Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gallowglass Academy 2007 End of Year Report

Recently Andrea read that holiday letters should not consist merely of a detailed recitation of the various individuals’ achievements. Perhaps that is good advice for a family holiday epistle.

Okay, we’ll call this letter the Gallowglass Academy Annual Report for 2007.

Early in April, Tim Lyon ran a day-long introduction to Fabris’ rapier. We had hoped this to be a sort of prequel to a return of Tom Leoni for more advanced Fabris work. Tom’s schedule has since become more complex, so we haven’t been able to book a date with him. Yet. We’re still working on this.

We invited Maestro Sean Hayes out at the end of April for a two-day intensive on medieval sword and buckler from the 13th-century text called “Royal Armouries MS 1.33.” We had almost thirty participants turn out for this event.

June may have been our most intense month: Ken Pfrenger drilled the bejaysus into us for a weekend of collar-and-elbow wrestling, Irish stick fighting, and classic pugilism. Later in the month, we convened the fifth (can this be?) Scholars Weekend, featuring the debut of Patrick Bailey’s “Equi-Sims” for a taste of mounted combat.

During the autumn, Allen presented a pair of 19th Century-flavored day seminars – Bowie knife techniques and the very Victorian art of Bartitsu. A video version of each of these is in the works; we’re looking for these to be available sometime in mid-2008.

We traveled a lot this year – teaching, learning, schmoozing:
– On the first weekend of February, the coldest of the year so far, we joined Classical Romans, World War II Allies (and Germans!) Civil War-ers (American and English) and everything in between to share a variety of historical combat and sartorial styles at ReEnactorFest 2 and strut our assorted stuff.
–In February, we went to the Illinois side of St. Louis for Allen to teach a day of English sword arts for SCA combatants. Then over St. Paddy’s weekend we went to Michigan to teach rapier at another SCA event.
– Cumann Bhata in eastern Ohio in May sponsored a camping weekend of recreational violence and bad spelling; Allen taught Cunningham’s “Cane as a Weapon”.
– At ISMAC in Detroit in July, we supported the roll-out of the premiere issue of Scott Baltic’s “WMA Illustrated” quarterly magazine, as well as Terry “That Guy” Tindill’s spiffy stainless steel perf-plate fencing masks;
– 2nd Annual Brotherhood of the Blade in Chicago included a class by Allen “Ambushed: Close Quarter Fighting with a Big Knife”.
– We enjoyed four days in Racine WI, at September’s end – WMAW, of course!
– AWSDA, the Association for Women’s Self Defense Advancement, in November, included a class taught by Allen, and a refresher in Rape Defense certification for both of us.
– And a couple more SCA events, to catch up with old friends, and teach and learn: MKAOD (Middle Kingdom Academy of Defense) and KWAR (Knowne Worlde Academy of the Rapier) in northern Illinois and Minneapolis, respectively.

Allen also continues the weekly sessions of “Fight School” practical, often-modern, defensive tactics at our studio in Leaf River. He presented a lecture and discussion on “The Active Shooter: Is Your School Ready?” to a gathering of northwestern Illinois school board officials. He taught CPR and First-Aid classes. Andrea and he twice presented AWSDA’s Rape Prevention course.

And 2008 promises to be Pretty Good Times, too. Some of these plans are still in the making, but so far we have confirmations on:

– “Warrior Spirit” an exercise course that’s somewhat “WMA Meets Aerobics,” at Highland Community College this winter
– Return to ReEnactor Fest 4 on the weekend of February 8-10
– “School of the Soldier” a one-day intensive in March, with a 19th Century American focus
– “Renaissance Close-Quarter Combat,” with Brad Waller in April
– Josh Little, on German Longsword, in June
– Scholars Weekend, a taste of WMA without those big-city prices, in the fall
– Chris Thompson, on Highland Broadsword, in the fall
– AWSDA’s 4-hour Rape Prevention course, to be presented quarterly
– a fully-developed 8-10 hour women’s self defense class
– production of DVDs of Bowie Knife and Bartitsu
– making available the “Dancing With Swords” anthology as an e-book.

And that’s the news from Leaf River, a little town that has celebrated 125 years, hanging on to life without public transportation, schools, fast-food or Starbuckstm... but it’s got Gallowglass Academy, catering to your Western Martial Arts needs since 2003.

How’s by you?

All the best for 2008 and beyond,

Andrea Dubnick Allen Reed
President Head Instructor

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spring/Summer 2008 Seminars at Gallowglass Academy

I am pleased to announce the following seminars at Gallowglass Academy, outside Rockford, IL

Further information can be found at or call 815-973-1064.

School of the 19th-Century Soldier

March 29, 2008
$50 until March 1; $100 thereafter and at the doah, suh!
Lunch included

Nineteenth Century Bayonet, with Patrick Bailey
Class will concentrate on the system imported to the US by George
McClellan, but will also feature an overview of the complimentary
systems of Burton, Hutton, and Angelo. Practical instruction will
include basic stances and attacks, parries, and scripted drills. If
time permits, the guards against cavalry will be explored against the
mounted saber techniques taught in the other section.

Sabre Exercise, with Michael Pennock
A class in American military saber of the nineteenth century. In this
class we will be working with the Mounted Sabre Exercise as it is
presented in Poinsett’s Cavalry Tactics of 1841 and Cooke’s Cavalry
Tactics of 1862. We will work through the Exercise and explore the
concepts behind mounted combat from a martial arts perspective.
Since we will be conducting the Exercise, each student will
require a saber simulator or, at a minimum, a 1" dowel rod about three
feet long. Part of the class will consist of slow-speed pairs drills,
so students will want to make sure that saber tips are properly blunted
or covered and that all blades are dulled for safety’s sake.
The Exercise will be conducted on foot as it was initially taught
to recruits, so there will be no need of horses.

Bowie Knife, with Allen Reed
Many Civil War soldiers were photographed posing with a Bowie knife,
and many sword and knife makers of the time made and sold Bowie knives
to soldiers from both the Union and the Confederacy.
Yet very little is known of how these famous knives were used in
combat. This class will work on examining how these big deadly knives
could have been used in close quarter combat.

"The Old Ways"
Workshop in Reniassnace Close-Quarter Combat
with Brad Waller

April 26-27, 2008
$100 until April 1 no foolin'!; $150 thereafter & at the door
Lunches included

The weekend would be dedicated to learning the breadth and scope of the
historical martial art that is used by Marozzo and many of the Medieval
and Renaissance Masters of Defence. The foundation of these systems us
often assumed by the manuals thmselves. Our two days together will
exlore this vast and comprehensive relationship -- Marozzo Pressa 1-22,
Durer Counter 1-120. We will give special emphasis to develop a
process to interpet how these techniques work together as a system.
There is more material than I think we can get through in two short
days. We will work hard, move quickly, and most of all have fun in our
celebration together of this art form. I look forward to working with
everybody. --Brad Waller

Safe in the Assault:
A Defensive look at Liechtenauer’s Art
with Josh Little of Ars Gladii

June 21-22, 2008
$100 until May 22; $150 thereafter and at the door
Lunches included

This two-day seminar will examine the old axiom "hit without being
hit," and how Johannes Liechtenauer’s art of the Longsword encompasses
this ideal. Appropriate for beginning and experienced students alike,
this course will work through the fundamentals of Liechtenauer’s
teachings as presented by "Döbringer," Ringeck, and Von Danzig, with
overall emphasis on defensive tactics. We will be examining stance,
movement, timing, strikes, thrusts, and deflections – all with the idea
of "hitting without being hit."