This is a handout we have prepared for SG6. Copied, stolen, begged, borrowed and twisted from a few sources, but mostly from Scott Browns lectures at Dijon.
As we are dealing with weaponry in an enclosed space, safety is our prime concern. As we are not training an army, having fun is also a prime concern.
We feel that the best way to train in a fun, safe way is to have everybody reading off the same hymn-sheet when it comes to training.
Firstly, everybody has a different way of understanding things. It is almost impossible for a single instructor, or even a group of instructors to get everyone understanding what they are supposed to be doing or achieving individually. There is a way through this though, and that is for people to have the right attitude in training. But what is the “right” attitude?
For my part, I feel that the correct attitude to have is that while you are taking part in partnered drills, you are responsible for training your partner, as they are responsible for training you. After all, if I do not give you the right pressure, or the right technique then you are loosing out on training. Likewise, if I get competitive and change the drill so that I “win”, neither of us benefit.
By taking this attitude, we keep our reactions honest and our training productive. It enables people of different skill levels to train together and keeps things challenging and fun. It also increases the level of safety, as we are much less likely to get silly and speed up or change the drill from competitive spirit. Not that there is anything terrible about competitiveness, but it has a time and a place.
By feeling responsible for the training of our partner, we also tend to look more closely at the art and our own understanding of it, so that we become better training partners.
Being a good training partner is more than just being nice. It is learning when to point out a mistake, and when to let it go and concentrate on what is happening right. It is making a suggestion or talking through a problem, but not spending the whole time talking. It is making good, committed attacks safely and to the right targets, rather than aiming off or making weak attacks that do not have the correct feeling/intent.
A great help to me in understanding how people learn and train is the 4 stages of learning (very simplified here)
1 – Unconscious incompetent
Does not know there is something to learn at all.
2 – Conscious incompetent
Knows there is something to learn but not necessarily how to go about learning it
3 – Conscious competent
Has grasped the basics/concept but is practicing or improving their understanding.
4 – Unconscious competent
The lesson is learnt, does it without thinking
Most of our time will be spent between stages 2 and 3. Stage 1 is an important stage that can also be very easy to break thorough, but if not addressed can lead to problems later. If you do not understand why you are doing something, you will get very little out of it.
We will also be doing several forms of drill to help you train. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages:
1 – Static Drill
“Stand here, do this” – this is usually a brief look at a position or limited range of movement that is going to be useful later. Longsword fencing is an art of constant motion, so we will avoid truly static drills like the plague.
2 – One/two Step Drill
“Person A does this, Person B does that – reset and repeat”
This is generally for blocking out a technique, or set of techniques and for setting up the correct intention/feeling for a more flowing drill.
3 – Cooperative Flow drill
“Keep the drill going”
The one/two step drill is circulated, with no pauses so that we get a lot of repetition, and learn to adapt our positions and read the situation. This is still quite co-operative in that we have as set “script” we are both trying to keep to.
4 – Uncooperative drill
“Person A does this, Person B tries to stop them”
This is especially useful for training the right intention of a technique.
5 – Uncooperative flow drill
This will most often be seen in the “sticky sword” drills. We have a limited repertoire or limited set of targets/objectives and keep it fairly free-form. At this point it should look like a conversation, a dance. This is an opportunity to explore things at your own pace and try approaches and ideas in a low pressure environment.
6 – Cooperative Freeplay
Sparring – no script or limitation other than that the participants are still trying to help each other, presenting a technique to be countered, showing where the partner has a hole in their defence etc.
7 – Uncooperative Freeplay
Sparring! This is where we stop training each other and try to win. To paraphrase a fellow Schola, “This is our wave, this is the beach where we surf”.
.... or I could be completely wrong.
Paul Bennett SG6 - Bradford (Won/Lost/Played) 0/1/1
Carpentry and wooden weapons:http://www.historicarts.co.uk