Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Post-FightCamp update.

I'm back from FightCamp 2011, sore and bruised. This is also the first update to this blog since May. These two observations might be related.

Other people have put up their reviews of FightCamp up on the intertubes, but that doesn't really appeal. An event like FightCamp is as much an opportunity to socialise and network as it is to study HEMA, and this blog isn't for recounting the delights of Dragon's Tayle fajitas, or who carried who out of the beer tent at what o'clock.

Class-wise, I only took four. Two on ringen (one by Magnus Hagelberg and the GHFS crew, which was a brilliant re-fresher and reminded me how much I want to train wrestling; and one by Predrag Nikolic, which brought to bear quite how deep wrestling is, and how much I need to train at it), one long Longsword drill by Scott Brown (which should have been titled 'Permutations of permutations of permutations in the Rain'; brilliant, frustrating and waiting to be stolen in equal measure), and finally a lesson on Wrestling at the Sword by Martin Fabian &co.

That Martin Fabian &co. I thought the class was brilliant. Everything in it I had either been taught or read about, yet the lesson was the first time I can seen it done and explained with intent, clarity and coherence. The guys drove to FightCamp too, which shows quite how much they love HEMA.

Peter Regenyei's federschwerts (the ones that made it to Britain) were snapped up quickly. Because they were incredibly good training and sparring tools from what I could tell, and very well priced. I still couldn't afford one, but I wanted one!

Sparring wise, I didn't do that much sparring up at the barriers, although I did get to fight a few of the LSDC people, and a guy from Lille who was a joy to cross longsword-like-objects with.

To be honest though, I wasn't too happy with how I sparred with the longsword (more on that later), although the Knights Shop basket hilted one-hander things are stupid-wrong-fun. I didn't enter the tournaments. Although this was supposed to have been The Summer of the Sword, I haven't been able to spend that much time on HEMA lately for various boring reasons. The only thing to do is to go back next year harder, better, faster and stronger.

But not dressed like this...
In conclusion though, I hugely enjoyed FightCamp 2011. It's driven me to try harder at HEMA, and I'm grateful to everyone who made it happen, from Matt Easton and his team, the Grange Staff (I'll get Pete to send you more fliers), the instructors, the people from around the world who attended and above all the IDC guys, honorary and otherwise.

Same again next year?

1 comment:

  1. To review the classes I took and you didn't:

    Alwin Goethals's Dagger class, on scissor locks and pommel drags: this was a really good example of systematization of a set of historical plays without ignoring them. As well as refining my knowledge of the locks in question, he covered several very helpful new flow drills that I need to remember to train more. He managed to balance introducing new techniques with keeping the training alive very well.

    Scott Brown's Sword and Buckler class, this proved to cover more basic material than Scott had planned, thanks to the level of most attendees, and perhaps the sheer number. Kudos to him to being able to roll with it, and show up a set of skill development drills to get used to the basic mechanics of cutting with a sword and buckler without removing one's own wrist or falling over. Predictably, Advanced Counting was involved.

    Andreas Engstrom's Ringen Am Schwert from Wallerstein: Phew, Wallerstein was written by a piece of work. Andreas covered some familiar grappling at the sword moves, but he also covered some so brutal they should be banned from longsword combat by formal rules. Wait, I've seen some of them in messer before. This only shows my point.

    This was the class where sleep deprivation, exhaustion and sun ganged up to make me skip the last ten minutes, but it all looked good. Andreas did a great job not just of helping the students get the hang of the techniques themselves, but the set-up needed and the possibilities coming from unfinished/failed attempts at them.

    Oz's English Pugilism class: I have a love/hate relationship with Oz. I've studied his classes before, and it's a collision between his great teaching, and my dislike for much of his material, whether Silver or pugilism.

    As well as praising his teaching, I'd like to thank him again for delaying his trip home to teach this class when the tournament overran and overran and overran. The class was shortened as a result, but it was perhaps the closest I've come so far to seeing the logic behind his interpretations. As Martin Fabian put it "Interpretations and mechanics aren't that important compared to attitude and enthusiasm". I'll take an Austwick class on that basis any day.

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