All posts by terryp

Martial Blades Concepts Seminar at Forteza Fitness May 6th!

In this one-day seminar, CSG Free Scholar and Martial Blades Concepts (MBC) instructor Keith Jennings will present comprehensive instruction in the fundamental skills of the MBC system and the progressive training methods necessary to make them into defensive reflexes.

Keith Jennings MBC instructorThis seminar will provide step-by-step instruction in the fundamental skills of using a knife as a defensive weapon, including knife carry, high-speed deployment, recognition and identification of common street attacks, defensive responses, anatomical targeting, and the realities of knife stopping power.

Building on this foundation, we will introduce progressive training methods and reflex training drills to accelerate skill development and combat reflexes. Finally, we will include detailed instruction in MBC’s practical unarmed skills, empty-hand defenses against weapons (Counter-Blade Concepts), and practical joint-locking, restraint, and control tactics.

Students should bring purpose-designed training knives (ideally folding trainers that closely replicate your carry knife) and eye protection.

For additional info, contact Keith Jennings at kdjennings77@msn.com

To preregister, email info@fortezafitness.com.

WHEN: Sunday May 6th, 2012, 11:00 AM—5:00 PM

WHERE: Forteza Fitness and Martial Arts, 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (East side of the railroad tracks, next to Nadeau Furniture)

http://www.fortezafitness.com

Phone 773.271.3988

COST: $40 Law Enforcement/Military, $50 Civilians

Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts Open House March 4, 2012



On Sunday, March 4th from noon to 4:00pm, Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts – the new home of the CSG at 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave. – is holding a special Open House to showcase our swordfighting, physical fitness and Western martial arts classes. The public and members of the media are welcome!

Going “Old School” in a Whole New Way. Unlike traditional martial arts studios, gyms or health clubs, Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts is Chicago’s newest and most unique fitness studio. Come check out our new 5000 sq ft facility. Light refreshments will be served.

Enjoy Demos & Free Mini-Lessons. Drop by any time between noon and 4:00pm. Greg Mele, Keith Jennings and the Forteza Fitness staff will also provide short talks, live action demos and free mini-lessons to our guests, including:

  • Armizare: the Martial Art of the Medieval Knight –  including the two-handed sword, spear and dagger
  • Renaissance Swordplay: the Art of the Duel –  including the rapier, rapier and dagger, and rapier and cloak
  • Bartitsu: The ‘Lost Martial Art’ of Sherlock Holmes –  a unique Edwardian blend of Eastern and Western fighting arts
  • Garimot Anis: Traditional Martial Arts of the Philippines – including fast-action self-defense techniques against a knife
  • Stage Combat Arts  – combat arts adapted to the theatre, by R&D Choreography
  • Stunt Display – an exciting stunt display by Asylum Stunts

There will also be a hands-on table display of the weapons and armor we use for training.

Free health and fitness consultations. Have you, or someone you know, been looking to get healthy and active in the New Year, but not sure where to start?  Forteza Fitness offers onsite personal training and health/nutrition counseling!  As part of our Open House event, our expert personal trainers and health counselors will be offering free 30-minute consultations.  This will be by appointment only, so if you’re serious about building a better you, please contact us at info@fortezafitness.com to schedule your complimentary session now!

Try out FightingFit! From 10am-11am, we will also be offering a special, one-hour sample class of our dynamic FightingFit program! We’ll lead you through a short series of exercises, drawn from a variety of fighting systems, that can mold you into your most powerful self. Ping us at info@fortezafitness.com to register for this free class (age 16 and up).

Please note: Children are welcome but must be closely supervised by the parents. Be sure to ask about Forteza’s “Knight School” – our 2012 swordfighting and fitness camps for kids, young adults and teens!

Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts is located at 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave. in Chicago, with plenty of street parking along the Ravenswood Brown Line station. The main entrance is inset off the street, right next to Nadeau.

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Any questions, please contact us.  See our FortezaFitness.com website preview!

 

 

 

 

New CSG Home: Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts!

CSG will soon move to Forteza Fitness,  Physical Culture & Martial Arts in Chicago’s Ravenswood area. Our new home will be a unique 5000 sq. ft., c.1900 facility, with classes offered in historical swordplay and ‘old school’ fitness training. Contact us for updates on classes, seminars and special events!

Beginning in late January 2012, Forteza Fitness, Physical Culture & Martial Arts‘ offerings to Chicagoland residents will include:

A fitness studio combining functional fitness training with modern nutritional counseling;

19th century “physical culture” – workouts using calisthenics, Indian clubs, medicine balls, therapeutic gymnastics, body-weight exercises and games designed to create natural strength and grace with athletic performance;

The Midwest’s only full-time school for the study of traditional Western martial arts and historical swordplay – the art of the longsword, rapier, arming sword, as well as Bartitsu – the martial art made famous by  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved character, Sherlock Holmes;

Classes with Chicagoland’s only licensed instructor in Martial Blade Concepts (MBC) self-defense – a nationally renowned system of hand, stick and knife defense designed for modern people with limited training time;

A “Gymuseum” of antique exercise equipment and 19th century prints portraying combat sport athletes in training;

An international center for education on the rich, sophisticated martial traditions of Western Civilization;

An innovative, eclectic series of workshops, lectures and unique social events.

New to historical swordfighting? Forteza Fitness, Physical Culture & Martial Arts will offer our ever-popular introductory classes in the medieval longsword and the Renaissance rapier! The CSG will also continue to provide Introductory Classes at the Chicago Park District-Pulaski Park location as part of the CPD Arts Partners Program.

Contact us for more information and to be put on our list for regular updates on fitness training, swordplay classes and other western martial arts offerings!

CSG Demo at Chicago’s Italian Fall Festival Oct. 15-16!

The Chicago Swordplay Guild will be featured presenters at the annual Italian American Fall Festival on Saturday, October 15 (10:00am-6:00pm) and Sunday, October 16 (noon-6:00pm) at the Casa Italia-Italian Cultural Center at 37th and Soffel in Stone Park, IL.  There will be live combat demonstrations using the spear, longsword, arming sword and rapier throughout both days, as well as an armoured combat demo on Sunday afternoon. Also on Sunday – CSG co-founder Gregory Mele will also give a presentation on the life, times and fighting methods of medieval  Italian maestro Fiore Dei Liberi.

Along with the live action and clashing of steel, the Italian American Fall Festival is also a mecca for feasting on Italian cuisine! Enjoy live entertainment, wine-making, hot air balloon rides, music and dancing as well. For more information, go to http://www.casaitaliachicago.net/.

New Intro to Longsword Class at CoD 9/12-11/28

Historical European Swordfighting Classes Start Monday September 12, 2011 at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn

On Monday nights, from September 12 to November 28, the Chicago Swordplay Guild will run introductory classes at the College of DuPage (CoD) in the two-handed longsword, as used by knights in medieval Europe. Classes run from 7pm-8:30pm. Each week students will begin class by stretching and enjoying some rigorous warm-ups, after which they get right in to learning the footwork, cuts, thrusts and parries used with the medieval longsword.

The 12-week session, which is open to students age 16 and up, will be held in Fawell Building E on Fawell Road on the CoD campus in Glen Ellyn and is part of the college’s adult continuing education program. The course costs $159, and students pay the instructor a $10 fee on the first day of class for rental of a training “sword” and equipment. Beginners are welcome. No previous experience is necessary.To register online, go to www.cod.edu or call (630) 942-2208. The CoD Continuing Education Class name and code are Sword-Medieval Longswords #LEISR-0062-001. Registration closes September 4th.

 

CSG Demo at 2011 Scottish Highland Games


Davis and Keith battling longsword

Crowds at the Chicago’s annual Scottish Highland Games were educated and entertained once again by the intrepid CSG Demo Team. The Games is always a terrific event here in Chicago and this year they moved to a new venue in Itasca.

The set-up team of Christina, Nathan and Terry got there at 7:00am and lugged the display tent to the clan area. Given that directions to our spot included a map of the grounds with huge yellow circle around an area the size of Rhode Island, we were lucky to only have to spend 20 minutes hunting for a space with the word “SWORD” spray-painted vaguely on the grass.

We were also fortunate enough to find a perfect spot for our demos – an open field near the food concessions where the spectators could easily watch from 4 sides and most people could sit under a tree in the shade. That mattered as the sky was clear and temperatures stayed in the 80’s all day. As always, the visitors to this event were in high spirits and ready to see a great display of swordsmanship.

John (rapier) fights against  Trey (arming sword)

 

We were also fortunate enough to find a perfect spot for our demos – an open field near the food concessions where the spectators could easily watch from 4 sides and most people could sit under a tree in the shade. That mattered as the sky was clear and temperatures stayed in the 80’s all day. As always, the visitors to this event were in high spirits and ready to see a great display of swordsmanship.

The first of three demos featured medieval weapons wielded by Keith, Davis and Chester. Greg prepped the crowd with a brief talk about medieval combat as the guys demonstrated longsword drills. When Greg asked the crowd how much they thought a longsword weighed, audience members yelled out anywhere from 1 lb. to 45 lbs.

 

Longsword bout with Davis and Jacques

The fencing segment started with Keith vs. Davis using longsword, followed by a spear fight that had the audience cheering. Greg closed the demo with Chester taking on Davis in an exciting longsword vs. spear demonstration.

 

Chester and Davis longsword vs. spear

It was easy for the crowd to see how losing wide distance put the spearman in peril for his life. Of course, they also saw that for the swordsman, the trick was making that happen.

The second demo was at 2:30p and the sun beat down on us mercilessly.  Spectators happily munched on haggis, meat pies and fish and chips as Greg introduced the first fencing demo of this program: arming sword featuring Chester and Trey. Arming sword is always a hit because of its speed and the

Arming sword with Chester and Trey

layman’s familiarity of the sword in one hand in the movies. Chester and Trey also went at it like demons, and the happy food-munching sounds were drowned out by the clang of steel and the “thwap” of bodies being struck by blades.

Next, John and Trey ran through the guards of the rapier as Greg gave the spectators a brief overview of the weapon. This was followed by a hearty duel that showed just how deadly this weapon is.

In the spirit of mixed weapons and the final duel of “Rob Roy”, the next fight was arming sword vs. rapier. Greg explained that while the rapier was considered a weapon on the duel, it was not uncommon for soldiers to wear a rapier into battle as a kind of sidesword.John and Trey again took the field, with Trey wielding the sword and John giving the rapier its honors.

Trey blocks Jacques’ dagger attack (Hey- is that the ShamWow guy?)

To end the demo’s veritable smorgasbord of weapons, Chester and Trey ended the program with a dagger fight where Trey demonstrated various throws and takedowns that always resulted in Chester’s untimely demise.

 

John and Trey fence with rapier and dagger

Demo #3 was late in the day and Greg started off with medieval weapons. The first fencing bout featured Davis and Jacques in a rousing longsword bout. Next, John and Trey again displayed rapier fencing and then showed the crowd what it was like when you add the dagger to a rapier duel. It obviously takes enormous concentration to do rapier and dagger effectively. You are using 2 weapons, one in each hand. And so is the other guy!

The closing bout was between Davis and Trey in spear vs. rapier. Now you have the long reach of the spear against a long, thin sword designed mainly for thrusting. The rapier doesn’t have the longsword’s heft or two sharp edges to land big blows.

Trey (rapier) prepares to skewer Davis (spear)

Nonetheless, an experienced rapierista only has to close measure safely or deflect the spear with his hand to land a good thrust.

Games visitors enjoyed stopping by our display booth to ask questions, try on a pair of gauntlets or handle a sword. Volunteers Christina, Nathan, Tammy, Bill C. and Heather did a great job taking care of the show-and-tell. New member Alex was a (pleasantly) unexpected visitor and lent his brawn to help us all schlep our gear back to the cars.

And, for the second year in a row, the Chicago Swordplay Guild’s booth won the Highland Games award for “Best Tent Display by a Cultural Organization”.  We had colorful medieval banners draping the corners of the tent and it doesn’t hurt to have a couple tables showcasing armor and sharp, pointy objects.

Bill & Alex do show & tell

Big thanks to our Demo Team and our enthusiastic volunteer crew (with a nod to Rachel and Dawn as the supportive sword widows)! It was a terrific venue for showcasing the CSG and we look forward to being weapons-wielding exhibitors at the Scottish Highland Games again next year!

 

 

WMAW 2011 Registration Now Open!

Register now! Running Thursday, September 15 through Sunday,  September 18, 2011, at the scenic DeKoven Center in Wisconsin USA,  the  Western Martial Arts Workshop (WMAW) is the premier North American event for hands-on study of Historical European and American Martial Arts. Limited openings – register now.

CSG is proud to once again offer 4 days of both in-depth and focused classes with fresh material, taught to a professional standard by an instructor base spanning three continents, comprised of martial artists and researchers who have help set the Gold Standard for the entire western arts community. Check out our 2011 roster.

WMAW 2011 is for anyone interested in Western fighting styles — from the Medieval to Early Modern American. Whether you are a long-time historical fencer looking to enhance your training through an in-depth class with some of today’s top instructors, a newcomer just getting your feet wet, an Asian martial artist curious about the methods of your western counterparts, or a fight choreographer who’d like to add a layer of historical accuracy to your staged violence,  this event has something for you.

CSG in Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on WGN America



Arming swords were clashing as members of the Chicago Swordplay Guild participated in the City of Chicago’s huge annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is one of two parades carried on national television. You can catch some video on the chicagofestivals.org website.

Flanked by colorful banners showcasing the Fiore animals and medieval Italian crests, the CSG specialty group included a spear formation doing thrust drills followed by a group of swordsmen fencing with arming swords. Kids and families coming to the parade – and ready to brave the predicted cold temps and possible sleet and snow flurries – were wowed.

Here are some pictures of the CSG Parade Team, taken by CSG’s Gabrielle O’ Meara, as we did our dress rehearsal with some of our banners last Saturday on the grounds of Pulaski Park.

Yes, the “Windy City” lived up to its name, as gusts fought the banners with gusto!

Fencers Trey Ptak, Nicole Allen, Oscar Erkeswick & Jesse Kulla
Some of the Spear Line
Marching into the wind


After The 600

Any day you get to train in the Art of the medieval Italian sword master, Fiore dei Liberi, is a good day. When you find yourself at The 600 – a 3-day,  “All Fiore, All the Time” workshop hosted by the Chicago Swordplay Guild, you’ve pretty much died and gone to heaven.

At least, that’s the opinion shared by the close to 50 western martial artists from the US, Canada and Europe who converged on the DeKoven Center in Wisconsin last month to honor Fiore, his Art and the 600th anniversary of the presentation of his Il Fior di Battaglia (the Flower of Battle) to his patron, Niccolò III d’Este, Marchese of Ferrara (1383-1441).

Held from Friday, September 10th through Sunday, September 12th on the beautiful, picturesque grounds that are also home to the biannual Western Martial Arts Workshop (WMAW), The 600 gave students of Fiore’s Art a deep, personal immersion experience, with intensive training offered by well-respected instructors from the Historical European Swordplay community: our own Gregory Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild (USA); Sean Hayes, Northwest Fencing Academy (USA); Guy Windsor, School of European Swordsmanship (Finland); Mark Lancaster, The Exiles, Company of Medieval Martial Artists (UK); Scott Wilson, Darkwood Armory (USA); and Bob Charrette, Forteza Historical Swordwork Guild (USA).

In addition to the formal classes offered, The 600 also included a fascinating panel discussion and Q&A on Fiore and his work, taking full advantage of the amazing brain trust of instructors we had on hand. It was the first time the CSG has included this kind of activity, and it was a big hit with the participants. The weekend also included two feats of arms – an unarmoured tournament of sword, dagger and lance open to everyone; and an Armoured Pas d’Armes, an invitational tournament that celebrated the knightly art with sword, lance, and axe.

Several of the instructors remarked that the participants’ skill level and familiarity with armizare enhanced the teacher’s ability to challenge us more, mentally and physically than was typical in more “generalist” events. This made the learning experience all the more valuable to us. It also contributed to the glazed look of happy exhaustion shared by every student! Here are some of the class highlights:

Application of Fiore’s Art to Positions of Disadvantage (Scott Wilson) – We all love Scott Wilson for his incredibly beautiful swords (Darkwood Armory), and many of us enjoyed shopping from the back of his truck in between classes on Saturday. But, Scott is also a longtime martial artist and an excellent instructor. In this class, Scott gave us some very interesting ideas about using Boar’s Tooth as elbow shields against strikes and as offensive tools for CQC.  Perhaps the most interesting lesson that Scott shared was his interpretation of Fiore’s daga vs. spada.  Against a mandritto, Scott had us move directly into the strike, using the dagger to block the blow with as close to zero pressure as possible.  After the block, Scott redirected the sword down and to his right, and from there used his dagger for a counter attack.

Improve Your Survival Odds with Proper Cutting Mechanics (Sean Hayes & Gregory Mele) – Sean is always one of our favorite guest instructors, bringing a depth of knowledge and contagious enthusiasm to all of his classes. While this was not a class on cutting basics, he worked us on the basics with gusto, helping us to hone our cutting skills using a coiled back-weighted stance for power and “hand protection”; correct hand-foot timing; how to cut fendente by pushing with the top hand and pulling with the bottom hand; targeting our cuts to strike “below the beard” (using our own Jacques and his beard “Francois” as a visual aid); and projecting power with more effectiveness. We also learned from Greg how good solo drills are not just about moving from one guard to another – they are dynamic tools for examining how to attack and defend as if you are facing an opponent. After practicing a few sequences where we learned both agent’s and patient’s actions, we partnered up to train and examine why the patterns of attack/defend work as they do in a montante sequence called “Driving the Foe Before You”.

Down You Go: Two Ubiquitous Throws of Armizare (Greg Mele, assisted by Jesse Kulla CSG) – In this class, about a dozen students threw themselves into two of the most basic throws in the system – the “rear leg takedown” (hip throw) and the “collar throw” (diving throw) – learning important applications when unarmed and when using various weapons. When dealing with daggers, for example, Greg told us not to do just block with our hands, but to “swat his hand away like a bear.” Think of your defensive action as a powerful attack of its own. With swords, a pommel strike should be thought of as an “upper cut”.  Instead of just striking your opponent, really knock his head back and up and follow through with a “diving throw”.

Playing with the Plays: Making Techniques Adaptable, Applicable and Fun (Guy Windsor) – Incorporating his concept that what we need to know tactically is always shown somewhere in the Maestro’s manuscripts (largely the Getty), Guy gave us some great training tools that center on linking Fiore’s plays.  By examining the circumstances you are in, you can know what to do next (his “Decision Tree”). Guy also loves to draw on plays from all over the Getty, demonstrating how he sees the book as always interrelating, no matter what section you are reading.  One of his favorite plays, for example, is the 8th Play of the Master of Coda Lunga on Horseback- the hand grab and pommel strike – found on the 6th to the last page of the manuscript and which Fiore says “counters all the plays that come before this” (Tom Leoni translation).

KISS – Keep it Simple Student (Mark Lancaster) – Our good friend from across the Pond taught his heart out and kept the laughter flowing, in spite of the fact he was still recovering from a slipped disk. In this class, Mark showed us how the four unarmed poste follow through into Fiore’s daga section and then into plays of the longsword as just a variation on a basic theme. One key lesson: students of armizare need to have the core of Fiore’s art internalized so that we don’t have to think about how to frame the poste and which guards have what characteristics.  Mark also shared his insights on the position of the first Master of the Dagger.  As Greg has pointed out to us numerous times, this position is seen several times throughout Il Fior di Battaglia, especially in the sword in one hand section.

Zogho Stretto – Breaking the Distance (Mark Lancaster) – Mark, also lovingly referred to “Puss in Boots”, took us into tactical options we have with the incrossada.  When both players pass and cut fendente, binding on the forte of the blade and getting all sloppy in the Zogho Stretto, we have what he calls a “Train Wreck”.  (Not a Fiore term, but the Maestro would have agreed had medieval Italy had a Metro system.) Avoiding this situation was the crux of his class, and Mark threw a lot of tactical options at us that we could employ.  A couple key points: The attacker is always closing to Zogho Stretto if he is using single-tempo action.  The defender can choose to engage at Stretto, or he can step out of range, moving offline or even taking a small step back to engage at Largo. The first decision lies with the defender.  Mark also talked about the option of stepping without really going anywhere.  Here you step forward and then back into place to change your lead foot, but distance stays the same.  This was a challenging class for a lot of us, but we walked away with plenty of food for thought and fuel for future training.

How to Open a Can Without Cutting Yourself: Techniques for Fighting in Harness (Sean Hayes, assisted by Gregory Mele and Alex Spreier (Northwest Fencing Academy) –  About 10 hearty students put on their kits – from full harness to virtually no harness – and joined Sean as he taught us how instructions for  armoured fighting techniques are not only covered in Fiore’s spada en arme (sword used while in harness) sections of his manuscripts, but also in the abrazare, dagger, single-sword and two-handed sword sections.

Ponderous, Cruel and Mortal: Dei Liberi’s System of Axe Play (Greg Mele) – This introductory class to Dei Liberi’s instructions on the poleaxe drew many new students of this weapon, including CSG’s very own master of the rapier, John O’Meara. Greg began with the poleaxe poste and then took us through set plays that drew on core actions of sword and spear play. As one energetic CSG novice noted, the poleaxe as a weapon is dramatic and well balanced, and its movement, “equal parts graceful and threatening”. No wonder it’s a favorite among so many of us.

Attacker’s Choice: Responding to the Bind and Connecting Largo to Stretto (Guy Windsor) – For many of us, the most influential classes of the weekend were those taught by Guy.  As one CSG free scholar noted: Guy’s interpretation of stretto and largo while crossed at the half-sword is a game-changer.  His key point is that Zogho Largo and Zogho Stretto are more than a statement of measure. Zogho Largo is defined as a crossing of the swords during which your opponent’s point is not threatening you, and the bind is soft enough that you can leave it without immediate fear of being struck. Zogho Stretto he describes as a crossing of the swords in which the opponent’s point threatens you, and he is bound hard enough that to remove pressure from the bind would lead to your immediate and painful death.  Guy took us deeper into the plates and writings found in Fiore’s Flower of Battle, giving us a brilliant method for visualizing and teaching the concepts of range as it pertains to Fiore’s system.

Patterns of Remedy: Treatise Organization and Internal Connections in Fior di Battaglia (Bob Charrette) – Hat’s off to Bob, because his fascinating presentation really fed the minds of the armizare scholars at The 600! Bob has reexamined Fiore’s system of Remedies, Scholars, Counters and Counter-Counters, setting it into visual synoptic tables that reveal an even higher level of internal organization and forethought than is generally recognized.

Spontaneous Tactical Response Skills for Freeplay (Sean Hayes) – Sean is a master at developing live drills that directly lead a student into free play.  His class systematically developed each drill, first keeping things simple and even “choreographed”, and eventually added more and more variables until we were pretty much doing focused sparring.  We also learned some great drills for training with odd numbers. The 3-person drill we did, where as soon as you defend, you turn and attack the third training partner, really turned up the intensity while allowing us to keeping training safely. At the end of the class, we were thoroughly warmed up enough for a few rounds of focused and spirited freeplay.  Sean had us do two-minute rounds, with one person from each training trio marshaling and giving advice.

Round Table Discussion – All Instructors

Rainy skies on Friday had us quickly change the afternoon schedule from medieval mud wrestling (so to speak) to a panel discussion that we students found both invaluable and amusing – thanks to the verbal cutting and cross-sniping between the instructors.  The discussion kicked off with Mark’s question as to whether Fiore’s teachings were meant for battlefield combat or judicial tournaments. The consensus was “both”. As Greg put it, the “Art of Arms” is designed to teach you how to fight, with the question of what circumstances coming later.  If you train for battlefield combat, you can apply those lessons to one-on-one circumstances and tournaments.  However, if you just train for tournaments, it is difficult and perhaps deadly to apply those lessons on the battlefield. Other topics discussed involved what Fiore meant by a “zuparello” (a cloth “armor” jacket for fighting vs. a doublet); the importance of studying all of the Fiore manuscripts, not just one, and in turn studying all sections of the manuscripts; what is canonical in the manuscripts and what is not (if Fiore shows it or describes it, it is canonical); and how we need to expand our study beyond weapons and combat methods to the culture and physical artifacts of the time.

Of course, most of us came to test out our fencing skills, and we had plenty of opportunity!

Unarmoured Tournament. The first fencing forum was an unarmoured tournament using the sword in two hands, sword in one hand, and spear. And was this FUN! The format was a variation on the Belgium rules, where each bout was fought till one player had accumulated three points.  And the rules are tough – a strike to the head or the sword arm counted for three points.   The winner of each bout remained “king of the ring”, and was allowed a king’s strike after being hit.  It paid to be king: double-kills went to the higher strike on the body, with the king taking any ties.  With the exception of the arming sword portion of the tournament, fencing was clean and crisp. Unfortunately, a lot of us started to default to our various Bolognese, backsword, SCA, and FMA experience – which we vow to you, Greg, will not happen at the next Fiore Con! Of course, following the tournament came the beer, scotch, cigars and hilarious storytelling.

This year’s victors were Keith Jennings, CSG (Longsword), Scott Wilson, SAS (Arming sword – he edged Keith out by one fight), and Dave “Sparky” Farrell, CSG (spear). Had all bouts been combined, Keith would have been the victor. We are proud of you guys! And an extra salute goes to Mark Lancaster for his Fiore-inspired sword throw at Jesse during the martial challenge. Awesome, scary, and really cool!

Armoured Tournament. The armoured deed of arms was an expansion of last year’s event at WMAW 2009. With the sun shining and crowds cheering from the sidelines, CSG’s Jesse Kulla, Dave “Sparky” Farrell and Leo Lastre stood as defenders and took challenges with sword, dagger, spear and axe from Bob Charrette, Sean Hayes, Alex Spreier and Scott Wilson. Scott’s spear bout with Leo is regarded by many as the highlight of the feat of arms. A “huzzah” with a wink must also be given to Bob Charrette for his cunning use of the powder-filled hollow poleaxe on Jesse.  All in all, this whole event was just absolutely great to watch! See videos of the tournament on YouTube!

Our gratitude goes out to everyone who made The 600 possible! More images of the event are available for viewing.

WMAW 2011. CSG’s next major workshop is WMAW 2011, which will take place at the DeKoven Center in WI sometime in early Fall. Check WMAW.us for regular updates!

The 601? Will there be anything like The 600 Revisited? Stay tuned. The rave reviews we’ve received on The 600 have us thinking about another all-Fiore workshop in 2012…