With the summer upon us, despite how much its been raining, the Forest of Dean is full to the brim with visitors. Although there’s nothing quite like a peaceful walk in the woods – its also a joy to hear it so alive with people.
Rachel has been busy for the last couple of weeks with her teams of assassins. The clatter of quarterstaffs can be heard as Jeremy puts his students through their paces. Droves of dog walkers, hikers and families also descend upon the forests on the afternoons and weekends. Whilst its a wonderful to see so many people enjoying our gorgeous Forest, sometimes it feels like there’s not enough room to swing a cat, let alone a broadsword!
As a result of the increased traffic through the Forest, I have decided to scale down the weekly 3-hour broadsword workshops to daily one-on-one sessions. Due to the niche nature of broadsword combat, I think we’ll find it easier to fill classes this way and will allow everyone to learn at their own pace.
Training with the broadsword is an intensive and potentially dangerous past-time. By scaling down to solo classes, we can upgrade from oak to blunt steel. Without spectators and other students in the near vicinity, we have more space for evasive manoeuvres and big swings, giving us all a chance to experiment with different attacking styles.
On the subject of swords; after picking up a niggling shoulder injury during last month’s competition, I’ve invested in some new Carbon-Fibre blades from the States along with a couple of sets of rubberised armour for sparring. For coaching, you need real steel, but these light-weight beauties are perfect for training at home. As for the armour, I think the need for some protection goes without saying!
Now, looking ahead to Autumn – there’s the yearly outing to plan for. After chatting to Rachel, Jez and the rest of the students; I’ve settled on the Highlands as our destination for this year’s Broadsword Weekend Away.
Its a cheap time of year to visit, with Highland Heather Lodges in Scotand being able to accommodate all of us in their gorgeous self-catered cottages. There will be a couple of dinners cooked by the trainers, as well as master classes and workshops you can take part in.
Apart from being a visually stunning landscape to surround yourself in, I know that the Highlands holds certain cultural connotations for a great deal of my students. With that 80s movie franchise in mind, we’ll be having a themed competition that will run throughout the weekend. Trainers and students will be competing against each other in single round combat sessions, in a knock-out style tournament.
So as much as I’d like to wish you all luck, my competitive spirit denies me from doing so. Remember dear students: there can be only one!
Kevan Dennisal is a Broadsword Martial Artist with a background in Ju-Jitsu and Wu-Shin. After spending a decade studying in Japan, whilst there on business, Kevan returned to the UK to pursue a career in EMA training.