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In the beginning was the (s)word, part 3

This course is proceeding apace, helped along by the exemplary attendance record, and their tendency to show up on Thursdays. 21 out of 24 were there on Tuesday, which is pretty good. We began with the warm-up and as usual took a familiar pattern of exercises and added a few bits and pieces. This week we added kicking squats and push-ups with one foot off the ground. Falling revision was followed by re-checking the correct placement of the weight on the feet, then we looked at tailbone placement, for absorbing vertical energy (gravity, carrying a TV upstairs) versus horizontal energy (pressure from an opponent). We then took that data and applied it to posta longa, with gentle pressure from a partner to check for correct positioning.

Then revision of the four steps, and we added the meza volta (half turn). We then did the stick exercise which generated natural tutta voltas (full turns), which we then took out of context and practiced solo. Volta stabile next week I think, and the three turns as a chunk to add to the four steps.

We then revised the first and second plays of the first master of the dagger, and added a disarm done against a roverso (not quite the full version, the first two plays of the third master from the Pisani Dossi, that’ll come next week). But we did do the counter-remedy to the third master, just for fun. It’s a lovely trap.

I then, at last, took them to the book to show them the third master material.

This brought us to 7pm and the salute, followed by striking mandritto and roverso fendenti; we have now dropped the natural swinging as unnecessary. This lead us naturally to a mandritto fendente finishing in posta di dente di zenghiaro, returning up to longa with a thrust or a roverso sottano. Then the same thing on the other side, so creating tutta porta di ferro.

From tutta porta di ferro thus created, we went and revised the first two steps of first drill, which took us up to 7.30. I had promised them last week to teach them the pommel strike counter (step three of the drill) “next week”; but I had been careful not to mention which day of the week I’d teach it. I pointed this out and promised to cover it on the Thursday class (which I did). This seemed to do the trick, as fully half the course came along last night, so with 15 regulars and 12 beginners we were a trifle full. Last night’s free training gave me a chance to work one-on-one with a beginner who has arthritis in his left wrist, finding alternatives to push-ups, and to teach three of them how to do the shoulder stabilisation drill with much less effort, in addition to the usual pottering about fixing problems as they arise.

All in all, great progress!

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