Wednesday 17th January 2018

After feeling calmer yesterday I found myself coming back from training  late tonight and having another small panic attack.  It was small enough that I could recognise it right away but it’s meant that whilst being in desperate need for sleep, I’ve stayed up late hoping for it to subside.
The last few weeks have been extremely stressful.  The day job has been ridiculous since just before xmas, and I really am feeling that stressed that I’m one incident away from taking time off ill (which if anyone knows me, is not something I’m prone to do).  I’ve had some personal drama although that’s mostly sorted.  And with swordfighting, demands on my time updating websites and doing dues and getting people hassle me regarding money has got me to a stage where I’ve pretty much needed to walk away from it, just for the benefit of my own sanity.
I’m thinking a lot about my aims for 2018 at the moment and swordfighting seems to be one of the last to come together.  I’m thinking that my fitness would be better going for definition over strength.  Yes, it’s vain, but I’m in my mid-forties – I’m allowed a small mid-life crisis.  Plus, having been so fat, getting abs with potentially loose skin would be a challenge… and I think I need a challenge to motivate me.
For now, with swordfighting I’m content to just teach.  I wanted to teach rapier this year.  I’ve taught Sword & Buckler and feedback was that I was a good teacher.  Rapier is a much more difficult weapon to learn as it’s so unforgiving.  With most swords, the focus is on the hand  delivering the cut, but with rapiers and their 4 foot blades, the focus is on point control.
If Sword & Buckler is a 4×4, then rapier is a bugatti Veyron sportscar.  There’s so much control needed that for someone coming from sword & buckler it can feel a totally alien weapons system.
I’ve been teaching it this year and I’m pleased how it’s gone.  I’ve tried to give them a feel for the weapon (it’s a stabby weapon not a cutty one) and layer up their technique.  So tonight we looked at foot position, at hand grip, of shoulder placement… and all to deliver a single thrust.
The students seemed to enjoy it, which is always a good sign, because rapier can be a bit like hitting someone with a brick wall.
I’m only teaching fundamentals but even in that there’s so much technique.  Even in the simple thrust it took all of a jam-packed evening.
I think I only have one lesson left, where we’ll be looking at blade mechanics.  However, I think the stuff I’ve taught them should flow nicely into this.
I’ve got some ideas on future lessons, including one on sports psychology that requires me reading a book and turning it into a practical exercise.
Of course, I’d like to do more tournaments but I’m not currently as excited as I was last year about them.  Given that the main tournaments aren’t until later in the year there’s still plenty of time to find my mojo.  For now, I need to start falling back in love with training… and that’s been a slow process.
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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Past Years: 2017 – The Year Of The Offensive