Had a good training session tonight. Well, it was good in two senses. First, when I asked if people enjoyed themselves, the response was very positive. I'm pretty sure at this stage that I wasn't just being told what I wanted to hear and that if it had been crap, they would have said nothing. Finns!, I'll never fathom them! :-)
Secondly, it was a good training for me as a class leader because I got a lot done and covered and I didn't say much. We had a nice warm-up with exercises from Ilkka's falling clas in Swordfish. I showed one technique, repeated it, and then got everyone to have a go. After this, I got on and trained the technique myself and only spoke again when I wanted to introduce the next roll, or fall, etc.
After the warm-up, we split the class, with me taking the beginners and Timo leading the more advanced in freeplay prep. I kept to the same basic pattern in doing flow drill. I showed the basic disarm for a fendente mandritto, repeated it and had the beginners pair off and practise the technique three times before switching attacker/defender roles. This was followed with the same thing for the disarm against a roverso and a sotto strike. They could all do the techniques pretty well and I let them get on with things in each case, unless there was some horrible glaring error. Then I got one of the beginners, said "This is flow drill" and we began to demo the flow drill to the rest. The chap I chose picks up the stuff really quick and we did a fairly nice job of showing the strike order and that it is done slowly and smoothly. I got them to pair off to try it. They pretty much got it straightaway. I had them change partners a few times and apart from reminding them that (a) the dagger doesn't always come back cleanly to your hand, (b) footwork goes out the window, and (c) the distances are suddenly much closer, (d) keep moving, I hardly said anything. When I mentioned these things, they understood straightaway because they were experiencing them directly.
For variation I also introduced the ligadura soprana. We moved on to basic cutting in standing mode, before going on to revise the first drill, of which we got to the counter-remedy stage before class ended.
So, what did Iconclude from my class with the beginners? This group seems to learn primarily from visual and physical cues, backed up with a few simple, clear verbal instructions from me. I showed them what I wanted them to do, with a repeat or two, then stepped those instructions such that they knew exactly what was required. Here's the kicker.....It worked! I think I'm finally beginning to learn how to do this! This was why the training was so satisfying.