Monday, 9 March 2015

Training a local group

I have been put in an awkward position for a while now (8 months), being a "new fighter" but also running our local training for our small group of 3 - 4 Fighters, its been an interesting ride so far and I thought I would share a few of the problems and how I overcame them.

Knowledge - Being a new fighter I knew little to nothing about SCA combat, I have a background of steel fighting for 6 years but little in that helped prepare me for training for full contact fighting, Actually having to land blows at power changes the whole dynamic of combat, likewise only having to block to reduce the blows power has completely changed my defense so I was learning from almost square one. (Footwork transfers over mostly apart from weight distribution and the mind game somewhat transfers over well.) Having to then teach others as I learnt was an interesting experience and also finding a way of teaching that suited our groups fighters.

You dont need to reinvent the wheel. Firstly I read everything I could get my hands on regarding formal SCA combat, Oldcastle,bellatrix,oplomachia (which the former king introduced me to, after beating me so bad I'm still sore) various kingdoms and groups posts about training and their ideas, then after watching several hundred video's with SCadians opinions on the topic. Then after some trial and error I picked a training method based on what I thought our local fighters would respond best to. My choice was Oplomachia. Its a straight forward system that teaches in a clear and concise manner, the only downside is its very specific in learning the method and each step is very precise (which is good and bad) The good being clear goal, the bad being if someone can't/won't perform the movement correctly, each move build into the next for a complete fighting style so each step must be achieved.

I have also had a lot of help with my personal training which I have tried to pass on as best I can remember by my liege and the Knights and fighters of Southron Gaard. "Remember when you land the blow think of a husk of wheat exploding" Sir Gabs - canterbury faire 2015

Dedication - I started out with a clear goal, get heavy fighting going in my local group, I had a lot of help from Lady Aveline who continues to turn up and until recently I had Elias (who moved to darton) I run heavy practice at 10am each sunday and I make sure that I am always on time so those that want to join in know that someone will always be there to fight. I think this was a smart move providing continuity to the group, knowing each sunday something is happening that they can participate in.

Gear - I badged Southron gaard our parent group until we got some gear out of the for training purposes, they were very kind in loaning us some gear for new fighters to try. that way they can decide whether they want to invest in the sport and many of you know that its not cheap. trying to train with little/no gear is very hard as there is only so much you can do out of armour due to either the movement limitations or weight limitations of the gear, you can do some footwork for example but things like frame weight transfer is very tough to learn out of armour.

Free Fighting is still an issue as I do not have the skill required to lower my level, I either make it too easy or too hard but I am informed that this comes with time, I have recently been linked an excellent resource regarding training that is a must read if you're serious about training others, Link

Its still a learning process but I feel teaching has helped me gain insight into fighting and without the opportunity would make me a lesser fighter.

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