I just posted an article comparing a footwork training diagram from a 17th Century engraving of the fencing school at Leiden with Gerard Thibault’s ‘Mysterious Circle.’ The link to the article is under ‘My Articles’ in the side-bar. You can also get to it by clicking here. Have a read through it and let me know what you think.
Hello, and welcome to my humble blog. Feel free to make yourself comfortable, pour yourself a drink and kick your feet up onto the coffee table.
The first thing you should know about me is that I am a shameless, unrepentant martial junkie. I have been obsessed with the study of weapons and their uses for as long as I can remember. I grew up reading catalogs of arms and armor collections, watching swashbuckling movies, and making wooden weapons to see how they moved and what kind of damage I could do with them.
As I got older I found other people who shared my martial interests and began dabbling in various outlets for my combative zeal. I spent some time studying modern sport fencing, but found it to detached from its martial legacy for my tastes. It is a fabulous athletic activity, but not what I was looking for. I sampled Eastern martial arts for a while, including Shotokan Karate, Shin Shin Toitsu Akido, and Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. They were closer to what I was looking wantonly pilfered valuable lessons from all of them but they still weren’t what I was really looking for. None of them truly called to me.
Eventually, I stumbled onto a small group of folks attempting to re-create Western European swordplay systems from the 16th and 17th Centuries. I decided to take a look. Most of what we did in those early days was complete and utter crap. Slowly, however, we began to find extant treatises written by fencing masters during a time when fighting was a matter of life or death. We also began meeting other individuals from what would come to be known as the Western Martial Arts or Historic European Martial Arts communities. We began exchanging information and our efforts improved.
Today, I have been involved in the serious study and western martial arts through research and practice for over a decade. I am an Instructor at Arms at Academia Duellatoria, a school for Western Martial Arts study in Portland, Oregon. I am involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism where I hold that organizations highest awards for unarmored combat (Order of the White Scarf) and for research and scholarship (Order of the Laurel). I teach classes from time to time through the Portland/Vancouver study group of the Tattershall School of Defence and have lectured, and taught focus classes and seminars at various locations across the Western United States and Canada.
So, why the blog? I am not a blog junkie. I don’t spend all day online, and what little free time I have between working full-time and fencing almost full-time I spend doing research. Unfortunately, I’m the selfish type and I’m not always that good at sharing my research. Besides, good research never really feels like it’s finished.
This blog is not my daily diary. I don’t even know how often I’ll update it, although the smart money says it won’t be with any extraordinary frequency or regularity. I am, however, hoping to post little bits to this site as thoughts, or discoveries arise or whenever I actually publish scholarly papers and, if I think about it, when I’m going to be traveling to teach or lecture.
You can expect to see posts about Western Martial Arts in general as well as more specific information about Gerard Thibault’s rapier system from ‘Academie de l’Espee’, mixed weapons combat from the Leichtenauer tradition out of Germany and, my current drug of choice, Dutch swordplay. I consider myself conversant in the Italian traditions, but I don’t consider them a primary focus and there are plenty of others who are more than eager to take on that subject.
If you see something that you like, agree with, disagree with, are confused by or just want to talk about, drop me a comment and I’ll try to get back to you.