This week the challenge will focus on the Foundational Pillar of Skill, and it will be a Physical challenge. Hooray!
‘And about time, too!’ some of you may have been saying; I thank you for your patience. This week will definitely be a challenge for you and is designed/inspired, once again, by the wonderful and talented Edward and Evanlyn! They have prepared manageable activities for every day this week. Though 5 out of 7 days is more than enough. Below is a list of options for you to choose from, however you are not limited to just these options. If nothing on this list speaks to you feel free to choose a different skill and work on that for a few minutes. Please share with us what you have come up with so we can learn along with!
- Practice basic footwork for 10 minutes. Or advanced footwork if you like. Kane has some cool Kata.
- Practice the 8 basic blocks, or advanced blocks if you know them, for 10 minutes.
- Practice positive pressure for 10 minutes. This is different than breaking shots. This is landing a shot so you don’t have to break a shot.
- Practice breaking shots for 10 minutes.
- Walk through Woodland. Skillfully.
- Practice disengages around a doorknob and the hinges following with a strike, for 10 minutes.
- Practice block attack combos for 10 minutes. Try specifically following the line of the attack for your riposte.
- Sword dance for 10 minutes. If you don’t know what this is, basically it is like Thai-chi with your sword. It has little to do with realistic fight movement and more to do with familiarizing your self with your blade and getting in tune with your body. There is no wrong way to do it, and it’s awesome!
- Try mimicking the style of different fencers for 10 minutes.
- Practice point control for 10 minutes. I love using Jenga blocks for this exercise.
- Practice multiple attacks for 10 minutes.
- Practice basic offhand for, you guessed it, 10 minutes. I do this by doing any of the above exercises but engaging my offhand in the process. e.g. ‘If I step here, my opponents blade will be there, so my offhand should be here.’ Or ‘If I block like this, then that means their sword is over here, so my offhand should be here.’ The best one to play with in my opinion is block attack combos because your offhand is all over the place. But you can do this however you want!
There are enough items on this list you could roll a 12 sided die and let it pick for you! Thank you Edward and Evanlyn!
Don’t have a sword? Use a stick or come borrow a sword from me. If the 10 minute time frame is too constrictive for you I suggest plugging in your headphones and practicing to your favorite playlist for three or four songs. Right now I’m practicing to: Flower (Bring Sally Up) by Moby, anything by Zade Wolf, One Foot by Walk the Moon, Iridium by the Sidh (fair warning its bagpipe metal) and a bunch of stuff by The Score. Music really helps when you’re working on physical skills. You can practice all these skills alone or with a friend. I’m available if any one wants to come play.
As a thoughtful, but hopefully not pedantic conclusion, (here is the pedantic one) skill is the least important of our four values, but it is still important. We should strive to be our best when we fence and practicing these skills meaningfully will help us to be our best. This is part of Swordsmanship presenting your best to the world. Whether that is the skills of cooking, cleaning, or crafting, the skill of doing your job well, the skill of enriching relationships, or any other skill, it should b your best. As Swordsmen we believe in doing everything skillfully. Skill in a thing is how we physically manifest Swordsmanship.
So, have a great week and share with us your experiences.
I believe in you Winter Warriors! Shaky tail!