Thursday, March 17, 2016

Rapier Academy & Practice Report

EK Rapier Academy

This past weekend was the culmination of an event I have wanted to do for about 5 or 6 years.  The problem has always been in finding a suitable site that was affordable for such a specialized event in my area.  Well I finally inquired at Jennie's church on the cost and available dates.  With K&Q Rapier having been moved from the winter to fall, I felt winter was a good time.  The only available date the church had didn't conflict with any local events, though we would lose some people to Gulf Wars and Black Rose Ball (RP).  So I put in a bid with Settmour Swamp, who were very supportive.

As an autocrat, this was the easiest event I have run.  My biggest difficulty was getting people to commit to teaching at the event.  Without classes, it would just be a big rapier practice.  The things that made it easy on me were:  no court, I'd know almost all of the attendees, limited focus, and a much smaller pool of attendees.  I figured a break even of 50, which when compared to Mudthaws I've run, is less than 10%.  I was hoping to break even on the event, but knew the Barony would still support it in the future, even with a small loss.  My budget was under 10% of what my Mudthaw budgets were.

The important thing when running a schola like this is to approach people directly, asking them to teach a class.  A point was made afterwards though, that we should not be asking the teachers what they want to teach, but also asking the students what they want to learn.  Things to note for future years.

The event drew 65 paid attendees.  We were helped out by the weather gods and had a beautiful day in the middle of March. This allowed people to fence outside.  If the weather was not on our side, it would have been a little tight inside.  In  the future, if we use the same site, I will ask for the classrooms on the for use as classrooms and changing rooms and forego the rooms off the gym, except for one-on-one training.

Thanks to the positive reception, I will be looking to run this event next year.  Some of the classes people want to see for next year are:

  • How to recruit new fencers
  • Remaining period with your armor and weapons
  • Spanish rapier
  • German rapier
  • more beginner classes
  • Intermediate Italian rapier
  • Case of Rapiers
  • Long Sword in SCA Rapier
  • Rapier 101
  • Marshaling classes
If you have any interest in teaching one of the above, please let me know.  If you know someone who would be a good teacher for any of the above, please let me know who that is, and I would be happy to reach out to them.

So thank you to everyone who came out and helped in some way.

Practice Report - 3/15/16

As for practice this week.  I actually felt better about my fencing this week.  I'm still a little sloppy and need to tighten it up, but I also need to be put into the pressure of a tournament and not just fencing at practice.  This week, I warmed up with Bethany,fighting here rapier and dagger.  I fought stick against Mike (where I was trying to get the open end of my stick over his blade.  He let me get it on our last pass, after which I was laughing too hard inside to continue).  I also had some great passes with Orlando, going single.  Overall, not a bad week.

I'm going to miss most of the fencing at Mudthaw, as we are flying back from a family vacation that morning, but I do plan to be at the event.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How Mike Bannon broke my cup at Practice (Practice report 3/8/16)

Practice this week was good.

I had some good teaching moments, working with Bethany while she  is figuring out cloak.

I had a blast fighting rapier and dagger with Garrick.  It's not his preferred form, but it is mine.  We had some great discussion on what I was doing, why it was working, tweaking his setups and movement, and then more fencing.  Due to his long arms and height, I have a little trouble when he goes into a refused stance that I normally don't have against most opponents.  But it was way cool to be able to sword-nerd with him and go through things.  Because of this and that there is an opening in the morning for a class this Saturday at the EK Rapier Academy, I am going to try and teach a "Simple Rapier and Dagger" class.

I had some great fights with Jonathan, who is really becoming a great challenge.  He absorbs things like a sponge and just has an infectious joy when fencing.  Raw technique, but great timing and understanding have him as a capable threat on the list.  I landed a little funny on my bad leg when fencing him so I called it a night.

Now to where Mike (Ciaran) Bannon broke my cup.  I had gotten an iced tea before arriving at practice, and while Mike was wrestling with his mask, trying to get it out of his bad, he knocked it off the stage.  The cup spilled most of the tea on the floor, but the fall also cracked the cheap plastic cup, but also managed to shatter the straw.  I only write this to give him a little crap, and so I can also remember in the future the night he broke my cup at practice.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Practice Report - 2/23 & 3/1

I've been remiss in posting my practice reports.  Mostly its because I have not been happy with my fencing and have been slacking for the early part of the year.  I've also been travelling a bunch this year as well, so that has not helped a lot.  When we were in Orlando, I had planned on hitting their local practice, but it is held outside and it was the only day/night of rain we had, so I kind of figured that no one would be there.

On February 23rd, practice was a lot of fun.  I had a few single bouts where I was working with some of our newer fencers.  After a bit, Orlando organized some melee.  We had 7 on 8 to start with.  Malcolm and I were in command.  I had the numbers advantage for the first bout, which we won.  Jonathan switched sides so we were outnumbered, which was OK.  We still managed to win all but one of the scenarios, even after we had another person drop out.  Rather than setting up as a line, I set us up as two rows, 3 in front and then a back line, which was able to react to what the opponents were doing.  For the most part, we had our lesser experienced fencers on the back line with me.  This worked out well for us.  The opposition was never able to flank us (even in the small space of our site).  I really enjoyed the small unit work, and it helped to reinvigorate me.

Yesterday,  was mostly good.  I had some good passes with Jonathan, Orlando, and Sir Jan.  I did some teaching.  Against Jan, well,we were both legged and we bounced our weapons off of each other and I took the edge right in the tip of  my off-hand pinkie.  Ouch.  It still hurts today.  But I did have fun.  That's the thing that had been missing for a while.

Coming very soon is the EK Rapier Academy, something I've wanted to run for a long time.  Its all coming together, and I can't wait for it to be here.