Friday, March 19, 2010

Fighting with the Tomahawk

I iwll be offering a one day seminar on the use of the tomahawk in combat on Saturday May 1, 2010 at Gallowlgass Academy (near Rockford, IL.)

Cost is $50 until April 26 and $75 thereafter.

Go to for further details.

Friday, March 12, 2010

James Bowie and His Knife

On Saturday March 6, 2010, the 174th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo to Gen. Santa Anna’s army, I taught the class “ James Bowie and His Knife” at the Highland Community College West campus in Elizabeth, IL.

Four students who were interested in learning about both the life and times of James Bowie and about how to fight with his knife met in the gym of the building. Three of theses folks had no previous experience with WMA, while the other had taken classes from Bob Charon in Italian medieval swordplay.

The class was broken up into hourly segments that started with a session talking about the biography of James Bowie and then went into the hands-on use of the Bowie knife. Since three members of the class were novices, we started at a very basic level. I first explained that there were no texts letting us know how Bowie or any of his contemporaries used a fighting knife. So my system of using the Bowie knife is based on basic WMA principles.

We started first with my twelve-point flourishing drill, which includes eight cutting angles and four thrusts. Then we moved on to doing the flourishing while moving forward and backward. Since Bowie ended up down in the sand at the famous Sandbar fight, I led the students through the flourishing drill while kneeling, sitting and lying down.

The next session with the knife was how to defend from cuts that come in from the left side, the odd-numbered cuts of the flourishing drill. We then moved on to defending from cuts coming in from the right side, the even-numbered cuts. During these drills I demonstrated how with my high chambered guard one can use either empty-hand techniques or other weapons to defend oneself from any attack that comes in from these zones.

Each session with the knife built on the previous session. First a basic defense was worked on, then a response based on this defense. I emphasized that the student should not be tied into the basic targets for the response after the defense, which should be based on the easiest target available.

We finished the class by working on defending from the last two cutting angles, high and low. Again, a basic defense was used and then a followup technique to target a major part of the body.

Photos of the class have been posted at