My goals for 2019

sparring with singlesticks
Keith Farrell and Thomas Sylvester sparring with singlesticks. Photo by Daria Izdebska, 2018.

Since the new year is upon us, I’d like to set myself some goals for 2019. I could do that quietly and privately, but I want to try and give myself a little public accountability, to make sure I actually get these things done!

Fencing: do more singlestick & broadsword

Over the last year, I have been training mostly longsword, which has led to some significant improvements in my longsword fencing. I have taught broadsword and singlestick at a few events (in Birmingham, Belfast, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cork, Boston, and Gothenburg), but I feel that I’m becoming rather rusty at the actual fencing with these swords.

Since I rather object to losing skills once I have built them, I think it is time to address that rustiness! I’ll be seeking out more opportunities to play with broadsword and singlestick over the year. Hopefully I’ll be able to up my game again without losing any of my longsword skills at the same time.

Competition: participate in at least two competitions

I had meant to participate in a couple of competitions this year, but for various reasons, I ended up not doing so. It meant that my 2018 was quite relaxed, without any competitive stress, and without even having to do much judging or admin related to tournaments.

However, I fear that if I allow this state of affairs to continue, I’ll find myself falling into complacency, and will find it increasingly difficult to leave my comfort zone. So, all being well, I’ll be competing at least a couple of times in 2019. If I can add a few more medals to the collection, that will be shiny, but I mainly want to force myself into action at a higher level of intensity so that I don’t become complacent.

Teaching: teach at fewer international events

This year was a bit mental in terms of the number of weekend events at which I taught, over too short a space of time. Between FightCamp in August and Swordfish in November I taught at 9 weekend events in the space of 12 weeks. This left me physically and mentally drained – and in quite a lot of pain due to all the travelling via airports, planes, trains, and the inevitable delays.

Three years ago, I attended 37 weekend events in the year. Two years ago, I brought that down to about 30. Last year, I brought it down to about 25, and this year was about 25 again, although many of them happened in a single short period. Quite frankly, it is too many for my own health, and I’m going to need to bring down that number further.

So my goal for 2019 is to teach at no more than one international event per month, unless I really want to attend a second for whatever reason, and will try and reduce the total number of weekend events to fewer than 20. I need to start looking after my own health a bit more seriously, and the travelling to and from events is a major problem.

Research: publish some of my own writing

I feel that over the last couple of years, although I have been writing many articles for my website, and although I have been involved in many book projects through Fallen Rook Publishing, I haven’t really done much of my own research, or any serious publication of the work that I have managed to do.,

Therefore, I want to bring out another of my own books, full of my own original research and writing, at some point during 2019. I have quite a lot of stuff written in draft form, and in various stages of readiness, I just need to focus on it for a while and turn it into a complete draft manuscript.

If I’m attending fewer events, and spending fewer days travelling, then this should help immensely with the amount of writing that I can do!

And you?

What are your HEMA and HEMA-related goals for the coming year?