Summer 2016 News

Summer Training Schedule

The Tampere scheduling authorities were kind to us this year; all dedicated training sessions are two hours long, and in Sali 1 (aka the big room) of Tampere Stadium. In keeping with the combination of Armizare material, we will now have two general Armizare sessions per week to cover all the material! Remember, your progression is in your hands. If you can only make one of these sessions per week, that’s fine. You’ll still be able to progress training only once per week like you were before… now you just have the opportunity to double it. The open training time on Sunday is only an hour long, but it’s going to be Summer, we can and will probably do extra training outside.

Having two-hour sessions has been on our wish list for a long time! With our extended time, we’ll be adding a few toys to our warmup sessions (like agility ladders and medicine balls)… you can expect a slightly longer, more complete workout, but less brutally intense in pace than the condensed one we’ve had to do so far. It also means warmup, instruction, drilling, and free play can all fit in the same lesson without conflict.

Tuesday 19:00-21:00 Armizare
Friday 17:30-19:30 Armizare
Sunday 13:00-15:00 I.33
Sunday 15:00-16:00 Open Training

Armizare Curriculum Guides

As promised in our last news post, pdf guides have been posted for ranks within the Armizare curriculum in the new Downloads section of our site, up there in the navigation bar.

For the time being, we will ALL (including myself) be starting at the rank of Apprendista. For the first year or so this system is in place, we will assess and allow people to rank up a little more often. In this way, the people who already have significant training will move forward in rank faster than those without, but will still have the familiarity of having gone through our curriculum and avoiding gaps where it might differ from what they learned before.

The board and instruction committee are still developing how exactly rank advancement will be done, but we have a good working model, so it won’t take long.

In case you missed it last time, or need a reminder from the original post explaining what these are:

Tampere HEMA has long structured its ranks on the medieval academic system of Scholar, Free Scholar, Provost, and Master at Arms, with the common modern day addition of the Novice in the beginning, and the acknowledgement that we won’t grant the rank of Master at Arms as we have no surviving Master at Arms to judge one. The rank of novice is a trial period of about three months; the basic beginner course time. Next comes the scholar, a period of 3-4 years of study… followed by the free scholar, who has for the most part grown beyond learning from an instructor and must begin to evolve on his own.

We’ve chosen to insert a series of sub-ranks during those years of training as a scholar. It’s important to understand that ranks in our club confer no authority or aplomb beyond the camaraderie you build with your peers; they are instead a tool we can use to measure our progression. Your rank determines what your instructor expects you to know, what they should teach you next, and how your performance will be measured. By understanding your rank and where you stand within the curriculum, you’ll be able to see the path in front of you. When you train alone, or without an instructor, or while he or she is busy, you’ll know what you should be working on. You’ll be able to look at the curriculum guide for your rank and immediately determine what you should be learning, and in turn your instructor will know exactly how best to aid your development. Regardless of how quickly or slowly you choose to progress, how many breaks you take or days you train, you won’t be held back or left behind. Curriculum guides for each rank will be available soon, and we’ll start operating under them in the Summer.

 


Summer is Coming…

A lot has happened since the last post! News travels fast in our club, especially with most of it spreading through the Facebook group. There’s a lot of reasons we should keep up these website updates, though. So let me bring you up to date…

Poleaxe Seminar on May 15th

Tuukka Pääkkönen of Turku Historical Fencing Society (THMS) has graciously offered us a seminar in his weapon of choice, the poleaxe, in reciperocation for the i.33 seminar we ran there a few months ago. The date is set for May 15th, and will be held in our usual training venue, Tampere Stadium’s Sali 1, at 13:30. The seminar is expected to last approximately 3 hours. While Tuukka’s interpretation is primarily based on Armizare, material from German and other sources will be included for the sake of completeness. Training weapons will be provided for 20 attendees, and this is also the maximum we expect the room to hold! Information will be announced on Facebook soon concerning how to register for the event, as space is limited. Extra spaces will be offered to surrounding clubs a few weeks before the event. There is no cost for this seminar. Thanks THMS!

The International Armizare Society

We’re proud to announce that we’ve joined the newly founded IAS as one of the first few affiliate clubs. Their website does a better job of explaining who they are than I could do here. In short, three of the most respected and long-standing Armizare instructors in the US (including my own former instructor) have made their many years of cooperation official. They’ve formed an international hub for Armizare practitioners to provide a common ground for discussion, instruction, and even upper-rank certification, for those who are interested in internationally-recognized qualifications. They’ve gathered a bevy of reputable instructors to their cause as advisors and contributors. We at Tampere HEMA look forward to many years of cooperation and mutual benefit as members of the IAS, as we further develop and spread the Art. This news goes hand in hand with…

Armizare Curriculum Update

The formation of the the IAS was well-timed; it provided me a body of advice in my pursuit of creating a detailed, written curriculum for our Armizare program. Why? Well, that’s explained in the next news topic… but let me lay this out first:

Our quality of instruction has been good enough, so far, to grow as we have. The earliest generations of novice HEMAists in our club have demonstrated that by evolving into competent fighters. Still, there is always improvement to be found; a more systematic approach, a more natural progression, or a better way of demonstrating. The new Armizare curriculum is all of these; a collection of improvements and advice gathered since we began, along with the results of some trial and error. What is taught, how it’s taught, and when… those are all going to be simply better organized, but require a lot of background information to explain why. What you really need to know are two things:

Armizare as One Art

Over the last two years, we’ve held seasonal training sessions in the dagger and unarmed techniques of Armizare, as time allowed… when we had the right time slots available from our training venue. The truth of the system, though, is that everything is intertwined; the techniques and body mechanics of Maestro Fiore’s system are deeply integrated with each other between weapons, in armor and without. We’ve grown established enough to expect reliable training schedules and adequate time to explore the system as a whole, so from now on, there won’t be any seperation between these sections. Instead of Longsword day and Dagger day, we will simply have two Armizare days including both, plus the sword in one hand and polearm material when appropriate. So what’s appropriate and how is the time divided? Well…

Progression by Ranks

Tampere HEMA has long structured its ranks on the medieval academic system of Scholar, Free Scholar, Provost, and Master at Arms, with the common modern day addition of the Novice in the beginning, and the acknowledgement that we won’t grant the rank of Master at Arms as we have no surviving Master at Arms to judge one. The rank of novice is a trial period of about three months; the basic beginner course time. Next comes the scholar, a period of 3-4 years of study… followed by the free scholar, who has for the most part grown beyond learning from an instructor and must begin to evolve on his own.

We’ve chosen to insert a series of sub-ranks during those years of training as a scholar. It’s important to understand that ranks in our club confer no authority or aplomb beyond the camaraderie you build with your peers; they are instead a tool we can use to measure our progression. Your rank determines what your instructor expects you to know, what they should teach you next, and how your performance will be measured. By understanding your rank and where you stand within the curriculum, you’ll be able to see the path in front of you. When you train alone, or without an instructor, or while he or she is busy, you’ll know what you should be working on. You’ll be able to look at the curriculum guide for your rank and immediately determine what you should be learning, and in turn your instructor will know exactly how best to aid your development. Regardless of how quickly or slowly you choose to progress, how many breaks you take or days you train, you won’t be held back or left behind. Curriculum guides for each rank will be available soon, and we’ll start operating under them in the Summer.

The scholar period will consist of four ranks, taken from Fiore’s treatise: Apprendista (Apprentice), Giocatore (Player), Compagno (Companion), and Scolaro (Scholar).

The Instructors’ Committee

One of the first acts of the 2016 board of directors was to instate an “Instructors’ Committee”. The concept is quality control; we’ve made great strides, and as our membership grows and veteran students emerge, we can reach greater heights of training efficiency and interpretive quality. Headed by I.33 instructor Marine, this small committee will concern itself with the quality of instruction, completeness of curricula, and teaching skills of instructors. New instructors or courses will first be expected to present a curriculum and their qualifications (or a sample lesson to show some teaching skills), and they’ll be approved, disapproved, or offered feedback.

This news comes with consequences! Current instructors (even those in the committee) are asked to present an official curriculum before Summer and submit to the same review process. It doesn’t effect most of our members in the very short term, but in the long run, this review of how we do things is bound to bring about positive changes in the structure of lessons, and how we teach new members. The Armizare curriculum comes as a part of this process; the first committee-approved and peer-reviewed upgrade.

Summer 2016 Schedule & 2-Hour Sessions

The Tampere scheduling authorities were kind to us this year; all dedicated training sessions are two hours long, and in Sali 1 (aka the big room) of Tampere Stadium. In keeping with the combination of Armizare material, we will now have two general Armizare sessions per week to cover all the material! Remember, your progression is in your hands. If you can only make one of these sessions per week, that’s fine. You’ll still be able to progress training only once per week like you were before… now you just have the opportunity to double it. The open training time on Sunday is only an hour long, but it’s going to be Summer, we can and will probably do extra training outside.

Having two-hour sessions has been on our wish list for a long time! With our extended time, we’ll be adding a few toys to our warmup sessions (like agility ladders and medicine balls)… you can expect a slightly longer, more complete workout, but less brutally intense in pace than the condensed one we’ve had to do so far. It also means warmup, instruction, drilling, and free play can all fit in the same lesson without conflict.

Tuesday 19:00-21:00 Armizare
Friday 17:30-19:30 Armizare
Sunday 13:00-15:00 I.33
Sunday 15:00-16:00 Open Training

No More Attendance Calendar? No More Back Seat Armory?

We gave it a long try, but the attendance calendar wasn’t seeing much use. Since we haven’t had any alternative ideas that we think will be more reliable, we’ve removed commenting altogether. The instructors would appreciate it if you dropped them a text or message on Facebook the day before the lesson, so they know whether or not to expect you. The calendar is still there, and has been updated with our Summer schedule. You might be wondering how you request loaner equipment, then…

At long last, we’ve managed to reserve one of the large storage closets at Tampere Stadium for (most of) our club gear. Consequently, there’s no need to request loaner equipment unless it’s something large and unusual, like polearms (which we are working on).

I told you a lot’s happened lately.


Club-Wide Fall Meeting

This Saturday, we had our club-wide Fall meeting. A good time was had by all, especially those who stayed after for good food and a few drinks (and they mostly all made it to practice the next day!). For those people who missed it, here are some of the highlights:

The club has selected Jaakko Ala-Mikkula as our chairman for next year, beginning from January 1st. Boardmembers will include Otto Lehtonen, Marine Lemuaeb, Ilkka Niemi, and Mike Bernstein. “Action Inspectors” (toiminantarkistajat) will be Tytti Leiwo and Antti Palosaari.

Our goals for the next year include watching out for an opportunity to get our own space, or a shared space with another group. We’ve got prospects in that regard, but we’ll see what pans out. We plan to slow down on equipment orders in favor of saving for our space and any renovation needs. We would also like to host our first event in 2016, most likely a weekend seminar for starters. Though it’s been on the horizon for some time, we’ll be switching soon (to be announced) to accepting club dues in blocks of 3 months only. This fits well with our curriculum and rank structure.

We’ve approved our first shirt and poster designs (minor edits to be made to the poster concerning contact methods)…

Despite a lot of design ideas, in the end, simplicity was preferred for our first shirts. We can add to it later… better than trying to subtract a poor design choice.Thanks go to Tytti for designing the poster, and I’m fairly sure that’s Otto modeling for us.

Announcements were also made:

  • The club is making it’s next large equipment order in approximately two weeks. We’ll be ordering from Blackfencer, Rautaportti, and SPES. If you need anything, order with us and we’re paying the shipping costs. The deadline is November 6th.
  • An addition to our website and overall club presence is planned in the form of a wiki “study guide” that will include video demonstrations of drills and techniques as we use them, with a particular focus on providing tools for members, especially beginners, to practice their skills outside of training sessions, especially solo. Talk to me if you’re interested in contributing.

Thanks for your time.