Saturday, 5 February 2011

Class plan for 5/2/11

Warm up - Jon's '3 person' game, concentrating on moving tactically and being aware of space. Brief but hard working. No more than 10 minutes.

Brief recap of last week - Four Guards, Using Ochs and Pflug to displace cuts and thrusts.
- Purpose, to jog people's memories, introduce people who missed last week. May take longer, depending on who is there.

Partnered drill 1 - One person cuts in from out of distance with a oberhau or unterhau, the other person displaces it using Ochs/Pflug.
Partnered drill 2 - The two people begin in the bind, one with the centre-line. The person who has it goes for a thrust, the other person displaces it.
- Purpose, to isolate the two main techniques of last weeks lesson again. Shouldn't take too long (three minutes each tops.)

Introduce the Zornhau - oberhau from the shoulder, point leading, at the opponent (not their sword), foot following.
- Purpose, to introduce something everyone is familiar with, but to break it down and analyse what makes it work.
- Don't lead with the hands, they get cut.
- Don't lead with the foot, not much power generated.
- Don't strike at the opponent's sword, you will no longer threaten them.
(Shouldn't take too long, 5 mins max. 10 inc. getting them to practice some).

Partnered drill 3 - One person cuts in from out of distance, the other person counters with a zornhau. The person who has the centre-line goes for a thrust (Zorn-Ort).
Next level - Same as before, except that the Zorn-Ort is displaced.
- Purpose, to isolate the function of a zornhau, and how it is used in sparring. The next level isolates displacing from the bind, but intergrates it into the bigger picture.
(Spend some time on this. 7 mins on each.)

Structured sparring IF THERE IS TIME - People spar. Only actions allowed are thrusts or zornhaus. Once they find themselves in the bind, they should try and stay in it. A third person referees/watches and tries to analyse with the people after what happened in that play.
- Purpose, to try and integrate these techniques in sparring, also to start thinking about other techniques from the bind (ie. Mutieren, Duplieren) to be introduced later.

Free sparring. Ask people to try and use the German guards that they have learnt. VIDEO IT IF POSSIBLE.

[Thoughts, conceptually, last week introduced the guards, and also absetzen. Next week will build on absetzen, and also introduce the first of the meisterhau, the zornhau. It's nothing particularly ground-breaking, but it'll still be working away at building the foundations of Lichtenauer's system. Comments and criticisms guys?]

Oh, and because every post needs a meme:


  1. Looks great! I think it's best to introduce things in the order Lichtenauer does - so am I right to guess the displacement of the zorn-ort thrust is going to be countered next week with a mutieren?

  2. To be honest, I hadn't even thought of that, but it's a good point. I'd been struggling to work out an angle for mutieren, and it is a good place to introduce it. As Dobringer says; 'If he defends against your point, then go quickly up and over to the other side of his sword.'
    Lesson after that could be 'What to do if he displaces your sword too strongly, and so doesn't provide a threat' (ie. Abnehmen and duplieren, if I understand things correctly.), but that's all very tentative.

  3. Well, looking at Ringeck, they're introduced as (all as done by agent):
    Zornort thrust against weak attempt at displacement/counter zornhau/sprechfenster type bind
    abnahmen against strong displacement
    wind to displace his displacement, then mutier if he winds to displace it.

    I can't really think of a better set of plays to introduce the concepts.

  4. Great to see you planning like this. Sorry if I rant a bit... as I said I'm missing this stuff BADLY.

    Hope some of this comment is useful... a lot of it will be stuff you already know but wahtevar...

    Various thoughts-

    Don't over-conceptualise when teaching. Although you want people to grasp the underlying concepts it's not always an efficient use of class time to spend big chunk of time explaining.
    If you and I (or anyone with a certain level of experience/training/knowledge) were having a discussion you could spend twenty minutes explaining a conceptual framework to me and expect me to grasp most of it.
    In a limited-time class of mixed ability though I would suggest this model- set out a concept BRIEFLY each time it's relevant but focus on getting people Doing. Correct technique as necessary. They will imbibe the concept over a period of time by hearing it repeated and by seeing it in application.

    Simply drilling cuts in a circle as we do sometimes may not seem very Alive so I wouldn't spend too much time on it but I think it's still a Very Useful Thing to do.
    Good, quick, tight, technical cuts are so essential and this solo cutting gives people a chance to really drill them in, and at full speed and commitment.
    It's also about trying to get them to take this experience INTO the partner drills- too often people (particularly beginners) will simply swing their swords together to produce the required bind without making good cuts/covers/displacements (or even without a sense of what that means and why it's important).
    Prime example- when you were teaching some gioco stretto to that guy at the open day I could instantly see that every time you were crossing swords he would've died either immediately or on the entry for the technique (it didn't matter for the purposes of what you were doing- you were just giving him a flavour). He was focusing on what he was doing once he got to a certain position and was unaware of the fact that he would never get there doing what he was doing.
    I've been guilty of encouraging this somewhat by not always giving people a clear tactical structure around how they arrive at the crossing- the zornhau-as-counter-cut model you're using here should address that.

    Structured sparring (of any kind)- can't emphasise enough what an excellent tool this is. The few times we've managed to do this it's been absolutely brilliant learning experience for people involved and for me as observer. Amongst other things- gets people to positively focus on using specific techniques but also forces people to work outside their comfort zone of habits they develop in free-sparring. Analysis here is important- it is useful to break down every single play but this can eat up a lot of time. Sometimes it's useful to let two people go at it for a while and try to draw out a trend or two for people to work on- ie 'Person A you're getting hit a lot with the volta because you're putting too much pressure through the sword' or 'You guys are getting a lot of double kills cos you're leaving the bind too readily.'
    Getting different people to do the critiquing can also be time-consuming but is well worth it- encourages people to have an analytical approach, to look for weaknesses in each others games and their own and exploit/correct these.

    All in all this looks like an EXCELLENT lesson plan. Also- DO YOUR DISSERTATION!


  5. I can't really agree more with all of this, so instead I shall say: I hope I can make it! I just got back from Belgium this morning however and am working etc. (hence why I haven't been popping up to talk about this stuff online), we shall see.