Plans for 2019

Spring is the start of the year. Up here, on the margins of Europe, afloat on the choppy North Atlantic January 1st has little meaning in terms of planning and achieving things. I spent the last couple of months this winter wondering if the tin roof of the cabin I live in would get ripped off in this storm, or the next. Now the clocks have gone forward, wool bearing young are scampering in the fields and vegetation has begun to sprout, it is time to look at the year ahead.

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Swords and stuff.

I have a few threads to my plans at the moment and this blogging of them is as much a part of their development as it is descriptive of their finished forms:

  1. I have begun a schedule (yes, a schedule…) of personal study; from actual books on actual fencing, in an actual historical style. I didn’t manage to teach myself much in the way of Meyer Rappier last year. Mainly because I am slack and a failure as a person (just kidding…). So in an attempt at over compensation I went out a bought some books on Italian sidesword following a great class at the FNaG. I’ll let you know how I am doing with them but as you will see below there may be challenges ahead. At least I can use the same sword and I still have the copy of Art of Combat in my slowly swelling library. From which, I will be continuing to…
  2. Review new HEMA books I get for this blog. From this I am coming to realise certain things about ‘being an expert’. Not that I am one, but rather about the concept of expertise and how we engage with the concept (I’ll discuss this in another post…).
  3. There will be some sort of recruitment drive for the Wrathful Peasants club. It won’t go particularly well, but it will happen. I like the idea of getting new members but I am conflicted because running introductory courses distracts me from…
  4. Getting better at longsword again. I used to be better, I used to be more excited by the prospect of Longsword sparring and now I have lost some of my mojo. I will be going to the MCG‘s Belfast Bladeworks at the end of May, for a full day’s longsword workshop with Martin Fabian. This will turn me into an awesome sword wielding warrior and make sure I do well at the…
  5. Longsword League event(s) that I aim to enter at least one of the years events. I have no illusion of doing well in the league. My experience in 2017 was great but I know that to be in with a hope of placing attendance and consistency is probably as important as actual skill. My relationship to competition and leagues has become complicated (internally at least) and I think that is mirrored in the community at large. I will return to this topic repeatedly I believe.
  6. We will also be running our own event in November, as we have for the last few years. Plans are in motion but for now, just this little teaser will suffice…

That should keep me busy enough on the bloggy front as well!

The Club is the aspect of HEMA life I am most unsure about. I think that comes from the fact that, by definition, it involves the vagaries brought by other people. I’d like to do more drilling and learning of techniques during club nights, I’d like to focus on developing longsword skills and introduce some sidesword as well. All these rely on the interest of other members. I can’t see many others agreeing to forgo an entire evening’s sparring to drill a few moves with me, they might run it a couple of times but I want to get more repetitions than they do. We also have such a small (hardworking, talented, dedicated) group that if I decided to sit out the sparring to do solo practice somebody might not get to spar as much as they would like. Yes, you did the math correctly we have just five regular members. We are working on strategies to deal with this but nothing conclusive has emerged yet.

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Small hall and even smaller numbers

Making plans is like sketching an outline for you to colour in later. The big caveat is that you are likely to go outside the lines and leave blanks before the year is out. I have set myself some other personal goals for the year as well. There will be conflict between the HEMA ones, the other goals and the realities of human existence. Who will win out?

I will, in the final analysis. If goals are set and worked towards no effort is wasted. Ok, I may not become conversationally fluent in Spanish this year, but any and all work I put in, vocabulary acquired or verb conjugations learned will add up and I will be improved. That’s what is important. I am fairly confident that I will follow through on all the plans that I laid out above but I have now idea exactly how. I will be just as happy to find out as I would be to reach some arbitrary milestones that I could set now. Plans contribute to lfe the best when they aren’t rigid forms but more like suggestions and guidelines that you can take the best from.

That is what is on my mind this week. I hope you like what you’ve been reading. I you have please share this post with all and sundry. You can comment below or reach me on the Wrathful Peasants page.

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