March 2014

February

This month I think we really stepped up our training a little and hopefully everyone is feeling the benefits of that. With an overall focus on getting more energy into the classes and shaking people from the Christmas lull it was good to see students training harder than they have in months. The first week saw us focusing on punching combinations whilst in Savate we looked at combining punches and kicks into a more coherent fighting system. Grappling focused on standing locks that could be converted into throws with some ground work thrown in for good measure. Weaponry was again split between cane and belt with a focus on keeping the weapon constantly in motion.

Outside of the weekly classes we made a trip north of the river to do a demonstration at a small steampunk gathering in Newcastle. Although it was a crowded room and a very small stage I think everyone had a good time and we were able to put across a fair representation of what Bartitsu is. I want to say a special thank you to those who helped out at this and coped with my short notice planning and improvised changes to routines.

March

After some discussion it was decided to stick with the same themes as last month. So over all we will be looking at increasing the energy in the classes and trying to get people more hard core in their training.

Tuesday 4th March – This will be a pugilism class as normal focusing on dodging and continuous attacks. The first half will deal with slipping punches to be able to attack at the same time as defending and then conclude with some drills to focus on never assuming one punch is enough to end things. By popular demand there will be more conditioning drills!

Tuesday 11th March – Savate this month will continue working on incorporating kicking into combination attacks rather than thinking of them as individual techniques. The second half of the class will focus on flexibility not so much to kick high but to be able to kick lower with greater control and precision.

Tuesday 18th March – In the Ju-jitsu class we are going to be focusing on break falls so that we can move further into the world of throws. We will be recapping on some take down techniques and ground work too but very much as situational context for throws and other means of using the floor as an improvised weapon.

Tuseday 25th March – The weapons this month will be cane and belt again (although it is worth bringing knives too if you have them). Cane will focus more on passing the weapon from hand to hand so as to be able to parry and strike from all possible angles. The second half of the class will be working on accuracy with the belt as well as some more tactics for dealing with close combat situations.

Of course any of these may change as we go through the month, but at the moment these are the topics I intend to cover.

Looking Forward

There are only two events currently on the horizon that I think it is worth taking note of. The first is the two year anniversary / Provost’s birthday / annual tournament coming up at the end of April. On the fifth week (29th April) there will be a less serious evening of training followed by food and cake in the pub. More seriously though this will be a chance to topple Sarah and become the reigning club champion for the next year so make your training between now and then count!

Later in the year we are also doing demonstrations at the Doncaster Steampunk weekend in June. This is a large two day event where not only will we be performing the usual style of presentations but also lecture style talks talking about the history of Bartisu and its links to the steampunk movement. This is something a little different from normal and I hope many of you will get involved in preparing for and performing at this event; but more of that to come in the coming months.

Also as we move forward it is time to look at getting some of our equipment sorted. With this in mind the new straight canes should be available sometime this month. I’ll have eight in the first instance but we can always get more if the demand is there. In conjunction with this I should also be getting the prototype single stick guard this month along with an agreed price for these. All being well this will mean some time in the next couple of month it should be possible to use your new canes as single sticks and we can start to have a look at some fencing proper … although only if people have purchased the necessary safety equipment to make this possible.

Next month should also see me taking orders for the first lot of official BAF t-shirts. My aim is only to make two orders a year so start to have a think about how many you want and I’ll get the order in soon for the right sizes and colours. Can I also take this opportunity to remind people that the correct dress code for class is black training trousers and a plain t-shirt of the appropriate colour for your rank.

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