A Swordsman’s Adventures in London – Day 1 – London Longsword Academy

Let’s go and fight London.

Hey everybody, I realize it’s been a long time since I’ve made one of these videos, but I haven’t really been inspired by anything. I’ve been focusing more on teaching and getting involved in other classes and things like that. It’s really helped me as a teacher and as a fencer to investigate the ways in which other teachers teach. And normally, the only opportunities I get to do this are when I go to places like Dijon, like Fight Camp and others, where there are workshops being run by other instructors.

But recently, a student of mine left the Academy of Steel to go and live in London. He was telling me about the variety of schools that they have there, all the things that they’ve got going on, and I figured, “Hey, you know what? A trip to London is in order.” My plan for this series is to visit five different schools in five days, see how they do things differently, hopefully get some fighting in. I’m bloody better get some fighting, and I’ll tell you that and see what there is to do in London for a swordsman besides actually, you know, fencing. So join me as I explore some of the other historical martial arts schools that there are available in Londinium. All the schools I visit, their details will be below in the description. Thank you.

So this is my room for the next five days. It’s uh, pretty Spartan as you can see. Got a desk and uh, the lamp up there. So, you know, that’s cool. I mean, it’s really only a place for me to drop my swords during the day and uh, you know, where I can head out in the evening and do some fencing or whatever. But uh, yeah, five days. Bed’s comfy enough. Yeah, this will do.

Dave Rawlings has been doing hemo since before it was Hema and has been doing martial arts for a quarter of a century. Not only is Dave a full-time instructor, but he’s released a number of training resources. He’s been brought in to teach film stars how to fight and has been interviewed by The Insider to give his 10 cents on the choreography of films. What I like about Dave is that he isn’t just one of these guys who started off Hema and has refused to change with times. It’s about his understanding of things as new information has come forth. And I am already running late for Dave Rawlings’ class because the uh, guy who runs the property that I’m staying out of insisted on coming in and showing me how everything worked. It always pisses me off when people do this because it’s like, “Oh, here are the tops. You turn it one way and uh, you know, the uh, the water starts. You turn it the other way, water stops.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I [ __ ] know. I live in the world, you know what I mean?” It’s an Armley. Something’s uh, jangling around which I need to fix in my bags.

And the lesson with Dave Rawlings, which was side sword and side sword and bagger. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do any filming. They don’t allow it in the classroom, which I understand. You know, like, at the end of the day, if you’re running a business and you know people, people are just watching on YouTube and they’re not even bothering to attend the classes, well, it’s a lot of hard work for nothing. It reminded me of being back uh, in Italy actually with my teacher Marco. He was very exacting, and his students were incredibly disciplined. It was great to see actually. There was a lot there of, you know, that the point had to be either threatening or the sword was doing something to pressure your opponent into making the correct strike, the strike that you wanted them to make. There’s absolutely this great philosophy of, if you’re giving your opponent any opening other than the invitation that you want to give them, you’re not in control of the fight. There was a huge focus on body mechanics and geometry. Each class focused on one technique. I think it was maybe one or two techniques, building on it layer by layer. We didn’t do any sparring, which is fine by me as my first day here. I didn’t really want to wreck myself.

This way of doing things isn’t for everybody. If your focus is on tournaments, you might find this a little bit slow-paced. Can it help you win tournaments? I would say absolutely. If your opponent is trying to focus on the right thing, which is to hit the opponent without being hit, as opposed to striking the most valuable target regardless of what happens to you, then there is a great deal of value in these kind of classes. Understanding body mechanics will lend longevity to what we do, a little bit rich coming from me, I know because my shoulder is wrecked at the moment, but it’s my left shoulder, righty’s okay, righty wants it more, lefties just letting me down.

That was another thing about this class which I quite liked, actually, was uh, you did the technique with your right hand, then you did the technique with your left hand. A little bit confusing for me because I don’t use my left arm that often with single-handed weapons. I did for a while, then I got lazy. I made this pizza, and it’s going cold. I’m gonna have a bite. [ __ ] premium content, you know what I mean? Join me tomorrow for when I fence Scholar Gladiatoria, and don’t forget to hit like and subscribe.

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