What do you teach in your first 6 sessions?

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What do you teach in your first 6 sessions?

Postby TheDude » 26 Mar 2008 12:16

Hi all,

I'm curious to see what my illustrious cousins cover in their first few sessions. Do you have a fixed programme or do you decide on the night what you will cover?

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I like to show and teach a little of several areas in the first session to both create maintain interest in the system. This is a rough example of what I cover:

Session 1 'Taster session'
In this session I introduce the weapon, basic history, how it works etc. We then put on some demo fights, get them armed up, show them their first ward, how to move, attack and then their first displace. All in very basic form to get them interested and want to come back for the next session.

Session 2 'First proper session'
Pflug and vom tag
Footwork
Oberhau

Session 3
Wards and how to move between them
Cuts and stechen

Session 4
Zornhau
Slices

Session 5
Vor & nach
Uberlauffen and nachreisen

Session 6
From here I choose a single technique or topic for the session
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Postby Fab » 26 Mar 2008 13:03

I generally make up the programme on the spot, though I have a general idea as to where I want to take them.


But with the irregular show up rate one always faces, it is hard to build a regular, squared programme.
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Re: What do you teach in your first 6 sessions?

Postby scholadays » 26 Mar 2008 13:18

TheDude wrote:I'm curious to see what my illustrious cousins cover in their first few sessions. Do you have a fixed programme or do you decide on the night what you will cover?

Unfortunately one is not often at liberty to plan a progression from start to end, from first session to last, for each newcomer presents themselves amongst a class full of the more experienced.

As a result one must either arrange for them one-on-one instruction, which is not ideal as they getting to know and becoming friends with the rest of the group is the objective on the first night, or one must somehow crowbar a simplified subset of the evening's overall lesson into their instruction to run parallel with the rest of the class and allow them to participate alongside the others, or one must somehow escalate from the simple first principles for the beginner up to something more complex for the more experienced as the evening wears on.

Which I choose depends on which and how many other members are in the room at the time.
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Postby Herbert » 26 Mar 2008 18:47

I usually adapt to the people, so I don't have any plans.

Usually the sequence is as follows:

- Teaser - I try to give them an idea and get them hooked

- Guards with emphasis on vom Tag and Pflug

- Oberhau

- Zornhau

- Zornhau against Zornhau with Zornhau-Ort

- Abnehmen and Zucken

after that it is completely different regarding the various people.

Herbert
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Postby bigdummy » 26 Mar 2008 19:51

I would like to hear more about how you guys do the teaser lesson.
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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 27 Mar 2008 10:26

I'd like to know more about the teaser lesson as well.

We built up a training routine last year. It is designed to cover all the parts of the manuscripts, therefore we have a schedule of about 18 months to work trough from the very start to the finishing lessons in long sword in the Lichtenauer tradition.

We differ between beginners, usual attendants and an extra set for advanced fencers.
We usually advise beginners to watch at least one training season (if possible one for beginners and one for advanced) to get an idea, what it's all about and then start attending the beginners course.

There we go for a bit of history of the art, the manuscripts, the masters etc. But more with sidenotes to whatever we're actually training.
Our beginners course is designed to enable them to attend the usual long sword lessons on fridays.
Therefore it's all about footwork, the basic guards and cuts AND general fitness. The idea is to get them fit enough after maybe half a year to attend the usual courses.

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Postby Lord_Nelle » 27 Mar 2008 10:48

Very interesting discussion.

We ussually give them som lessons to get the feel of it. Some footwork, som wrestling, some dagger.

After that we start with Ringecks book (we use Tobler and Lindholm) and go thrue them cover to cover.

Do you guys use any graduations? Advanced groups? What do your students need to know to advance?
Anders "Nelle" Nilsson, Instructor Angermanna Mnhfs
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Postby scholadays » 27 Mar 2008 10:55

bigdummy wrote:I would like to hear more about how you guys do the teaser lesson.

Well, I suppose I don't really tease them with lessons, but try to tease them with the freeplay, the competition, the physical confrontation. Now, as they don't have much in the way of sword skills I just let them use their natural instincts for argy bargy and take them through a simple game of tag that escalates through a bit of simple grippy rough and tumble and ends in a bit of stick wrestling. It gets them moving, hot, sweaty, excited, allows them to actually perform with only that which they've brought into the room with them, and most importantly gets them around the class, up close and personal. After a few minutes of such games there are few strangers in the room.

But next let's give them some success with the sword in hand. We teach them a basic cut, a little footwork, we teach them a simple cross in largo, all up beat and to a tempo provided by Mr Hendrix. Then we get them facing an opponent who flings some simple slow cuts at them so that they can get used to the action, and in turn they get to fling some back. Nice and simple.

We escalate the intensity of these cuts untill we need masks. We are heading towards the fun part. Now the pace and difficulty is quickening. First we let them sling attacks at the opponents mask without cover - for many are at first reluctant to hit someone over the head. However, once they realise just how much fun hitting someone over the head is we then introduce them to just how much fun it is getting hit over the head. So, they stand their ground and the opponent flings a few responsible blows into the newcomer's mask until they get used to the ringing noise.

Then we get onto the fun bit - newcomer attempts to beat opponent to the punch and opponent simply covers with a cross. Newcomer is show than if the opponent knows what is coming it's virtually impossible for newcomer's attack to go through on the first intention. Then the biggie - if the opponent slings simple but fast cuts at the newcomer's head, with his new found simple cross he can pretty much cover the incoming no matter how fast his opponent attempts to move. After 20 mins instruction.

And thus we demonstrate just how likely the first intention is to fail, and just important the second intiention is. The newcomer has a technqiue they can apply and hopefully the need for complex machination and clever bladework is suggested.

Of course this is such a simple exercise that I can cycle most of the other member through them and again they get to know the assembled one by one as their partner. This also allows me to get the rest of the class used to the idea of teaching, of restraint, of retention. This simple escalation them allows me to ease into whatever the evening's point may be that the newcomer can join in with if they wish, or just continue the drill they are playing with - perhaps we introduce them to the volta if they look competent.

At the end of the evening I spar them, permit their new cut and cover to work on occasion and gently demonstrate the jolly complex bladework and ever so clever machination that they are defenseless against and that they may learn one day. All the time trying to find a balance between their following and understanding what is going on, and the confusing, exciting whirl of sparring that must be unravelled and controlled.

Tired, hot, sweaty, and with some new friends the newcomer comes to the pub to drink much lager with us and shout a bit, and eventually goes home with one cut and one cover that they have succesfully applied in a competative confrontation and hopefully a head full of possibilities - a little gift for them to unwrap in their heads over the following days, like a piece of sticky cake taken home after a birthday party.
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Postby Magnus Hagelberg » 27 Mar 2008 11:52

how manny do you fellas see comming back for a second go?
lets make it easy.. 10 people come.. how manny of them comes for a second round?
and to take it further. how manny of the 10 will stay for a year?
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Postby scholadays » 27 Mar 2008 11:59

Magnus Hagelberg wrote:10 people come.. how manny of them comes for a second round?

8 or 9
Magnus Hagelberg wrote:and to take it further. how manny of the 10 will stay for a year?

That's a tricker one, for I am pretty much attempting to be popularist, competative, catering to the lowest common denominator and looking for the dilletant. So, rather than being died in the wool obsessive stalwarts, folk drift in and out depending. But at a guess I'd say 7ish. I tend to hang onto them, but they don't all necessarily train every single week.

Hence I am curious to see if folk who don't necessarily commit to a weekly visit do actually commit to attending every single 6 weekly pan schola punch and piss up.
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Postby Nikos » 27 Mar 2008 13:55

Magnus Hagelberg wrote:how manny do you fellas see comming back for a second go?
lets make it easy.. 10 people come.. how manny of them comes for a second round?
and to take it further. how manny of the 10 will stay for a year?


If 10 people come I would expect 8 back next session, after a year I would expect 5 to stay, but they do come and go as stated, and also being in a university some of members are students and they obviously finish and go home, move uni etc.
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http://www.historicalfencing.co.uk

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Postby bigdummy » 27 Mar 2008 15:26

We mostly have done sparring in our first intro sessions, which works great for rowdy lad types, but we have more civilized folk interested in joining now and i think a more structured training approach might be benficial. I'm interested in hearing what some of the other groups do in the first lesson.

I am definitely for instituting the post-fencing drink at the pub idea though. That is a very good policy.

BD
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Postby Herbert » 27 Mar 2008 15:39

My teaser lesson consits of a quick overview of what we are doing, what manuals we are using and what it is all about. I tell them how good HEMA is compared to the asian stuff and let them get a grasp of the facts.

Then I put a sword in their hand. I show them some guards and introduce the Oberhau in a rather conversational way. Before they realise it, they are already training the Oberhau. Then I start to talk about what they can do if they are attacked with an Oberhau. So the start to do an Oberhau against another one and so on....

Pretty fast they are in their first routine and start difending themselves with an Oberhau and trying to stab the other person. Normally they begin to question as what happens if.... That is the point where I take it a bit further and introduce basic Abnehmen and Zucken. Usually I stop there.

Then I show them with one of my students how versatile the swordfight can be, hoc complex the techniques are and how efficient they are. I try to work on every prejudice they have. After this demonstration which usually leaves them impressed we invite them to a "circle of honour" where you do controlled half-speed swordplay with simple rules based on safety. After that they are hooked (or not).

Of 10 people usually about 8 come back for a second time - of these 8 there are about 3 to 4 left after a year. But still we are not getting more and more people as they are constantly quitting due to job, marriage, children, moving away, getting thrown out of our club and so on.

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Postby bigdummy » 27 Mar 2008 15:43

What have you thrown people out of the club for Herbert? How many members do you have? How many instructors?
"In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate diagnosis... is a crucial, perhaps decisive part of the disease." -Zygmunt Bauman

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Postby Herbert » 27 Mar 2008 18:22

We are two instructors and have about 15 members. We got people rid off because they were too....well, they weren't just not bearable. They knew everything better, talked rubbish when you could least need it, and generally were persons you would love to see in your competing team, if you know what I mean. Those types who are constantly bragging but without background and when put to the test they have a hundred excuses...and still don't learn the lesson. People who kept correcting the instructor and when asked to prove their claims, they back out...and still don't learn the lesson.

I hope you never have to deal with these kind of people.

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Postby bigdummy » 27 Mar 2008 18:32

I recognize the type of individual you are referring to. I'm interested in how you handled throwing them out.

We've never really had students at all yet, just new members who were trained by everybody else, so far always people who we could get along with. More like a fencing fraternity than a school to this point..

The reason i was asking is that I'm interested to find out what kinds of issues I may have to deal with as things may be changing this year.

BD
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Postby Herbert » 27 Mar 2008 18:57

Basically what we did was telling them that the organisation of the school voted against them and they couldn't train any more here. Reason: Their behaviour although we told them several times. Hard but at least one of them just didn't get all the subtle clues.

If you start going "school" you'll never know what comes along but I had to deal with:
• people who expect that everything is taken care of and they come to the training and wait until they are told what to do
• people who really make a bond and start hanging out together (preferably with you) and kind of build their social life around the swordfighting thing
• people who want to live their fantasies (roleplay, Lord of the Rings, computer games, movies whatever...)
• people who expect some "sword mystic thing" and who are disappointed when they realise its down on earth martial art
• people who find swords cool, know "everything" about knights and turn up on their first day in full armour, but don't know how to hold a sword.
• and best of all: the steadygoers who are really becoming friends. These are the ones who make it worthwile.

But there is only one thing to do: Be Prepared!....for the worst.

best wishes

Herbert
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