My family and I went on a vacation for the month of July to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and what an incredibly beautiful land. We decided that we did not want to just go for five days or so and be the average tourists, rushing to see as much a possible in such a short time. We wanted to “live” there. We wanted to take our time,establish ourselves as much as could be done for a month, and attempt to live as much like a local as we could. I have to say, it went pretty well and we had a wonderful time. We enjoyed living in a large city, using public transportation and going about on foot, and found it to be a very efficient mode of getting around. Even when leaving town on a short day trip, the public transportation was fine.
As a martial artist, I did not want to go the better part of a month with little or no training. I had been following a world renowned school of European martial arts on Twitter for some time and checking up on their web site regularly after a student of mine told me about them several years ago. This school is Academie Duello, in Vancouver, directed by Maestro Devon Boorman. Before we left Texas for Vancouver, I went ahead and signed up for their course entitled, A Taste of the Renaissance. It’s main focus is on the use of the rapier, a weapon I have never had any previous training with. So, I was excited to be signed up and getting ready to attend such a well known school. My expectations were more than met, and I had a great time training there. Continue reading “The Academie Duello Experience”
By: Jefferson P. Webb
While it is very appealing and actually quite practical when attempting to attract new members into your martial arts school or club to have a nice indoor training facility, there is much to be said for conducting the bulk of your training outdoors.
For years now my adult students and I have conducted our entire training schedules outdoors and in the elements. The importance of such training was once again brought to mind at last weekend’s Saturday training session when the wind chill factor for us was 7 degrees Fahrenheit. To some of you perhaps that is not terribly cold, but in Texas that’s on the cold side. Your body is naturally effected in various ways depending on the temperature of the environment in which you find yourself. In a dedicated martial arts school where we train to defend ourselves and those we love, we know that we need to be familiar with as many different environmental conditions as possible in which we may be faced with a threat to our safety. Here is where we call to mind the old saying, “Train like you fight, fight like you train.”
There are many people of whom have been involved in a physical threat situation within the confines of their home, office, or another indoors, controlled environment where the temperature is a nice 70 degrees Fahrenheit. But many times people have also been assaulted and faced with the threat of assault in outdoor scenarios. By training outdoors in our drills an in freestyle sparing, we have experienced what ice and snow does to the traction for our feet/footwork. We have experienced what mud and roughly ankle-deep water does to our footing. We know what the rain does to our grip, or what the frigid temperatures does to our grip because of a loss of dexterity in our fingers. We have trained in the three-digit temperatures of Texas in July and August and have become very familiar in what it is like to face a threat in very hot and dry conditions. All of this is done with one on one, and multiple opponents verses one person scenarios. Being experienced in multiple threat situations is another vital part of training like you fight, so that if you do find yourself faced with a multiple attacker situation, you do not find yourself mentally overwhelmed, thus leading to being swiftly physically overwhelmed. You will know much better what to do. You will fight much in the way that you have trained.
Not only do we teach adults, but we also have children’s classes. We do train them indoors because of their age. Exposure to the elements can be much more harmful to them and like any responsible martial arts school that cares about its students and instructors, safety come before anything else. And without a doubt, I can say that I am sure that if my adult classes were held indoors in a comfortable 70-75 degree training hall with padded mat floors we would have many more students than what we do in our adult classes. But, the adults that we have in our adult classes are well versed in a variant of environmental situations in which they may have to defend themselves, and each one of them will tell you that they are better off for having trained the way that they have trained.
Do not limit yourselves as martial artists. Experience everything that you can possibly experience in your training and do it as near as can possibly be done to the various situations in which you may find yourself faced with a threat. Train like you fight, and you will fight like you have trained.
At many of the training sessions for officers and sergeants of New Ulster Steel Fighting, we enjoy taking time to deal with some of the many questions posed by famed French knight, Sir Geffroi De Charny (c.1306-1356) pertaining to tournaments, jousts and war. We believe these questions are extremely vital to our growth as learners and practitioners of Historical European Martial Arts. To take the time to re-ask De Charny’s questions and contemplate, debate, and explore the possible answers together brings about some very critical thinking, and thus often deep discussion. What’s more, we find that some of the answer possibilities can apply to matters of integrity, and the exercise of good character in everyday life, and not just when undertaking martial activities. Continue reading “Questions from the Grave”
By: Jefferson P. Webb
Although there is a segment of the HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) community that does not approve of nor are they interested in modern HEMA/Medieval Martial Arts tournaments, utilizing martial skill in tournament fighting (sport-fighting) is in no way a new concept. What reasons do some of the modern HEMA practitioners give for not engaging in competitions and what did fighting for sport mean to the medieval knights as seen through the eyes of one of chivalry’s most celebrated Medieval knights?
One thing that the author of this posting has noticed in researching other blogs, message and review boards, articles and other martial arts sites online is that there is a certain level of hesitation or lack of desire on the part of some (not all) HEMA schools, clubs, and organizations to engage in freestyle combat tournaments. And, when some of them do engage in such events, they are closed events within their own organizations. Naturally there are a number of HEMA schools that do indeed compete in open tournaments, but what is the mindset or philosophy behind others not doing so? There appears to be two main reasons that continue to recur the most as to why some HEMA groups will not engage in the tournament. Continue reading “Interesting Perspectives on the Modern Tournament”