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In the beginning was the (s)word, part 5

This evening’s class was the smallest yet; some combination of factors had numbers down to 15. Given that at least four of the missing had let me know in advance, there is no immediate cause for concern. If the next class is similarly depleted, I’ll send an email round to those who I haven’t heard from.

Perhaps they were concerned about the warm-up? As promised, we revised 3-point push-ups. When we got to the swinging exercise at the end, I demonstrated hand, hip and leg initiation, using each to strike a kickbag with a backfist. Hand initiation is fastest and least powerful; leg initiation hits hardest but takes longest. We then did the swinging exercise each way, emphasising the choice we usually make in WMA: hand initiation.

We then revised the 3 turns and 4 steps, then the 4 guards. I then defined the correct length of the guard position for them (yes, I know it varies, but beginners need a starting point). Our definition of the correct length is the spacing of the feet that gives the maximum travel of the weight during a volta stabile. I had them pay attention to that while doing the four guards drill.

Then we used gentle pressure to check the details of posta longa, and applied whatever insights were gained in the defence of the first master of the dagger. (Grounding makes much more sense to beginners when it is applied to some useful purpose, I find.) We also revised the roverso disarm, and then I taught them the 9th master disarm from scratch.

With these three techniques in place, they were ready to have a go at the dagger disarm flowdrill.

I then took them to the book to show them the 9th master in all his ball-busting glory. We then looked again at the blows of the sword in the book, before tooling up and practising the mandritto fendente from donna to zenghiaro, and roverso fendente from donna to tutta porta di ferro, that we had done last week.

From there I tied these actions together into part one of the cutting drill. This proved a step too far for some, but well within the competence of others, which is normal for this kind of course.

We then revised first drill, steps 1-3, and had time to cover step 4. So they now know the whole of first drill.

All in all, this is perhaps the fastest beginners’ course I’ve ever taught, not least because so many of them are showing up on Thursday. We even had one brave soul try to attend the advanced class last night (I didn’t allow him to join in, of course, but he seemed to enjoy watching the class and stayed on for free training afterwards.)

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