In this announcement about our Saturday sessions, I have some bad news but also some good news:
- we will be stopping our weekly Saturday afternoon sessions.
- instead, we will begin running monthly sparring sessions!
Why are we doing this?
Although the loss of the weekend training sessions is a shame, it has been getting harder to keep them running. The turnout has often been quite small, but this and the finances are actually the least important parts of the decision.
Much more important is acknowledging to myself that by running these sessions every weekend, we haven’t really done anything else at weekends – largely because I am always busy with these sessions and haven’t had any time to put my mind towards organising anything else.
By dropping the weekly Saturday sessions, I will get back quite a lot of time for thinking and for planning other activities. And one of the first and easiest things that we can do with the newly opened-up time is to reinstate the monthly sparring days. Although I do try to make time at the end of every session for some structured sparring, it is always beneficial to have some unstructured playtime where anyone can work on whatever it is that they want to focus on.
And furthermore, by reducing my own teaching workload and having the opportunity to do some unstructured sparring on a monthly basis, I will be a bit less tired, and will be more likely to join in and keep my own skills sharp!
We began running Sunday sessions outdoors in April 2021, to comply with the government’s Covid rules at the time. Even after we were allowed back into the hall for indoor training on Wednesday evenings, we kept the outdoor sessions throughout the summer. We changed from Sundays to Saturdays in September 2021, as this allowed us to move the weekend sessions indoors as the weather began to change for the worse. So it has been a little over two years of making sure these sessions could run every single weekend.
The weekend sessions have been a great opportunity for people to come along and try out the club, with several of our current members having come first to a weekend session. The shorter session length has also been good for many people while still developing the physicality necessary for longer training sessions. It will be a shame to lose such an accessible opportunity for beginners to get involved with the club and with our sport.
But everything involves trade-offs, and running these sessions over the last two years has been taking it out of me, leaving me without the time I need to be able to think about other things that would also benefit the club. So by closing this door, other doors will open, the first of which is of course the opportunity run monthly sparring days again. And rest assured, there will be other things happening, now that I will have time to plan and get things organised!
When will all this happen?
I am still discussing the matter of bookings with the venue manager. The plan that I have proposed is as follows:
- Sat 24 June – running as normal from 1-2pm
- Sat 1 July – running as normal from 1-2pm, our final regular weekly session
- Sat 8 July – cancelled, no more regular weekly sessions
- Sat 15 July – the first of our monthly sparring sessions, from 1-3pm
- Sat 22 July – no session
- Sat 29 July – no session
- Sat 19 August – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 16 September – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 14 October – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 11 November – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 9 December – December Swording event, from 1-5pm
- Sat 13 January 2024 – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 10 February – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 19 March – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 13 April – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 11 May – sparring session from 1-3pm
- Sat 8 June – sparring session from 1-3pm
All of these dates and times are still subject to change as I negotiate with the venue manager – I present them here so that you have a sense of what the upcoming calendar might look like.
As soon as I have a confirmation of all the various dates, I will update the dates page with all the details.
How much will the sparring sessions cost?
Because the session will last for two hours, it will cost the same as the Wednesday evening session: currently £13.
For people who pay monthly, however, the cost of the monthly sparring session will be included in the £50 fee that you pay – as long as your membership is also up-to-date! Having up-to-date membership means having up-to-date insurance, and that’s something I want everyone to have for sparring sessions. Buying the annual membership will cost less than attending and paying for two sparring sessions, so there is definitely a big saving if you sign yourself up for membership and let us get your insurance sorted out.