The Wolf Lord of Blades

Capo Ferro sounds so much better when you make him all “Game of Thrones,” doesn’t he? Sounds a lot more badass. Would you rather learn the sword art of some guy named “Lichtenauer” or learn the style taught by the Wolf Lord of Blades? I think I need to make up some new business cards. Or at least some new t-shirts. Translation is so much more fun when you throw accuracy away and focus on romanticism…or even orientalism. Building up on the rapier portion of class for the next few months, I’ve got a series of progressive exercises to work through. I know what I want from students at the end of the process, and I know what steps they should need to get there. Some might need more steps, some might need less. I have to be prepared for all those eventualities. I’m preparing the way I always do,…

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Threading the Needle

Capoferro has always been the father system. Marozzo is our grandfather. SCA rapier fencing was a mess, a Darwinian hot pool that ate the weak and pitted the strong against each other, but it was too hot to allow the truly good to solidify out into teachable style. It creates strong individuals, but eats any style away like acid on steel. My first attempts at teaching were attempts to cool the system a little, and introduce a crystal into the mix in hopes of it seeding. When that, to a degree, failed it made sense to try again with the same idea when it came to teaching at a proper martial arts school, with dedicated students. The idea was to start with rigid development of the ideal. We would teach the perfect lunge, and restrict students to it until they had shown mastery of that line. The plan was to…

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Iron and Speed

The Valkyrie workout took a long time to develop, with a lot of stumbles on the way. Until I had a recent discussion with someone online about the relative value of bodyweight training vs weight training for martial arts, I’d sort of forgotten how I got to where I am in my fitness thinking. Thinking back on it, it all kind of flooded back to me. The books, the notes, the endless plotting and charting, trying to wrap my head around sport science concepts that were far deeper than I ever expected. Bodybuilding was the only form of weight training when I was in my teens. As martial artists, we tried to avoid weigh training, because, as everyone knew, weights just made you stiff and slow. And yet…I discovered I had an affinity for them. There was something atavistic in the appeal. Nothing complex, just move a heavy weight up…

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A New Game Afoot, Changes Coming

I’ve been wrestling with a few production things on this blog for the last bit, and a few things have come up. I love writing these posts, but they do take a big chunk of my morning writing time. I need to reclaim some of that time for other writing projects. What I’m planning right now is a transition to a three-a-week posting schedule. It will likely be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday thing.  Eventually it will be less. Blogs seem to have this pathetic lifespan that starts big, and then tapers off into a mousetail of sporadic posts that usually start with “gosh, I should really update more often…” I’m not going to do that. I still have a lot to write about, but the thematic focus I had when I started is finite. I can only write so much without going off-topic. I’m going to put a finite lifespan…

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Familiarity Breeds Caution

Making road trips to small towns to teach fencing was always a special sort of fun. Inbred fencing is a real thing. In the world of SCA rapier, there are no standards, no rote lessons, no best practices. Everyone who can prove that they are capable of not hurting someone in a tournament is free to pursue anything they want, fighting in any style that strikes there fancy. Balancing that out is a community that only values winning. Small towns tend to make big-headed champions who feel like they are they greatest thing since sliced bread, and they love it when the so-called “hot shots” come in from out of town to teach. Sure, they’re happy to have them come and drum up some interest, but mostly…they want an opportunity to show that they should be recognized for being as good as the hot shots. Never mind that the hotshots…

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Fit School

Let’s suppose for a minute that you run a study group for WMA…Western Martial Arts. And by the way, I’d don’t follow the weird convention of splitting WMA into those with a sport focus, HEMA a historical focus. I use WMA because it’s shorter and sounds catchier to me. I’ve been told this has been confusing some people, but bluntly…that’s what you get for relying on labels to do the thinking for you. Moving on. You run or are part of a study group that doesn’t work out, or you are a teacher at a school that doesn’t want to waste valuable class time on exercise, so you only do technical training. For whatever reason you’ve decided that you would like to start an exercise program. Only now that you’ve decided, you aren’t really sure how to do so. Your initial problems are time…you still only have so much time…

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