Terrible pun aside, 5 members of Taunton Longsword Association (TLA) made the short trip up the M5 and M4 to attend an informal, open sparring session hosted by Jake Virtus of the Virtus Sword School (Bath, Bradford-Upon-Avon, Cardiff, Newnham).
It is the opinion of all experienced practitioners of any martial art, that those serious about their art can only progress so far within the comfort of their own club. No matter how much variation and skill is practiced, it is well known that clubs often (and completely unconsciously) have their own traits and popular attacks/reposte. It is only by visiting other clubs and fighting other practitioners that skills can be tested, foibles uncovered, and the step to ‘the next level’ is taken.
And so, Martin, Mark, Josh, Tom, and Kieran drove up to the leisure centre in Bath to see how our own club skills would stack up in the face of real competition from proven swordsmen. Over the two hour session, everyone engaged in combat, with the steel longsword being the favoured weapon of choice.
During the drive back the usual post-combat analysis was undertaken (interspersed with diversions into the richness of India Medieval Literature, Historical Ethiopian Kings, and the sheer size of the Battle of Grunwald). Although biased, we decided that the TLA had made a good showing and had certainly not disgraced itself – reassuring considering these early public steps!
For those in the club young and aspirational enough to seek to train for national competitions, focus now, join in on inter-club visits and test yourself against other club fighters at every opportunity.
Thank you to Jake Virtus and the regulars at the Bath Sparring Group – a friendly bunch of chaps – we look forward to visiting again!