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On Solo Training, and training with disabilities. Ask the Sword Guy episode 9

Today’s AMA topic are solo training, and training with disabilities. Raymond, in Montana, sent in this question:

“I really enjoy your video trainings and teaching. I purchased the combo package (complete long sword, complete medieval dagger, and footwork) and a few freebies for my 50th birthday. I watched (and practiced) all the footwork, all the medieval dagger and am now about 60% through the long sword.
here is my question:
The biggest problem I have is that I live in fairly remote southeast Montana and do not have any partners with which to practice. My wife is too afraid to assist.  I do what what I can to run through the foot work and various forms, and techniques. Any suggestions for us loners? I may end up starting something in a nearby town eventually (30 miles away), but not financially feasible at this time.”

As it happens, about 95% of my training is done alone. Solo training includes at least the following:
1) physical conditioning, such as range of motion exercises, breathing, and strength training.
2) technical skills practice such as sword handling drills, point control work, pell work
3) theory study, such as research

So much of good training is done alone that it might be more useful to look at what training partners are actually good for. This includes:
1) A social component to your training. We are social animals, and it’s good to have people around you.
2) Practising timing- making your actions with and against somebody else’s actions.
3) Practising technical skills, such as applying an arm bar, or doing a parry riposte that actually works
4) Putting your skills under pressure, with resistance, non-compliance, and randomisation. This can be done as a coaching exercise, or competitively.

All experienced fencers, high level combat sportspeople, and soldiers of every kind do a great deal of solo training- it is the basis upon which their success is built. For experienced swordspeople wanting to improve their solo training routines.

For beginners wanting to get ready for the time when training partners become available. Imagine two people showing up to their first ever class. One of them has never handled a sword before, and is not very fit. The other is fit, limber, and can handle a sword beautifully: they just haven’t done any pair drills yet. Which one is going to progress faster?

I have been working on a Solo Training online course for a while now, which will be ready in August. But Raymond’s question persuaded me that I should pre-launch it now, to get students working with the material immediately, and so that they can tell me what they think the course needs. This will produce a much better course than me trying to anticipate everyone’s needs. Because the course isn’t complete yet, I’m making it available for one week only at a very reduced price. The course will cost $500 at full price, but you can get it for this week only at $180, a savings of 64%.

You can find the course at the discount here.

This course will give you all the tools you need to build an effective solo training practice, whatever your current level of experience.

The second question I address on this video is about training with disability. Will Perry wrote:

I’m a stroke survivor (almost 4 years now). I fence and even used it as therapy after my stroke. What advice would you give to someone who fences/wants to fence that has a disability?
Will Perry from New Hope, Minnesota, US

I’ve addressed that in the video, but if you’re short on time, you can summarise my approach as ‘stalk your strength’.

Here’s the video:


The Solo Training Course:

Blog posts on training after injury:
Recovery from injury: 6 useful ideas:
Fuck it but don’t poke the bear:


I'm sure you have an opinion: do share!

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