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Klassisches Fechten Soest is interested in developing real-time internet joint training sessions (video/audio) with groups in other parts of the world, especially the USA. Soest is six hours ahead of EST, and so timing raises issues in addition to technical ones. We have not yet worked out all the technical problems (only one of our venues, a public lakeside park, is a wireless “hotspot”), but we do have the hardware to make the attempt. It would take some time to get an interactive series of exchanges together. Language is not a problem.
Right now, we work only with French foil within a highly structured two-year curriculum. We think it is important to constructively share ideas, different perspectives on technique, and training methods. Because we have been described here in Germany by others as “the only classical fencing school” in the country ( http://www.my-lands.de/index.php?linkli … lderID=246 ), our fencers need exposure to as many different groups elsewhere as we can manage. KFS is all of one year old; all its fencers are beginners. To gain exposure to more advanced practitioners is vital, especially since a big part of our mission is to recruit beginners—they are the future of fencing--and develop traditional skills to the best of our abilities. We are not iterested in being a self-referential group, and another part of our mission is to promote a real "public sphere" among fencers. We can and want to always be able to learn from others and hope we have something to offer, too.
Later in the year we plan to post a variety of video clips on our website, adding to the 6-month benchmark practice bout currently there. We hope for serious (not sniping) feedback, and we think positive interaction among as wide a range of fencers as possible-–not just in tournaments—is something badly needed. We are not dogmatic; fencing historically has accommodated a variety of nuances within a consistent, long-established doctrinal framework. We are open to genuine online "symposia." Anyway: “Have webcam, want to meet and share!”
I don't know how profitable such a session would actually be, however, regarding the technical challenges, what you want to do is hook up via a teleconferencing suite at the local University, especially if they have access to Internet-2. Many Universities have this equipment these days and they are excellent for long distance academic symposia. Marquette regularly schedules exchanges with Universities in other states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Washington D.C., etc) and States (Spain, Rome, etc).
Again, I am sceptical as to the value of such a fencing symposium as much of the input one gets from working with other fencers requires both parties to be physically and temporally present, however, I thought I would try to offer my assistance. (I used to manage the teleconferencing suites at Marquette University and have run numerous remote classes/symposia).
I can appreciate your skepticism. I must point out that Maitre Walter Green has raised this idea for workshops in conjunction with his online course in fencing instruction. But please note: The same obstacles that inhibit regular interaction elsewhere also partly inhibit our range of options: in a letter to FQM recently, Kim Moser rightly pointed out the insularity of English-speaking fencing groups. We are as I wrote the only group we are aware of that pursues traditional fencing here; there may be something close to what we do in one or two distant cities, but affiliated with sport fencing clubs and more "historical" in emphasis. I mean by this a lot of rapier and broadsword but little foil. So, understandably, we must show some initiative and do the best we can to expand our horizons.
Last edited by wleckie (2006-08-16 23:42:20)
I find this an interesting idea- but I like technology and exploring what can be done with it.
I'm not sure what CAN be done with fencing, though.
It would be possible to observe another group training, no problem.
But to have real two-way real-time participation would require fencers to split their focus between where they are and the other group, and I'm not convinced this is the best use of the technology or the training time.
Bill- could you explain in more detail what exactly you have in mind?
Seems to me that one-to-one long distance interaction might work better. Watch and comment. Show and tell. One teacher/one student. But whole classes?
I believe most University distance learning is primarily lectures- but I could be mistaken. Does anyone know of any specific classes that are more participatory than that?
Alexis? What kinds of classes have you run or assisted with?
To be frank, Linda, I discussed beginning with something only very simple with the KFS board: To observe and discuss in sequence a number of fencers and/or fencing encounters on each side in real time. We don't need learning lab or distance learning facilities for that. Before anything like a two-way session was undertaken, we'd have to run a few brief trials anyhow with someone to get it right.
"Distance learning" comes a variety of forms--from lecture to interactive formats. We're just looking to begin developing an interactive and show and tell. Our idea is to start small--anything more elaborate'd be like saying, "Okay, we're going to Mars," and hadn't even put a grapefruit into orbit.
We can play with the idea offlist.
Last edited by wleckie (2006-08-16 23:43:52)
Marquette University has some wonderful Polycom units that allow fully interactive sessions. It all runs on a bridge that a moderator can use to link up multiple polycom, voice & video, video only, powerpoint, voice only, and even telephone calls into a single conference. I used to run both the Polycoms and the bridge. The rooms had either several microphone units shared between a few students or in some of the newer one's, one mike for every two students. The cameras and mike's were voice activated, so when a student began to speak tha camera would pan to them, and all participants would see them. I could over ride this and show power point presentations while the student voiced over, or just change the angle of the camera as necessary. I could also mute participants at will or override who saw and heard what. Marquette also has several adventurous faculty who make good use of the labs. One of my favorites was Dr. Badaracco's Religion & the Media class. She had an uplink with two other Universities and would often have a fourth guest piped in from places like New York, Washington D.C., Appalachia, and Rome ... each with varying technical abilities on their end. it was always fun to figure out the challenges of connecting so many vastly disparate groups. Somehow, we always got it to work.
Saint Louis University also has access to live streaming content through satellite downlinks, the academic cable system and point-to-point videoconferencing. I suppose Alexis and I could experiment with how this resource can be exploited on our end and offer the results up to this forum. Another benefit of these facilities is the option to instantly dump the content onto DVD - if you choose. The DVD option would make more sense for post-viewing than internet streaming which, I presume, would tax anybody's server.
We have an extensive University network-in waiting here - this may be a project worthy of pouncing on (as opposed to a new form of Collegiate fencing competitions as previously discussed).
My thanks to David. We do not have access to the elaborate university facilities available in the USA, but we can begin thinking about test sessions. I'll talk with the IT guru in our group about planning. We want to make certain we have our modest ducks in a row. I must repeat the idea is one I got from Walter Green, himself then university-based, but I suspect there are enough collective and institutional resources to make it fly and it could be very worthwhile as we work out the inevitable bugs. By the way, we also have been contemplating the DVD option, as part of our plan to evangelize traditional fencing here. With Kim's appeal in mind, I also think the benefits of a collective effort could be positive in unexpected ways. "Synergy" I think is still the buzzword?
Last edited by wleckie (2006-08-17 14:23:56)