Friday, December 30, 2005

Books of interest to the student of defense:

“Forza: The Samurai Sword Workout” by Ilaria Montagnani, published by Ulysses Press (2005)

I picked this book up while poking around in one of the local big box books stores. Tho I haven’t really worked with the exercises the author suggests I can see it being used by both the Oriental martial artist and the user of the longsword or staff.

“The Classical Pugilism and Bare-Knuckle Boxing Companion, Vol. 1” edited by Jake Shannon, published by Lulu Press (2005)

While doing research on early American pugilism I came across a reference to a manual published in the 1840's by Owen Swift titled “Boxing without a Master”. I then set out to find a reproduction of this work. The book listed above was the only source I found for this work. The book is a compilation of three works on pugilism and boxing.

I am not an expert on the history of pugilism but would suggest anyone who is interested in early boxing history take a look at Shannon’s book if interested in getting more information.

“The Bowie Knife: Unsheathing an American Legend” by Norm Flayderman, published by Andrew Mowbray, Inc (2004)

For any collector or student of the Bowie knife this is a must have book! Lavishly illustrated with photos of many Bowie knives Flayderman has set out to really give us the history of the Bowie knife. Flayderman has found the earliest published references to the Bowie knife and dispels many of the myths about the knife and James Bowie, the man for which it was named.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Spyderco Knives:

I have always been a fan of Spyderco knives. I like them 'cuz they are good quality, inexpensive knives that hold up well under use. I carry a Delica folder on a regular basis.

Recently I found out Spyderco sells trainers for three of their models. Two of their folders, the Delica and the Endura, and one of their fixed blades, the Temperance.

I have purchased the Delica and Temperance trainers and am happy with both of them.

Speaking of the Temperance model knife. I first learned about this model of Spyderco when I attended some training at the School of Two Swords with Dwight McLemore. It is an excellent single edge fixed blade knife. The Kydex sheath is also very well made and is set up so it can be carried in a number of configurations.

Weight Training:

Back in the fall I was looking to kick my conditioning traing up a notch so I dusted my weights off and started looking around for a system to use. While browsing thru one of the big box book stores I found "Weight Training Made Easy" by Joyce L. Vedral(publsihed by Warmer Books) Ms. Vedral advocates the use of dumb bells for most weight training. Her system is easy to learn and the book is set up well for the novice to use.

Although I am using plates not dumb bells, not the optimal choice for the novice, I have found the system works well for me. I would recommend that anyone who wants to start weight training or wants to add something to their training take a look at this book

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Fight School

Welcome to Fight School the blog for Gallowglass Academy. Gallowglass Academy is a martial arts and training school in northwestern Illinois (near Rockford, IL) Gallowglass Academy is dedicated to providing training in Historic European (and American) Martial Arts (HEMA) as well as modern martial arts and law enforcement training.

My name is Allen Reed. I am the Director of Training for Gallowglass Academy. For those of you who don’t know me I have over 25 years in law enforcement both at the local and federal level. I have been doing Oriental martial arts for over 30 years and teaching jujutsu for over 20 years.

I have been a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) for almost 30 years where I was first introduced to the idea of HEMA (yes, I know SCA fighting isn’t really HEMA). I have been doing SCA armored fighting off and on since I joined the SCA. I first started doing fencing in the SCA about 15 years ago. I slowly learned more about HEMA through my interest in fencing.

Currently I am also a volunteer re-enactor at the Apple River State Historic Site in Elizabeth, IL. This site is established where one of the battles during the Black Hawk War of 1832 took place. Amongst my other duties on the site is re-enacting th role of one of the local militia men during the Black Hawk War.

For those who have not found the Gallowglass Academy website I encourage you to go to to find out about our training schedule.

This blog is set up so I can jot down notes about on going projects and things I have found during my reading and other research that really don’t belong on the website. I hope you will find this information helpful in your search for information about martial art training and historic re-enactment.