Diary of a solo practitioner – 4

-In which the Author discusses some challenges and solutions with raising your own game
“Instructor, coach thyself” is something that I come up against constantly. As an instructor working on you own fencing, it can be difficult to dedicate the time that is sorely needed. In the run up to the Dutch Lions Cup and Swordfish in 2016, I didn’t dedicate enough time to improving my own fencing. The realisation from cartier bracelet
these events was that in order to improve hermes replica jewelry as an instructor, I needed to improve my own understanding. Developing my own fencing has helped me improve my understanding and today I want to share some of that with you coaches/solo practitioners.


  1. Get to some seminars


As a competing fencer, I’ve been guilty of travelling to tournaments and not much else. You need to get to weekend events where you can learn for yourself. Sure, they’ll cost you some but it’s normally good value celebrities wearing love cartier bracelet
for what you’re getting. If your funds are limited then events with teaching and tournaments may be a great way to get extra value. I can’t emphasise the importance to instructors and their clubs of seeing the wider HEMA world and learning from it. It’s invaluable and, as a bonus, you get to meet some great people.


  1. Sparring time


I have been guilty, at times, of either sparring entirely for my student or just removing myself from the sparring scene at my club. I wasn’t getting much value from the process myself and I found it easier to watch and coach. From a selfish perspective, it doesn’t do anything for me as a fighter. I had a great couple of lessons with Carl Ryberg at a workshop with the HVN in the Netherlands. In one of those classes we talked about the effect of lowering sparring intensity. 80% of your max is still quite intense but it gives you time to think and use other moves, not just your ‘go to’ moves or your standard reactions. Taking it down further lets us play fake cartier bracelets
around with our responses and evaluate our fight. I use this process to fight students with different techniques. I’ll fight a couple of exchanges for them then try something different. It’s made sparring with students invaluable to me and allows me to develop. The aim is not to ‘win’ these fights but to improve an aspect of your fencing whilst providing a competent challenge. I preach sparring as a non-competitive activity cartier bracelets at my club, it’s an important part of putting theory into practice rather than a chance for putting one over your peers. I’ve learned more from fights I’ve pushed myself and failed than I have from fights I’ve relied on tried and tested methods.


  1. Travelling to fight


I’ve made a deal with myself to travel for good sparring at least fake cartier bracelets
once a month. One of my options is Waterloo Sparring Group, which is a bit of a pilgrimage but well worth it to get some good sparring in. In tournament months my fighting will take the form of the event itself but I always have the option of finding another club/group of people to practice with. The main thing is to get away from time with my instructor hat on and into a mind-set where I work on my own fighting. Even if you aren’t a solo fighter then finding new opponents is always good.


  1. Use technology


I’m not going to talk about this too much but I use YouTube footage, my phone and GoPro recordings to play back my training and watch myself. It breaks up my training and allows me to watch and coach myself. A lot of people do these kinds of things cartier nail bracelet
so I won’t labour the point but I’d advise that you treat yourself as a student and be fair in your compliments/criticisms and objective in your self coaching.


  1. Training tools


I’ve long been toying with the idea of a pell to help my training. A pell is an ideal resistance too to help provide a target (whether your aim is to hit or feint). I find it hard to visualise  so I’ve used Meyer squares chalked onto walls, lines on a path and other markers to help defines my personal drills. Use your space to add value to your training and accept that you may feel a bit silly at first!


  1. Accept empirical evidence


Whether you are competing or sparring, you’ll gain evidence of your performance against various inputs. Use these inputs to tell you whether something is working and if you’re not succeeding then use the evidence to work out why. Are you being hit in strange places during a technique? Then maybe you are using it at the wrong time against the wrong technique. Use the evidence of your failure to understand what you need to correct.


That’s it for now and I hope these bits of advice can help.

hermes handbags

Author: Chris Bear

Chris got into HEMA in 2015 when he joined School of the Sword Reading. The main focuses of his training are sidesword and rapier, but he also enjoys fighting with sabres. One day he will take the plunge and start training in longsword.

Chris is the owner and editor of AfterBlow which makes it all his fault.

Leave a Reply