Written by Pamela Muir
With our efforts to flatten the curve, many of us are at home without practice partners. So what can we do in order to not significantly lose training time or enthusiasm for our art?
Let’s start with the obvious. I am rediscovering my motivation for solo drills. They have been lagging for a while, because, really, it is more fun to practice with friends.
Practice footwork, though footwork alone can be boring. Set a timer for one minute and see how many steps (advance, retreat, compass, triangle, etc.) you can do. Pick out an area in your backyard or a room in your house. Divide it into imaginary one foot squares and try to touch each one, in random order, with continuous footwork. Or crank up your favorite tunes and just have fun with it.
Practice your cuts. Do some shadow fencing. Work through plays and sequences. And…
Read with sword in hand. Now is the time to dive into that fechtbuch you have been meaning to read. You can find digital copies and translations at Wiktenauer. You can find print copies and modern training books and DVDs at Freelance Academy Press, Inc.. Freelance has articles and history books as well. Learn about other aspects of your art.
Pop in a training DVD and go through it chapter by chapter. Do some online training, but make sure it is someone you are familiar with, someone who has been an instructor at an event you attended or whose book(s) you have read. You want to make sure you have a consistent frame of reference.
Take the time to learn something new. At ACMA our primary focus is on weapons of the Liechtenauer system, but I am starting to dabble with broadsword. Maybe you want to try your hand at rapier or smallsword.
Make sure you stay fit. Walk. Use a workout app. Use free weights or do body weight exercises such as push ups, triceps bridges, and squats. Try a deck of cards work out. Don’t forget stretching. Maybe add in some yoga. I use a daily workout app that gives me 5 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of a full body workout, and 5 minutes of stretching.
Take care of your weapons. Now is the time to clean and polish. (I am trying to practice what I preach.)
Check on your practice partners. Encourage each other. We are all in this together. And let us cross swords in the future.