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Thursday in Dulles

I'm in a seminar at Herndon this coming Thursday, so no UVa practice for me. It remains to be seen if the armored side of the practice will even take place--I know William plans to skip it. Thjora can bring the loaner gear on Thursday since the rapier fighters intend to practice. But I'd hate for her to load it all and then find no one needed it. The nearest fight practice is the Ponte Alto Practice at Lemon Road Elementary, 6-9. I plan to attend.

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Atlantian Crown Tourney Video

Thanks to Charles for taking this video. Be kind to him--he shot all this footage on a still camera, not a dedicated video camera.

Blame me for any editing problems.

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The idea was to step to my right as I threw the block. Never got there.

Philip and I are going to start practicing polearm at my place on some Tuesdays.

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Now that was a practice

Last night we moved practice to the Scott Stadium Parking Deck for the rest of the winter.

No worries about the new location keeping people away--we had ten people in armor: Rusty, Andrew, Malcolm, William, Jonathan, Charles, Jen, Timm, Philip and me. And even so, we were short a couple of regulars because they had school work due. And there are others I keep expecting to see every week, but who somehow never manage to make it. Ah well, their loss.

Rusty and Andrew confirmed they both plan to come out tomorrow to the Harvest Festival.

The big discovery at a practice this well attended is that the armor bits we lacked most were, oddly enough, pads, half gauntlets and shield gloves. Easily fixed.

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UVa Practice Pic

We're getting a small but pretty determined bunch of new fighters showing up at Thursday practices. Jen, shown here, comes all the way from JMU.

Eric, Charles and Jonathan look to be the new core of our fighting unit at UVa, with Timm and Paul leading the way. I can only hope that this mathematical progression continues for a few years.

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Teaching Combat to a New Person: An Outline of What to do When

I'll add other sections about the details of this. I intend this as an outline or checklist of what to do when in teaching a new fighter.

  • Demonstrate fighting

Before you go training people for a month, make sure they've seen what they're signing up for! But keep in mind that this may need some reinforcement--I once trained a guy for a couple weeks who just could not believe that he would need to wear a helmet.

  • Ask about any physical issues or previous experience.

You need to know if your student has a bad knee, a fused vertebra or RSI in their wrist. Conversely, if they played college baseball, come from Dagorhir or have black belts in Tai Chai Shouda-Wouda, you may be able to link their previous training to what they're about to start.

  • Explain the fighting style you intend to teach

What style do you teach? Why? What is that style best for? What body type, if any? Where can they go to read about it, or to see alternatives to it? Just because it works for you, it may not work for them. Be aware of the limitations of your style and more importantly, make your students aware of them.

  • Stance

Start with the feet. Demonstrate what you believe is the correct way to stand and explain why. From there, show how to use the body to generate the force necessary for armored combat.

Flat Snap

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How Long to Authorize?

How long does it take to authorize sword and shield?

It isn't a question of how much time, but of how many practices and whether the new person has gotten actual instruction at that practice.

I'm pretty confident that someone who comes to 6 of my teaching practices, works through what I show and gets into loaner armor the first time that I think it is a good idea will authorize on their first try.

I suppose that in the unlikely event that I attended 6 practices in 6 days and the same newbie was at all of them, they probably wouldn't be ready. You need a little time between practices to let stuff sink in.

Prodigies and the previously highly trained (good karate guys, for example) can do it in 4 practices or maybe fewer, but their technique will probably suffer for it.

As I've written of before, I appear to be on the extreme slow end of the scale regarding opinion of how soon to put a new person in armor. My answer is typically "After 4 practices." Which actually means "After they've learned 3 blows, know stance, know how to step and know what blocks are correct."

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An addition to your training routine

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Guidelines for Demos

There are lots of ways to do a demo. Here are some guidelines for looking good, recruiting new people and not having the local media portray your group as freaks.

  • Have the SCA press release handy.
  • Designate someone well spoken and presentable to be the on-site media contact.
  • You know that guy/gal in your group who can talk and talk and talk without ever getting to a point, often going on about the plague, or 15th century artillery or how women in the middle ages often married at 15 years old? Yeah, that's the person you don't want talking to non-members at the demo. Specifically, keep them away from the media.
  • A demo can just be you and your guys fighting in the park on a weekend, but you'll do much better if you're "piggybacking" on another event.
  • The armored and rapier fighters who come out to fight should all wear their fanciest stuff. If they look like someone who fell in glue and then rolled in bits of broken pickle bucket, they shouldn't put on their armor that day.
  • Have plenty of hand outs on hand, and make sure they don't have any typoes. If you have a graphic designer in your group, use their help to make it look good. If you have an ad writer or technical writer, use them too.
  • Put up lots of pennants, banners and heraldry.
  • Define the area where fighting will occur, so bystanders don't just wander through in the middle of a fight.
  • Try to keep your area clean. Don't just throw your gear all over the place like you just dumped it out the back of your truck.
  • Have a notebook handy for getting contact names of interested people.
  • If you're way down in the deep south or the Bible Belt, use the term "middle ages" and not "medieval." Seriously, some ignit fundies think that means you're trying to recruit people to be evil.

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