Teaching Swordfighting In Romania – The Climb #265

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Teaching Swordfighting In Romania – The Climb #265

Friday 13th October 2017

I should have seen Friday the 13th as an omen.  An event that starts on Friday 13th is doomed to be a catastrophe, right?  Well, it appears not as Optimus 2017 is proving to be an outstanding event.  Considering this is the first event the local HEMA group has organised, it’s bloody impressive.  I mean, it’s more than bloody impressive.

I went for a walk around the venue this morning and it proved to be even more beautiful than it looked last night.  There’s a tower that overlooks the site and offers impressive views (although had to be careful coming down as there’s one step that’s worn away and is a potential death trap!)

The serenity of the venue has really helped my mood today, which has been stressing about personal matters back home.  I tried to forget about it (after all, I had ‘run away’ here to give myself a little bit of deliberate space) but try as I might, worries constantly haunted me throughout the day to the extent that I retired early tonight with a migraine.

The morning started in the tent with the welcome, the gear check and the draws for the eliminations.  It seems in Romania that when you say it’s a 10am start, they really mean 10:30am, because they know people can never turn up on time.  I totally understand the logic.

There seems a good mix of international competitors here from Bulgaria, Serbia and Italy, as well as local clubs from places like Transylvania.  Don’t get me wrong, they must get sick of the vampire shit, but the fact we’re only a couple of hours away is pretty cool.  It makes me want to visit some time in the future.

Whilst the others had some free sparring time, a group of us were whisked into town to the National Military Museum.  The guy who brought us from the airport works here and on the inside it’s a bit like the Wallace Collection, full of armour and swords.  However outside, it’s all ex-soviet weaponry.  So it feel like the Oktober Guard headquarters and I had a lot of fun looking at all the soviet tanks and planes.  I did also see a helicopter and was hoping it was a Hind D only to find it was a Puma (same as British army use / used).

We only got to spend a few hours at the museum and it totally wasn’t enough time (although I appreciate the visit).  I reckon I could have spent a day there.  I did get some good reference pictures of picklehaubes so I considered the trip to be work.  There were also a lot of swords on display that I took a lot of pictures of.

We came back to give our first seminar.  Because of the number of participants, the organisers have split the seminar participants into two.  We then deliver the same seminar to both participants.  Our second one is tomorrow, which will leave Sunday free for sparring.

The first one went well.  It started a little all over the place covering things like finding the sword, counter posture, stepping into measure, but by the end all those disparate parts come together into something that feels cohesive.

We did have one point where I felt we might have lost them.  The exercise on counter-posture flummoxed a lot of them.  However, I think I’m good at being encouraging and making a learning environment where failure is an option.  So when some of them started to get all stressed out by the complexities of counter-posture, I went around and gave them some advice on footwork which changed the focus of the drill whilst still remaining the same drill.  I was quite proud of that to be honest, and I think (one day) I might make a good seminar instructor.

I think it worked as the mood of the group changed and became a lot more relaxed.  They also seemed to progress a lot more.  Even people who’d been struggling at the start, ended looking vaguely competent.

I got a lot of personal thanks for my help as well, which is really nice, because I made sure that my role was to support Pim and stay out the limelight.

By the time we finished it was getting dark and bats were circling above.  Romania, bats, Friday 13th… perhaps there’s a lesson there.

The weather has been fantastic today.  The skies have been bright blue and the sunset was a vivid mix of pink and orange.

And yet the serenity of the location, and my general good-feeling about the work I’m doing here, can’t get me away from worries back home.  I guess I knew this would always be the case.  Had I been back home, who knows what I would have been like?  Certainly worse than I’ve been today as things plague my mind.

I thought my migraine might have just been due to some dehydration, but that seems not to be the case.  So, I’ve decided to go to bed early and feel right for tomorrow.

Saturday is going to be a busy day.  I have to help judge the longsword competition and then help with the second seminar.  I’m a bit worried about the tournament.  I don’t fight longsword and so I worry that I’ll mess up.  Given the fracas that happened at Fightcamp, it’s really put me off judging.

But given that I’ve been flown out here, I am more than happy to earn my keep.  If tomorrow proves half as good as today then we’re in for a real treat.

I am already totally in love with this event, and needless to say, it might be my favourite ever HEMA event already.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-10-17T11:09:50+00:00October 14th, 2017|Swordfighting, Travel|0 Comments

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