Sunday, 20 September 2009

Synthetic swords and banana gloves

Sound odd? Well, it's one way of describing some of the equipment used at the longsword tournament at the upcoming Swordfish 2009 event. The first term is apparent, the latter refers to how the players hand protection looks like to me, i.e. those who use lacrosse gloves.

Well, I've been reviewing my abysmal performance last year at the biggest sword-related event in the Nordic countries, hosted by those very enthusiastic and frankly tireless chaps and ladies from the Gothenburg Historical Fencing School.

Basically, I sucked. So, after some reviewing I feel I need to concentrate on, inter alia:

-protecting my hands and attacking the opponents'
-attacking in proper distance
-being more and constantly mobile
-changing guards
-using the thrust
-taking better advantage of largo and stretto distances
-learn to use the circlular step and not be so linear

Hmm, this will give me plenty of material to work on between now and the end of October....

I'd like my style to improve, perhaps win a clean point or two and have anybody watching still be able to say.."oh, he's a Fiorista".

We tried some slow freeplay at training last saturday and it went ok I think but I still got hit on the head a lot, and took a "lethal" thrust to the throat where I attacked, missed and ran myself onto the incoming point. I wasn't relaxed doing the freeplay, nor indeed was I slow and deliberate as was the oringinal intention, in itself designed to allow for constant motion and a way to stop the freezing. I think I completely forgot anything to do with the seven sword drills we've trained and sometimes it looked messy and well, shite. On the positive (sort of) I found that I could exploit the stops in others by grabbing their swords, something made easier for me by their attacks were occasionally made out of distance. I would say that this was feature of lack of experience though, not something that I'll get away with in Helsinki, nor in Gothenburg. Still, it was a lot of fun and gave us all good feedback about things, albeit basic, that we really need to train more. Thanks to E and M for making it a good training session.

Next weekend should be a blast as there is a two day "Medieval Mayhem" seminar, which should be loads of fun and a chance to spar against others in a variety of weapons. I'm looking forward to it already.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Poster for new Beginner's Course in Turku!

This is the new flier for the next Beginner's Course and I think it looks absolutely fab! We had talked about it before about how it should look and that it needed to be "simpler".

As the Yanks would say...."Good job!"

Autumn is coming...

There's a bit f a chill in the air in the mornings, which tells me that Autumn is just around the corner. I always feel like it's a new beginning at this time of year. Perhaps it just goes back to the old days of starting school after the long summer holidays. Here in Finland, it usually means we start to train indoors again, and in general Finns start to check out their local college to see which night classes or courses they will take to fill up the long winter evenings. Some will learn a new language, cooking, astanga yoga or a martial art.

I was In Ireland recently for the Electric Picnic music festival and although we were only there for a few days, the effect was well, electric! I came back charged up and looking forward to getting back to training and to going to the seminars in Helsinki and to the Swordfish 2009 event in Gothenburg. Take home mesage: a change IS as good as a rest!

So I've been doing the basic conditioning, cutting drills and footwork on my own for the past week and I'm enjoying it. A lot!

I've taken a huge step back from the sword club over the summer and it has actually done me good. I'm not on the list for leading the beginner's course, nor for leading classes. This effectively leaves me free to just train, although I should perhaps also officially hand over my class leader role to someone more active and involved.

My main focus right now is to train for the tournament in Gothenburg. Many lessons were learned from the last experience and my newfound "freedom" means I can do just that.