Sunday, February 26, 2012

New sword, old tricks

I bought a new longsword (after breaking the last one twice). And of course I had to test it, so I took a basic-level Fiore class for the first time in ages.

What keeps surprising me is that I learn nothing new in basic-level classes, even though it's been over a year (or two... or three...) since I attended even semi-semi-regularly. The drills are not exactly the same, but because the basics are embedded in my spine, I get everything on an intellectual level. Certainly execution lags behind reason, both because I'm out of shape and because yes, it's been a while, but I'm not learning anything as I understand learning.

I have two Big Learning Things in my life that I can't seem to shake and that I keep wanting to learn more of: swordsmanship and English. The way I now learn English is to make it work for me. I write in English, I work in English, I read in English, and every now and then I learn a new tidbit about how English works. This all keeps me interested.

With swords, I have no way of making it work for me. Going to classes is like taking beginner-level courses in a  language for the fifth time, never advancing. But I also can't take more advanced Fiore classes, because they assume an intimate familiarity with set drills and exercises that I no longer have (which is a real handicap as I truly suck at remembering and executing specific series of movements). This annoys me. Yes, I could start German style longsword, but that would be like taking the Chinese basic level class for the third time - only marginally less boring.

So how to make swordsmanship work for me? I can't teach it. I can't enlist in a 15th century mercenary army. What to do?

Anyone want to start a Sword Fight Club with me in Espoo? We could just do freeplay, at whatever speed is good for the parties concerned. We'd need an experienced arbitrator (like Guy or Ilkka or someone).


Joeli said...

Six years ago to this date you did teach me about the importance of solo training. ;) But if that is not an option, you could also consider individual lessons.

The sword club sounds like a nice idea, but (and sorry if I understood wrong) don't make it just about freeplay... There's things to be said about technical drilling, although he skill of performing a drill in a meaningful way is just as demanding as the skill to freeplay in a meaningful way. So, hitting a wall in freeplay is just as possible as hitting a wall in drilling. The most useful thing would be to figure out the wall, at least at some point. training in a well rounded way should help you to approach the problem from many different angles.

Auri said...

I would hope, no, I would REQUIRE that everyone who comes to the sword fight club actually TRAIN at SESH or EHMS (or similar, I suppose :) for the technical stuff. You can't do without it, that's for sure.

The point would sort of be that in order to be good at freeplay I (and every other bugger who wanted to be good) would _have_ to train technical stuff and this would increase our motivation for it. I've been doing technical stuff for far too long and I've mostly lost my taste for it, because I can't use it for anything else.