Saturday, 20 March 2010

martial intent...

Have we got it?

To be honest I'm not certain...truly some within the club do exhibit this trait, but as for the rest of us? This video got me wondering:

After watching this I'm wondering if we are not pushing ourselves enough? Maybe this isn't for all of us...or is it? When we attend do we wish our proficiency to be perceived?


  1. Before we’ve always spoken of IDC’s relatively laid back attitude as a good thing – if people just wanted to turn up from time to time and have fun pretending to sword fight then I have no problem with that. It's something that the group should cater for. Yet the group could provide for those who want more intense training while keeping that lack of deadly seriousness or formality. Without spending lots of money on fancy equipment, we can still rent space (i.e. with mats) from time to time where we can more accurately work on abrazare, giocco stretto and other exercises that involve throws, takedowns and wrestling. I also don’t see much reason why there couldn’t be an optional half-hour or so more intense work-out at the beginning of sessions for those who are interested, except perhaps for the limitations of space that we train in.

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  3. I'd say that fundamentally I agree with Mike but I'd expand on what he suggests. It would be good to have some more in depth exploration of the abrazare work and the giocco stretto but the defining feature of the video Johann posted isn't a huge technique repertoire but a refined, composed grasp of the fundamentals of blade work and combat. It's the difference between knowing 1000 stock phrases of French and having enough confidence in the language to use a vocabulary of 200 words in adaptive and appropriate ways. For many of us what is really required is an ability to more from technique recitation to combat, and that requires a very different sort of training. Within the current format I don't feel there's enough flexibility to cater for the different needs that are emerging in the group, especially given the recent influx of beginners who are in need of attention. In general I feel we're trying to do more than our resources really allow for.

    As for events etc., I personally want to be perceived as a trained individual. Someone who's reactions are based on an understanding of the situation rather than the fear of being hit with a stick. Right now I feel stuck between these two extremes, sometimes getting it right and sometimes getting it very wrong. I dare say there are others who feel the same to varying degrees. These are things that can be corrected with training and instruction, but I'm feeling the strain of trying to polish 4 different fighting styles in a slot of 2 hours a week.

    A lengthy response but a honest question deserves an honest response. The instructors know that I hold them both in the highest regard and it would pain me to have them think otherwise. It is only through their continued patience and enthusiasm that I'm able to care enough to make these comments. I do care about what we do, but I think we can raise the bar and become a really top class group without losing our sense of humour. We can take what we do seriously without having to take ourselves seriously, which is where the Hema community seems to fall down a lot of the time.

  4. seeing those videos really raises the bars for us all. Just so you know, you are not alone in your thoughts.

  5. Good comments guys. As always- if you have suggestions for how things can be improved then by all means raise them.

    I agree that we can cater for a variety of levels without losing our sense of humour. It's going to mean raising our game somewhat.

    I like the idea of making classes more intense for those who want that. Sometimes we talk too much and range too widely in class but that's largely a function of the fact that we're still working lots of stuff out. We might benefit from keeping things simpler and more focused.

    Kasim- I would've thought the way to develop the kind of attributes you're talking about is mostly to use simple but reactive drills and structured sparring, as opposed to too much preset technique drilling and entirely free sparring (although let's face it, this latter will always be a big part of what we do). The nice thing about this sort of training is it can be taken more slowly by beginners and built up by more advanced people and all levels can get something out of it. I've been trying to move more towards this in the longsword work we're doing.

    Also what Mike says about abrazare- not necessarily trying to learn and explore every technique from Fiore but generally doing some wrestling training should really help with aspects such as footwork, balance and Gioco Stretto.

    In terms of additional training- it would be nice to organise some informal sessions to work with abrazare(and maybe dagger) when people have time free. We can talk in class and try to fix something up. Also... I'm happy to revive the Wednesday class if there's enough interest.

  6. John, I'm inclined to agree with you, and I'm sure you're more than capable of coming up with appropriate exercises. I would say that if we want to get some more intense training going a second session would be of great use, but of course that's dependant on interest. I'm personally up for informal work on anything and everything. If nothing else it gets me out of the house and presents me from being a nuisance to myself.