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  1. william_cain is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/19/2010 4:03pm


     Style: Kunst des Fechten, Judo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Longsword Starter Curriculum

    Howdy everyone.

    So, one of the issues in HEMA is that there isn't as much of an established school structure as with other TMA or MMA. This leads to a bit of an eclectic approach when teaching and learning materials, which we accept - when you have to start from scratch, you make do.

    Take myself - I have very little formal training to date (four months of study). I passed my teacher's Core Longsword testing criteria, but if I were to illustrate that in terms of say Shotokan or Tae Kwon Do, I'd have to say that only makes me a high-ranking white belt or a yellow belt of some level. I can spar credibly under pressure, and I train hard to try and get better, but I am what I am.

    That said, there's absolutely no group in my immediate area. I have a feeling that if I were to find people interested, they'd be starting from scratch like I did a few months back.

    To that end, my previous group (under the guidance of our longsword teacher) came up with a basic 'novice' course of material to go over for getting started with longsword.

    Could I post that material here for people to look at, for harsh yet constructive critique?
  2. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/20/2010 5:06am


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by william_cain View Post
    Howdy everyone.

    So, one of the issues in HEMA is that there isn't as much of an established school structure as with other TMA or MMA. This leads to a bit of an eclectic approach when teaching and learning materials, which we accept - when you have to start from scratch, you make do.
    It's common, even among "established" martial arts, to have different "starter curricula" at different schools.

    To that end, my previous group (under the guidance of our longsword teacher) came up with a basic 'novice' course of material to go over for getting started with longsword.

    Could I post that material here for people to look at, for harsh yet constructive critique?
    Knock yourself out. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  3. willaume is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/20/2010 7:57am


     Style: aikido, medieval fencing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by william_cain View Post
    Howdy everyone.

    So, one of the issues in HEMA is that there isn't as much of an established school structure as with other TMA or MMA. This leads to a bit of an eclectic approach when teaching and learning materials, which we accept - when you have to start from scratch, you make do.

    Take myself - I have very little formal training to date (four months of study). I passed my teacher's Core Longsword testing criteria, but if I were to illustrate that in terms of say Shotokan or Tae Kwon Do, I'd have to say that only makes me a high-ranking white belt or a yellow belt of some level. I can spar credibly under pressure, and I train hard to try and get better, but I am what I am.

    That said, there's absolutely no group in my immediate area. I have a feeling that if I were to find people interested, they'd be starting from scratch like I did a few months back.

    To that end, my previous group (under the guidance of our longsword teacher) came up with a basic 'novice' course of material to go over for getting started with longsword.

    Could I post that material here for people to look at, for harsh yet constructive critique?
    as lklawson said Plus
    You know that is exactly how we all started and I am still learning.

    As well peoples have posted vids on youtube, use what you like you dont have to come up with every thing yourself.

    Try to spar diffrent school and different systems and try to focus on why you go hit.
    that will help you to get a more systematic approach.

    phil
  4. william_cain is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/20/2010 9:22am


     Style: Kunst des Fechten, Judo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Beginning Curriculum

    One of the difficulties in having an established sword club/school is the method of introducing new members to the curriculum. If they simply drop into the more advanced classes, they won't learn as much because there are a number of terms being thrown about that they can't comprehend. There has to be a separate curriculum set aside for them to work through, and the upperclassmen have to be willing to teach it to them.

    To that end, I have assembled this introductory curriculum, largely based on the opening material in Lindholm's Ringeck translation.

    The Foundations
    There are four primary concepts that need to be addressed before students are considered eligible to admit into the general body of the club. The student must know the basic anatomy and purpose of a longsword, the proper steps, the four primary guards, and the five core strikes. This level of understanding, even if not perfect, will open up further levels of study once understood, and provides a reasonable benchmark for an initial novice-level test.

    One Weapon
    Covering the basics of the longsword (long/short edge, blade, point, cross, pommel, grip, strong/weak).

    Two Defenses
    Covering the concepts of Absetzen (setting the blade aside) and Voiding (dodging the blade)

    Three Steps
    Covering the simple step, the passing step, and the hidden step.

    Four Guards
    Covering Vom Tag, Ochs, Pflug, and Alber.

    Five Strikes
    Covering the master cuts (zornhau, shaytelhau, shilhau, krumphau, zwerchhau).

    Instruments
    Drills are an essential part of learning how to perform under pressure. Strenuous repetition creates muscle memory and builds strength at the same time. Therefore, here are several drills to use in presenting this curriculum.

    Drill 1 - Advance and Retreat
    This is a simple drill covering the basics of stepping forward and back. Lay out a length of rope, which the student will stand astride. The teachers will call out the three steps at random, and the student will advance to the end of the rope. Then, the drill is repeated moving in the reverse.

    Drill 2 - Covering Movements
    As with Advance and Retreat, but including guard transitions in the call. Thus, instead of "hidden step," the teacher would call "hidden step, ochs." This drill teaches the principle of combining several movements into one action.

    Drill 3 - Line Dancing
    As with Covering Movements, with the exception that the student is crab-walking sideways along the rope. A drill to encourage proper lateral movement. During passing steps, the student's feet should exchange positions across the rope. Simple or Hidden steps will not exchange the lead foot, naturally.

    Drill 4 - Don't Cut Yourself
    This is the drill intended to help the student learn to chain strikes together while maintaining control. Beginning in Vom Tag, with the left foot forward (reverse with left-handed fighters, of course): Zornhau (passing advance), Zornhau (passing retreat), Shaytelhau (passing advance), recover to Vom Tag (passing retreat), Krumphau (passing advance), Shilhau (no step), Zwerchhau (passing advance), Zwerchhau (passing retreat). tl:dr version - chaining together the five mastercuts in a series of strokes while stepping back and forth.

    Drill 5 - Self Defense

    A simple drill in which the student will set aside or dodge incoming strikes as they see fit, with a focus on starting with technical proficiency at half speed, then increasing speed to gain control and effectiveness.

    Drill 6 - With a Flourysh
    Students are expected to practice flouryshing once they understand the combination of steps, guards, and cuts. All participants line up, with the first student taking the field. The student will perform a flourysh to the appointed length, then her classmates will explain one thing each that they saw performed well, one thing the student should work on, and if possible one thing they saw that has improved since a previous practice.

    A proposed schedule - to be refined as needs demand. For every lesson after the first, remember to hold a brief refresher going over the previous lessons' materials, requesting demonstrations and providing advice as needed. This schedule assumes several hours to practice each lesson, and two lessons per week.

    Lesson 1
    - Introduce the basics of sword terminology, refreshing students as the lesson continues.
    - Introduce the Four Guards.
    - Introduce the Three Steps.
    - Perform Drill 1 - Advance and Retreat, keeping in Vom Tag.

    Lesson 2
    - Perform Drill 1 - Advance and Retreat, one time for each of the four guards.
    - Introduce Zornhau, perform simple back-and-forth cuts, or add into the Advance and Retreat drill.
    - Perform Drill 2 - Covering Movements.

    Lesson 3
    - Perform Drill 2 - Covering Movements.
    - Peform Drill 3 - Line Dancing.
    - Continue Practicing Zornhau.
    - If the students seem amenable, begin introducing additional Meisterhau.

    Lesson 4
    - Warm up with Drills 2 and 3.
    - Focus the lesson on the remaining Meisterhau, with an eye toward performing Drill 4 - Don't Cut Yourself.

    Lesson 5
    - Warm up with Drills 2, 3, and 4.
    - Introduce Drills 5 and 6, and explain their purpose.

    Lessons 6 and 7
    - As Lesson 5, focusing on increasing speed, refining skills, and improving in the flourysh and the self defense drills. If equipment and student enthusiasm permit, introduce some light freesparring.
    - In Lesson 7, explain the basics of the Novice Test.

    Lesson 8
    - The Novice Test, intended to demonstrate a general understanding of the material thus far, and determine ability to study in the general class.

    Evaluation - The Novice Test
    This is a test taken by students in the entry-class, administered by higher-ranked students. Both the aspiring Novices and their instructors are being tested in this case. The aspiring students are testing for their Novice rank and admittance to the general class, while the upper students are being evaluated on their ability to teach and bring in the newcomers to the group.

    The format is similar to GSG's general testing structure. The instructors will first test the students on their physical ability to demonstrate the three steps, four guards, and five cuts. Then there will be a short knowledge portion of the test, requiring basic understanding of the terms of the sword (edges, strong/weak, guard/blade/pommel). Finally, the student will be asked to perform a solo flourysh.

    As traditional in the flourysh, each aspiring student will be given commentary by their fellow testees. This is a way for their fellows to demonstrate their observational skills. These comments are to precede those of the instructors.

    The instructors will adjourn for a short discussion to go over everyone's performances. The consensus can be for recommending a Novice rank, requesting a retest, or recommending another run through any of the lessons required.

    Additionally, the test will be observed by the general class senior teacher, who will have his own commentary to add and will decide whether to accept a student as a Novice or to request that they re-test.
  5. tim_stl is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/21/2010 6:48am


     Style: fma

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    i like it. the progression of footwork, then incorporating guards, then strikes, to finally using it to defend against strikes is very similar to the way i learned traditional filipino arts - footwork, then stances with footwork, then strikes between stances and footwork, then the defenses (blade contact or voiding) that incorporate each element. in my experience, students learn correct body mechanics more easily this way.


    tim
  6. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/21/2010 11:01am


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Nothing wrong with it, per se.

    Me personally, I like teaching attacks first, just as a philosophical thing. My reasoning is that it's easy to attack, hard to defend, and a good offense makes a "strong defense" by virtue of forcing the opponent to defend instead of attacking.

    Sort of a "get 'em up to speed as fast as possible" sort of thing.

    (No, I don't believe defenses shouldn't be taught and, equally, I do believe that a skilled defender can use defense as an offense as well.)

    Like I said, I don't see anything wrong with it.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  7. Grimnir69 is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/21/2010 11:07pm


     Style: HEMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    What I perhaps miss above are topics like distances or the parts of a fight, in other words Zufechten, Krieg, Abzug and how that relates to use of primary and secondary guards.

    The concepts of Weak vs Strong and vice versa should be brought up early in connection to the above.

    Thrusts and Winden are key aspects that I think also should be brought up early, since I believe it is important to know what you are striving towards at the very beginning. Winden is even embedded into the Master cuts.

    Also the taking/retaking of initiative, the Vor, and fencing in Nach and how it all relates to the Bind, Fuhlen & Indes, Nachreissen and Nachschlag.

    Perhaps most of this is implied in the text above, but I'll add it anyways.

    Basically I think you should be familiar with all the major concepts, although you don't necessarily need to practice all of them. However they link everything together and makes understanding easier.


    I also thought I'd add that you can also use these HEMA specific boards for discussion and advise.

    http://www.hroarr.com/organisations-and-clubs.html

    Especially the HEMA Alliance and the Western Martial Arts Coalition have good boards with discussions on techniques and training. And you can even embed YouTube videoclips to discuss on WMAC. It can make training for small groups and lone swordsmen a little bit easier.

    YouTube has a ton of good information, although it can be hard sometimes to figure out what is really good quality.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/GothenburgHFS

    http://www.youtube.com/user/kohutovic

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Leondrian

    http://www.youtube.com/user/TheCollegeofCombat

    http://www.youtube.com/user/DerAltenFechter

    http://www.youtube.com/user/tossetoke

    http://www.youtube.com/user/DierkHagedorn

    http://www.youtube.com/user/DrunkenOso

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SwArtaMartialArts

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Orenitsch
    Last edited by Grimnir69; 10/21/2010 11:22pm at .
  8. Spungdeeper is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 10:36am


     Style: HEMA, Judo, Bjj

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I second Grimnir 69.

    The other thing I'd like to mention is Aliveness. For your drills I highly recommend using Matt Thornton's three I's, and introducing things in the order in which they occur in a fight. This can be somewhat difficult because the elements of a fighting systems are like the weave of a blanket. You can focus on a single element in a drill but not entirely and those elements must needs be understood within the larger context. Obvious, but forgotten by most martial arts. For example my EMA classes often had a curriculum but the movements for the day were almost always trained 'dead' and were not necessarily related to what we had been working on. Judo has been an exception but they tend to be very much: here is a new throw, do it ten times without resistance, now RANDORI!.

    So for our group we've taken the True Edge curriculum, and applied the principles from Matt Thornton's Aliveness 101 blog:
    http://aliveness101.blogspot.com/200...-drilling.html

    I got this Idea from the Drei Wunder guys, and they do a great job of putting this in context of Longsword:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/DreiWunder
  9. william_cain is offline

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    Posted On:
    10/22/2010 6:28pm


     Style: Kunst des Fechten, Judo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Hmm. I should contact the True Edge people and see about looking into their curriculum.

    Thanks for the advice everyone, I appreciate the hard commentary.
  10. JudOWNED is offline
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    北斗十字固拳

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    Posted On:
    10/23/2010 3:33am

    supporting member
     Style: Judo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I always thought Hutton provided a nice intro to the longsword which is historically based, but not specifically from any one school.

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