Its tough for any kind of martial arts school right now, and the lightsaber combat community is no exception. COVID-19 has put any sort of group training or competition on pause, including here at Ithaca Sabers. If there is a silver-lining to the current situation, it is that many of us now have abundant time for personal practice. Daily personal practice is something that we should all be doing all of the time (I recommend at-least 20 minutes, but an hour is much better). It is the foundation for any sort of progress in a fighting art. Still, things fall through the cracks, we rely too much on our weekly group classes, and now lots of people are playing catch-up.
I suspect that we are about to enter a golden age of solo-practice within the broader martial arts community. Students have more time than ever and instructors are putting material on-line in volumes that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago. In the last few weeks I have started following detailed courses in everything from Qigong to English military sabre. The Terra Prime Light Armory is even starting a series of free Facebook Live classes on Saturdays at 1:30, and Ithaca Sabers has been doing virtual meet-ups on Monday evenings during our regular class times. If you are looking for new material to explore during your solo-training sessions, you are spoiled for options. Signing up for some of the paid classes can also be a great way to support local martial arts schools during a very difficult time.
Still, on-line learning presents both challenges and opportunities. If you regularly train at a club and have already nailed down your basics, you will be in a good position to interpret and glean critical insights from these sorts of discussions. If you are just starting off, any sort of distance learning can be more challenging. But no matter who you are, this is like a good moment to ask, “What can I really expect to learn from an on-line class?”
This video from TPLA Headquarters is here to help you sort that out!