Today, it is wonderful to say that Liverpool HEMA celebrates our 6-year anniversary of being open.
For a change, there is nothing to say about Covid in this anniversary update! The club has been open and running without any interruptions this year. With two sessions a week, we have had more than 100 training sessions since our last anniversary. The people who have attended all (or at least, most!) of these sessions are showing their increased skill and expertise in every way.
Of course, it has been a difficult year for me, with the birth of my daughter, and then finding out exactly why people say that having a child is hard work! But throughout the whole time, I have had this tremendous group of friends who seem to like nothing better than turning up and playing with swords, who have given me so much encouragement and compassion over the year, and – perhaps most importantly – who have given me a good excuse to be able to get out of the house at least once or twice a week!
The friendliness that we have at the club is something I treasure greatly. Whenever I’m at the club, I am surrounded by smiling faces, by people saying positive things to build each other up, by people who work tirelessly to help each other become a little bit better every single week. It is a restorative experience no matter how difficult my day has been and I always come home smiling.
Having such a superb club culture is something that takes a lot of work to establish and then to maintain. It was a very deliberate choice when I opened the club back in 2017 that THIS was how I wanted the club to feel. I didn’t want a hard-hitting high-intensity club, I didn’t want a laid back “social club”, I didn’t want a club full of individuals pulling in different directions – I wanted a club where people could come to have fun, to learn good fencing, where they could feel safe and welcome and both challenged and relaxed at the same time. Over the years, I have enjoyed it very much myself, and over this last year, it has been my lifeline during some very difficult moments.
So I would like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who has come along and played with swords with us over the last year, to everyone who has smiled or cracked a joke, and I look forward to spending another year surrounded by such fine people.