This month has been a blur of activity; or at least it has seemed that way to me. Overall it was a good month with achievements in and out of class for the group. In pugilism more people were holding there own and making retreating to dodge a blow a choice not the default action. As a result of that we were able to start to look at block and counter strikes which is something we will be looking more at as we move forward. Savate was on a similar theme as we looked at ways to deal with kicks that actually made opportunities for us rather than just prevented blows landing. By the end of the class there was a real change in the way people approached attacks that will allow us to start to look at more advanced sparring tactics. Grappling was a good glass where a lot of people made some real progress in making take downs work in a realistic context. There was also some good work done on going all the way through from pugilism to ground work and gaining submission. Finally with cane there were some break through moments for people as we took our first look at feints. Combined with previous work on forcing a blow through or around a block, the added option of tricking the block to be in the wrong place seemed to really help people grasp the essence of cane.
Of course this month saw us also doing demonstrations at the Doncaster steampunk event (http://www.steampunkdoncaster.org/). Although it was somewhat hectic I think the displays went well and people really seemed to enjoy themselves. I’ll not say too much on it now as I intend to post a full report here soon, but there are a couple of highlights worth mentioning. First is that spraying liquid from your mouth is an art not a science and I am sorry to those who were part of the demo and got covered in fake tea every time. Secondly the choreographed fights seemed to go very well so I think this is something we can explore and expand upon for future demonstrations. It would certainly be nice to have less of me talking and more of people fighting.
So looking forward to the next month we have no demonstrations so it will be a good chance to really focus the class on pure Bartitsu again. This week we will be combining two elements we looked at last week to make combination attacks a lot more useful. As well as looking at countering blows as they are thrown we will look at feints involving the hands. Savate will be a continued look at good form on kicks as we look at ways not to telegraph what move we are about to do. In grappling we are going to focus on getting our basic throws correct and then time willing start to look at ways to make them work in a realistic context. There will then be a week off as I am on my holidays before we round off the month by coming back to cane. Working more on feints as well as ambidexterity with the cane we are really trying to move this towards a weapon that our opponent can never really predict.
Whilst the group has no demonstrations this month, I will be running a kids class up on Islay whilst I am on my holiday as part of the Isla and Jura Youth Actions summer programme. This will be the first time we teach Bartitsu to children and the two hour class will be an interesting experiment to see how well that works. It is also a chance to get children involved and to take Bartitsu into new and unexplored places.
August sees us with two more demonstrations which will probably be the last of this year. One is in Newcaslte at the Steampunk at Summer Hill event (https://www.facebook.com/events/780777548621287/?ref=22) which is with our good friends Impossible Gears. This will be a low key event but close to home where we can meet like minded people and have another run through of the epic quest for the perfect brew. The other demonstrations will be happening at Alt Fest (http://www.alt-fest.com/index.html) where we will be entertaining people between the bands. I will post more about this once details are confirmed but it is all thanks to our new friends BB Blackdog (http://bbblackdog.reverbnation.com/).