As you know, when we are learning at CCF, our classes typically have this structure:
- Explanation of the night’s theory. This can entail explaining the primary theme (what we are working on that night): sentiment du fer, refining the circular parries, maintaining opposition, etc. (There may also be a secondary theme or collateral issues to explain.)
- Demonstrate the motions.
- Provide opportunity for questions.
- Practice the drill.
- Review before disbanding for the evening or free fencing.
Whereas steps 1 and 2 are mostly the instructor’s responsibility, you are responsible for steps 3 and 4. Most importantly, in step 4, it is very important that you exhibit “drill discipline,” i.e., practice only what was given to you, without unauthorized elaborations or embellishments. (Note the qualifier: you can ask the instructor if you can experiment or, given your level of experience, ratchet up the complexity.)
Of course, to properly execute the drill, you must understand it. This is why step 3 is vital: you must have a clear picture in your head about what the drill is before starting the drill. If you don’t, there is a greater chance that, as you try to work it out while practicing, the drill will “drift” to something different from the instruction. This can be a disservice to you and your training partner. To avoid that, ask any questions to clarify what the drill is, how to execute it, etc.
So, going forward, recommit yourself to maintaining drill discipline.