Starting a club?

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Starting a club?

Postby stickwhistler » 30 Mar 2015 15:30

How would somebody go about starting a club?

There are many areas without a HEMA club,

In my case (AFAIK) there is no club locally, the nearest being 20+ miles away,
and i have to say 'selective' ie they wanted to pick a couple out of several interested people
to join, and apparently discard the others.
I've never come across this before, having been in various martial arts clubs for a very long time.

Do we advertise in the paper, online forums, posters?
Is there an insurance we could access eg GNAS affiliated archery clubs access the GNAS insurance scheme,
Martial Arts Commission oversee insurance for affiliated clubs, etc?

I do not consider myself an instructor at all, so to start with a mutual study of an agreed treatise could be a starting place. I like cutlass as per Angelo and simple styles like Hope or Roworth because they use
gross motor style movements that are likely to be remembered in a stressful situation.

I'm sure that I'm not the only person wondering these things, and so beg exculpation from The Emporer
or other esteemed club leaders for a hint. Please!
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby Petter Brodin » 30 Mar 2015 16:04

Here are a couple of other decent resources from other forums:

Starting a new club? on reddit
Advice on how to start? on The HEMA Alliance forums
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby tea » 30 Mar 2015 23:07

To start a club, you basically need four things:

People. At least two, but four is good. More is naturally better, but don't be afraid of starting with only a few - if they're committed, and you practice as a group, more will join you with time.

Equipment. At least a sword each (or whatever else you're training), to start. Protective gear is the next thing to get - gloves, masks, back of heads, gorgets, cups, etc. But swords are the key starting point - you can at least drill with them.

Venue. Somewhere to train. Indoors is better, because it's drier, warmer, means you have somewhere to put your stuff. Also it means people get used to paying money towards the club.

Manuals. Finally, you need a source to work from. You seem to have some ideas here, which is good. Make sure at least one person likes reading sources and bringing information back to the club. Make sure people are collectively keen for the source you've chosen, and it should be fine.

So, to sum up: get you, at least one other person, at least two swords, a room somewhere, and a book. Then have at it.

This is pretty much how Cambridge got off the ground in late 2012 - now we have 8-12 at each practice, are working our way through a formal syllabus we devised, and are looking at joining up to a larger organisation and getting out into the wider HEMA world more.

Oh, and one last thing: advertise. There's an active Facebook HEMA community, for example - putting yourselves up on the list there is a good way to find other interested people who might want to take part. Attending larger events is also great - Fightcamp has booked out, but there's others out there, and something like that is a good way to meet people, learn stuff (I taught for three months based on some of the classes I took last Fightcamp), and generally get off the ground.
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby KeithFarrell » 31 Mar 2015 17:01

We have a section on our blog Encased in Steel that discusses issues faced by new clubs, perhaps some of our articles might be of use to you?

http://www.encasedinsteel.co.uk/category/club/
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby stickwhistler » 01 Apr 2015 07:28

Thanks for the replies guys.
Actually quite useful and encouraging.
Begin and continue seems to be the tried and trusted method.
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby knirirr » 03 Apr 2015 08:44

tea wrote:
This is pretty much how Cambridge got off the ground in late 2012 - now we have 8-12 at each practice, are working our way through a formal syllabus we devised, and are looking at joining up to a larger organisation and getting out into the wider HEMA world more.



Is that Cambridge in the UK?
"FOR, to my certain knowledge I can affirm, that no People in the World, have a swifter Hand in Thrusting, nor any, a more loose or uncertain Parade, than the French."
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby Thearos » 11 Apr 2015 21:54

What about a bunch of guys with a few odd simulators between them and a few fencing masks, meeting weekly to study a particular text (e.g. Hope)-- should they get insurance between them ?
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby tea » 11 Apr 2015 22:26

knirirr wrote:Is that Cambridge in the UK?


Yes.
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby stickwhistler » 12 Apr 2015 19:16

Quick report for the interested.
I mentioned real sword combat as per HEMA to several people,
and a couple of guys said they would help me test fly a first lesson.
Neither had any experience of swords at all.

I have three British Naval Cutlass of the 1750 -1790 design,
with proper steel blades, but chickened out and bought two Basket Hilt Xtreme Sparring Swords
(plastic hilts and blades) of the Highland Broadsword style.
This meant safety with no gloves necessary ie anybody could turn up with no equipment at a class
and practice safely. The plastic sparring swords were 720 grams -v- 920 grams for the real ones.

Easter Tuesday.
One guy bought his girlfriend (secondary school teacher) , who watched and then asked if she could have a go too, so she got a real (blunt) cutlass.

I started with a bit of history, cross hilts, long swords, bastard swords, and got to basket hilts,
and the naval cutlass – room on ships, less time for training sailors in swordplay, and Angelo's
simple system of hanging guard (HG), and replying with point.

We did defend from HG against number 1 and 2 cuts, high and low,
and did number 1 and 2 cuts as attacks, having shown cuts 1 to 7 .
We also did the infinity combination of 1 & 2 cuts , the wrist waggle side to side (defence),
and the cut from wrist only – so they could go away and practice something at home.

We spent some time doing steps forward and backward, and side movement.
The guys had a very slow practice at cut 1 – defend, give point,
cut 2 – defend, give point. Get distance right from each other – about 8 feet/2.5 meteres.
I lent them my masks – just in case!
The woman didn't want to do that, so just watched. I suspect hair style was the real reason.

2 hours! Gone in a flash. Tried not to give too much so that they wouldn't be overwhelmed
with stuff to remember, but enough to interest and 'take away' with them.
All three said they enjoyed it, would like more and want to carry on.
So!
Find a venue (1st class in my garden), think of a name for the class, get insurance (any suggestions gratefully received), get some more people interested, and start properly.
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby knirirr » 13 Apr 2015 15:34

tea wrote:
knirirr wrote:Is that Cambridge in the UK?


Yes.


Interesting.
Is there a website for the group and, if so, would you mind posting a link, please?
"FOR, to my certain knowledge I can affirm, that no People in the World, have a swifter Hand in Thrusting, nor any, a more loose or uncertain Parade, than the French."
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby knirirr » 13 Apr 2015 15:36

Thearos wrote:What about a bunch of guys with a few odd simulators between them and a few fencing masks, meeting weekly to study a particular text (e.g. Hope)-- should they get insurance between them ?


You would probably need some sort of public liability insurance in order to get a venue, unless you happen to have a handy back garden to practice in. Even if you're using a public park then there might be a danger to passers by (e.g. if they put themselves in harm's way) so such insurance would still be worthwhile.
"FOR, to my certain knowledge I can affirm, that no People in the World, have a swifter Hand in Thrusting, nor any, a more loose or uncertain Parade, than the French."
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby tea » 13 Apr 2015 20:10

knirirr wrote:
tea wrote:
knirirr wrote:Is that Cambridge in the UK?


Yes.


Interesting.
Is there a website for the group and, if so, would you mind posting a link, please?


Afraid we don't have a website yet. We mostly organise through Facebook at the moment (Cambridge HEMA - get in touch on the UK HEMA group). Tuesday evenings, 8-10, North Cambridge. Ringeck/pseudo-Danzig blossfechten longsword is the main focus.

Feel free to drop me a line on here if you want more details.
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby Mobius » 17 Jun 2015 13:01

Just wanted to report back on this as I went through a similar path with different outcomes.

No local classes I decided to start my own group for mutual advancement. I did not manage to get the first point successfully, as in one other person, but then maybe that was more my effort than anything else.

For a starting group it might be worthwhile pooling resources to bring in a more experienced coach who could travel. That was always a plan I had in the background but mainly because I was starting from scratch and would be basically reading a lesson one step ahead of any attendees, so could not claim to be a coach.

I also wanted to add that I have never found anyone who pursues this topic to be anything other than enthusiastic and helpful to others who want to follow it too.
By what measure canst thou know thyself if thou hast ne'er engaged in combat? - Tyler Durden
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby JRM » 13 Jul 2015 20:18

If you want to study Angelo, you could get in touch with the Cateran Society. We have an online apprenticeship program if you are interested, and Angelo is one of our main styles, including cutlass and highland broadsword. Christopher Thompson is a good teacher and can help with lots of beginner mistakes if you send in video footage.
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby Thearos » 31 Aug 2015 04:51

I need some specific advice here. I'm right now in New York. I am interested in continuing to study Hope's new method for the smallsword and backsword. I have two foils and two Rawlings baskethilts (and, for that matter, two Easton sabres), and two masks. Mindful of Hope's remark that with his method, a "Person of an indifferent Capacity, and ordinary Agility of Body, may in a short time (even by his own Assiduity, and the Assistance of a judicious Comerade) attain to a considerable Adroitness in Practice" (I have indifferent capacity, though less than ordinary agility), I want a judicious comerade to start studying Hope (and Dr Thurston's manual). I can probably get a room.

Bearing in mind that the US are a litigious society, what should I get in terms of release forms, agreements, insurance, before proceeding ?
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby KeithFarrell » 31 Aug 2015 10:04

Thearos wrote:Bearing in mind that the US are a litigious society, what should I get in terms of release forms, agreements, insurance, before proceeding ?


I think your best bet would be to contact the HEMA Alliance - their forum is reasonably active, and (being Americans) they should hopefully have the knowledge that you need!
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Re: Starting a club?

Postby stickwhistler » 31 Aug 2015 17:52

Thearos wrote:Bearing in mind that the US are a litigious society ......


In case of accident - leave no witnesses! :lol:

Accidents do happen in any sporting context, it goes with the territory, part of the game, etc.)

If just you and a friend agree to:
1) practice at a speed you can both manage.
2) take the view that you want to practice with each other again (next week/tomorrow/ etc.
3) accept that there will be a sore finger or bruised rib/arm or two etc - part of the learning process.

Then there should be no problem, or if there is, ask yourself if you are practising with the right person.
It should be a mutually beneficial activity. One point of view is that you are responsible for your destiny,
and your technique is part of that.
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