Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to run a practice

How to run a good practice.

It is accurately said that most SCA people don’t train. SCA fighter practices from time immemorial, since the days when folks gathered in Tilden Park to hit on each other, have nearly always been learning by doing. Somebody gets some armor, gets some basic instruction, and is thrown into the pond to sink or swim. Some people have brought training methods and discipline from asian martial arts, from boxing, from mma, even from football. As with most of this stuff, the most detailed and thought out ideas come from Duke Paul in his manual, which is available at www.bellatrix.org.

I like to do this kind of training. I was thrown into the deep end of the pool, and I swam, but I didn’t become a good swordsman I until I started working with Paul and using some of his training methods. My problem is that I am not at every practice to run them the way I like.

We’ve got a lot of new people at BAT and Sunday I lead practice with them for only the second time since this new wave showed up. Paul likes people to train without armor for a year before they start fighting in armor. Nobody wants to do that. I hold unarmored classes in conjunction with armored classes. It’s the most I can get people into. (I have seen Paul’s training methods work. Those few people who committed to his training, like his son Duke Stephen, are stone cold killers).

What we did not do was the work on technique that is most important. Pell work alone does not do it. Slow work and kata are essential for that, but not a lot of people want to do it. So we worked in armor. We started out with drills, and we only did a block/cut drill using a parry 5/cut to 5. Then we did Paul’s offense/defense drill, wherein one fighter gets three three blow combinations while the other launches a full on attack. Then we did the exercise wherein everyone fights everyone once and is critiqued. Then we broke up into free sparing and individual training.

This was a great pracitce. I lead practice and just demonstrated stuff. I didn't fight as part of the class. We had three knights--myself, Sir Edward, and Sir Teric. They were unarmored. We had lots of good criticism and lots of individual attention.

I got some good helmet time fighting Drew, Everet, and Nikolai. That was fun too.

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