There aren’t many fencing masters around, anymore.
Lots of fencing coaches, if that’s your taste.
But fencing masters?
Few and far between.
Very few people have access to a bona fide fencing master who can teach them the swordmasters’ craft, and very few are in a position to uproot and relocate to apprentice with a fencing master, even if they could find one.
So how do you learn to be a fencing teacher?
Typically, we see the erroneous assumption that a skillful performer is automatically a skillful teacher, and the most “advanced” fencer in a given group assumes “teaching” responsibilities for the newcomers.
I know this because I "taught" myself to play the guitar and in so doing acquired some very bad habits. I could have avoided these errors if I had taken lessons from a good teacher to begin with. There's just some things about the guitar I needed to know that a good guitar teacher could have taught me, right up front. For example, did you know that you don't have to blow into it?
We’ve gotten a few requests for something like this, so I thought we’d give it a try.
We’re going to host a weekend workshop for fencing instructors and aspiring fencing instructors who want to improve their teaching knowledge and skills.
If it goes well, we’ll hold additional workshops more frequently on a regular schedule.
No doubt about it, the best way to learn how to teach is to apprentice yourself to a master or attend an intensive program at an academy of arms, the way I did. There’s no real substitute for that. But if that’s impossible for you, what can you do? Attending workshops like this one seems like a workable alternative.
Right now, we have two workshop dates scheduled: Saturday August 11 & Sunday August 12, 2012, and Saturday December 29 & Sunday December 30, 2012
The Saturday sessions will run 10am-6pm. Sunday sessions will be 8am -4pm
These will be here in our Salle d’Lion, in beautiful, sunny Ithaca, NY
Our tentative list of topics includes:
- Structure of the individual lesson – (this is the backbone of what we’ll do)
- Structure of the group lesson – (this is the other principle focus)
- Structure and function of the Etude – (we’re the only ones who do this; I’ll show you how we do it and why)
- Stages of Learning
- Learning Domains
- Early Pattern Recognition
- Sensitizing and De-sensitizing
- Technique, Tactics and Strategy
- Chivalry and the Heroic Ideal
The workshop will include lecture/discussion, but the primary focus is hands-on practice of specific teaching skills that you can put to work for yourself and your students immediately.
We figure $200 tuition per person per weekend sounds about right, but we’re talking about “discounts” for those who attend succeeding workshops so the more often you come to learn, the cheaper it gets.
To apply, please send me an email or an application letter detailing your relevant training and experience along with a deposit of $100 by July 1st 2012. If we accept you, the deposit is non-refundable; if we don’t accept you, we’ll return your deposit and tell you why. If we don’t get enough qualified applicants, we’ll cancel and return all deposits, no harm, no foul.
You’re on your own for food and lodgings, but Ithaca is full of good places to stay and places to eat.
I’d be very interested in your thoughts, questions, comments -- including any particular topics you’d like to have us cover.