Starting a practice: An Intro
So you live in an Armored Combat desert?
This is a guide on the realities of wanting to get into this sport when are the first person in your area to do so. While this is not easy, literally every club in the US started with people who had never really done the sport before.
Find The Closest Fighters
Connecting with the community is a key part of getting started. That is why the first step is to determine if the closest team is close enough to commute to with some regularity.
In some cases, there may be a team within reasonable distance to day trip or visit over a weekend.
Practice vs Team/Chapter/Club
Why isn't this a guide to starting a new team/chapter?
In some senses, this guide covers both. It is impossible to have a truly successful team without a great practice. Choosing names, colors, leagues, logos, are fun, but less important than having a good, consistent practice. The gap between step 0 and fighting as a team involves 4 people spending months training and around $8000 dollars at a minimum. (4 people + 3-4 mercs is the minimum to honestly field a 5 v 5 team). Over time, fighters will acquire armor, skills, and there will be a time to create a team, one that can actually compete.
Show up. Connect with the community
If there is a team within reasonable driving distance, connect with them and come to a practice. Try to also make it to at least one event. These are opportunities to make sure that this sport is what you want and to connect with the community.
If there is no team close enough to drive to, you can use the AMCF facebook group to connect with an established team and fly out.
Starting as a satellite fighter
If there is a team that where you can routinely make practice, even if is not all the practices, this is one option. In this case, follow the guide, and talk to the team leader about supplemental drilling and training to help bridge the gap
Minimum for a new practice
At a minimum a practice needs:
To consistently take place with a routine.
Two people participating at each practice
Enough training (foam) gear for the people + practicing extra for people trying it out
The legal nitty gritty worked out: Talk to other teams and a local attorney about liability.
Tips for creating a great practice:
Work with the community. Experienced fighters will happily provided you with everything from drills to gear recommendations.
Create a healthy culture: No egos, focus on everyone learning (even if they learn by tossing you), a clear and focused agenda, ect. Specifically talk to members of the community about this.
Lead by example. : If the founder of a practice is not attending almost every practice, or not working hard, or not taking it seriously, why would anyone else?
Don't be afraid to supplement!
While there may not be local people to train this sport, there will almost certainly be coaches in other combat sports that can help offer effective training. MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai, Judo, and Wrestling at are all common combat sports with a lot of crossover. The Society for Creative Anachronism has a rattan based combat sport with many of the same fundamentals as Armored combat dueling formats.
Pooling resources for group training sessions with these coaches can go a long way.
Starting this journey alone is difficult.
Founding a new practice and team alone, even more so. It takes time, money, sweat, and probably a bit of blood. But, it can be done, and the effort makes the success so much sweeter.
Every club in the US can be traced back to a practice started by new fighters. Those practices produced fighters who have been internationally recognized.
It isn't easy, but few things worth doing are.