Last weekend I ran a weekend seminar for a beginner’s group in our newest sister-branch in Oulu, which has to be one of the Northest places* in the world where historical swordplay is practiced.
In addition to the two day seminars for the beginners we ran two extra-sessions for the more experienced students, amounting to around 15 hours of training in total.
On the course we approached the material, consisting of Fiore’s dagger and longsword, in two ways: on Saturday we went through the very fundamentals of footwork and guards and basic guards and strikes, guided by our tested syllabus for beginners’ training and also being adviced by the order of instruction laid down by dall’Agocchie. On Sunday we put the basic actions more in use, thinking less and training more, and I think the students got a good workout and most of the lessons from Saturdayu sunk in. We also demonstrated what lies ahead, having Joni Karjalainen and Jouni Alanärä run through advanced pressuredrills with the help of Ken Quek, who traveled with me to assist on the seminar. I think Jouni and Joni put an impressive display of skill, especially given their relative newness to the art. So, well done to them and also to all the beginners and students present!
I must mention that the Oulu group training historical swordplay is backed up by the local sport-fencing club (Oulun miekkailuseura Ry) in Oulu, which – in a display of extremely generous and refined attitude – has taken the group under its wing. This development is very welcome, and I greatly enjoy seeing sport-fencers and historical fencers come more together and share their more common than separate interests.
Historical fencers have a lot to learn from the sport-fencers, especially in regards to their advanced forms of coaching, as was demonstrated from the two excellent private lessons on foil I received from Paulus Tokola, one of the local head coaches.
I wish a long and prosperous future for historical swordplay in Oulu!
*) I remember a discussion somewhere that there was a school even higher up in Norway or some other place, I can’t remember now.