Heat-seeking Fist

A good fencer can make a great unarmed fighter. The training in use of measure is unmatched by any other martial art. Facing high speed steel all the time gives you awesome reflexes and a fair bit of courage. The tools are all there, and the end result can be fantastic. The process, though…the process can be a pain in the butt. Teaching basic boxing actions like the sidestep is a fairly easy process. You take a stance, nice and fluid and mobile. Your partner punches you in the face. You don’t like that, so you straighten one leg out and shift your body a little to the side. The punch just misses and you can retaliate from your new, better position. I decided to cover it in class. It’s a straightforward exercise, and a straightforward drill, so I’m confident teaching it in class. I don’t want to work on…

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Making Up Class on the Fly

Writing a blog post is a lot harder that creating a class to teach for the night. As I sit around in the morning, sipping my coffee with the deadline ticking ever closer, I have to think about what I want to write. Some days it’s easy. I hit the keyboard with my focus in front of me, crank the music, and spill it all out in one long burst. Other days I muddle and can barely crank out one paragraph after the other, each just barely connected to the next. Most days it’s work. Every day I have to write something that will interest someone, that will give at least one reader something to think about or talk about for the day. My goal is to reach for that every day…but it’s like a long conversation with a good friend. Sometimes you just feel talked out, and want to…

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Paradigma-dingy

Five years ago I was frantic to throw out everything I knew about fencing, and find a new approach. All that carefully built up study into Capoferro, Marozzo and Fiore had left me feeling like I was still missing something. Checking into what everyone else was doing didn’t reveal anything new, it just showed me that everyone was either on the same path as me, or catching up. It wasn’t hard to look down the road and see what was to come…more refinement, better translations, arguments over minutiae…but nothing essentially new. Which is not a bad thing, it showed an approaching maturity to what was being developed. Historical re-creation had essentially worked, on one level. It had created a new martial art that fit the perception everyone had of what it should be. It was growing to be consistent and acceptable to a wider martial arts community. Five years later,…

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I Can’t.

It’s always a frustrating moment for a teacher when a student says “I can’t do that,” and then follows up with an excuse why. Most of the time, the next phrase starts with “because …” fill in physical or mental quirk. I try to never argue the reason, but I do argue with the “I can’t” part. The only time I know I’m really asking the right things of my students is when they say those two words. If a student can do something, then I have nothing to show them. I’m not introducing anything new into their lives without that phrase. I am still doing a lot of valuable things. I’m improving them, refining what they have, showing them how to make best use of what they are capable of. But that next step, the big part of training, is to increase your potential beyond your capabilities. At least,…

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