Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Talhoffer plate 1

Though Herr Talhoffer uses both hands, the movement is the same.  In the above print, the man on the left is attempting a strike which I call the "number five" strike.  That is a strike which is more or less straight down.  Its not of course...it is actually moving down and to the left, in a diagonal line.  The fighter on the right is bringing his sword up to meet the strike. 
       These are just opening moves.  As meaningless, yet pregnant with meaning as the opening moves in a game of chess. The right hand fighter will step forward and to the left, catching his opponent's sword as close to the forte as he can.  Then he will deflect the strike off to his right, his sword will be forced down and to the right, and will have a load of energy to continue the swing back and around to hit his opponent's arms, or maybe, since they are both stepping closer to each other, even his head or neck. 
The samurai in the pic above is deflecting the incoming overhead strike same as the Talhoffer sketch.  His sword will rise from the en guarde position to the high guard shown above. 

There are so many good reasons why Herr Talhoffer taught this as the very first move in his book.  It is extremely important.  The five strike is very nearly the most popular strike you will ever face.  Practice deflecting it away as shown.  Then get used to swinging the sword to the left, then up. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Safety Standards

Safety requirements of Medieval Fighting Demonstrations at the Osgoode Medieval Festival.

The Safety Officer of the Osgoode Medieval Festival will be Bill Fedun.
The Co-ordinator of the Osgoode Medieval Festival will be Judy Carey.

The safety officer of the Osgoode Medieval Festival has a duty to make sure people have full knowledge of our safety requirements.
They are very strict and sensible.
You must ensure that you are working within a safe area.
We will provide a double roped piste, however, some weapons forms may require moving the ropes to give the spectators some extra room.
Know this in advance.  If you pull stakes to move a rope, put them back later.
Be prepared to make your own roped off area if there is not one available for use, the co-ordinator will help you find one.  Or not.
You must have a marshal controlling the fight.
You may NOT mix your fight demo with any unqualified spectators.
Other WMA groups may play together providing marshals from both groups are present and actively marshaling on the field.
Some exceptions may apply...boffer fighting for instance "should" be safe enough to allow spectators to drop in and play under supervision.
But even then.....I reserve the right to shut it down if I even get a bad feeling about it. 
I have no problem with random members of the public touching your armour or swords, or even swinging them around providing
it is done under tight supervision, well away from the general public and in a roped off area.
But no, you don't let them run over to their wife/father/best friend/whatever to show it off outside the ropes....
Members of the general public will not participate in any fighting.
Don't hit members of the general public, even if they are wearing armour and asking for it.

Sword styles based on AEMMA, and by extension the OMSG,and many other WMA groups often risk sword breakage.
Your fight style may need to be modified subtly to miniminize the possibility of the shrapnel from busted swords flying into the audience.
For instance, the South Tower Armouring Guild forbids head "shots" when we are within a crowd and sticks solely to draw cuts.
A lanyard (an old boot lace will do!) will attach your sword to your wrist.
Knives, javelins or hatchets may not be thrown in the demo area, nor is any archery permitted except in the approved archery field.
No sword or sword like object such as a bokkun or wooden waster used for sparring on the list field may be able to be inserted into an eye slot or into a throat.
This means gorgets and eye slot mesh.
Safety glasses under the helmet are not good enough to stop a steel sword thrust, but will be acceptable for non steel swords.
Mesh will have a maximum hole diameter of three quarters of an inch, and may be welded or riveted in place.
For now, I will allow chain mail camails in lieu of gorgets.  This may change if I observe difficulties.

One or more members of your group must  be qualified and carry a valid certificate in first aid.  Any level is fine.
You must have a first aid kit there at the demo area when when you do your demo.

Carrying your swords to and from the list field will not require a peace binding,
though to prevent damage to jostling people, carrying them in a golf bag or duffel bag would prove your good intentions.
Walking around, chatting to people, visiting the vendors and merchants...
well, use a  strap tie to hold that sword or knife down against your side so that the curious kid won't grab it.
You can get a strap tie from the front gate.
Don't leave swords and knives on the ground unattended where some kid (or kid like adult!) can pick it up without supervision.
The safety supervisor will have waivers available for all your participants to sign on the day.
They simply cannot fight without signing a waiver.
The waiver will consist of this set of rules, and will require your signature before you can demonstrate.

Don't scare anybody.  Leave the sword in its scabbard no matter how tempting it is to show it off.

There will be cases arising from time to time which will need me to resolve.
I hope to be honourable, chivalrous and safe, hopefully consisent.
If you have a problem with the Safety Supervisor, you can appeal it to the event co-ordinator.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

mid april newsletter

South Tower Newsletter Mid April 2012

The Plante Bath course will run. Because of low signups, the course start date was delayed to allow people to trickle in.
(I think it has to do with exams, which understandably trump yet more courses!)
New dates are one week later, April 22nd to June 17 for both the advanced and basic course.

European Chivalrous Handling Course...Level 1 Plante Baths (18 hours) Sunday mornings 10:30 to 12:30
Plante Recreation Centre, 730 Sommerset St. West at Preston road.
Phone to register at 613-232-3000

The basic course is needed to get started in sword handling and be able to do it safely, a good grounding.
Not a lot of "dirty tricks", but you get all the basic moves required to aquit yourself as a competent swordsman on the field.

Chivalrous Sword Level 1 Sun @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm Apr 15 – Jun 17 696949
$112.50 Preston Room
No class Sunday, May 20th

The courses at the plante bath are quite different from the courses at Algonquin.
There is more chain maille, and none of the Japanese Katana work which we do at Algonquin College.

Basic Course....Algonquin Woodruff Campus, the gym in the "P" building.
Course Code GEN0088. cost for this course is $160.57 incl HST This is a non-credit Algonquin General Interest course,
and as such is payable entirely to Algonquin College. (On line or at the Registrar's desk just inside the doors at the Admin building.)
Wednesday evenings, 7 to 9:30, May 2nd to June 13, 2012
Advanced Course .....Algonquin Woodruff Campus (16 hours Friday evenings 7 to 9:30 in the "P" building.

Course Code GEN 0105 Cost for this course is $160.57 incl HST
Courses are scheduled for Friday evenings, only two days after the basic course ends.

Nice thing about the advanced course...its mostly just practicing and application of the stuff you learn in the basic course,
so you can miss one or two classes without fear of falling behind.

I can get pretty much any Friday evening in January or February for workshops in Algonquin, and then again Wednesday evenings in March and April.
email me at stag@southtower.on.ca and perhaps we can set up some workshops...
anything from "armour repair" to "chain maille making" to who knows what....if you have an idea for a topic,
let me know, and we can schedule something. Obviously if it involves complex Systema or Juitsu techniques, we would need the gym with the mats....but heck, even if all we have is a pub night...I think I can get behind that!

Algonquin College Registrar's Office is 1385 Woodruff Ave, Rm. C150, Ottawa Ont., K2G 1V8. tel 613-727-0002,
or 1-800-565-4723, fax613-727-7754 email AskAlgonquin@algonquincollege.com.
But if I am involved, have me do it.... especially if it is a pub night.
(our pub by the way is Greenfields at the corner of Greenbank Road and Fallowfield Road.
We usually end up there after class on Wednesday evenings.)

Summer tournaments.....

The summer months are tourney season. It is what we have been training for all winter!
We usually hold them on a Saturday, and we KNOW that summer saturdays are precious, so I will try to make your investment in a weekend worth it.

We find that single and double elimination tournaments seem to work well. We did a round robin a few years ago...near killed me!
We have the space, and I put up a tent which is big enough to fight in if we have to. So not even rain will stop us!

Archery has been a component in the past. We can still do that, but it will need to be well run. The archery lane is serviceable.
We still need to make some more "barn doors" to deal with overshoots. Work party on Saturday coming I guess.

As fun and interesting as the tournaments are, we are fully aware that most folks do not come here for the fighting, but for the feasting.

Combined with the tournament is an evening feast, Traditionally we have had a pot luck feast.
Although a pot luck works, and it most certainly will be a component of it for the forseeable future, we are thinking about catering this event.
Just outside the village is a world class, world renouned barbecue restaurant which smokes up the finest ribs in North America.
Okay, maybe there are some places in Kentucky or South Carolina which might dispute that,
but the Canadian maple wood they smoke their ribs with lend a most delightful flavor.
As an exeriment, we will get a washtub full of St. Louis back ribs delivered to the tournament.
At twenty bucks a head, it sounds too good to be true.

The upside...ribs to die for...that have been smoking for 24 hours and marinading for 24 hours before that.
The downside...to get in on the deal, payment must be a week in advance.
...no cancellations, not even for rain.
...the worst that can happen would be you get a great meal.
The upside...we have a tent which can take any number of people.
The downside...its May, and might be a bit chilly.
The upside...we ARE Canadians, and we laugh at cold.

I am looking at Mid May...which some might feel to be a little too early. However, the planning such as it is, has all been done.
We have to work around Anime North (25th) and the Ottawa Comic Con May 12th.
If I push into June, we will be in Wedding Season, and that means family time which would trump tourney time.

This will be an experiment to see how things will roll out. So there are a LOT of questions and details which will have to be ironed out.
If it works out well, we will do it again after the Upper Canada show, and again, after the Osgoode show.
The big one will be the big annual Pumpkin Cutting event in November. But that is so far away! I can't wait that long for ribs.

So...I need to know...is the 19th of May good? Who would want to go early and do it on the fifth? Or both? Is this even a good idea at all?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Algonquin Course May 2012

Basic Course....Algonquin Woodruff Campus, the gym in the "P" building.
Course Code GEN0088. cost for this course is $160.57 incl HST This is a non-credit Algonquin General Interest course, and as such is payable entirely to Algonquin College. (On line or at the Registrar's desk just inside the doors at the Admin building.)
Wednesday evenings, 7 to 9:30, May 2nd to June 13, 2012

Advanced Course .....Algonquin Woodruff Campus (16 hours Friday evenings 7 to 9:30 in the "P" building.

Course Code GEN 0105 Cost for this course is $160.57 incl HST
Courses are scheduled for Friday evenings, only two days after the basic course ends. You can come late to this class if you want.

Why go through the college? Now you have to remember, what you get out of the college is this. Algonquin is keeping the lights on, providing free (shoveled) parking and insurance, and providing us with gym, change room and locker space. They have to arrange this attractive gym space with the owners, the Police Services Department. If we don't get eleven or more sign ups, they will not do all the "behind the scenes stuff" which is required to get this course in place. And they need those sign ups a week in advance. If you delay and wait for the day of, they might well cancel the course on us. So don't procrastinate! Call ME if you have problems. 613-821-1846


I will be opening my shop to folks who want to make their own armour from now until June. Emphasis on Saturday, and again by appointment for folks who work Saturdays. Out of towners....we'll talk. Its not a formal class. I can be reached at 613-821-1846 to make sure there will be room for you. Try not to call before ten on Saturday mornings unless you need directions....we all have hangovers. So far dozens of armours have been made by enthusiastic visitors! (We have all the materials you could need...this IS a metal working shop dedicated to making armour, and yeah, its okay to bring your own materials.) My students, SCA and AEMMA and OMSG members are particularly welcome.
Shop fees may be waived by bringing beer and burgers
If you are coming from farther away than Ottawa (or drank too much of my whiskey), crash space is available.