During the Borgosesia Historical Fencing Meeting 2018 in the north of Italy, I did quite a lot of sparring with other participants. One of my sparring matches was with Enrico Campbello, and one of the people at the side of the hall was kind enough to film it for us.
When I teach at events, I feel it is important for me to make myself available for sparring with other participants. It keeps me honest, and makes sure that what I’m doing and teaching is relevant and functional, and it also gives event participants the opportunity to spar with someone they maybe don’t see very often.
I always like to demonstrate in sparring the sorts of things I have been teaching at the event, and to showcase that clean, technically correct fencing is effective in sparring.
I also like to challenge myself that when I put on my sparring gear, I keep it on and do as much sparring as I physically can. I remember that when I used to practise karate, it was not unusual to spend two or even three hours sparring, virtually non-stop. That was easy at the age of 18, wearing only a gi! Now that I’m a bit older, and when wielding a sword further out from the body and wearing all the protective gear for HEMA, it is much more difficult to keep going non-stop! And therefore it is healthy for me to push myself so that I don’t become complacent with only short bouts and plenty of rest in between.
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