Four Years with HSS: 2018 in review
Another year has come and gone, and now we are celebrating the fourth birthday of Houston Sword Sports. It’s been a busy year with a lot of growth, and we are so proud of the work the club has accomplished. Take a look back with us at 2018, as we look forward to even more great stuff in 2019!
A quick overview
This year we added four new after-school programs: Saint Mary of the Purification Catholic School, Saint Cecilia Catholic School, The Post Oak School, and Mark Twain Elementary. We had four coaches go on to bigger and better things: Lauren Baker, Evan Register, Michael Dudey, and Caroline Dikibo. We also hired four new coaches: Brian Toffelmire, Julia Fowler, Hayley Gillen, and Nick Negron. We hosted six tournaments – twice as many as we hosted in 2017. Our fencers also attended more tournaments and traveled farther than they had before. Our classes and membership numbers are growing. Here are just some of our adventures from 2018.
January 27: Fencing with the Girl Scouts
February 17: Third Annual Brash Brewery Bash
March 17-18: St. Patrick’s Day Tournament
April 13: Coach Caroline’s Last Day
April 28: Oscar Woolnough at the Wheelchair World Cup
May 12: Spring School Championships
June 18: EnPointe Wireless Strip
Summer 2018: Summer Camps
August 18: Fete de Lune
September 14: First Nerd Night
September 5: Demo at HCC Stafford
September 29: South Texas Challenge
October 11: Diana Caitlin Mayerich born
October 20-21: The Swiss Open
December 1: Fall School Championships
December 16: Eureka Heights Invitational
On to 2019!
This Spring we’ve added two more schools for a total of 12, and we’re planning to add even more in the Fall. We’re also adding more summer camps in more locations. We hope you’ll make Houston Sword Sports a big part of your 2019, too.
School Championship December 2018 Results and Pictures/0 Comments/by Carl Hawley
Light Saber Combat: Houston’s Jedi in Training
Fencers, by and large, are a nerdy bunch. We all have our own theories about why this is, some of which are flattering (you have to be clever!) and some less so. Whatever the reason, it’s definitely true at Houston Sword Sports. Our members include the owners of a local gaming shop, the head of a Cosplay company, and gamers of various stripes.
You could say that we are pretty into Star Wars, too.
We really wanted to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We know that these movies in particular have brought a lot of people to fencing – it’s about as close as you can get to being a Jedi in this galaxy. So, we decided to let people fully unleash their inner padawan learners and create their own light saber fights. On the Friday before Episode VIII’s release, we hosted a Light Saber Combat class!
Episode 1: The Younglings
Our first class was open to kids ages 6-12, or more appropriately, the Younglings. About half of the kids in the group had never tried fencing of any kind before, so we started out with some movement exercises. A big difference between fencing and stage combat is that in fencing we rarely move side-to-side, but in stage combat we move in many different directions. In the picture above, the group works on moving side-to-side and forward and backward smoothly.
We don’t have welding helmets and little bots that shoot blasters at you, but we do have fencing masks. While our training sabers are a) not lasers and b) soft and padded, it still isn’t great to get hit in the face with one, so we made the kids wear masks. When we first handed out the sabers, we had them all work while spread out so they could swing the weapons around without worrying about hitting or being hit.
Next, we taught the kids how to attack each other and defend themselves. In stage combat, practicality isn’t as much of an issue as it is in sport fencing, so we could teach some of the less-used parries like the one above, the saber version of parry 6, also known as “the coaches’ parry” (because only coaches use it).
Once we’d given them the basic building blocks of the scene, it was time to start writing their own fight sequences. Here, we divided them into pairs and they began working on their fights together.
At the end of the class, the kids put on little skits with the choreography they’d worked on. Here’s one of our favorites:
Episode 2: Padawan Learners
Our teen/adult class was smaller than the youth class, and some of the students were a little old to be called padawans, but then so were Anakin and Luke. We followed a similar format, but were able to go more in-depth because the participants had more fencing experience.
Two of the guys had a head start, in that they’d studied several of the fights in the movies ahead of time to get an idea of what they wanted to do. They were able to put together this fight, which was definitely the highlight of the evening.
In all, we had a great time running this class, and the participants had a great time too. If you missed out, we’ll be doing stage combat for the afternoon session of our youth winter camp on December 29. Click here to learn more and sign up!