the manuals. Reminding ourselves that the manuals are there to aid in the teaching, and investigating the text without practical application just doesn't work. The manual may show us points "A" and "B", but we have to work on how to join those two points. We can do that, thanks to our practical experience with a sword.

2: The sword itself: The right tool for the right job. I talked about this before in this blog. I re-affirmed that I really don't feel comfortable teaching with an epee. If you're going to lean how to fight with a sword, then use a sword.

3: It starts from the beginning: Although we don't want to intimidate newer fencers with historical texts right out of the gate, it doesn't hurt to teach with those techniques in mind. Teach how the sword moves in concert with the body. Drill all of the moves that will eventually become necessary to know by rote. This isn't a new thought at all, but alot of teaching I see in the SCA is very compartmentalized.

4: With intent: Try to execute a move from a manual in a static environment, and you're doomed to fail. The techniques are best done at an appropriate fighting speed, in a fightign environment. Fight with intent. Historical technique isn't for a static environment.

There's much more, which I will put up soon. I'm going to sit down with Don J. and compile our thoughts together. We'll also start teaching at SCA events, once we have our schedule worked out.

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