Ok it's rant time again. The Bear has been off on his travels again looking at how others train. I am now seeing a type of practice that is now becoming almost ubiquitous throughout western martial arts. There are three particular bugbears that are now driving me nuts. 1. Plate posing. I now see this obsession with taking postures in swordsmanship that match exactly the plates from period manuals. Even when the postures are completely ineffective and contrary to the principles laid down in the rest of the text. Added to this, people are now claiming that if you don't look like the plate then you aren't doing the art properly. Swordsmanship is NOT about looking good, it is about surviving the fight. Don't look at the pictures, read the text. If I see another group posing like Meyer I am going to scream! 2. Dead Drills. Now when you are first learning technique, dead drills are useful to get the actions down and explaining the underlying principles. However, training to the level where your drills are superfast and beautiful against an unresisting opponent is utterly pointless. You might get in a couple of early hits but an experienced fighter will learn your patterns and within a short number of passes you will find you are getting taken to pieces. DRILLS must include resistance! 3. Ego Freeplay and infrequent freeplay. First, very few groups out there are freeplaying enough. What I hear all the time is "we only freeplay at events" or "we freeplay once or twice a year". The usual reason is fear of injury and when you watch freeplay in these groups you understand why. Ego are running rampant so they are willing to injure a training partner rather than lose a point. FREEPLAY is NOT a competition! Freeplay is training, if you think you are going to injure your partner, you DON'T take the cut. Once you have practiced enough you can raise the level and intensity of freeplay. Everyone takes hits in freeplay, THAT IS THE POINT. You are trying out techniques and applying principles so that you learn and experience them. You are not there to flatter your ego. Rant over The Bear.