Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Monday, November 16, 2015
One of my main sources of billable hours within Duello is teaching birthday parties. Kids aged 8-14 come in, they get an hour lesson in longsword (usually), we salute out, get pictures, and then the hosts sugar up a dozen children and loose them upon their parents.
Not much more to it then that. I get to be part of a kid's special day a few times each month. Life is good.
Monday, November 2, 2015
I had the distinct pleasure of taking part in Academie Duello's first Instructor Intensive last week from October 26-30. In brief, it was fantastic, and I can't recommend it strongly enough. Seriously, it gave me material for my own fencing, and a great deal to think about as an instructor.
Where to begin, though? Perhaps with the structure.
The days started at 08:00 with warm up and grappling for 30 minutes, and rapier for three (yes, holy shit, three (3)) hours. A half hour break comes at 11:30, and then class resumes at noon with another half hour of grappling, and an afternoon of longsword training for another three hours. Following yet another half hour break, there was a two hour methodology section where we learned about the nuts and bolts aspects of teaching, training, philosophy, and knowledge retention.
It was an infinitely wonderful experience for me, because I've spent this year away from training. In large part, due to my job as a security professional. Ten hours a day is a holy-mother-of-god lot of training, but it has been immensely useful for me.
First, for my own training, it gave me a deep and thourough examination of all of my basics. It's not enough to know the shape of the guard, but also it's utility and context. What are the core movements? Why are you making them? That shape is wrong, here's not only the specific fix, but how to make it stick, and how to recognise it. Want a good reason to do the thing beyond "the Maestro said so"? Here's several corroborating sources from a variety of manuscripts, all combining to form a single cohesive set of martial principles. Got it?
Holy cats, I get it now.
I have a much deeper understanding of my core mechanics now. My findings were too big, and I lost my gainings all the time. I didn't just see my mistake, I finally had a full contextual understanding of why it was wrong. Now, I find my opponent's weapon a palmo down the blade (as Capofero advocates) and gain at the point of my crossing (as Fabris advocates) and HEY IT ALL WORKS RELIABLY AND WELL NOW. That was probably my biggest fencing lightbulb for the week, but rest assured, there are many others.
I don't want to give away any of the knowledge without Devon's express permission, so I'll just have to say that the methodology section was singularly enlightening for how I plan to structure my lessons.
The instruction from the teachers is top notch, Devon and Clint deliver their content cleanly, effectively, and most importantly, animatedly at all times. Their engagement with the material and the students is superb, and I recommend the course to anyone that's looking to deepen their understanding of fencing at all of it's levels.
I'm inspired as hell, and I'm just now realising how desperately hungry I am to get back to my training. It's been a long year, and now the story can pick back up again.
Thanks for reading, and stick em with the pointy end.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
This is a post that was supposed to go live a few months ago, but was forgotten in the rush of my return from the trip.
I'm in Kamloops for NCCP training as I write this. The day was long. So long that it started not on Saturday morning, but on Friday night. I caught a nap before going into work, busted my hump on the job, got home, showered, and then I was in the car picking up one of the youngest apprentices of the bunch. At 3:30 in the goddamn morning.
The drive was uneventful; the roads were clear, and traffic was minimal. We made good time to Kamloops.
Holy god, Kamloops.
What a gorgeous city.
This city is 9 parts in ten gorgeous vistas and hills that say "Explore meeeeeeee". The other part is inexplicably difficult to navigate. This town is laid out at least as confusingly as Thompson, Manitoba. There are streets on a grid in the small downtown, which occupies about 5% of the city. The rest? WINDY TWISTY ROADS THAT LEND THEMSELVES POORLY TO MAP READING WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN UP FOR 16 HOURS ALREADY WORKING AND DRIVING. My abilities at puzzling out a map on a minimum of sleep aside, I have nothing but nice things to say about the city. Specifically about the vistas. They are stunning. This city just begs and pleads for you to go on Sunday drives.
Anyways, to business.
Sterling and I were the first to arrive at the clinic. A brief introduction to Ron and we were set to work immediately by placing tables around the room's lonely projector screen. After some coffee and doughnuts, we took our seats, and I personally learned nothing about coaching and the mechanics of shooting, but more about ethical decision making and the ethical and legal ramifications of my decisions as a coach. All told- ultra dry material.
But it's another step on the road to legitimacy, if not mastery.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
It's the day after the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium. My body aches, my mind is wiped, and I, lacking the sense that God gave a goose, went to another class that was chock full of high intensity training and then shuffled out to meet a friend for drinks after. Before VISS, I spent three days training hard in preparation for my blue cord exam. And during VISS I fenced and stretched my mind all day, worked all night for two nights, and on the last day, spent all of my energy in grand fashion during the after party and free fencing.
What I lack in sense, I make up for with my hunger for knowledge.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
-two hours with Randy working on overall fitness and le canne
-1 hour spent learning the introduction to Marozzo's first assault
-2 hours in class working on wrestling, rapier drills, and learning part one of the first assault
-30 minutes practicing the introduction and part one of the forest assault; learning part 2
- 1 hour in sidesword focus class
- 2.5 hours in class covering general fitness, wrestling, line drills, refining the first assault, and longsword slow work/playing with shiny new toys