Long sword workshop for teens and a little reflection

Our group was invited by a school to provide a workshop in swordfighting for three groups, in total 75 kids.
They had a medieval themed day at their school, and they had special classes all day, and swordfighting was one of them.
It was a very popular class as we were told by the teachers they had a maximum 25 students per class and all our classes were full.
This makes me a happy camper!
Swordfighting deserves to be the popular thing to do!

We were with three of our group to teach the kids.
We started off, explaining what HEMA was, what our group trains, who we are, what a sword is,  followed by a short warming-up.
After that they were explained the dangers of a sword, they had nylons but still it is a weapon and can still break fingers, bruise or give you a bad headache.

After that the real swordfighting started and they needed a base to work with.
Here comes the pflugh, shoulder vom tag and the right oberhau.
After they trained and perfected this, they also got a left oberhau to play with and to give them a good feel about balance and footwork.

From here we introduced some more fun techniques to work with.

Simple things like a krumphau followed by a hit to the chest of an arm.
Of course we explained that in ‘real’ or tournament situations you probably would go for the head.
since this was not safe we let them use schoulder as targets for the oberhau and chest for follow up techniques.

We had them do several of techniques before the time ran out.
Time really flies when you have fun!
When I prepared the lesson I was afraid that I wouldn’t have enough material to go through and now I had lots of fun stuff left.

To close of the lesson we did a small choreographed fight that included some of the techniques they learned so they could recognize them.
And then it was already time to stop the lesson.

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The kids enjoyed the workshop and we have seen kids with potential.
We pointed them to clubs in the area that start training from 16 and above ( these kids were 14/15) in the hope they find there way there.
That they will become a next generation of swordfighters.

I’m a very happy girl.

For me personal this was also a good day.
( A bit of a personal reflection here)

In the past I dealt with performance anxiety, bad self-esteem, and lots of stress before a presentation.
I would get physically sick to my stomach and have trouble sleeping the days before.
I would freeze up and have a black-out in front of the class, and just babbling nonsense.
I would get upset with myself and talk myself down, and that didn’t make it any better.
At some point it was so bad I had to run from class after a presentation because I had the feeling I had to trow up.

I came a long way since then, even though I really hated presentations I always pushed myself doing them anyway.
When I started with Noorderwind, I had the chance to do a lot of public performances, even teaching.
I would be OK, apart from some normal stress because it was more of a groups’ effort and that would make me feel more comfortable doing it. The group helped me overcome a lot by their friendship, accepting me the way I was, and just being there for each other.

Another thing that really helps, HEMA and our shows are something I’m really passionate about.
It helps a lot if you can do and explain something you really love.

When I got more prominent spotlight time, I got more nervous again.
Luckily there were people reminding me that, if they thought I wasn’t able to do this I would not have gotten this part.
They were believing me, so why wasn’t I believing myself?
Sometimes a little motivation and love is all you need.

When I volunteered for these workshops I hadn’t thought that I would be the main trainer so that stressed me out for some days.This was for the second time only I was the main trainer, the time before there had been another person around that had the trainer experience to help and correct me. This time it was me and two assistents. SCARY SHIT!
But I got reminded again, If they didn’t think you can do it, why would they select you to do it?
So I got my act back together. (with some help, I have to admit but I have the best BF ever)

So I prepared, I wrote down what I wanted to do, made a plan , shared it with the others and I wasn’t nervous anymore! (well not noticeable anyway)

First workshop I still was a bit searching for the right words, the second and third workshop were more smooth.
Still I know I can change some things we did, or I would do it different next time. but I learn too.
I had great help from the two that were with me, they were awesome, it helps to be with people that are supportive as well.
So it is also a big thanks to them.

In the end I survived, crossing off another checkpoint on my to do list.
Leaving me happy and all bouncy.
extremely bouncy.

Now I can get nervous again for the next big thing. *grin*
But it is now a more healthy nervousness, the on that prepares you to excel!
I won’t say I won the war with performance anxiety and bad self esteem but at least I won this battle.



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