A general overview of how an individual lesson is conducted follows:
- Coach welcomes fencer, asks after their fitness and if their have warmed up to find out if any actions need to be avoided. Type of lesson and content are confirmed, this might be coach driven (beginner/intermediate) or fencer driven (intermediate/advanced).
- Formal salute to start.
- Technical warm up of hand and foot movements is given. Coach assesses the mental and physical state of the fencer, important for pitching the lesson at the correct level. Any gross error in techniques are corrected. Consolidation of learning of last lesson’s topic checked. Lesson re-planned as necessary.
- Simple actions are practised, in standard conditions (at short distance initially) that will be used later in the lesson. First in repetitive block practice for each move, then one move after the other, over and over again, in serial practice. The aim is to increase the control of the movements and then to increase speed of movement.
- The same elements are now practised with the fencer having to accommodate varying distances. The first move is practised at increasing distances, then on to the next move at increasing distances until all moves have been covered. Then the moves can be practised in serial fashion starting at close (reposting) distance then short/medium (advance/step) distance, medium (lunge) distance and finally long (step-lunge) distance.
- The previously practised moves are now linked together in a logical order, as performed in a bout. See Tactical Wheels page for an understanding of how this is done.
- The coach can, at certain points in the ‘routine’, react in one of two ways requiring the pupils to choose what to do next. This is now a choice reaction exercise. More choices can be added as the pupil progresses to more advanced levels.
- Blade preparations (beat/pressure/bind/froissement/etc.) and a limited number of surprise actions by the coach are added to the routine. The target area can be artificially restricted at increase the challenge for more advanced pupils.
- The cool down section of the lesson is when the pace slows, actions are simplified back to those used at the beginning of the lesson. Control of movement is of utmost importance even if the pupil is reaching the limit of endurance. Objective is to leave the pupil with a sense of well being and achievement.
- Formal salute and a hand shake to finish. Brief summary by coach and any questions from pupil are covered. Goal setting for practice bouts before next lesson.
Practical considerations will govern if all or part of the structure is covered in a lesson and as well as the balance of activities.
A fencer should present themselves to the coach having already completed a general warm-up to the lesson can start without delay. This way the fencer makes the most of the opportunity and none of the coaches precious time is wasted while the fencer stretches etc.