Is VISS for beginners

Short answer: absolutely.  A few of our newer students who feel a little anxious about registering for the 2013 Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium(VISS). There are several reasons for this feeling and I’ll address some of them here.  “It’s kind of expensive”  This applies to beginners and “veterans” alike. And, actually it’s not. At a cost…

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Bringing a 500 year old wrestling system back to life

A few weeks ago I was in Eugene, Oregon teaching a seminar at the Northwest Fencing Academy. The day after the seminar I got together with school director Sean Hayes and his senior student Mark Kruger to work with them a bit on an historical intepretation project of a 1537 wrestling manual written by a…

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“Yeah, but when will I use fencing in real life?”

Brilliant stuff today, great for the novice and experienced fencer alike.Occasionally, when I talk to someone about fencing the conversation turns to applicability outside the salle. “It’s just good for killing people with a sword. What are you going to do when you don’t have your sword?”There’s so much wrong with that (besides the grammar).We…

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Out Cold: The Real Danger of Concussions

Here’s an infographic related to my previous post: Concussions R Bad. Created by MastersInHealthcare.com, it is sourced from the following: www.cdc.gov/concussion www.silive.com/sports/index.ssf/2010/10/scary_statistics_about-concuss.html www.mayoclinic.com/health/post-concussion-syndrome/DS01020 usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/story/2012-01-23/costly-concussions/52762290/1 Safety in Training and Reality In class, we avoid striking the head, even when wearing protective gear. To be a good partner, we either move slowly, change the target (do a…

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Martial Movement

Swordplay from the Ground: Movement Last week I covered the essentials of a balance and martial stance.  Now we need to add mobility, without losing the effectiveness of that grounded posture, for the second item in the mounted combat checklist: Demonstrate methods of movement The movements we are looking for are: 1. Advance: take a…

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The Gift of Stage Combat

The month of December is like a gift of stage combat. It ends with the Paddy Crean, and everyone is preparing for it for the weeks leading up to it. The Paddy Crean Workshop I’ve written about Paddy Crean and the workshop in his honour before. It’s one jam-packed week of stunts, stage combat, and…

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Taking a Stance

Last week I gave an overview of the Mounted Combat portion of the Green Spur program, which includes Swordplay from the Ground, Swordplay Knowledge and Mounted Swordplay Knowledge.  For the next little while we’ll look at each of those checklist items in a bit more detail, starting with Swordplay from the Ground: Stance and Posture…

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Eastern Cane

Although the walking stick techniques of Bartitsu are an integral part of the art and contribute to its popularity, there are other martial arts that explore the cane. Tai chi and forms of Chinese kung fu sometimes incorporate weapons, including the straight sword, the saber, the staff, and the cane. I’m no expert on those…

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Victorian Shaving for Movember

The month of November is here, and the ritual of growing a mustache to raise funds for testicular cancer and other men’s health issues has been dubbed Movember. Deliberate and sometimes elaborate facial hair was common in Victorian era, so I’m sure Bartitsu enthusiasts are keen to learn more. Mustache Goals If you’re participating in…

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Where’s the error?

I was doing some drills with a fellow student last week and noticed an interesting phenomenon. The drill was as follows: Agente controls Patiente’s weapon Patiente disengages to strike Agente strikes in contratempo I was the Patiente for the drill. I gave my partner a few tries to get warmed up in the drill and…

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Victorian-Themed Halloween

October is the month of death and candy in North America, so let’s talk about a steampunk-Holmes-Victorian Halloween. Besides your best clockwork sky pirate garb, I don’t have costume ideas, just some inspiration and factoids. Jack the Ripper Synonymous with the words “serial killer”, Jack the Ripper murdered female prostitutes in the Whitechapel district of…

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I’m Teaching Workshops in Eugene and Chicago

If you live in Eugene, Oregon or Chicago, Illinois I’ll be in your area in the next few weeks teaching workshops on Italian Knife, Longsword, Sidesword, and Rapier. This weekend on Saturday the 27th I’ll be visiting Northwest Fencing Academy in Eugene Oregon to teach two workshops, one on Italian Knife and the second on…

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