Another good day of sweat and bruises! 🙂 Around eight to ten students showed up to Dagger Seminar 2, as well as guest instructor Devon, who recently moved from his hideout in Portland, Oregon.
It’s definitely such a reward to me as an instructor to see the tired, but smiling faces of the participants. I think we really brought out some latent talent and physical confidence in some of the students.
Again, we were rushed for time as the gym staff came in and had to shoo us out. The time goes so fast! One of the students said that it seems shorter than the fencing practices of the fencing club, which are about an hour and a half, max. The seminar yesterday was from 1130 to 1730, for an elapsed time comparison. Basically, all day.
The format was similar to last time’s, except that since we had all repeat students (if I remember correctly), less time was spent (and of fewer students) on the basic format of how to fall/roll, and more on roll confidence drills. Typically (and with the head instructor’s blessing) I sneak in some aiki and Systema-like drills, such as “monkey rolls,” where you line up everyone face down on the mat and have the first in line “alligator” roll over the whole line of folks, then the next one, and on and on, progressing from one end of the mat to the other. That’s a good trust and familiarity exercise that gets the students (and instructors) in a mood for personal contact without intimidation.
Chris had us do the short-range “trust fall” circle, which was a lot of fun for everyone.
We had fun with the “three wrestlings” drills, which in some cases devolved into me showing some ground work. We took some time to attempt to talk about the sort of no-hit Systema-style “psychic” attacks/defenses (as in, “of the psyche”) that Chris wanted me to demonstrate, but I failed fairly epically at it–insofar as I think the students seemed fairly confused about why we were talking about it, and what was I talking about anyway? I had my doubts about teaching it at this time (the subject is not about some sort of magic or anything, but I felt that it may be a little bit esoteric for the class, when they had no context for it) so I may have actually ended up sabotaging myself. But through some good fortune it still morphed into a good discussion about tactics, strategy, and intention, with a discussion of why in modern sport fencing “right of way” is important to foil and sabre practice.
Finally, we got to “daggering,” and that part of the session also seemed all too short. But I’m actually okay with that, for now. I think as a class, they’re at a point where they are comfortable (though not expert, of course) with all the basics, and can start to practice with their mates on their own. As we sat in a circle at the end of class last time, most of the students had wanted more time with rolling, and wrestling, so that’s what we gave them. Concluding the class this time, more was made of wanting more actual weapon time, and perhaps introducing things beyond the dagger. So, we’ll see about that. Next time is definitely more dagger time, with more and more complex techniques, now that folks have basic movement patterns down and comfort with contact.
As it seems interest is still keen, we’re trying to work in another session soon, some weekend when most of the same participants can be around. Fall break, holidays, and heavy class-loads all make it an adventure to find a weekend available to most people.
So–hopefully I can be around for the next one. It’s an honor to help train these students, and a lot fun, and it’s good training for me, too. I’m just glad I’ve been physically training in both the arts and in fitness all these years, so that I can be a good and credible instructor for folks literally more than twenty years (25, in most cases) my junior. Fireman’s lifting and throwing the largest guy (6’5″ or so) in the class can be a real respect/attention-getter… 😉