This is the furthest I have ever travelled to go to a swordsmanship event. 12 hours to Singapore; 9 to Sydney; then another 4 to Wellington. Plus about 6 hours of layovers. Needless to say, I was a tad weary when I arrived, to be met by Heather, the most crucial person at the event: she was in charge of the food!
The event was held in a scout camp, which was actually pretty civilized, especially when the excellent Selwyn pulled out his single malt whisky supply.
I come to these things for three reasons; to help students I don’t normally get to meet, to catch up with old friends, and to meet new people. Of my fellow instructors, Paul Wagner, Rick Cullinan, and Stephen Hand were old friends. Stephen I hadn’t seen for a decade, so it was especially good to catch up.
In a long list of new friends, I got to meet the legendary Peter Lyon, maker of the Lord of the Rings swords, Colin McKinstry, and Callum Forbes the organiser of the incredible Harcourt Park International jousting event . Among the students were several backers of my various crowdfunding campaigns; it’s great to be able to shake their hand and say thank you in person. And then to kick their sorry arses in round after round of Audatia 🙂
I was there to teach, of course. I had a full day on Saturday; three hours of mechanics in the morning, and three hours of tactics in the evening. I heard from the students, and Selwyn (aka Gimli from now on)
that they went down well; the groups were both very easy to teach; keen and enthusiastic. The key thing in my experience is to only teach one thing in a class. In the morning, it was using groundpaths to apply a line of strength to the opponent’s line of weakness. In the afternoon, it was how to construct a tactical drill to solve decision-making problems.
Sunday morning I spent wandering about taking photographs and talking to people, answering the occasional question, and generally not doing very much, because a posse of students lead by Matt Mole had roped me in to run an unscheduled rapier class in the afternoon. I did manage to explore a little, and found all sorts of interesting things, like this tree:
After lunch the rapierists and I bagged a hall, and spent over an hour and a half going through the footwork form, how to hold a sword, plates 7 and 16, working on the attack by disengage, and finishing up with a quick overview of how I teach the core skills of rapier and dagger. The “one thing” there was how to use the footwork form, for breadth and depth.
At the end of the day I hopped into a very full little car, and drove North with Les and Devon. They were heading back to Auckland; I was going to Mordor…