Our main concept for learning a martial art like Historical European Fencing is that there are three levels of learning or stages of education, which build one on top of the other:
We recommend that you stick with this sequence at least approximately - although sometimes it can of course be fun to do things for which one is not quite ready yet (as long as you are careful).
Accordingly, the instructional Sword-fighting Videos at our website can be broken down into three categories:
1. Basics : These exercises isolate individual technical aspects. Part of these are simplified sequences from the second category (i.e. Techniques), while part are moves that are only implicitly described in the sources, such as displacing/interception (Versetzen). Exercises from this first category are practiced to train the basic abilities that are required for the second category. The basic abilities start with necessary flexibility and coordination, but also include footwork, plus feeling distance and time. This is why it typically makes sense, even for advanced fencers, to continue practicing exercises from this category.
2. Techniques : These are of course techniques that are explicitly described and recommended in the original fencing manuals / fight-books (Fechtbuecher). Often, these techniques are highly complex and require command of several basic abilities to be carried out correctly. You practice techniques from this category in order to use them successfully in your fighting.
3. Application : These are exercises involving decisions, where you must choose one appropriate technique from a pool of techniques. Often one fencer is building certain situations in random order, and so the other fencer must come up with the correct counter-technique at the proper time and place. So this may involve not only technical skill but also tactical thinking.