Arlington Community Learning classes are open for spring registration. Our lecture/seminar on reconstructing historical European martial arts is scheduled for April 24. We will be presenting our source material, demonstrating techniques, and giving you a chance to handle our simulators. Register at https://registration.arlingtonadulted.org/CourseStatus.awp?&course=18SGI187
Our lecture/seminar on reconstructing historical European martial arts is scheduled for two sessions, February 21 and April 24. We will be presenting our source material, demonstrating techniques, and giving you a chance to handle our simulators. Registration for the February class is open: https://registration.arlingtonadulted.org/CourseStatus.awp?&course=18WGI187
Prefer to sign up for the April class? Watch this space!
ACMA is 3 years old today!
And, in other news, we will again be offering a lecture/seminar class through Arlington County Community Learning. The class will take place on Wednesday, February 21, 7:00pm at Washington-Lee High School. Come on out to learn about the sources we use to recreate this martial art. Sign up at Arlington County Community Learning. We hope to see you there!
With apologies to Lerner and Loewe…
There is a legend of a magical realm, known as WMAW, that rises from the mists on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan. Inhabiting the grounds are valiant women and men, from locations near and far, learning and engaging in the fighting arts of times gone by. It is a place of chivalry and camaraderie. From early in the morning, when the sun rises over the lake, until late in the evening, the halls and grounds are filled with the sounds of clashing weapons and lively discourse about said weapons and their proper usages. Armoured knights compete in the lists in the afternoon sun. If you are lucky enough to stumble upon this legendary event and its denizens, you may be witness to even more mystic arts, such as Pangean rapier and Spoonfechten. Sadly the appearance of WMAW is all too fleeting. There are tales of attendees who return year upon year to experience it once again, knowingly risking the heartbreak of the farewells as WMAW once more recedes into the mists.
My sincere thanks to the hosts, instructors, and volunteers. You truly do make this a magical event and I look forward to the next.
We are pleased to announce that ACMA will be hosting a three hour lecture/seminar “Historical European Martial Arts” with Arlington County Public Schools Community Learning. We will be discussing and presenting historical techniques and weapon systems and the texts upon which our practice is based. Students will also get a chance to handle some of the practice equipment and learn about how they can get started training in the chivalric martial arts.
The class will be held Tuesday, September 26, from 7-10pm at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia.
You can register online:
or by phone:
ACMA will be presenting a lecture class “From Text to Practice” for Arlington County Public Schools Continuing Education. We will post registration information here as soon as the fall course catalog becomes available. Mark your calendars!
Historical European Martial Arts
The martial arts of medieval Europe were sophisticated systems of combat, in armor and without. Two opponents might engage with spear, sword, sword and buckler, dagger, or even unarmed. This unique workshop will focus on the martial arts system of medieval Europe. In addition to the weaponry and skills of the time, students will learn about the surviving documents from which these techniques are based.
Details: 1 class of 2 hours
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Date: Tuesday, September 26th
Location: Washington Lee High School, 1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington Va. 22201
All by myself, don’t want to be all by myself…
But sometimes it is inevitable. For whatever reason, you find yourself without a practice partner. What to do? Solo drills. But solo drills are boring! Yes, they can be. But any training practice can be boring on occasion. Remember why you started training in the first place. Going solo can serve you well.
One nice thing about solo drills, minimal equipment is required. You can certainly go without a mask and gambeson. Gloves are only needed if you are prone to blisters. If available, a full length mirror (or a glass sliding door at night) provides excellent feedback. You can also record yourself for immediate feedback.
How should you structure a solo practice? Any way you want. It is all about you. Some people prefer to keep it completely freeform and spontaneous, moving from one drill to the next without necessarily planning ahead. I prefer to set up my solo practice the same way that I would teach a lesson, first identifying a training goal or concept on which to focus. The practice itself starts with a warmup exercise, transitioning into a technically oriented drill, followed by more spontaneous freeplay.
For a warmup, you can perform any sort of aerobic or conditioning exercise. Most often I practice specific footwork associated with that day’s goal and save jogging or toning for off days. I find footwork to be an important part of my solo practice. When I am having difficulty making a technique work with a partner, the majority of the time it turns out that the fault was in my footwork and not the bladework. Employing footwork as an integral part of my solo training has a positive effect on my partner training.
The warmup is probably the hardest part of my solo practice, I am trying to get motivated and overcome inertia. Once I have started moving around, I am eager to pick up my sword and move into cutting drills. Easy to construct and of definite value for improving technique are drills involving performing the same cuts over and over. Examples include following the Meyer cutting diagram, repetitions of the Meisterhaue, or simply performing basic cuts from above or below over and over again. Feedback is a little more important for bladework drills than for footwork so employing that reflective surface or camera is invaluable. Another method for feedback is to use a target or pell. Thrust into an old throw pillow hung on a wall. Get creative finding something around the house which you can hit repeatedly without damage to it or your sword.
Now that you have those creative juices flowing, it is time to move on to shadow fencing. So I lied when I said the warmup was the hardest part of my solo practice. I find fencing an imaginary partner is akin to playing rock, paper, scissors against yourself. As a result, my shadow fencing is not perfectly freeform. I tend to script both my imaginary partner and myself, though not beyond the first movement or two. Those scripted initial moves target that practice session’s training goal. After that, it becomes somewhat easier to let the sword take me where it wants to go. Visualization is important. I have to ask myself why I would respond or act in that fashion.
Though being able to play with a buddy is inherently more fun, once you have finished your solo practice session, your body should be comfortably tired and your brain comfortably full.