Continued from DADA 201 Journal : Week Two.
Wow. That was one exhausting session of DADA training today!
Professor Silvers had asked us to read the fourth chapter of the textbook before coming to class, and to remember to bring our wands. Thankfully, I did both. The chapter was about Training, Foundational Techniques of Dueling – Mental, Psychological and Physical. So I pretty much knew what to expect in today’s class. And I was not disappointed.
We began with mental training. Mental training is required to help us to know what to expect in a duel, stay calm and level-headed, and remain aware of our surroundings and the situation at all times. We began with a few exercises to help increase our concentration and focus.
In the first exercise, we had to pull away from our desk and sit still at the edge of our chairs, with both hands on our laps. We were to sit completely still without moving for ten minutes, blinking being the only exception. It looked easy at first, but I realized, as did the rest of my class, that it is not as easy as it appears. It requires a great deal of effort to sit still for so long, the minutes drag like hours. Most of us ended fidgeting with our feet, yawning, giggling, etc. and were sternly told to start over by the Professor. In the end, we gave up and she asked us to practice every day until we are able to do it effortlessly, and then raise the time duration as we get better and better.
The second exercise was a lot easier, especially when compared to the first. We were to hold a glass in our outstretched hand, at eye level, and stare at it for two minutes, without allowing our eyes to wander anywhere else. Now this would have been as difficult as the first, but I guess after all that sitting still, another two minutes looking at a glass didn’t take much effort, except for the holding it up. My arm began to ache within a minute, but I managed it in the first attempt. Kudos to my will power!
Then we moved on to a different kind of mental training. We practiced the art of meditation in order to control our emotions, be able to think clearly and keep ourselves calm and avoid panicking while dueling. We did some basic breathing and relaxing exercises to calm the nerves and release tension in the body muscles.
After mental training, it was time for some physical training. For this, we got into pairs and had to practise dodging. Each pair was given around fifty bean bags. We had to take turns to throw it at our partner, sometimes two or three at a time, and he/she was to try and dodge it by jumping, rolling or crawling out of the way. My partner was Marcius. I went first. For the first 20 bags that I threw at him, he managed to dodge them all. He was quick! But then I noticed his dodging techniques. For the next 10 throws, I deliberately allowed him to dodge me, just so I could study his pattern of moves. Once I had a fair idea, I knew how to second guess him and I hit him with all the remaining bags, sometimes two at the same time! By the time it was my turn to dodge, he was seething. The bags flew thick and fast and I was hopping, jumping and diving to avoid them. He still managed to hit me 14 times. Not bad.
The last part of today’s class was learning defensive spellwork. Professor Silvers taught us our first defensive spell today, called the Disarming Charm. The incantation is “Expelliarmus” (pronounced as “ex-PELL-ee-ARE-muss”) and the wand movement is slashing it down and to the right followed by a spiral motion going anti-clockwise. We paired up again and since it was our first practice of an actual duel, we had to follow all the rules. We began by bowing to each other and then took up dueling positions. Marcius managed to disarm me in his fourth attempt. In my defence, I don’t think I was completely ready as I was surely looking the other way. But then, the fault was mine. You don’t simply look the other way in a duel. Now that I have learnt my lesson, that’s not going to happen again.
Continue to DADA 201 Journal : Week Four.