Tuesday, 29 November 2011

28/11/11 Lesson Plan

Tonights plan is either to cover Absetzen and then possibly Shielhau, or to cover my interpretation of the Krumphau, depending on what people fancy when I get there. I'll type it up with drills etc. after.

And a quick note - there won't be a session next Monday because the space will be in use for more Church-y things. I'll send out an email and mention it in class.

No-one had a camera, so no footage was taken.
The turn out was quite good - the limit of what the other end of the church can support, I think. And we were missing a couple of regulars for some reason. Ben was back though after life getting in the way, which was nice even if I didn't get a chance to sword-fight him.

The first thing we did was to introduce absetzen - in this case displacing an incoming thrust while keeping your point online. It also brought up the question of when to displace into Pflug and when to displace into Ochs. After drilling that for a bit, introduced that it could also be used to defend against an incoming cut. Kind of like
this video. But without the steel, skill or soundtrack. I tried to tie it all in together with a drill - both people start in the bind and vie for a stab to the head. Lots of doubles were had by all, and this was one of those drills where I really began to take a dislike to the synthetic training swords. I'm not a 'steel fetishist', but steel is just better at giving feeling in the bind and a combination of different generations of Rawlings synthetics didn't help. That said, the newer guys seemed to get this quite quickly - Jamie in particular impressed me. We both arrived at HEMA from a fencing background, and I couldn't help but find it funny that he was able to pick up on complicated aspects of the bind when he's still struggling with the idea of a passing step.

After that, I introduced the shielhau as a hidden strike, being a cut and an absetzen at the same time. We were  mainly focussed on cutting so that the hands ended up in plfug, rather than extended right out or into an ochs like position. After all, this was some people's second lesson and I didn't want to confuse things too much. This exchange is an example of a more extended shielhau.

Finally, I introduced my interpretation of the krumphau, as much because people asked for it as anything else. It is, I think, a bog standard and uninteresting interpretation and we only did introductory drilling as we were running out of time.

During the 'free-play' period at the end I fenced Andy, which was as enjoyable as every and led to a discussion about drawing your sword, the 'Universal' parry, high-percentage techniques as opposed to elaborate systems and all that jazz. I then worked with Tom on trying to improve his footwork, working on having a more balanced stance with bent legs and taking fewer, smaller steps while keeping his weight  centred and not slipping into a sideways-on 'Olympic Fencing' stance. Which made me feel a liiiitle bit like a hypocrite  since that's where I tend to stumble.

It does occur to me that I really ought to do some more one-to-one stuff with guys like Ben, JP and Dan who have enough experience and a great attitude, so I've mostly been allowing them to wonder off, do their own thing and help others.

JP was also talking about, at some hypothetical point in the future, finding other people in Plymouth who might be interested in this kind of thing. Awesome.

As I said before, there's no class next week. I need to send out an email for that, since some of us were discussing taking part in the dreaded Monday Night Firehouse Pub Quiz.

And now, because you managed to survive this far, have a silly picture:


  1. I'm definitely up for getting into some one-to-one stuff with you/breaking things down and taking them apart some more, especially since as you say while I may have been around for a while at the same time...I haven't been around for a while.. :-)

    Personally though I think that this week's class was a good one and it was nice to see people picking things up and actively improving throughout the drills.

  2. Cheers for the feedback Ben. At the moment I'm feel that this last class' drilling was all a little bit 'dead'. I'd love to improve on that - for example in the 'start in Sprechsfenster, wind to stab' drill, start mixing it up so that once someone has got a thrust in they they have to defend against an after-blow.
    As for one-to-one stuff - any time I'm free in the second half of class. Truth be told, I much prefer teaching/running through stuff like that.

  3. I can understand that, one-to-one is often a plus in that regard.
    I know what you mean about dead drills, but while they weren't the most alive they could have been, they still had a lot to offer for, well actually I think pretty much everyone. This from watching them (I tend to do that) and talking through/helping out where I could. Sometimes going back to baby steps basics is a good thing, even though it may not feel like "zomg! This is the greatest sword fightyness ever!!" I think your classes are working for people (also don't worry, I am open for a fight anytime)