March turned into a month of discovery in many ways that highlighted our weaknesses and outlined the way forward for certainly the next month. Whilst working on punching combinations along with slipping was a useful exercise, it showed up a certainly lack of good form. Footwork was sloppy, guards were constantly being dropped and punches powered predominantly by the arm. The trend continued through Savate with footwork causing problems for set up and distance whilst kicks were delivered with poor chambering. Whilst this all sounds rather harsh, most of these observations were from my own sparring. Grappling got called off due to ill health leaving the fourth class to be split between throws and cane. After an hour of break falling and throws there was considerable development in a lot of people’s skills and we will be building on this further in the future. With weapons we focused trying to systemise the process of hooking, enveloping and changing the line of attack; it was a good starting point but I obviously have a lot more to do with this material.
The final session in April marked our two year anniversary! When I first started this I never dreamed it would still be going two years later but it is encouraging to see people dedicated to their training and steadily developing. It amazes me to look back and realise how different what we are doing now is to where we started out as well as just how competent people now are with the basics of Bartitsu. So to celebrate and pat ourselves on the back we held a night of less than serious sparring events. The annual random weapons tournament was a suitably amusing affair with Euan taking the trophy of club champion for the next year. Pirate knife fighting, hopping boxing, bar room brawl and blind cane fighting all went down with hilarity and a surprising amount of skill and tactics. The same cannot be said for Godzilla vs King Kong or Boarding Actions … still a good time was had by all.
Pugilism this month will have a heavy focus upon foot work. To coin another Markism, ‘your feet will win you more fights than your hands’ so we will be trying to get everyone a little more comfortable with how they move during a fight. We will also be spending some time at looking at good form in blocking and punching as well as learning to trust in your parries. Savate will continue with the footwork and trying to instil some good chambering habits into kicks. We will then look a little at how to close past kicks in sparring as this is something people seem to be struggling with. In Ju-Jitsu we will be continuing to work on break falling and throws and investigate trying to make take downs a more realistic part of free play. Finally in weaponry we will be looking at strong two handed blocks with the cane as well as the interesting variety of answers that can be made from them.
There are two things of note in the pipelines at the moment. The first is the Steampunk Doncaster event for which scripting for the demonstrations has begun. The Saturday demonstration will be very much like the ones we have done before but the Sunday shows will be something a little difference. So stay tuned for a steampunk adventure brought to life in the near future. For those involved in the demonstrations there will be some time given over in the classes to look at the material and learn your parts.
The other notice is that the church in which we practice has put in a bit to buy the community centre next door. If this is successful we should be moving in there in the near future. Given all the issues of late I think this would work well for everyone so please pray or keep your fingers crossed that this goes ahead and we can have a nice, shiny, new, sprung floor, sports hall to train in soon.