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Richard R.





Joined: 26 Jan 2007

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 6:04 am    Post subject: WMA Teaching Materials         Reply with quote

I have been doing WMA for the past seven or eight years now and after having reached a considerable level of proficiency have decided to look into starting a school. I am, however, at a general loss of just how to start. I am very familiar with all the principles of sword, longsword, sword and shield, rapier, two-handed sword, axe, mace, and dagger, my specialty being broadsword. What I am wondering is this: is there any recommended method of where to start? Is there any particular discipline which should be focused on first and if so does anybody have any tips as to how to start teaching it?
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Allen Reed




Location: Northwest, IL
Joined: 19 Apr 2004

Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 7:54 am    Post subject: Re: WMA Teaching Materials         Reply with quote

Richard R. wrote:
I have been doing WMA for the past seven or eight years now and after having reached a considerable level of proficiency have decided to look into starting a school. I am, however, at a general loss of just how to start. I am very familiar with all the principles of sword, longsword, sword and shield, rapier, two-handed sword, axe, mace, and dagger, my specialty being broadsword. What I am wondering is this: is there any recommended method of where to start? Is there any particular discipline which should be focused on first and if so does anybody have any tips as to how to start teaching it?


I would pick your favorite/best weapons form and start teaching. You might try setting a class up thru a local park district or junior college. They are often looking for new and different classes.

Allen
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Greg Coffman




Location: Lubbock, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 254

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might consider looking into the Association of Renaissance Martial Arts. They way I have been taught (through ARMA and in parallel to how the WMA appears to have been taught historically) is with the longsword first in order to learn the foundational principles. The quarterstaff is also a natural starting point to then go and pick up other pole arms.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
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Richard R.





Joined: 26 Jan 2007

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have an excellent book by Clements from Palidin Press called Medieval Swordsmanship, in which he starts with the sword and shield combination and uses that for the groundwork, then moves on to the longsword by itself. Is this a good approach?
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am very much a beginner when it comes to WMA, but I still really enjoyed Teaching & Interpreting Historical Swordsmanship ed. Brian Price. It is a collection of essays by many well-known WMA teachers and practitioners. There is a lot on pedagogy, skill progression, interpreting texts, etc. I highly recommend it.

Jonathan

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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard R. wrote:
I have an excellent book by Clements from Palidin Press called Medieval Swordsmanship, in which he starts with the sword and shield combination and uses that for the groundwork, then moves on to the longsword by itself. Is this a good approach?


I'd still reccomend focusing on Longsword first, then extending into sword & shield later (and this is likely the advice Mr. Clements himself would give to you).
There are several reasons for this approach:
- It seems this is how it was done historically.
- You're dealing with and only have to think about and control a single weapon, as opposed to two.
- The fundamentals of Longsword can be extrapolated and built off of when moving on to single-hand swords, sword and shield, and even polearms (particularly with half-swording).
- With a longsword, you're forced to incorporate both attack and defence. With a shield, many newcomers have a tendency to adopt a very defensive stance and spend more time hiding behind their shield then trying to beat their opponent. Learning to be aggressive--facilitated by learning Longsword where you have to be more aggresive--helps them get over that.
- Much of the existing work with sword and shield is extrapolation and interpretation based on the relatively little we have of sword and buckler systems like I.33. A lot of the fundamentals are the same, but the specifics we can only guess at. As opposed to Longsword, of which we have considerably more existing primary sources.

Part of why Mr. Clement's book focused so much on sword and shield is because sword and shield was very, very common in the Middle Ages, not because its easier or better to learn it first.
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Richard R.





Joined: 26 Jan 2007

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well hey. He even said as much in his book now that I look again.

Longsword first was the way I learned it too, but I wondered if there was a better way to do it. Thanks!
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Stephen Hand




Location: Hobart, Australia
Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Mon 29 Jan, 2007 4:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Richard,

Systems that taught many different weapons would start with one weapon through which they could teach the principles of the system. Common "core" weapons are the longsword, the rapier and the basket hilted sword. It wasn't usual to have a double weapon style (for example sword and shield) as the core weapon. People learn additional weapons far quicker if they're already proficient in one. It pays to learn one weapon properly first. So I would recommend concentrating on one weapon first.

It will pay you to read around your subject. For example, if you want to study longsword then you will want to look at the many fine books out there on the subject. For the German system I can heartily recommend Christian Tobler's Fighting with the German Longsword, while for the Italian system, I recommend Guy Windsor's Swordsman's Companion. There is also a fine DVD on the German system from the Ochs group in Germany (there is an English version). The books and DVD that I've mentioned are all from Chivalry Bookshelf. There are also some fine books published by Greenhill.

If you're interested in the latest work on sword and shield, I've written two papers on the historical evidence for how this combination was used. The papers appear in Spada and Spada II. Spada is a periodic collection of papers on swordsmanship topics, published by Chivalry Bookshelf.

The most important thing in teaching WMA is to be clear to your students that what you are teaching is based on research into historical texts and that no one has used most of these arts for centuries. You should never be frightened to change what you teach based on new research and ideas. I would try very hard to get to one or more of the large swordsmanship events, like Western Martial Arts Workshop (WMAW) or ISMAC (both in the US, I'm not sure where you are?). I would also avoid tying yourself to a pre-existing organisation until you've seen them in action, preferably at one of the large WMA community workshops.

Cheers
Stephen

Stephen Hand
Editor, Spada, Spada II
Author of English Swordsmanship, Medieval Sword and Shield

Stoccata School of Defence
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Richard R.





Joined: 26 Jan 2007

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks. That's a lot of good advice. Longsword would be the easiest thing to teach anyway since I have been doing it now for about the past seven years. At this point I am either going to start eaching that or the Basket-hilt. We shall see. Thanks again!
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