Tuesday, April 26, 2011

After Action Report from Bartitsu Classes at Oklahoma Steampunk Expo

Marc Adkins had originally made contact with the folks running this event with a suggestion of offering Barttisu related programming. My wife and I thought it would be interesting to take a road trip to Oklahoma City, even though it is a good 15 hour drive from northern Illinois, so we sent in our volunteer application at Marc's request.

Unfortunately, Marc had a major life crisis and had to back out of organizing the programming. By this time a friend of ours had also pitched in to attend the event and had paid for two vendor tables. I then set out to make contact with someone at the event to offer some Bartitsu related classes.

To say the least I was under whelmed by the communications from the event staff. Just about a month before the event I made contact with one of the staff for the event and came to an agreement to offer two class, one on pugilism and one on Vigny's cane. Then just a week before the event another staff member contacted me about the scheduling for the event. She had only been told about one class. She, however, was very prompt in getting both classes on the schedule.

When I arrived at the event I found that the only information about programming was a poorly reproduced and hard to read printout of an Excel file. Both of my classes were scheduled on Saturday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Marc had made contact with me and turned up as I was getting organized for the first class. No one turned up to participate in the class, the one on pugilism.

I later heard, quite by accident, that at some point during the morning the event staff had pushed the schedule back by an hour. By this time it was too late to find out if anyone had turned up at the later hour for the pugilism class.

I decided to shift gears and put a little bit of pugilism and Vigny cane. in the afternoon class. Marc and I had eight interested parties turn out for the afternoon class. I started with a short introduction about Barttisu and then started in on the pugilism section of the class.

I had time to teach the left lead and rear hand punch. Then showed a simple defense with the rear hand to the left lead by extending the rear arm out to catch the lead hand punch as it came toward the face. I finished the pugilism part of the class by showing a block of the lead hand punch with a rear arm elbow to the lead hand and then come over the lead hand and strike to the nose witha "chopper" (a back fist strike.)

We then moved on to the Vigny stick portion of the class. I showed both the offensive and defensive guards and had the students practice moulinets from both stances. I then taught the No. 2 Vigny defense while in the Rear/defensive guard and the No 4 defense when you only have a light stick.

With about 15 minutes left to the hour class time I showed some locks and throws from pugilism and referred to jujutsu throws. I got some good questions from the group of students and several of them talked to Marc after the class or took my business card.

We were selling both Bartitsu volumes at our vendor table and sold several copies of each.

Once again this proves how difficult it is to organize programming for an event at a distance where you can not talk directly to the event staff. I certainly will not plan on going back to this event if it is offered again by the same staff.