The British Federation for Historical Swordplay

IL1 Assessment Day, September 2016


On September 3rd 2016, the BFHS ran an IL1 assessment day hosted by the Society for the Study of Swordsmanship and run directly by Chief Assessor Martin J Dougherty.

The assessment was the culmination of many months of trying to find sufficient candidates within a reasonable area and a group willing to host. The pattern recently has been for a small number of potential candidates to be very keen to take IL1, but never enough in the same area at the same time. In the end, the decision had to be taken to ‘run it and they will come… hopefully’.

In the event, they did come. From Glamorgan and Aberdeen, and other points less distant. The systems on show covered the full range of BFHS interest, from Medieval longsword and messer through rapier to Victorian cane fighting. The candidates on this occasion were of exceptional calibre, with around half achieving a 100% pass and the remainder scoring over 90%. Of particular note was the attention to safe training and the use of appropriate personal protection among the candidates.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that the IL1 – whilst always intended as an entry-level qualification – has a very high standard for both safety and competence. Those who think of taking the assessment in terms of ‘getting their IL1’ as if it were a formality tend to fail. A good assessment requires preparation even for a highly experienced instructor; scoring over 95% is an achievement for anyone, of any level of experience.

We are thus very glad to welcome the successful candidates as BFHS IL1 instructors, and we congratulate them on their achievements.

The assessors deserve praise, too, for going above and beyond the call of duty. The September IL1 assessment would have been vastly more difficult – if not impossible – without Kim and Barry Young, who made the time out of a long journey to visit Sunderland and take part in the assessment. Assessor candidate Mark Thomson was awarded IL1 assessor status, and deserves credit for joining those working to make the IL1 programme a success.

The assessment process was greatly assisted by members of the Society for the Study of Swordsmanship who acted as students for the candidates, helped with administration, made pies and cookies, brought coffee and generally did all the thankless jobs that make an event like this work.

Overall, the Sunderland IL1 assessment day was a big success. Letters of recognition and assessor evaluations have already gone out to the candidates as of September 4th, certificates are waiting to be posted, and we are pondering where and when to run the next assessment. Interested hosts and candidates are invited to contact the Chief Assessor on or via the BFHS facebook page.

In related news, we have appointed Susan Kirk as Regional Assessor for the London area, and are in discussion with other potential Regional Assessors. The proposed IL2 and IL3 courses and assessment procedures are also in the final stages of preparation and will be presented to the membership in due course. The BFHS considers the instructor training and accreditation programme to be one of its central activities, and we are pleased to be making progress in this field.

IL1 Assessment Day, September 2016

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