Friday, October 31, 2008

Mask, gambeson, elbows, knees and gauntlets...

Mask, gambeson, elbows, knees and gauntlets,
Mask, gambeson, elbows, knees and gauntlets,
Strike and cut and avoid the pommelstrike,
Mask, gambeson, elbows, knees and gauntlets!
(Tune: Head, shoulders, knees and toes)

Freeplay yesterday, and I'm glad to report I gave as good as I got. I seem to have exchanged my former tendency to guard and strike low and ignore the high lines for a tendency to guard and strike high and ignore the low lines, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

I've usually been either hyper or scared witless during freeplay, but this time the only rush of adrenaline to register on the mental gauge was the one caused by my gambeson still fitting me.

Freeplay took place in very short bursts because people are also trained to see and remember what happened and recreate it on demand. I'm still not sure how I feel about this change, nothing, I suppose.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fencing with the Stars?

Let's make a swordy version of the popular format Dances with the Stars! Brilliant idea, no?

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Importance of Getting Feedback

Woohoo, I assisted in class today for the first time in a year or two :) Now, why is this important to me? There may actually be some readers who might benefit from the information, so I'll indulge myself. Firstly, it tells me that Guy trusts me not to crack his skull open by accident, seeing as how he demonstrates without his mask so people can hear; in other words, I haven't acted irresponsibly recently. Secondly, it tells me that my general form is good enough for other students to be allowed to see; so I can stop obsessing about it and occasionally focus on something else. While maintaining good form, obviously. And thirdly, it makes me feel noticed; I'm high-maintenance, in case you haven't figured that out!

Also, Guy praised my pommelstrike in first drill during the demonstration, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Move from stillness

When doing cutting exercises or form, one should take enough time to reset between strikes so that the movement that went before does not interfere with the movement that is happening. I tend to elide from technique to technique in a vague way, and this makes each technique harder to execute correctly because my stance and direction are still being influenced by the previous technique when they should only be governed by the one I'm actually performing. Isolating the techniques by pausing to reset properly between them makes them more crisp and correct.

This is not to say that. Form. Needs. To. Be. Exe-cuted. Like. This. But it certainlyshouldnotbelikethiseither. Training both ways in moderation is the way to learn to execute movements in a smooth and continuous yet crisp and clear manner.

Learning by osmosis

Last night, Joeli remarked that I seemed to be an osmotic student: I often sit at the salle and watch the class. There are several reasons, two of which have their bedtime at 20-21 and go nuts if mommy makes an unscheduled appearance ;) But I also believe that it's beneficial to just sit and watch every now and then without the distraction of physical action. Certainly listening teaches different sorts of things than doing.

Yesterday I learned, along with Joeli, that the extent to which you wind up posta di donna is related to the distance in which you strike: winding it deep across your back results in a greater distance because it takes a longer time for the blade to travel into frontale, while just placing the blade on your shoulder gives a short tempo/distance.

EDIT: Fixed "...teaches different sorts of things than learning". Jeez...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm still alive...

I haven't disappeared or anything since my last post :) I've just been busy with two things: training and looking after my daughter, who is recovering from surgery. I have a small pile of training notes I keep meaning to type up here but I never quite find the time to do it.

He passed!

Ilkka passed the seminar teaching test that was part of his assistant instructor exam at SESH. Congrats! :) :) I assume this means he's assistant instructor now or sometime in the near future, but no one's actually said that yet.

And it was a great sidesword seminar, too. Ilkka had obviously invested a lot of time and effort in preparation. He taught in a clear, concise manner that made it easy to remember things - and for me, for example, remembering what the exercise is for long enough to actually start doing it is not a given - both in the short term and in the long term.

Gone was the confusion with the names of the guards and the basic feeling of wrongness I described earlier. It's perfectly simple. The guards on the front (inside the right knee) are iron doors. The guards at the back (outside the right knee) are long tails. And you just let it all hang out and move in a natural way :)

Admittedly handling the sword was, by far, the most strenuous part of the seminar. The sword in question being Topi's fairly serious backsword didn't help things much, although it was a much better option than a rapier.

(Post edited on 13.10., excitement moderated.)