Teaching a first workshop – how it went & full video

One of the things I have learned about confidence is when you fake it long enough, you can actually bring out the real thing with a bit of effort.

While there was plenty of babbling, many details I want to fix, some structural changes I want to make, I am quite happy with the result of my first workshop.

I told you how I planned it, how I tested it, and now it is time to tell you how it went and a bit more about the event.

I was invited as a guest to the Free Scholar examination of Pavle Ilijasevic from Terca – Škola istorijskog evropskog mačevanja. The three instructors of Terca – Stefan, Zeljko and Dusan – decided that for this rank exam, they would bring in four extra examiners from abroad. And since you have three instructors (or in my case an assistant), you might as well organize some workshops. I will tell you more about the event soon, as it was a special experience all on its own.

So I got a fistful of bucklers (it seems I can carry at least 11 in one hand), and I went to Belgrade, where I was teaching first thing in the morning about Liechtenauer sword and buckler to 12 students of varying experience.

I was lucky that more than half had plenty of experience, and there were no newbies, as that made my job easier and allowed me to go into more detail.

As it turns out, deciding to go simple – I taught all of one play – was the right choice. I had the time to go in-depth and let the people flow from one drill to another.

The structure was this:

  1. Warm-up – just a simple cardio exercise, everyone stretched properly for 15-20 minutes before the start of my 2 hours. You will see some of it in the video, the goal is simply to touch your opponent’s shoulder.
  2. Introducing the buckler – a bit of talking, a bit of testing, a bit of explaining. How to hold it, what it does, etc.
  3. Basic oberhauen – a simple drill to get people moving with just the sword so they can see what kind of attacks we are going to be using.
  4. The Zornhau-ort play – as described in Liechtenauer and in Liegniczer (although not explicitly called that there). Cut, counter cut, thrust. Cut, counter cut, wind and thrust. Cut, counter cut, wind, thrust, go and cut on the other side.
  5. As a bonus – the same drill from the other side.

I have a ton of notes on what to change, I am aware that things would be quite different with 20 or 30 people, but that was a good testing ground. I have ideas both on how to make this better and how to make a continuation of it.

The guys from Terca, who deserve special thanks from me for how diligent and concentrated they are, were a blast to teach and work with. Thank you all!

My assistant – Aleksander Zhelyazkov – was also perfect and he helped me immensely.

If you have any critique, write to me, however brutally you want to. I might explain some details further if too many of you wonder about the content, but as far as my teaching goes, I will note your thoughts and will aim to do better next time.

Here is the full workshop with the drilling itself removed, which cuts it down to a still lengthy 37 minutes:

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