New Swindon club for 2014
Great news, the new Swindon club opens on January the 9th 2014. The location will be the newly built Christ Church Community Centre, which is just a stone’s throw from Wood Street in Swindon’s Old Town. Start time will be 7.30 pm every Thursday.
Beginners will be taken through the basics of George Silver’s principles of the true fight and the focus will be on the broad sword, with a bit of quarterstaff thrown in for good measure.
Prices for drop ins and monthly and 3 monthly passes will be posted soon so please keep an eye on the site. If you want further info or would like us to reserve you a place then use the form below.
Marlborough quarterstaff lesson.
Last week at the new Marlborough club (now every Wednesday from 8.30 pm at St Mary’s Church Hall, Marlborough, Wiltshire) students left their swords undrawn and were put through their paces with the king of weapons, the Quarterstaff. Students attending the new club were first shown some of the techniques from George Silver’s ‘Brief Instructions’. After insuring everyone understood techniques when used in conjunction with the Grounds and Governors (the principles of the true fight) all students were invited to take part in very light sparring using gloves, arm guards and club fencing masks.
The quarterstaff (also called the short staff by George Silver) is named so because you hold a quarter of the staff’s length between your hands. Unlike the more well known halfstaff (the weapon you’d most likely see in the hands of Little John etc) you don’t hold the staff in the middle but at one end, with the longest part jutting out towards the enemy. The quarterstaff is also much longer than you’d probably expect – it’s length should be equal to as high as you can reach plus another 12 inches – so usually 8 or 9 feet. That’s a lot of weapon! When a skilled staff person uses their distance correctly they can take on and easily beat several opponents with shorter ranged weapons.
Medieval Martial Arts Marlborough opens on the 25th September – this coming Wednesday
Learn Medieval style self defence – Broadsword, Longsword, Quarterstaff, Cudgel, Sword & Buckler, Barefist Boxing and more.
8.30 pm to 10 pm Wednesday evenings at St Mary’s Church Hall on Silverless Street.
Contact Leon on 07812839068 for further information or complete the contact form below and someone will get back to you.
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Fancy seeing some good old fashion blood lust? Then look no closer than Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick Games. We’ve been a few times and it’s worth a day out – it’s always a sunny day for some reason. Check out the website here.
The modern Olympic movement has its historic roots in “Robert Dover’s Olimpick Games”. For our 400th anniversary celebrations of what are now often called the Cotswold Olimpicks, a dedicated team of volunteers has organised a fun packed family day of races, games, music and entertainment – in addition to the traditional Games themselves which include the world famous shin-kicking contest!
World Shin Kicking Championships by DiagonalView
Starting at 2pm, and with children in mind, the Robert Dover’s Games programme this year includes a Jacobean Village, folk concert, the traditional sporting events, torch procession with marching bands and a live band in the town square.
Welcome Songs & Folk Concert
But the real surprise will be the world premier of the 2012 Olympics Welcome Songs written as a prelude to the opening of the London Olympics and performed by a local choir led by world-acclaimed singer Eliza Carthy. Preceding this there will be a programme of folk music featuring several guest artists and groups.
Swash 2013 – more to follow on the BFHS’s gathering but we thought we’d let you have a look at this video. Here we have two members from AMEK putting on a good show piece they’ve created for the German Longsword. We believe that they went on to dominate the Longsword competition this year at Swash.
Before television and the wireless radio the people of Britian used to do other things for entertainment, such as getting together and watching or participating in various types of games, including shin kicking, cheese rolling and backswording. The first article is an account of the Chapel Row Revel and features the Butcher of Swindon, one of the finest singlestick players of his day. The article goes into the rules of backswording and paints the picture that this noble pastime was somewhat of a bloodthirsty sport – nonsense!
The second article is worth reading for the humour alone. You’ll get the feel if you’ve been to any British event like cheese rolling or the Cotswold Olimpick Games. The article describes the folk of Wiltshire as a joyful people fond of robust sports – especially backswording. Have a read and add any other links to related material to the comments. Enjoy!
Continue reading Blackford of Swindon, Wilshire: the most noted backsword player of his day.
Over the last month at Medieval Martial Arts it was our privilege to welcome guest instructor Chris Stride who kindly gave us a crash course on the basic fundamentals of the longsword in the Liechtenauer tradition.
There was a lot of ground to cover in a short space of time and Chris needed to push us hard. Despite the new (to us) stance, footwork and a completely different way of holding a sword it was gratifying to see familiar martial principles at work and we all gained a new respect for this subtle but brutal weapon. Continue reading The Art & Science of Liechtenauer’s Longsword
Silver versus Swetnam: Short Sword versus Rapier
Two of the earliest and most cited sources on the English martial arts system are the works of George Silver and Joseph Swetnam’s The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence (1617). Although both men were contemporaries and described some similar techniques, what is less often mentioned are their vehemently opposing views on the key principles that underpin the system.
The earliest published fencing manual composed in English was in fact authored by an Italian, Vincentio Saviolo, his practice, in two bookes, the first intreating of the use of the Rapier and Dagger, the second of Honor and honorable quarrels (1595). Saviolo, following in the footsteps of his compatriot Rocco Bonnetti, had moved to London in 1590 and opened a school teaching the use of rapier and dagger. Both men had managed to side-step the monopoly enjoyed by the English Maisters of Defence by drawing their clientèle from the noblemen and gentlemen of Court. Saviolo was a great success. Not only was this sophisticated Italian gentleman teaching a highly fashionable weapon, the steep fees made his school very exclusive. The English maisters were traditionally drawn from the lower orders, as were the majority of their students, sniffily described by George Hale as ‘Butchers, Byt-makers, Shooe-makers; or Truncke-makers’. Rather than rub shoulders with these rude mechanics the young blades of Elizabethan London flocked to Saviolo.
This situation dismayed George Silver. Although a private gentleman rather than a maister, Silver was a connoisseur of the native fighting system ‘having the perfect knowledge of all maner of weapȏs, and being experiȇced in all maner of fights’. He saw Saviolo’s teaching as dangerously flawed, teaching offence rather than defence which, in a civil society armed to the teeth, was costing lives. Continue reading Silver versus Swetnam: Short Sword versus Rapier
Last week we unwrapped some shiny new bucklers and went through a few of the techniques as described by George Silver. Whilst offering protection from the off hand, the buckler is also a brutal weapon and can be used to smash into the opponents hands and face. It can even be tilted so the edge can smash down into the collar bone and the like. Serious stuff.
After the main session we then moved into an advanced lesson and explored some of the techniques by W.E. Fairbairn. Although some of the techniques are difficult to safely practice, when used in accordance with the principles and correct timings, they proved to be very effective.
Continue reading Sword and Buckler, Fairbairn All-in Fighting and fun in the sun.
Last week at Medieval Martial Arts we went back to the broadsword and worked through some of the techniques as outlined by George Silver in “Brief Instructions Upon my Paradoxes of Defence.” Using rattan cudgels, hand protection and sabre masks our goal was for the patient agent (defender) to strike the agent (attacker) from the stop. At the same time the agent had two goals: to attack in the truest time possible, and to fly in and fly out without being struck. To further train with realism, all the techniques were conducted whilst moving and at full speed.
The trickiest part for the agent was to try and capitalise on small false times brought about(hopefully for him) by the movements of the patient agent. Naturally, the patient agent was given his leave to strike the agent in the event that the agent should be clumsy with his coming in. The patient agent was also given further freedom to attack any target from the stop, thus preventing automatic blocking by the agent on his flying out.
The lesson for the patient agent – if you observe your times and distance then you’re at tremendous advantage when defending (attacking from the stop).
The lesson for the agent – don’t be the agent! That is unless you have won the place.
To round the evening off we sparred with the cudgel – full speed and with good power.