I like teaching. I even like to think I’m pretty good at it. While I was in grad school, I was a teaching assistant, helping art majors understand math. When I still did Taekwondo, I woked at my dad’s studio, teaching classes of all ages and experience levels. I am able to break a concept down into easily-digestible chunks, and am willing to take the time to find an explanation that makes sense to each student. I would like to bring some of that skill to bear in the SCA realm, and Syr Gemini’s class has me especially motivated.
One of the things that I think would be really neat to do in the SCA (and one I’ve mentioned to hardly anyone), is to establish a training structure, or a local school. It would bring some of the discipline I feel is lacking in SCA training, and would definitely force me to become a better fighter. Plus, it would allow me to use my skills to give back to a hobby that, without overstating things, changed my life for the better.
I am already planning to restart the fencing training program. I hope to confer with my friends, some of who led drills during the old program, so I can find out where to start; once I have a curriculum, I feel I can move forward quite comfortably. I just need to know what to teach. I know this already has support in my household, and I hope it could grow to encompass anyone who shows up at practice.
On the armored combat side, things are a little less clear. As far as I know, there has not been a strong drive towards this type of structure (at least, not while I have been practicing locally). As such, things will likely have to start from scratch (or closer to it). There is no existing curriculum, and there are a variety of local styles (the result of “let’s see what works for you” training, probably). And where would the curriculum come from? Existing local styles? Period manuscripts? Obviously, there is research to be done.
Some have also told me that there has been resistance to similar efforts in the past. Without a culture of training to build on, this may be an uphill battle. But I know that a lot of the less-experienced fighters are feeling discouraged with the existing structure. Plus, practice attendance has been dwindling. Maybe having a structure in place, both as a training and bonding mechanism, can motivate people to come back?
I will admit there are some self-confidence issues for me to face. I am by no means the most experienced fighter on either field; I am neither a knight nor a don. In other words, what do I know? But I feel the role of a knight or a don is to teach. I may not be the best fighter there is (although I am pretty good), but I feel I can teach. And I am not saying that the existing knights and dons don’t teach. They do! I would just like to try having a bit more formality and rigor.
I will emphasize that these ideas are still in a very rough stage of planning. After all, what do you teach? How do you get people to want to train? How do you make sure people still get the sparring in they’ve become used to? What kind of drills are even applicable to these martial arts?
If this sounds interesting to you, let me know: I am open to suggestions. My goal for fencing is to start drills back up some time by the end of October. The same may be possible for heavy, but there is more work to be done. Is there anything in particular you’d like to see? If you see me starting to slack off, or let this fall by the wayside, feel free to give me a kick in the butt. I’d like this to be something people can look forward to. I may even use this blog to share some of the development!