Newcomer 1: Introduction

Purpose

To welcome the newest members to the Order of the Rose, and to teach them the basic safety, footwork, and defense.

Materials

Key Terms

Procedure:

Who are we? 

  1. Explain that The Order of the Rose is a rapier fighting company. We seek to help each member of the Order to become skillful in the sport and art of fencing.
  2. Give them an introductory pamphlet and briefly go over the information inside. “General Safety” will be discussed later.
  3. Introduce them to the captain. Explain that the captain is responsible for the overall functioning of the Order of the Rose. They are dedicated to the members and willing to help with any questions or concerns that may arise.

Code of Conduct & Waiver 

  1. Read through the Code of Conduct with them.
  2. Either have the waiver signed right away if the person is 18+, or ask them to return it the following week with parent/guardian signature.

Gear & Rental Fee

  1. Explain that each week they need to check in with the Officer who keeps attendance when they first arrive. He/she will ensure fees are up to date before loaner gear can be borrowed. Demonstrate how to find the right sizes of each piece of gear, and guide students to find what sizes they need.
    • Gorget – You will know the gorget fits if you can only slip two fingers between it and the wearer’s neck
    • Doublet – Long sleeves are encouraged. Doublets are made of thicker fabrics to avoid potential punctures and to lessen bruising. It should close all the way up to the gorget.
    • Mask – A mask fits when there is very little wiggle room up and down and side to side. When firm pressure is placed against the face no part of the mesh should touch the face.
    • Gloves – NOT provided. Gloves should be sturdy and cover the wrists. Work gloves or gardening gloves are acceptable. Students must bring a pair of gloves next week in order to learn attacks.
    • Sword – explain the parts of it: pommel, handle (how to grip), guard, quillons, forte, foible. Use the GREEN handles only until trained in long sword (RED handles).

Basic Stance

  • Explain what basic stance looks like while you demonstrate it.
    • Stand with your right foot in front of you and your left foot behind you, your feet about shoulder width apart.
    • Place your feet at a 45-degree angle, with your right toe pointing forward and your left toe pointing to your left.
    • Bend your knees slightly and balance your weight evenly between both feet. Keep your back fairly straight, but loose. Tuck your tail bone under your spine and keep your stomach from hanging out too much. You want to be balanced in all four directions. Do not extend your knee over your foot.
    • Hold your sword in your right hand and the hilt at hip level with the sword pointing forward. Bring the hilt forward about 12 inches and then move it in front of your body about 6 inches. Angle the tip of your sword, so it is level with your opponent’s neck.
    • Lift your “off hand” (non-dominant hand) into a guard position, roughly shoulder height and 6 inches in front of your body.
  • Guide the student into replicating the stance themselves. Adjust, as needed, for left-handed students.

Basic Footwork

  • Explain that Fencing isn’t a static sport. There will be a lot of action and moving around. Proper footwork, or how you move your feet, is an often overlooked skill. It is important to practice moving and stepping properly often and to be aware of your own footwork during a fight.
  • Demonstrate how to advance, retreat, sidestep, and lunge.
    • Advance (Forward) To move forward, take a comfortable step forward with your front foot only. Then follow with your back foot, so that you are once again in your basic fighting stance.
    • Retreat (Backward) To retreat, take a step back with your back foot only. Then follow it with the front foot. You should once again be in your basic fighting stance.
    • Sidestep (Left or Right) To sidestep, step with the same foot as the direction you want to go. Example: To side step right, take a step with your right foot and follow it with your left and vice versa. Do not cross your legs while sidestepping. This makes you unbalanced and can lead you to falling over.
    • Lunge To lunge, launch your front foot forward and land with your knee at 90 degrees, directly above your ankle. DO NOT overextend your knee past your foot as this can lead to injury.
  • Guide the student to properly perform the steps, correcting as necessary. Notes to watch for include:
    • Avoid taking steps that are too big.
    • Maintain equal distance between your feet to help you keep your balance.
    • Keep your knees slightly bent. It enables you to have greater speed and agility.
    • Allow your legs to absorb each step, so that your head doesn’t bob up and down as you move. Keep your head level.

Basic Footwork Drill

Challenge them to copy your steps as you call out specific footwork to practice.

Example: Advance, Advance, Retreat, Left, Advance, Right, Lunge…

8 Basic Blocks

  • Explain that when it comes to sword fighting, it is more important to defend yourself and stay alive than to kill your opponent. The longer you stay alive the more opportunities you’ll have to win. To form this foundation of defense, it is important to master the use of our 8 Basic Blocks.
  • Demonstrate the 8 basic blocks, and describe the movements. Note: For Lefties, all directions should be reversed.
    • Block 1: Drop the tip of your sword towards the ground, straight down. The back of your hand should face your opponent. While keeping the blade straight up and down, move the hilt of the blade to the left across your body. This defends your legs on your left side.
    • Block 2: Drop the tip of your sword towards the ground, straight down. The back of your hand should face your opponent. While keeping the blade straight up and down, move the hilt of the blade to the right across your body. This defends your legs on your right side.
    • Block 3: Move your hilt across your body to the left, your right elbow stopping slightly in front of your abdomen. Your forearm angled at 45 degrees in front of you. Your hand should be rolled over with your palm facing up. The tip of your blade should still be pointed at your opponent’s neck. This defends your body on your left side.
    • Block 4: Move your hilt across your body to the right, your right elbow extending out and away from your abdomen. Your forearm angled at 45 degrees beside you. Your hand should be rolled over with your palm facing down. The tip of your blade should still be pointed at your opponent’s neck. This defends your body on your right side.
    • Block 5: Lift your right arm up, with your elbow at shoulder level or slightly higher. The tip of the blade pointing over your opponent’s shoulder, with the edge facing up. Your hand even with your eyes, but above and to the right. The palm of your hand facing your opponent. This defends your head from above.
    • Block 6: This block revolves around your quillons or cross guards. While using Block 4, allow their blade to slide past your hilt. As it goes over your guard, twist your wrist to the right. The palm of your hand will be facing up and your quillons will have flipped over your opponent’s blade, trapping it to your right. This block traps and defends your body on your right side.
    • Block 7: Drop the top of your blade towards the ground in a sweeping motion towards your left. Your palm facing upwards and the tip of your blade pointing down and to the left. This defends your legs.
    • Block 8: Drop the top of your blade towards the ground in a sweeping motion towards your right. Your palm facing downwards and the tip of your blade pointing down and to the right. This defends your legs.
  • Guide students to replicate each block, making corrections as needed. 

Assessment

  1. Describe & correctly demonstrate the basic stance.
  2. Accurately perform the four types of steps.
  3. Accurately perform the 8 basic blocks.
  4. What two things do you need to bring to practice before you can fight next week? (signed waiver, sturdy gloves)

Enable

  • Encourage students to use the paper resources received today to study/practice what was learned at home.
  • How Low Can You Go? – As a group, lower into basic stance (ensure no one is overextending). See who can stay low the longest. Last man standing wins.
  • Simon Says – Announce footwork movements to the group. Everyone needs to perform it correctly. If someone makes a mistake, they are out. Speed up commands to add difficulty. Last man standing wins.
  • Blind Blockers – Everyone closes their eyes while instructor shouts a block number. Students perform that specific block. If wrong block is performed, they are out. Last man standing wins.

What tips do you have for teaching the Intro lesson to Newcomers?

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