Last week was a good week for fencing. Randy Packer has started up his new classes through Valkyrie and I have had the pleasure of training under him during the maiden voyage of his new venture.
The content of the classes has been a welcome addition to my training and development. The classes begin with a small amount of cardio, usually in the form of movement exercises like bunny hops, crab walking, and fog jumps. Following that, there are conditioning exercises like L-sits, and then the exercises incorporate balance and conditioning, with the last exercises focusing on coordination. It's an eclectic mix of activities incorporating gymnastics, calisthenics, and even break dancing. Highly enjoyable, and ultra draining. Seriously, when I woke up on Tuesday it took me at least 2 minutes to work up the strength to open my eyes. After warm-up and conditioning, we got into the 5x5. And having done it, I can see why it's Randy's baby. The format was simple, the movements were simple, and it's goals were easy to recognize. The speed was a little overwhelming, but that was intentional according to Randy. 150 techniques is a lot to cover in a whole class, never mind the blistering timeframe that Randy tries to keep, but we all eventually muddled through it. The last few minutes of the first class was spent on rapier drills, with a focus on flow and movement.
And walking out for beer after class? God, that might have been the highlight. One of the things that made me fall in love with swordplay was the community at Duello. After class or a big demo I'd usually wind up taking in a few drinks with the other students, and to my sadness, a great many of those students I used to burn a couple hours with after class have moved away from Duello either due to life taking them away from Vancouver, or because their training had moved in a different direction. I've missed connecting with my fellow students, and getting to know them. These days I feel like I hardly know many of the regular students.
The class also added more fuel to the fire. Training at Duello is beginning to feel stale within the mastery program. It's not that I don't think they're out of material to teach me, but rather, that because I never catch that last bit of knowledge that I need for blue cord, I keep on repeating the same green cord classes over and over and over and over again. The improvements to my form have all been clearly necessary, but there's only so much refinement I can stomach before I want to gnaw on my rapier pommel to break the monotony (and my teeth). Currently I'm breaking the monotony by taking the training into my own hands and researching Manciolino and his treatise through Tom Leoni's translation.
There's an underlying problem that troubles me through all of this. Am I only driven by novelty? Am I going to get bored and drop the sword once I learn everything?
Only one way to find out. I need more books now...