So, it’s been a while again. The awful truth is, I’ve half finished a post or two, but have never managed to muster the courage to edit and publish them. I might do it now though (better late than never) so that the work doesn’t go entirely to waste.
I had a half-voluntary training break again, hence the lack of updates. I think I only attended one class after the last post before coming up with excuses to slack again. Eeh, how embarrassing. Slinking back to the salle after another month or more of absence is a great exercise in humility and not imagining that the world turns around me.
Speaking of the world not turning around me: I opted out of an exercise last week and the week before that. As mad as it sounds, this was kind of a big deal. Despite safety and health being absolute priorities at the salle, till now I’ve been loath to avoid any exercise, even if it was pushing my limits a tad too much. Turns out everybody does not stop and gape at my laziness if I stand aside for a while. Thank goodness.
In all seriousness, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was for me to decline an exercise. Go me! It’s a step (though tiny and silly) closer to humility
I’m not proud of having neglected this blog for so long – I’ll confess that I haven’t dared to look at the date of the last post to figure out exactly how long it has been. But it’s difficult to update here if I don’t actually go to training.
Although I have gone to the salle a couple of times during this blog silence, every time I visit feels like the first because of how long I’ve been absent. Other things have been taking up my time and attention, and even when I could have gone, I was afraid. I was – and am – afraid of failing, of exposing my weakness in front of strangers, of being the ridiculous, awkward, wanna-be swordswoman.
Today I’m going to training again. I expect to feel ridiculous, clumsy, weak, and clueless. But I also expect to go unnoticed. Whatever my brain is telling me, training is not about me. Not only will no one judge me half as harshly as I do, but I don’t expect them to be thinking of me at all. They’ll be too busy paying attention to the exercises and swords – as I should be.
What’s more, I expect to feel happy. For all the gut-wrenching nervousness I’ve always felt about going sword fighting, there have only been a very few times I’ve honestly regretted it. I only wish I wouldn’t forget that.
Unfortunately the last post on the cutting drill will be late (but not by much, I hope). This is what happens when I spend my weekend napping and think that “I’ll get to writing the post eventually”. But there’s always a good side to things: this is an opportunity to spend a post pointing towards the link list I’ve added to the sidebar, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. The list is not comprehensive, but it includes the websites I visit most and have found helpful and interesting. Continue reading →
First class of this autumn’s beginner’s course yesterday. Tons of beginners – so many, in fact, that the salle was too full for me and dad to join in. It’s really awesome that so many people are interested in sword fighting (though it did make things a little scary once the swords were off the rack). :)
It felt odd to just sit and observe, especially since I still remembered pretty well what it was like to be a first-timer. Was itching to hold a sword by the time the class was done, so we did some free training with dad. Turns out I still have the bad habit of blocking and stepping at the same time in the first drill. I’m tempted to call it a stupid mistake, but on second thought I’m not sure that’s the right attitude to take. I should see these type of situations not as failings, but opportunities to learn and improve. A correction is not a rebuke: it’s a friendly piece of advice intended to help you. I feel a bit silly writing about something so obvious, but I’m still struggling to really get it through to myself.
(A note: there was an error in one of my illustrations for the previous post. It’s too late for me to change it today, but it should be fixed by tomorrow. EDIT: Fixed the image and the description in the 8th paragraph. :) )
“Kiitos!” – thank you – rings through the salle after the final salute. And with that, it’s over. Phew. The end?
No, of course not! What “end”? It’s the end of the beginner’s course, yes, but it doesn’t really mean all that much. Most of us – including me – are going to continue attending the basic classes just as before.
While this might not be an end, it certainly is a beginning. We’ve officially left the baby pool and are moving on to the sea (though as beginners we’ll stay in shallow waters). But before rushing in there, it might be a good idea to glance back. What are the most important things I learned during this course? I’ve compiled a list of them below.
WEEK ONE – Overcoming my fears. By the time it came to the first lesson of the beginner’s course, I had already been “intending to start medieval sword fighting” for above two years. Every time a beginner’s course was held something would come up that conveniently prevented me from going. That is, until the February 2012 beginner’s course. – “Everybody ends training healthier than they started it.” The one thing we really had to learn during the first lesson, and the one thing that we aspiring swords(wo)men may never forget. First drill? Fourth master of the dagger? Cutting drill? If you forget those you can just ask someone to show them to you and that’s that. But safety, both yours and of others, always has to be kept in mind.