Sunday 5th April 2020

One of the things I want to do during lockdown is to make some HEMA instructional videos.

I love teaching people how to swordfight.  As someone who it didn’t come naturally to, I get a real buzz seeing students progress.  But it’s more than just an ego trip.  I noticed a few years ago that every person who spent an extended period teaching, may have taken a short term hit in terms of their progression but over the following three months saw massive growth in their own swordfighting.  A short term hit for a long term gain.

I think the reason for that progression is simple.  By explaining concepts to people, you often have to look at it multiple different ways.  Everyone learns differently, and sometimes it needs something to be explained in a specific way for it to click with a student.  That means a teacher has to be very open to their subject matter, to really understand it – or at least be willing to explore it – so they can unlock a technique or concept to a student.

I always say, every time you visit the fundamentals there’s something new to be learnt.  It’s so easy to get complacent and think those basic techniques are beyond you… but the best fencers in the world master the basics and continually revisit them.

I think I’m a good teacher.  A lot of the people I instructed a few years ago have gone on to become instructors themselves and / or compete.  My approach has always been one of collaboration.  I want my students to think for themselves, not treat me as some maestro.  As a result, I think instilling that sense of owning their training means they’ve progressed faster than some others.

I’d originally planned to launch The School of the Sword Swindon (SWOTS) this month but the ‘rona had other ideas.  To motivate me to do some exercise as well as help build awareness for SWOTS, I thought it would be a good idea to record some iPhone videos and put online.  Nothing too advanced to start off with, just some fundamentals stuff as I find my feet.

I tried some today and several things have happened as a result:

  • If ever I needed extra motivation to start exercising it’s taking videos of myself. I’ve put on a bunch of weight over the last year but seeing myself huffing and puffing through a basic drill is an added incentive to start my new lockdown health kick from tomorrow.
  • I need a script. I think rambling as part of a class is fine but I’m not so sure it works in a video.  I need to watch them back with a less critical eye, but as a bare minimum I need a bulletpoint list of the points I want to cover.

As a result, it might be another week before I start releasing some videos, but I am still planning on releasing some.

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