Why? Not Just a Question for Kids

When I met Duke Paul at Sport of Kings, he asked me to get into my stance. I stood sword foot forward (right, otherwise known as goofy foot forward) in the An Tir high guard. He asked me why I was doing that. I knew the sword foot forward was because that was what felt comfortable. But the high guard? I replied, “because that was what I was taught”.

Duke Paul smiled with a knowing smile then spoke with me about the importance of knowing why something is done and why it works for those that teach me. I’ve been contemplating this a lot as I watch videos of not only fighters from my Kingdom but from others. He has a section on his website about this very subject.


From Duke Paul’s site:

Questions about Training

To provide some perspective, here are some questions that I recommend trainers answer, before they start teaching.  You should be aware of these questions, so that you will have a framework in which you can more easily ask your own.

  1. Do you know why you teach a certain technique?  Is your only reason:
    1. “It works for me”, or
    2. “It’s what the fight books say (I think)”, or
    3. “That’s the way I was taught”?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a certain technique?
    1. What are you giving up to gain the advantages?
    2. Will that technique fit in with the other things I do (or should be doing)?  Is that technique part of a cohesive system?
    3. Will it only work on lesser-skilled opponents?
  3. If it works for you, will it work for another fighter who is not as strong, or not as fast, or not as agile, or not as tall, or not as skilled?
  4. Is the continued use of the technique going to eventually cause injury to the user because of
    1. Repetitive stress,
    2. Applying torque to a joint in a bio-mechanically unsound position, or
    3. Over-stressing a smaller muscle group when a larger one should be used?
  5. Do you know an effective way to teach that technique?
    1. Do you know two or three ways, because not everybody will understand only one way?
    2. Can you teach techniques that you don’t use – because that technique may be great for a student with a different skill set?

In all honesty, I never thought to ask these sort of questions of someone teaching me. Part of me wonders if they might get offended for questioning them. But I do think it is something important. When you teach, do you think of these things when working with a fighter? Will your technique work for them? In your manner of fighting style – the things you know – do you know why you were taught those things?

I think they are good things to reflect on.

So why ‘had’ I been doing An Tir high guard? Because I learned it from Sir Tiernan, Sir Torfin, Sir Kjartan and it really works for them! But I have been having problems generating power from that particular stance. At Sport of Kings I watched and saw a lot of fighters start with a variety of guards – not just one. So I’m in the process of practicing, starting with my sword on my shoulder, basket hilt near my cheek. When I get that down and the basic techniques that I really need to learn, I can bring the An Tir high guard back into my toolbox. I was told there are some definite advantages to that guard.

In other news something ended up coming up this Monday and I did not make it to the 3M practice. 😦  And this Thursday will be out since I’m preparing for a big outdoor conference for work this weekend. So, the goal next week is Monday at 3M, Thursday practice at Fire Mountain Keep.

Since my Mom lives in Yakima, I’m thinking of once a month heading that way with my armor and fighting at the practices over that way.

I sent the measurements for my new leg armor to Sir Kerrigan. I thought you’d like to see the tooling of the winged horse that he will be doing for the legs. Even though leg armor is not period for my period (160s AD Greek/Roman), I wanted it to represent something from the period. So I found some very beautiful Greek vase artwork and Sir Kerrigan asked to do the following. I think it’s going to be so beautiful. And falls in line with my black horse theme:

With the help of a very nice lady, Khanzara, from a local Barony, I’ve found some more pictures of early period horse tack. This is what I want to do my Laurel studies on. Sir Johnathan and I had spoken of this and he thought it would be good.

Can you imagine creating something like this?

Scythian horse gear.

Earlier than my persona – but who is to say that it wasn’t kept and handed down through a generation of horse families? 🙂


About Livia Tasia

I love horses, fantasy, writing, the SCA, swordfighting, Mercedes Lackey.

Posted on September 14, 2011, in Heavy Fighting, SCA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dig the horse design… will look really sharp

  2. Thanks! Sir Kerrigan was pretty excited to do it. Can’t wait to see it!

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