The Chicago Swordplay Guild and the International Armizare Society present an event celebrating Fiore dei Liberi (f.late 14th c) the father of Italian Martial Arts!
Located at the picturesque DeKoven Center, home to the Western Martial Arts Workshop, the conference is a retreat with attendance limited to the 90 students that DeKoven can host. Your registration fee includes ALL classes, meals and lodging onsite at the beautiful DeKoeven campus.
This is a unique event and a unique opportunity to train in a private environment with some of the finest modern teachers of the Art of Defense. Act now — because attendance is limited to the folks we can house on site, paces will go fast!
We look forward to crossing swords with you!
We are pleased to bring an international cast of renowned instructors including:
Devon Boorman, Academie Duello (Canada)
Christian Cameron, Hoplologia/IAS (Canada)
Sean Hayes, Northwest Fencing Academy/IAS (USA)
Luke Ireland, Exiles Sheffield (UK)
Mark Lancaster, Exiles (UK)
Greg Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild/IAS (USA)
Classes will be organized in two different ways:
Forteza (Technical Training)
Celeritas (Physical Development and Application)
Prudentia (Tactical Training)
Audatia (Combat Psychology)
You can take a single track straight through, weave through a combination of armoured, unarmoured and instructor-training classes based on the a specific virtue, or just take a selection of things that inspire you!
IAS Instructor Training
This is International Armizare Society’s inaugural event, and the Society’s purpose is “to maintain and pass down canonical Armizare as recorded and left to posterity by the Founder, Fiore dei Liberi, and the preservation and promotion of Armizare as a complete, traditional, but living and functional martial art”. Central to that mission is the development of competent, qualified armizare instructors.
For Society members (or those interested in joining the Society), we will highlight the classes focused on IAS Instructor Development, and interested Society members will have a chance to take a basic Instructor exam in Chicago the Monday after the event. (Interested parties should contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
A full schedule of the event is forthcoming
Friday and Saturday night will feature opportunities to fence “sine armi” with sword, dagger and spear. A small, invitational armoured Deed-of-Arms will be fought Saturday afternoon, under the Dekoven Concords . If you are interested in fighting in the Deed, contact Greg directly at email@example.com.
(Details for getting to Racine can be found on the WMAW website)
The DeKoven Center
600 21st Street
Racine, WI 53403
On campus; double and triple rooms. You will be able to request the roommate of your choice when you register, and we will make every effort to accommodate you. Lodging is from Thurs to Sat.
Broadway Armory Park
5917 N Broadway St, Chicago, Illinois 60660
The Midwinter Armizare Open is a public display of skill with one and two-handed swords in a relatively rules-light format meant to emphasize the tactical priorities of fighting with sharp weapons in lethal combat. Midwinter Armizare Open 2020
TOURNAMENT ONE: LONGSWORD
Combatants will be divided into pools, fought under the below conditions, with an award to the overall victor. Combatants may also carry a dagger on their belt and switch to it when coming to grips.
TOURNAMENT TWO: SINGLE-HANDED SWORD
Due to the diversity of single-handed sword styles (and scarcity of focused exponents of the same), this will be a mixed-weapon tournament with the following, permissible weapons:
Rapier (max blade length 45″);
Note: Sabers, backswords, broadswords, smallswords, etc are not permitted. (We love them, too, but we’re keeping this to fencing styles c. 1600 and earlier.)
TOURNAMENT THREE: PAIRED WEAPONS The following weapon combinations are permissible:
Armingsword, sidesword or rapier, accompanied by:
FINAL ROUND: THE WINTER KING
As a culmination of the event, the victors of the three tournaments shall fight a mixed-weapons bout using the previously denoted scoring conventions, with the victor to be declared the winner of the overall tournament.
HOW IT WORKS
CONVENTIONS OF COMBAT
With the Sword
Each bout is fought to a total of five landed blows;
The entire body is a target;
For our purposes a “blow” constitutes any “fight-ending action”:
a solid cut with the edge, thrust, disarm or throw;
a pommel strike to the center of the face;
a thrust to the center-of-mass with the dagger.
Incidental blows, light touches, flicks or hits rather than cuts, punches and open-handed strikes that do not end in a throw or lock, etc will not be scored.
With the Dagger
Combatant may carry a dagger on their belt in the longsword tournament, and switch to its use as they see fit.
Daggers may only strike with the point.
If a dagger hit is scored, combatants must, after the halt, switch back to their sword.
Grapples that end in a throw with party dominant will score a point.
Grapples lasting more than 5 seconds or deemed to be dangerous will be halted by the judges;
Grapples that go to the ground with no one dominant will be halted.
Once a fight is concluded, the combatants will report their scores to the list-table. Fights are scored as follows:
Overall Victor receives 2 pts;
If the Victor was not struck he or she receives 1 pt additional;
The person who scored the first blow receives 1 pt;
If there were any double hits during the match, both parties lose 1 pt.
Therefore, in any match a combatant could score between 4 and -1 points.
These rules are not meant to be “realistic”, simply to prioritize drawing first blood and avoiding being hit and, most especially double-hits. No matter how many double hits, for the sake of simplicity, only 1 pt is lost. However, additional double hits are not refought, so if you rack up too many double-hits, the victory in that match is going to go with who scored the first blow, and your overall score is going to go down!
ADVANCEMENT: INDIVIDUAL TOURNAMENTS
There are two ways to advance to the final round of four combatants – by Score or by Accolade.
Score After the Pool Round ends, total scores for each will be totaled, and the combatant with the highest score from each pool will move to the finals. (If two or person tie, then the person with the highest total of first blood scores will advance. If there is still a tie, the combatant with the most “never hit” scores will advance.)
Accolade The list will be “balanced” by adding a fourth combatant chosen by the other combatants. If the list is already balanced, the Advancement by Acclaim will not be needed.
FINAL ROUND Once the Finalist are assembled, they shall fight with the prior scoring conventions in a simple single elimination tree. (NB: In the event of a small final list (four or less), the finals may be fought as a pool at the judge’s discretion.
ADVANCEMENT: MIDWINTER KING
There are two ways to advance to the final round of four combatants – by Victory or by Accolade.
The winners of each of the three tournaments automatically advance to the Midwinter King round.
The list will be “balanced” by adding a fourth combatant chosen by the other combatants. If the list is already balanced, the Advancement by Acclaim will not be needed.
Once the four finalists are assembled, they shall fight with the prior scoring conventions in a simple single elimination tree. Fighters will be paired randomly.
APPENDIX A: SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
All weapons will be tempered steel, flexible in the thrust, in good repair and free of burs or rust. A list of acceptable and prohibited weapons follow, along with reasons why a weapon is not permitted. Any weapons produced by an “unknown manufacturer” (see list) will be evaluated by the judges.
Swords with a rounded point the width of a quarter or built in button/nail do not need a blunt, otherwise they should have a standard rubber blunt of equivalent. Steel daggers must have a secured blunt; the Cold Steel rondel trainer is the preferred weapon for the tournament.
Albion Arms — All Maestro Line weapons other than the messer;
Alchem — “Fiore” longsword;
Arms & Armor — Fechterspiel, Spada da Zogho, Scholar Sword, Messer;
CAS IBERIA — Practical Bastard Sword, Flexi-blade rondel dagger
Cold Steel – Rondel dagger trainer
Danelli Arms — All basic and custom models;
Darkwood Armory — All rapiers, daggers, sideswords and messers; older Scrimator and Fechtbuch longswords;
Ensifer — Heavy Feder, Messer
Pavel Moc — Feders and blunt longswords/messers permitted.
Regenyei — Feders and blunt longswords/messers permitted.
CAS Hanwei Feder (too flexible and prone to breaking)
Ensifer Light (too light, too flexible)
CAS Hanwei Tinker Longsword (too narrow an edge for safety)
“I don’t see XYZ sword…”
As noted, bring it and we’ll have a look. However, keep the following in mind:
Minimum weight: 1450 g (longsword), 1000 g (one-handed sword);
Maximum length: 130 cm
Overly-flexible weapons are just as likely to be refused as overly-stiff ones.
Head protection must cover the entire head and front of the throat. There should be no gaps in coverage that would allow a thrust or strike to the face. A 3-Weapon Mask with SPES-style overlay or Absolute Force HEMA mask with back of head protection, should be considered minimally acceptable protection.
A covering to protect the throat. A solid, vs. foam gorget is strongly recommended, as is
Clothing should be puncture resistant, or three layers and completely cover the torso and arms completely. Padded jackets are strongly recommended for longsword fencing. Rigid chest protection, such as a modern fencing chest guard, is strongly recommended for female fencers.
A hard cup for all male combatants, which must not be visible while fencing. (Honestly, no one wants to see your cup and jock strap.)
Elbow and Forearm
Hard plastic, leather or steel elbow protection that protects the back and sides of the joint. Forearms should be protected by additional heavy padding, plastic, leather, etc.
Sturdy gloves or gauntlets must be used to protect the hands and wrists. Gloves must include protection on the sides and tips of the fingers sufficient to resist hard strikes from steel. An unsupplemented lacrosse glove is not sufficient. Most HEMA-dedicated synthetic gloves or gauntlets, such as Sparring Gloves and Black Lance or steel gauntlets are acceptable.
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow (lots and lots and lots of snow) could stop this past weekend’s Free Scholar Prize Play!
As discussed elsewhere, the Guild uses a ranking system traceable to the fencing schools of the late 15th and 16th centuries. In the English tradition the grade of free scholar denoted a senior student who had grasped enough of the basics to move on to more advanced training. An analogy can be found in the modern academic system, with a scholar being equivalent to an undergraduate, and a free scholar similar to a graduate student. (Those familiar with modern Asian arts might it similar to a 1st degree black-belt: a recognition of embodying the fundamentals of the art, being able to apply it across the system, and therefore having the tools to take a truly deep dive onto the path to mastery.)
Nicole Allen and Jacques Marcotte are two long-time Guild members. Nicole joined the CSG only a few months after its founding in January 1999, played her Armizare Scholar’s Prize in 2001 and is part of the first group of students to become double scholars (Armizare and Renaissance Swordplay). Jacques joined several years later, and has been an assistant instructor for many years, teaching the Saturday morning Taste of the Knightly Arts class since time immemorial (or 2009). Consequently, they are vibrant, integral parts of the CSG family, and this made their at testing for Free Scholar all the more a cause of celebration.
PREPARATION, or, IT’S MORE THAN JUST FIGHTING
By Guild custom, students must spend at least three years at the Scholar rank before progressing to Free Scholar, although in practice it has taken twice that time or longer. In part, this is because, prior to opening of Forteza Fitness, and with it, the implementation of multiple training days, it was impossible for students to get in enough training time “on the mat”. Additionally, the Scholar curriculum is extensive, comprised of the entirety of Fiore dei Liberi’s dagger curriculum for use out of armour, longsword at wide play, elements of longsword and close play, arming sword and spear. Each of these components has its own written, skills and sparring exams, and students must pass all of them, a number of reading assignments, and complete a scholar project before being allowed to take their comprehensive written and skills exams.
Nicole’s project involves an annotated copy of the Getty Manuscript, designed to show visual interconnectedness of the sword and dagger, interwoven with student’s training notes. Whereas her project involves assisting the student, Jacques turned his attention to the teacher, creating a teaching guide of tips, traps and suggestions for new instructors teaching the introductory longsword course, as a companion to the curriculum outline. (Both projects are in final revision, after which they will be made available to Guild members.)
THE PRIZE, or, NOW WE FIGHT!
One of the most important steps in the progression from the grade of scholar to master is the concept of prize playing. Having passed all internal examinations, the student to submit a challenge for a public prize playing (free fencing exhibition), for the grade being tested for. The Prize is fought in two parts:
Three, four-minute rounds with each of three weapons: longsword, arming sword and spear.
The Ordeal, in which the prizor holds the field against all Guild Scholars who wish to challenge them to three blows with the sword.
At the CSG we have always invited one or more outside challengers to help test the prizors’ skill at arms. This past weekend, we were joined by Mr James Reilly, chief instructor of the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association’s Kenosha branch, and Mr. Christian Cameron of Hoplologia in Toronto, Ontario. Joining CSG Free Scholars Davis Vader and Erin Fitzgerald, together they provided the timed rounds of the Prize.
We are still processing and uploading video, but we have pulled a few sample fights to share right away:
Spear: Nicole vs. Erin
Spear: Jacques vs. Davis
Spear: Nicole vs. James
Sword in One Hand: Jacques and Davis
Longsword: Jacques and James
Longsword: Nicole and Erin
Longsword: Jacques and Christian
SWEARING THE OATH
Ceremony and ritual was a large part of medieval and Renaissance life, and although our Guild is a modern one, we seek to connect to the spirit of those who have gone before through both the Prize and the ceremony by which our Scholars, Free Scholars and Provost are invested in their rank. The investiture ceremony involves a lesson on the symbolism of Fiore’s four animals, a charge with new responsibilities and duties, the bestowing of gold garters, and finally, a swearing of the Free Scholar’s Oath, adapted for modern use from those of the old London Company of Maisters.
Much of the modern world has lost the sense of ritual and its purpose: to initiate. At its heart, the Prize is an ordeal: both in preparing for the exams, and then facing your peers (or those whom you wished to be acknowledged as a peer) and your fears in front of friends and loved ones. It’s an ordeal that also brings student and teacher, prizor and challenger, together in a unique bond that is revealed to be both ordeal and celebration; a symbolic reflection of how we travel the road to mastery of both the art and ourselves alone, yet succeed through the presence and support of our community.
Speaking of that community we are all extremely proud of Jacques and Nicole both for the hard work training, testing and fighting, but also for the long years of service and support they have shown their Guild family, marrying the chivalric virtue of prowess with that of largesse. A hearty and heart-felt congratulations to them both!
We are pleased to announce there will be a playing of the prize for the grade of Laureato d’Armizare (Free Scholar of the Art of Arms) and Rettore d’Armizare (Provost), this upcoming Saturday (February 10, 2018), at the Sala d’Arme Forteza, in Chicago.
This will mark a huge occasion for the Chicago Swordplay Guild as this will also mark the creation of both our first Armizare Provost, and the first to be created under the auspices and procedures set out by the International Armizare Society. The candidate, Jesse Kulla, has also been with us since virtually the beginning, and over the years has developed quite a reputation in the local, regional and national HEMA community. (We will be posting a full overview of the process, with video from the various examinations and Prize, in the next week or so.)
In addition, the day marks our third Armizare Free Scholar Prize since the Guild’s inception, the candidates are long-time Guilders. Nicole Allen of Revival Clothing and Historica fame, has been with the Guild since shortly after its founding in 1999, and Jacques Marcotte has been one of our Taster Class instructors for nearly a decade.
Please join us in wishing Jesse, Nicole and Jacques the best of luck in the upcoming ordeal!
Let it Be Known to All that Profess the Study of Arms, that the Chicago Swordplay Guild does Challenge All Men and Women of Good Character and Keep Blade to Inaugurate the New Year in a Competition of Arms
In conjunction with the Midwest Historical Fencing League and Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts the Midwinter Armizare Open is a public display of skill with one and two-handed swords in a relatively rules-light format meant to emphasize the tactical priorities of fighting with sharp weapons in lethal combat.
WHERE & WHEN
Date : Saturday, 27 Jan 2018
Location: Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts, 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
10:30 – Sign In
11:00 – Introduction: Rules and Demo
11:30 – Sword in One Hand
1:00 – Break
1:30 – Longsword
5:00 – Awards
5:30 – After Event Party