Class structure

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Class structure

Postby Motley » 05 Oct 2012 17:02

It is a little quiet round here, so I thought I would try and get a conversation going.

What basic structure do you use for your class? and how do you find that works for you? What are you hoping to achieve in that split? from a learning and culture point of view?

All drilling? some free play every week? a dedicated free play night? Coached free play just open grab a partner, etc.

I just want to see what is out there.

Cheers,
Dan.
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Re: Class structure

Postby Cutlery Penguin » 07 Oct 2012 13:24

I have a number of different templates I use depending on how I feel.

The most common goes like this.

19:00 Silly Game - The idea is to get people moving and allow a few minutes for those people who travel a long way, or work in London to get there.
19:10 Warm up - First aerobic, then gentle stretching and movement
19:20 Drills - Starting with the simple, and gradually increasing in complexity.
20:00 Free time - Usually sparring time, but it isn't compulsory, sometimes we get the mats out and do some grappling, sometime it's more drills, sometimes it's just chatting.

I try once a month to have a night dedicated just to sparring, we organise it differently on different nights as a bit of variety. I also try to drop one fitness heavy session in every now and again. I occasionally intersperse circuit training into the evening alternating circuit stations with sword drills.
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Re: Class structure

Postby Colin F. » 07 Oct 2012 21:49

Our structure usually, although by no means always, runs something like this.

7.30 Warm up, run around game.
7.40 Warm up, stretching. Led by Greg.
7.50 Longsword
8.20 Sabre
8.50-9.30 Sparring Games/Freeplay
SG6 - Bradford - Instructor

Those old masters taught fighting, we teach nothing but fencing nowadays. - Alfred Hutton, The Swordsman
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Re: Class structure

Postby Joeli » 08 Oct 2012 00:30

Ok, it's night shift and I'm bored, so here goes some rambling. I used to do a lot of classes with about one fourth conditioning and footwork, one fourth solo work and one half drilling. They tended to follow a scheme that tries to make sure that students of different levels are brought to a same line.

1) pick a technique as a subject
2) what are fundamental skills to the subject
3) what is the situation where it happens
4a) what has to happen for the situation to occur
4b) what kind of mistakes will have to be avoided for the situation to occur right


Class starts with 25 mins of warm up (just go through the relevant bits of the body in order - loosen, warmup and gently stretch through them all) and relevant footwork for (2), incorporate some of the mindset required for (3), be it sensitivity, looseness, compilency, structure, explosiveness, whatever.

After this, some pair exercises unarmed or with dagger with (4b and 2) in mind. Get them sweat a bit. Start solo work with longsword with (2) in mind. Make references to whatever points raised in footwork and pair exercises. These two would take 20 mins.

Set up pair drills which revolve around (3). Usually this happens by reminding about basic school specific pair drills and varying them to get into the situation. Stress avoiding (4b). Introduce (1) and since everything in the class has been a lead up to the technique, it should go down smoothly. Observe and correct. If there are consistent problems, come up with a solution and drill the class through this fine-tuning. This should take about 20 mins.

Introduce variations to (1) which have (2) in common, but tweak (4a). Drill. Introduce counters to (1) through the understanding of (2). Even though it sounds complicated, the source material pretty much writes the class once you have picked the subject.

This is an example of a very bottom-up class, as everything builds up towards the main subject. The flip side is that I walk the class through my assumptations too, which is a bit counter productive if I had gotten them wrong. I am somewhat worried that a class like this makes all sort of bullshido more viable, because students are led to believe false assumptations or it creates precise situations where a faulty interpretation of a technique works. The good thing is that because all the pre-requisitions should be contained in the class, it should be accessible for the beginners and the occasional visitors. On the other hand, classes like these are hindrance for the people who are at the point where they are not able or willing to train on their own, but are experienced enough to just get bored by the thorough handing of a subject they are already familiar with. So, essentially this is a framework for a basic class. I try to remedy this by giving the more experienced ones individual instructions about variations to the technique, making them pay attention to body mechanical details etc.

Free training for about 60 mins after the class, is where where some people leave for their homes, some go to socialize in the kitchen, while some go through the difficult bits again by drilling through them, either with heavier protective kit and a bit more intensity, or a bit slower to get some specifics right. I would check up with those (as with the people in the kitchen) every 15 min or so, while spending majority of the free training time kitted up for free fencing and having a go with whoever wants to fence, and coach people while they fence each other. In the cases where there are no one for me to fence, I would do solo cutting on a pell instead or ask some keen looking person to test out some interptetations and read the source with me. Finish off with quick stretching, or once in a while with fitness tests.
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Re: Class structure

Postby Turmine » 09 May 2014 18:22

Apols for the necro re-boot 2.0 of stated topic but I find this all very interesting and wanted to contribute.

Myself and a Provost run our classes - I am the assistant instructor and run the warmups.

7.30 - 7.34 - 4 min high intensity dynamic warmup - consists of a mixed routine of 8 continuous exercises run for 4 mins in 30 second intervals. This seemingly innocuous 4 mins can be hard on very unfit people, most struggle the first couple of sessions but as the term builds they improve as fitness increases and that is the whole idea.

7.34 - 7.42 - Dynamic warmup stretch - full body stretch from feet to head - no static stretching permitted at this time - this is left to post class self management.

7.42 - 7.55 - Gauntlet - A high intensity 2 person reflex and mobility warmup game designed to engage the upper and lower body emphasizing awareness of time, distance and place.

7.55 - 8.00 - Small break, students take a drink and get kitted for the main teaching session. Everyone with a full bead of sweat going at this time and well warmed up for the class time proper.

8.00 - 9.30 - Class time now consists of break down of technical aspects of the weapon followed by paired drills ... footwork and solo exercises are also explored. Free play and sparring at the end of the evening for experienced students and instructors with protective kit.

That is basically how we are running our beginners.
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