Second class and I remembered how I used to get classes moving at a quick pace…dedicated clock watching. It also helped that we had even numbers, so I got to be a student instead of just trying to do the drills off to the side with no partner. I kept the pace cracking, and our workout was over right on time, and we did more exercises than last time. The 2×2 and 5×5 drill I kept to a similar pace, and we wrapped with an easy hour left for rapier work.
The first class it took us almost an hour to go through 4 of the 5×5’s. Last night it took us fifteen minutes to do all the 5×5’s, plus the twenty-five “favourite” run through at the end. Each person did 150 attacks, and 150 defenses in that time. With little or no instruction in how to do the drill, the class figured it out in an amazing short amount of time. Colour me impressed.
We seem to have coalesced into a solidly functional class in record time. No rough spots between people, everyone is eager to get to work and work with the challenges the other practitioners bring. And we are all hungry for more workout! And that’s my key marker of pace. I know how much volume and intensity there is in the workouts, and I try to choreograph it perfectly. I try to hit people with more exercise than they think they can do, and make it seem like it’s less than they can do. If I do it right, everyone leaves class energetic, happy, and feeling like they could, and want to, do it all over again.
During the rapier portion we started to delve into Marozzo, and some fairly advanced concepts that I just dropped in. I modeled the concept, gave the students a drill, and just let them work it out for themselves in slow work. Strangely enough, they all outperformed my expectations. Probably thought it was a simple and straightforward drill, too. I think my days of explaining principle in rapier are dead and gone. Long dead and gone, and no tears shed. Knowledge is one thing, but teaching someone to do a thing perfecting just doesn’t hold a candle to getting them on the road to ten thousand reps as early as possible.
When I would teach a technique with exacting detail, I could cover one or two techniques in a one hour class, and students would walk out feeling like they knew it pretty well…but couldn’t apply it in a fight with an unwilling foe. Now, I model the behaviour, have them figure out how best to do the drill for themselves…and I get to seem them pull off the technique in sparring less than twenty minutes later.
I really can’t wait for next monday…