This weekend was the East Kingdom Rapier Regional Practice & Academy event.
I had the pleasure of teaching at the event. My class was Drills to Improve Your Blade Opposition. The end goal was for folks to learn a drill or two to — as the class name suggests — improve their blade opposition game. It was my first time teaching Capo Ferro techniques to a large group. Usually I’m just working with just a few people in my own area. I had a larger attendance rate than I anticipated, which was great, but it also made personal one-on-one training and tweaking rather difficult. I feel like one-on-one is almost a necessity when teaching something brand new to fairly new fencers.
I quickly gave them a crash course in the four major Italian guards and then quickly went over how to find and gain an opponent’s blade — both things I would’ve liked to have spent more time on because if you do those wrong the drills fall apart. But folks seemed to get a lot out of the session anyways, and left with one drill they can now implement at their own practices.
Also I had one fencer come up to me in the afternoon tourney saying they used a move from my class and it worked in their bout. We high-5’d. If that’s not the coolest thing someone can be told from a teaching perspective, than I don’t know what is.
Now that I have one larger group class teaching under my belt I have some ideas on how I can improve upon the class, including breaking up the sessions into a beginner 101 and an intermediate 201 class, and have one or two TAs who also know the drill and can give feedback to students. But overall, I think it went well.
I also left the event with two awesome period fencing manuals — a Fabris translation and a two-volume overview of a bunch of different fencing masters from the Middle Ages through the 18th Century.
I’m going to eat up that small sword section so fast…