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Account of Axel Petterssons seminar at IHA, Scotland
« skrivet: 2013-09-14, 14:26:01 »
Axel:

"I should write about the amazing Rory van Noort memorial tournament, now that Im finally back home for a few days, but I must let that wait a little bit to mention the weekend I spent with Mark Wilkie, Mel, James Burn, Keith Farrell and the fantastic bunch of guys at IHA in Dundee the weekend before the Amsterdam trip.

I taught a two day seminar, with day one focused on bringing up core skills to a level where you can perform the at high speed and force againsta an uncooperative opponent. Stuff like being able to cover with all vier hengen, dominate the centre line, feeling safe in your "box" without having to withdraw with footwork every time you parry etc. The Scottish fencers proved to be very apt learners, and by the end of the day there were marked improvement in the way they fenced comfortably, taking their time behind cover instead of doing the constant "left hengen-left oberhau" counter regardless of situation.

The evening, naturally, was spent getting as drunk as possible. Mark really succeeded with his ambition here, I don't think I have had so much to drink on this side of 2010, and that includes a number of very wet Dijon parties. To my horror and deligth, i learned about Dundee traditions such as "dirty tequila", "kidney punch greetings" and and "licking the eyeball of strangers". I have to admit being quite grey come Sunday morning..

My hosts were all fine however, and we spent the whole day doing various sparring drills, focusing on coaching, giving and receiving feedback, and how to view sparring as just another drill, not a competitive event. At the end of the day we got alot of sparring in, and I have to especially mention Mark Wilkies for his powerful yet technical style of fencing, perhaps I like how he does it because it reminds me so much of my own approach. Both me and Mark are big guys, but tend to hold back on muscle to play a technical game. Keith Farrel was also extremely impressive, with excellent parries (one of the few I know who uses the lower right henger instead of the upper left to parry his right side, giving him a great advantage in covering and countering with the point online). The last time I saw Keith fence was in 2011, and he has skyrocketed since then.

Keith, Mark and their crew also impressed me with their ambition, they already have hundreds of fencers and alot planned for the future, the secret behind it being their devotion combined with a very solid organizational structure, allowing them to grow fast and at the same time steady.

I want to give my thanks to Mark, his lovely Mel, Keith, James and all the other grat people I met in Scotland, and I really look forward to see what they will bring to the HEMA community in the coming years."

Keith:
"I spent the weekend up in Dundee with Axel Pettersson, Mark Wilkie and Alex Bourdas. We did a lot of training and my skills have improved tremendously as a result. Axel is very good at coaching and structuring his workshops to lead towards a single, primary outcome, and as a result everyone who attended the course made quite impressive improvements in their skills.

More importantly, the top practitioners working with steel longswords in this country are managing to pull off more and more of the skills and techniques from the original sources. The fighting is becoming much cleaner and much more decisive - I don't recall seeing more than a handful of double hits between the advanced practitioners at the weekend. We are gradually moving into a place where the fencing is becoming much more technical and historical without sacrificing any of the athleticism or intensity. This is really quite an exciting time for the study of longsword in Scotland!"
"When in doubt, escalate beyond all reasonable expectations."