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
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.
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.