I have been thinking about what I want from my HEMA practice and teaching, and I have set myself some new goals for 2020.
This year just past has been a reasonably good year for me personally, but I still found myself dissatisfied with some of the things I have been doing, to the extent that I haven’t been looking forward to some events, or I haven’t really enjoyed participating in certain activities. I managed to avoid taking any major injuries this year but I am growing increasingly concerned about traumatic brain injury and subconcussive blows.
So, my goals for 2020 are guidelines for myself, to avoid the sorts of things I don’t really want to be doing, and to help me prioritise the sorts of things I do in fact want to be doing.
The first and most important goal is that I want to move more. I want to integrate a greater quantity of movement into the various things that I do. I want to integrate a wider variety of movement into the various things that I do.
The same movement again and again is fine for repetitive drilling of a specific technique, but what else can I do with my body? Can I perform all of my techniques with a wider array of footwork? Can I challenge myself to move my whole body in different ways, so that I’m not overtraining one set of muscles while chronically undertraining others?
I do quite a lot of walking, every day or every other day. I teach HEMA between 2 and 6 hours most weeks, plus one or two weekend events every month on average. I have also taken up karate again, for one and a half hours a week (when I’m not away at a weekend event).
Is there another form of movement I can add into my life? Perhaps a different sport, something non-contact, that doesn’t use the same muscles as HEMA or karate? This is something I need to look into and find near where I live.
I want to indulge myself in more art this year. I want to enjoy more of the art that other people create, but I also want to create more art myself. I’d like to prioritise three forms of art that I can create: photography, movement, and music.
I quite enjoy photography. Taking photos of interesting situations and pretty scenes is good fun, and I’m getting better at it, which means I am enjoying it all the more. I would like to keep doing this and perhaps stretch myself to go and do photography in more places without swords present.
I would like to make more art with movement. Another way of phrasing this is that when I am moving, I want it to be joyful, beautiful, and a way of creating and expressing art. I hate ugly motions and strive to move correctly and with grace. But I’m going to take this a step further – if I don’t think I am going to enjoy a form of movement, and if I don’t think I can make it look beautiful, I’m going to refrain from it (unless I am starting to learn something, in which case, ungainly is perfectly fine at that stage). I’m going to prioritise activities and movements where I can create art in motion.
In terms of music, I used to play the flute regularly, but over the last few years I have fallen out of the habit of it. I haven’t picked up my flute in months, which is a shame. I want to change this over the coming year, and I want to spend more time on a weekly basis playing and recovering my skills, and perhaps even performing in some fashion to share my music with others. I think this will do a lot to help me relax and unwind from various stresses.
More passion from anger
I spend a lot of my time thinking rationally about things, coming up with diplomatic answers that won’t offend anyone. While this is a very good approach for some situations, I think other situations might develop faster and better if I inject a little more passion into my points of view.
So I intend to give in to my anger (and turn to the dark side, etc etc) from time to time and allow a little more passion to show through in my writing. I don’t want to stand for the status quo where the current situation is bad; I want to tackle the issue and make what positive changes I can, and displaying a little more emotion and anger may help me achieve this.
At the very least, experimenting with a bit more passion and anger will be interesting, after spending so many years striving to be as diplomatic as possible!
More movement, more art, and more passion from anger. These are my goals and guidelines for 2020, and I think it should give me a structured set of priorities to guide how I spend my time and energy during the year.
What do you want to do more of in the coming year to improve your life and the lives of those around you?
Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. I teach regularly at Liverpool HEMA, and help behind the scenes with running HEMA in Glasgow at the Vanguard Centre.