Day Five Thoughts
Material Covered: Review and develop approaching parries, and why they aren't a good default. We added approaching parries against people that don't have the same dominant hand. The post-lunch section was full of material: we reviewed three classes of defences (exiting parries, avoidance by distance, and approaching parries), learned specific footwork for being trapped against a wall, learned one more technique for fighting against multiple opponents, and wrapped up by learning a super-cool spinning attack.
Initial Thoughts: It's all over! Somehow we managed to go all five days without any serious injuries. That said, there were a lot of knuckles rapped, and a few old knee injuries that were aggravated by well-placed strikes. Also, a number of us (myself include) found that there was a very special ache to the inside knee after a week of low stance and rapid direction changes.
There'll be a certain amount of mental digestion required before I really know what I've learned and what I want to do with all of the information. A lot of this is going to be incorporated in my practice of striking weapons (sidesword and longsword), and I'm definitely interested in keeping up the stickfighting skills. Whether or not it'll take the form of a smaller study group or a more formal class has yet to be seen, but with more than a dozen of us in the course it shouldn't be too hard to find a training partner, at least.
In the end, my body held up far better than I'd expected, in no small part, I don't doubt, to the strength training I've been doing for the last year and a half. There were moments of sometimes significant mental fatigue, but overall I was able to stay engaged and active the whole time (when I wasn't taping up replacement staffs). By the end of the week my body had mostly adapted to the high training volume, including the fairly high intensity that we maintained throughout each session (with the exception of the aforementioned sore knee, which I suspect requires just a bit of dedicated loosening/stretching until the tissues have had a chance to adapt to the new stresses). I am sorely tempted to figure out a way to get in five hours of training a day if at all possible.
Now to get to work on a bigger, beefier review of the whole thing, including Luis' teaching methods and a report on the coaching certification course that was also offered (which I, of course, signed up for as well).