Well, it's just around the corner. I'm getting all my gear ready for the greatest sword meet in the Nordic countries. This year the good folks at Gothenburg Historical Fencing School (http://www.ghfs.se/) have yet again organised a pretty eclectic event with LOADS of opportunities for sparring, steel sword competitions, as well as interesting workshops and lectures. At first glance, I thought the schedule looked rather German-centric, although a closer inspection also shows some Bolognese fencing, stuff from Marozzo, rapier from Fabris, and loads more! The steel tournaments should be interesting to watch and to see if the quality will differ from previous years using plastic weapons. I expect so, simply because the skill levels have anyway risen since I first attended Swordfish 4 years ago. So, it's less about the weapon and more about the wielders. Again, kudos to the Swordfish crew for being open to this sort of thing, especially as I'm really sick of hearing how dangerous steel is. I wonder if certain members of GHFS have had changes of heart about steel since visiting different groups in Poland and elsewhere? More information non the workshops on offer, as well as the instructors, can be found here.
I think I'll have to make more of an effort this year to engage in some friendly sparring, not least as there will be blocks of coached sparring during the weekend. I have to admit that I have a bit of a mental block about sparring. I don't like to lose, I don't mind it so much, I guess I'm most afraid of looking stupid and making stupid mistakes. I haven't trained sparring for ages and this only adds to my reluctance to take part in what I see as an essential component of fencing training. So, time to bite the bullet and jump in with both feet! I'm also loking forward to a class on staff fighting. It's based on a German MS, but a staff is a staff so it shouldn't be that drastically different.
At last count I've got something like 20 slings and 3 fustibals (staff slings) ready to go for another fringe event of slinging this year. Slingfish 2011, here I come! I bought a load of new tennis balls and washed my older ones so there should be plenty zipping about on Thursday and Friday night, perhaps Saturday night also, if there is interest. I'll take my video camera along and try to get some footage of the slinging and anything else I can. I think I'd also like to use the evenings to do a little extra friendly sparring as well as have dinner and a few beers with old friends and hopefully, some new ones too!
All in all, I think it will be very interesting!