Matadora By the Numbers

We got a lot of excellent photos in last night’s class. It was in part due to a lack of equipment, which meant Courtney/She-hulk was able to use her talents with the camera to good effect. It was also partly due to the students. Our process of athletic development and heavy fighting tends to lead towards photogenic moments. Squeak and Zim, being the most athletic, tend to feature in the daily picture the most often. Worf, who is probably the strongest fighter in class, tends to not make the picture cut as often. He’s a powerful, aggressive fighter with an strong tactical sense, but his style has less pose. Last night we got good photos from everyone, but I chose the “Matadora” photo for a reason. Squeak, when she started to train with me, was a very rigid and linear fighter. Talented, and very capable…but she had adopted a precision…

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Take Five, From the Top

I’m working on a new description of classes for students interested in training with the Valkyrie WMA Alliance. It’s not a difficult thing to do, but it is an opportunity to re-examine a lot of my base assumptions, and maybe redefine what it is we do. When swordplay is your life, and has been for years, you sometimes lose perspective. Passion can shape your language into something that doesn’t speak to the curious. Which doesn’t help attract new students at all. I need to think less about the keen people with some experience, and more about the person who just saw someone with a sword. They might want to take classes, but need to know what to expect. It’s a difficult bit of writing. I want to ramble on about all the cool things. I want to encourage, to entice, to share my passion…but what I really need to do…

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Grind continues

Slow class last night, and the rain was atrocious. It’s always easier for people to stay home rather than face the drenching walk to class and back. And the physical toll is starting to wear on people as well. While the class feels light and enjoyable, it’s a real challenge, and takes days to recover. After a few weeks, it can take a real effort to drag yourself to make one more class. Those that made it to class last night were struggling a bit with even the easy exercises. But even tired and pushing themselves, they were all showing the improvements of putting in the hard work. As I’ve said before, I like the small classes. It gives me a chance to get into more detail work, and occasionally break out the weird or extra fun stuff. Didn’t do that so much last night. Went back to basics, getting…

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Movements subtle, strong, swift, supple and bold

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. -T. S. Eliot, Burnt Norton Squeak made the breakthrough when I was lucky to be watching. It was in the middle of a tight bout with Zim. He had been pressing hard, the way he does, when Squeak decided she wanted to be on the other side of him. He attacked, she dodged off to the right. Zim was barely phased by the rapid transition, pivoting on a foot to reach out to her with another blow as she floated off behind…

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Top Five

Feeling a little under the weather this morning, and have an early start at work, so just a quick one this morning. The site has been running long enough to start having some workable stats generated, and I’ve collected a lot of new readers in the last few months. I’m putting together a sidebar list of interesting posts, so I might as well share the top five (in terms of hits) today. 1. Is Chivalry dead? Sexism and Swordplay Sometimes it only takes a few words to set me off on a rant. This one struck a chord with a lot of people, and tracking back the hits from it led me to discovering Reddit, which is not a bad way to kill ten minutes a day. 2. Forward from the Back Just one example of the many interesting anatomical connections that power our fighting, that seem counter-intuitive from we…

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Being Most Excellent

I like to be perfect, but I’m not very good at it. Despite my efforts, I’m constantly making mistakes. It’s pretty obvious, with all my experience, study, and teaching, that I know exactly what to do all the time. At least, that’s what I berate myself with every time I make a mistake and get hit. My sparring last night was full of dismissive grumbles as I was taught over and over again all the little flaws in my approach. It wasn’t all that bad, really. I can fight up to a very high level when I want to, and I work on keeping my students honest by bringing that game to them from time to time. I had my moments last night, but working on developing a new skill means I’m going to collect shots. I know this, but it still makes me grumbly when they land. It’s a…

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