Information for Trainers.
Before training begins with a new novice make sure they have:
The Aim: As a trainer you need to remember that the main aim of Grey Company training is to produce a safe fighter. This must be your priority. Creating a walking death machine can wait a while. Ultimately a new fighter must have:
What to Teach? We recommend that the following areas must be covered in basic training.
Other points may be covered at your discretion.
Holding a sword: Think about how you hold your sword for both single and two handed use. The grip used should be comfortable and allow normal swings of the weapon as well as parry positions.
Combat Safety: Make sure the novice understands:
Fives: See the images below. Pay careful attention to the 2 & 3 since most novices tend to bring these in flat at neck level. The 1 comes straight down and all other blows are diagonal cuts. Make sure they know how these blows travel and where they are supposed to connect with the target (pulled blow of course).
Hit Locations: Where the blows land and what effect this has in competitive (and performance) combat. Make sure they know where they are allowed hit and where not to hit. Make sure they understand that the only viable targets are the crown of head, the torso and the upper limbs. Tell them why.
The novice must also know how the hit location rules are modified for dagger (duelling) combat.
Pulling blows: make sure they learn how to "pull" the force out of a blow when striking an opponent. Make sure they understand that all blows must be controlled
Delivering and Receiving blows: Learning to hit another person is often very hard for a new fighter. Learning to get hit is often just as hard. Teach the novice how to deliver a controlled strike to a target from all the basic angles. Make sure they get used to hitting a person in a safe manner. This means you must let them hit you occasionally. You also need to teach them how to parry safely and how to safely receive a blow when a parry is missed. This means teaching them not to duck into a blow or block with their hands. Make sure the novice knows that they need to speak up if they think they are being hit too hard.
Impeded blows will need some explaining. Use examples and make sure the novice is clear about what we mean by "impeded".
You will need to make sure the new fighter knows how to fight safely from the kneeling position (when they lose a leg) and how to fight safely when one arm is lost; this is crucial for longsword.
Make sure the novice understands the need for every fighter to be fair about acknowledging hits.
Basic body movement and footwork: Keep this simple. The novice needs to be able to keep their balance when moving in combat. A good basic stance to teach is with the feet shoulder width apart with one foot slightly forward.
Make sure the new fighter can walk and attack (or defend) at the same time. Make sure the novice can deliver a safe blow when taking a step.
Etiquette: Make sure the novice understands the need to be courteous. Good manners is very important for both social and combat reasons. Here are some important points:
Always check your weapon for burrs even in between bouts with your sparring partner.
Illustrations with Sammy the Stunt Saxon
Webbed by Bill McConnell