Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Embracing the floor

Traing was fun last night. As it was Tuesday the beginner's and advanced were mixed, which allowed us to pair off and effectively teach through repetitions across the skill levels. I decided to include the forward and backward rolls as shown by Ilkka in his excellent falling seminar in Swordfish 2008. We've been building this stuff up and I intend to start including forward rolls from a standing position soon, but in stages so that in a while we'll begin by bending forward until our hands are already on the floor, so the "fall" is very small. Last night i also included the changing from lying face down to face up, by drawing the legs up, keeping the hands close on the side of the body and "threading" the lower hand through the hole just above the hip. The same principle was applied to rolling the other way, this time threading the elbow through the gap instead. I very much like that these movements are natural, in the sense that when we change position in bed asleep, we do these things and don't even realise that we are doing them. Interestingly, when people suddenly had to think about them, as in the exercise last night, they found them awkward initially and far from natural. Sometimes the mind seems to be more of a barrier than a tool.

If you're wondering where all this floor work is leading, check this link to Ilkka's youtube video on falling and rolling.
It's excellent and should be studied assiduously and applied as often as possible. I hope that we may all become as comfortable embracing the floor as he obviously is. Also check Ilkka's blog L'Arte delle Armi for his essays on falling.

Training continued with dagger flow drill, before we revised five things to do against a fendente mandritto strike. This is where mixing the beginners and more advanced really paid off. From there we continued and trained the break and ligadura mezzana responses for fendente roverso attacks.

Longsword training included 10 minutes of stability drill, pell work: cutting at ropes with controlled cuts, each time they hit they rope they had a three push-up penalty, followed by cutting and stepping. We finished the class with about ten minutes of stepped first drill. I believe that most of the beginners are ready to start on the second drill.

All in all a good class. I planned it, kept it moving and got stuff done. I must mention though that I really appreciate the efforts and patience of the advanced students on Tuesdays. All I have to do is say, "Pair off advanced-beginner, first drill, stepped, slow speed, masks if you have them, once through then change roles, get going!", and off they go. They know what they have to do and get on with it. After that all I need to do is call for a change in partners. Sweet!

Finally, I realise that although we've covered the guards of abrazare, we've not touched the plays yet, either for the advanced nor the beginners. This will have to be remedied (pun intended). The beginers should have at least to the third play done before they complete their course. Bugger, there's always something! Can't rest on my laurels for long, if ever.

Onwards and upwards!


  1. Hello Kevin!

    I just found your blog and it has already helped me in the form of inspiration, new and old exercises. Keep 'em coming!


  2. Hi man! Nice to hear from you. Are you coming to the syllabus day next weeknd? Hope so, it would be great to have a beer afterwards and catch up.



  3. Yes it really would but we're moving just that weekend. :( But on a positive side the new house has rooms big enough for me to train the syllabus form in one piece (if we don't get any furniture that is)). I hope you have a good time there.

  4. I am glad you enjoyed it. Good luck!