SG-4

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SG-4

Postby scholadays » 31 Oct 2006 13:11

SG-4 is a smaller chapter of Schola that resides in the North of London in Muswell Hill. It didn't seem useful to simply contribute to London a clone of the main Ealing Chaper so SG-4 treat themselves as a bit of an experimental outfit. We experiment with all sorts of training methods and contexts which are described in detail in this journal, but in the main perhaps place and little too much emphasis upon the modern discipline with an ethusiasm for all things competative, over the application of strict historical contexts.

SG-4 can be reached by a number of public transport links

INDEX

Page 1:In which we start the whole thing, discuss the cut and the cover from high guards and hope for the best.
Page 2:In which kit concerns are presented and the difference between fast and hard are discussed and cuts and cover frm low guards are discussed.
Page 3:In which new accomodations are found, the concept of the circular drill is developed, boredom discussed, and the members are first named Space Monkey
Page 4:In which weapons are discussed, the new year arrives, we recap thr basics, and the Right Whale provides new nomenclature
Page 5:In which a excellent swordplay movie is recommended, surfing is discussed for the first time, the four methods of training are presented and frustration mounts.
Page 6:In which teaching methods are discussed in depth with other coaches, and grappling is mused upon.
Page 7:In which grappling is discussed for what seem like forever,
Page 8:In which the single hander is presented for the first time and an actor gets his motivation.
Page 9:In which we have a sparring masterclass, create buisness cards, are visited by our Jim, and discuss teaching methods
Page 10:In which the beloved low guard circular drill is presented, choices in the drill are provided, thrusts are practised, Schoaldays and Crafty are caught in the park, a dinner party menu is described, Spartans are faced and a muscial affectation is unleashed upon the world. Finally, Brains and Brawn philisophically duke it out
Page 11:In which coaching insecurities come to the fore, the Space Monkeys attend Dijon without Scholadays, fixed priority sparring is presented, Monkeys walk the plank, attack and defense blur into one, the Space Monkeys are given their space, and a long muse upon the nature of the competative is embarked upon.
Page 12:In which a woodland scene in described, the Space Monkeys return, Harry is used as a bogey man, the benefit of closing but the necessity of not collasping into a FUT is described to result in the Three Ds
Page 13:In which we continue down stretto, tease one another into closing, Hendrix is first introduced, and Scholadays feels a glow of happiness.
Page 14:In which the moderation of violence is discussed, the most minimum of sparring gear is suggested, and the volta on the offence is drilled
Page 15:In which we train to Glam Rock, a high hand from one and all is recognised, and nintendo longsword is proposed
Page 16:In which we realise that drills without counters encourage folk to cut without cover, with a raised hand. Also, Low guards are again presented, Nintendo longsword is played, injury is deliberately invited, a rubbish lesson is presented, and Scholadays is nonplussed in the bar.
Page 17:In which we stick to one class, one point, we learn to traverse, and we think deeply about out overall goals.
Page 18:In which we continue to muse about why we fight, we introduce the true edge sottani, we learn to cut from where the hand is, we suggest that sparring is not what Fiore had in mind, we play in the Circle of Doom, Scholadays is accosted at the bus stop, we start to think about the second intention and Hoodie gets his teeth knocked out.
Page 19:In which we are banned from Facebook for a time, spar for a whole evening, learn that a flex in the elbows post cut is a most handy device, invent Hoodie's Park Bench of Death, are saved by Bach and enter the terrible darkenss of the garden party.
Page 20:In which Tamar leaves, we get a lesson in music from the deaf, we concede the initiative, and Scholadays realises that the better you teach folk to hurt one another, the better they can hurt one another.
Page 21:In which Fiore single hander is presented once more, three methods of redirecting the attack are suggested, and a new method of Peer Pressure Presiding is experimented with
Page 22:In which the swordplay of Hendrix is discussed, the Art of War exploited and the Response to Hutton is made.
Page 23:In which we talk at great length about the use of sparring in training
Page 24:Where the class is succesfully split, how use the flinch in a lesson is described, enuciated sparring is attempted, Scholadays becomes an OU lecturer and so teaching methods are discussed
Page 25:Where we distract the Monkeys with a chat about birthdays, we up the pace, we drive in the pommel, consider the remise, and consider our objectives. We discuss the scourge of the steel one piece shinai modification. Finally, we return our attention to the flamboyant
Page 26:Where we muse muchly about gradings
Page 27:It's the first of the nwe year and we get into low guards, rabat muchly, investigate the travserse, muse about why swords are cool, and experiment with a new style of competing
Page 28:to do...
Page 29:to do.
Page 30:to do.
Page 31:to do.
Page 32:to do.
Page 33:to do.
Page 34:to do.
Page 35:to do.
Page 36:to do.
Page 37:to do.
Page 38:to do.



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Monday 30th:

Well, considering that last night's training was the first time that some folk had ever picked up a sword like object I think you all did jolly well. In fact, as I said, I was quite surprised how fast we progressed through the preliminaries. Everyone did well. Most pleasing.

I was further pleased that the British Legion permitted us to drink in their bar afterwards. A cheap bar within crawling distance is always nice methinks. However, it seems that there is a big big snag. I received a phonecall this morning from the British Legion and it seems that we've completely knackered their floor. Now, this is a dance floor which, judging by the noise they make on a Saturday night, is well used. I don't think we're treating it any harder.

I reckon their complaining about black scuff marks from trainers. This might not be a universal problem. It could in fact be simply one pair of trainers. So, if you could all mail back and describe your evening's footwear perhaps we can track down the source. Ta very much.


To recap on our evening's efforts, my main thrust was to make the distinction between Giocco Largo (Wide play) and Giocco Stretto (Close play). The Manuscript makes a strong distinction between the two and is divided into sections that deal with each.

But first we started with a childish game - tag. Tag is a nice warm up, a good mixer, and introduces one to some of the features one needs for swordplay. Such timing, distance, tactics and footwork is something we are all famliar with from childhood. We then incorporated a little grappling by grabbing the wrist or elbow just to get you introduced to the sort of grappling we will encounter later.

We then got our hands on some swordy objects and started with the simple downwards 'fendente' cut - starting from the back shoulder and over the back foot (posta di donna) and thrown straight forwards like a punch, ending with your weapon pointed right between your opponent's eyes. This cutting was executed with either one or both hands. Over the weeks we're going to be drilling the cuts quite a bit and using them to work you out somewhat. We progressed quickly onto cutting whilst passing forwards with our back foot. This is a simple, natural step that follows the weapon forwards. However in later classes we will also be traversing to the side to avoid attacks from our opponent.

Then we moved onto a simple cover. We swept the weapon from our shoulder down to cover our opposite side, ending above the knee. The point was held high and the hilt was held low over the front knee to provide the most complete cover we could. A wall, so to speak. Those of you familiar with Sport Fencing repertoire will most probably regard these positions on either side of the body as a sort of quarte or sixte.

Finally I proposed that these two techniques, the cut and the cover, could perhaps be regarded as either end of a contiuum of positions that one could use to simulteneously cover oneself from an attack whilst extending one's own weapon to simulteneously strike one's opponent - a 'counter cut'.

But these two techniques are in opposition. A good solid cover tends to require the point to be retracted to place the weapon more vertically - thus you lose distance with which to reach your opponent. Conversely, to hit one's opponent from distance requires one to reach forward with the weapon, which makes the blade more horizontal and thus provides less cover.

So, the countercut which both covers and cuts simulteneously is a compromise of safety over reach.

By this point you all seemed reasonably tired. So, I figured something nice and simple on the brain would round off the eveing. This seemed a good point to introduce you to the rondel dagger. Although I introduced you to a little repertoire with your arms, the main purpose of this exercise was to get you moving your feet around and into your opponent to avoid a blow and be within arms reach to respond before they could renew their attack.

After a bit of a play with this I though I'd warm down the evening with a little more 'tag' whilst your brains were still full of swordplay. Then it was off to the bar for refreshments.

Well done all.
A good start.


Gordon.
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oops!

Postby craftyfighter » 31 Oct 2006 14:30

sorry Gordon, but it could have been my boots...they wouldn't hurt the floor, but they have been known to leave marks. I'll not wear them again.
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Re: oops!

Postby scholadays » 31 Oct 2006 14:51

craftyfighter wrote:sorry Gordon, but it could have been my boots...they wouldn't hurt the floor, but they have been known to leave marks. I'll not wear them again.
Johann

Pressups for you then!

And with each press you will kiss the Legion floor until we forgive you.
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Postby J Marwood » 31 Oct 2006 14:53

Hello mate. Sorry I didn't make it last night but I'm glad to read it went well. I take it your post is a mail out to the peeps who attended? What a jolly good idea!
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Postby scholadays » 31 Oct 2006 15:07

J Marwood wrote:Hello mate. Sorry I didn't make it last night but I'm glad to read it went well. I take it your post is a mail out to the peeps who attended? What a jolly good idea!
S'alright matey.

Well, always open to suggestions am I. See, I'm more keen on presenting priciples or objectives rather than getting too specific about the precise 'moves'. Then I send folk away to work it out for themselves, which gives me the space to creep around and correct folk 1-to-1 in my usual manner.

Furthermore, rather than say, 'I'm going to spend x minuites on this and x minutes on that', I figured on moving things along when folk seemed to have figured out what I'm on about and got the hang of things.

However, this seems to suggest a certain lack of structure to proceedings and looks a little like havering and making things up as I proceed, despite the fact that I had a fairly strong idea of what I wanted to say. Thus, after a little discussion in the pub I thought it best to describe to folk what we did, the structure of the evening, deviations from what I was intending etc and soforth.

Perhaps it'll also allow the really really keen folk to review what they learned in a previous lesson prior to the next.

And, hey, it also might make a nice historical record to see where I go right, and where I go horribly horribly wrong.
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Postby The Guardsman » 05 Nov 2006 10:55

old army trick here, use duraglit brasso(the cotton wadding type) on black boot marks and it comes off within seconds.A tin costs a couple of quid from woolies.Trust me i've done whole corridors with this stuff and its amazing how it just gets things clean.

ps it gets wax crayons off painted walls and radiators too if you have kids.
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Postby scholadays » 05 Nov 2006 13:20

The Guardsman wrote:old army trick here, use duraglit brasso(the cotton wadding type) on black boot marks and it comes off within seconds.A tin costs a couple of quid from woolies.Trust me i've done whole corridors with this stuff and its amazing how it just gets things clean.

ps it gets wax crayons off painted walls and radiators too if you have kids.

f*cking brilliant mate.

Thanks very much.
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Monday 7th November.

Postby scholadays » 07 Nov 2006 10:57

Monday 7th November.

It only occured to me on Monday afternoon that it's not the attendance at the first evening's training that one should worry about - for the first evening's attendance is based upon promises promises. By the second, however, everyone has seen what is on offer and will then make their decision whether or not they wish devote their time and effort to one's tender care.

Ooh bugger, I thought.

But I needn't have worried, for all returned for another bash, with a couple of extras.

Great, I thought.


So, what did we learn this time? Well, I thought I'd split the time in two. For the first half of the class we reviewed what we learned last week. We cut fendente, we stepped forwards, we covered giocco largo. We then strung a whole series of fendente from the left and right together whilist advancing up the hall.

But the forwards step was introduced just to unstick your feet from the floor, to get you moving, and get you passing in a manner you are all jolly familair with - walking.

But what we also want is not just the ability to advance with great speed and vigour down the line betwixt you and your opponent, but to be able to create a new line to one side or the other. To traverse to the side and attack down the line our opponent is not yet covering. We introduced this using a form of simple tag. Then we did similar using swords. And then later we did the same with daggers. All used the same repertoire - traverse to the side away from the line down which your opponent is attacking, to attack down a new line which they are not.

Such a traverse moves you away from your opponent's assault as a step back might, but does not open up the distance between you. Hence you are within distance to respond.


After a whole lot of driling our fendente, our traversing, our covering we then asked the question - if you haven't yet killed your opponent with a counter cut, just what the devil does once one have warded his blow with the cover?

Well, you stab him.

In the head.

So, we drilled this for a bit, then asked a further question, what the devil is your opponent going to do if you tray to stab him in the head?

Well, he's going to try and stop you.

With a cover of his own.

So we drilled this for a bit and then asked the question, but if he employs a cover of his own what the devil do we do next? Well, we have a couple of options. We can use our shiney new traverse to step around this cover, thus creating a new line down which to attack. We stab him in the chest, or we cut at the hands.

Alternatively, we can employ a most important of principles. Attacking into a closed line is folly. Attacking into an open line is good. But attacking into an opening line is best.

So, we recognise that in employing his own cover our opponent is opening up the opposite side of his body. Here we use the volta. We retract the weapon, or cutover, to attack the opposite side into the opening line.

By that time your brains were getting a bit full, so we finished with a bit of informal dagger work. Nothing fancy, just stabbing one another overhand and once again traversing around the line of attack to create a new line down which to respond in distance. Methinks once we've got the hang of that, we'll employ la Bete to tell us precisely how we respond. It'll probably be something nasty no doubt.

Then, after inspecting the floor and getting a clean bill of health we retired to the bar for some cheap drinks and chat. The topic of conversation was steel.


I believe that with sufficient training we can fight with a reasonable vigour, competitively and uncooperatively using blunted steel without killing one another.

Playing devil's advocate, Nick pointed out that without a considerable amount of protection we might die.

I responded that protection is a combination of equipment and training, and that we needn't wear an armoured car with sleeves to spar together if we are well trained. A mask, gambeson, chest protector and gloves should suffice provided that we are sufficiently trained to avoid hacking off our opponent's head should they fail to avoid your attack.

Nick responded that you'll always get some nutter.

I responded that it's possible to create a culture where nutters are discouraged, or shown the door.

Nick responded that you'll always get some nutter.


Nick is quite right, of course. But as we do not yet seem to have an nutters who are willing to injure you heneously just to score a measly point amongst our number*, then I reckon that it's a difficult but worthy objective. Something to aim for.



*Except me. Ironic eh? But set a theif to catch a thief, I say.
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Postby swordflasher » 07 Nov 2006 13:23

Gordon, you asked about what we think we learned, so - What I think I learned...

You hold the sword above your back leg with your elbows tucked in, and throw the sword vigorously forwards like a punch, to cut from teeth to knee. Fendente - I'll just think if teeth for that one.
The basic step forwards is like an ordinary walking step
When doing it from both sides, it makes a cross - like signing your 'mark' in blood.
We looked at stepping/traversing in the same direction as the shoulder the sword is on, to cut from a different line. The ending feet position is simply reversed from where you start.
We looked at what happens when the blades cross, with a thrust to the face as the obvious move.
We looked at the cover, bringing the sword to a two-handed position, a bit like a fencing box, blade up and pommel above the lead knee.
When I make the thrust and someone covers I can either traverse further round them as they cover and thrust into the chest, or slip the blade up and cut down at their neck/shoulder [Volta - I'll think of a vault up and down], which is a small and simple up/down move and not a German type thingy, or collapse the sword as if going for a pommel strike and cut round/downwards to the opening line, still going for the neck/shoulder, as they are moving their weapon in the other direction with the cover, meanwhile keeping my sword between their blade and me.

Um, I thought the strike to the wrist/s was from making a firm cover/block as a parry, to stop their sword dead, then stepping to the side and drawing/cutting through the wrists. The impact seemed to skip my blade over their cross. Or was it another example of what to do whan someone covers when I thrust?

Then I discovered that stepping into the path of a dagger is an inbuilt talent.

In all, I learnt more about longsword in a couple if hours than I have hanging around WMA events for the last few years.
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Postby admin » 07 Nov 2006 15:26

Great news that you made it along Mike!

Just a note - the cut to the wrist traversing on the right should be finished off with a thrust to the torso (may as well finish the job!).

Swooping thrusts! SWOOPING! From the cross anyway.
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Postby scholadays » 07 Nov 2006 16:10

admin wrote:Great news that you made it along Mike!

Just a note - the cut to the wrist traversing on the right should be finished off with a thrust to the torso (may as well finish the job!).

Swooping thrusts! SWOOPING! From the cross anyway.

Righty ho old chap.

Swooping it is.
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Postby admin » 07 Nov 2006 16:12

I'm all about swooping at the moment. Ninjas may flip out and stab, but Schola's cross and swoop. :twisted:
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Postby scholadays » 07 Nov 2006 16:13

admin wrote:I'm all about swooping at the moment. Ninjas may flip out and stab, but Schola's cross and swoop. :twisted:

Can we still flip out and stab in our own time?

You know, out of hours.
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Postby admin » 07 Nov 2006 16:23

If you want... What you do in the privacy of your own home is your business!
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Postby Paul B » 07 Nov 2006 17:11

admin wrote:I'm all about swooping at the moment. Ninjas may flip out and stab, but Schola's cross and swoop. :twisted:


and sometimes people die
.... or I could be completely wrong.

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Postby scholadays » 12 Nov 2006 12:56

So, to teach SG-4 I need some kit. As buying 10 wasters at once is a somewhat expensive endevour, I favoured shinai for the time being. They're cheap, widely avaialble and nice and bendy and leather covered and safe for beginners.

But one needs cross-guards. So, the week before our first meet I traveled off the the Promised Land (Scotland), sat on the coast, looked out to sea and began to whittle.

But let's not overstretch ourselves. I started simply....

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Postby scholadays » 12 Nov 2006 12:57

I admired my efforts with satisfacttion. Sipping my wine I began the next. It would be boring to make the same again, I thought....

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Postby scholadays » 12 Nov 2006 12:58

Super! It's a sort of lozenge. Great! New we're getting somewhere. I'll just finish another glas of wine, then I'll get to the next one...

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Postby scholadays » 12 Nov 2006 13:00

And thus the week wore on, much wine was consumed and much whittling took place. An extra curve here, an extra lump there. Things were going great. But was it my enthusiam or the wine that was beginning to get the better of me...

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Postby scholadays » 12 Nov 2006 13:02

No matter. No matter. Just keep going. Everything's going great. But I'm beginning to run out fo simple ideas. Where can I go next?

But when whittling you can't let yourself get distracted for a minute. Things were taking a strange turn....

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