Sunday, January 25, 2009

Interesting DVD

I picked up the "Women's Street Combat" DVD from Paladin Press recently.

I feel I can recommend it to any woman who is interested is learning self defense.

Although I don't agree with all of the moves shown in the video I think most of the techniques work well.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dear Friends of Gallowglass:

Now that the holiday hoorah is winding down (Epiphany, and Sherlock Holmes’ birthday, are safely past, and MLK-don’t-just-waste-the-day-off-from-work is still on the horizon), maybe it’s time to take a couple of deep, cleansing breaths just to get the ecch of some recent news events out of our systems.

On reflection, however, 2008 wasn’t all that bad, at least for Gallowglass Academy:

In February, we attended RenactorFest outside of Chicago, again on the coldest weekend of the year. Perhaps our sales weren’t as spectacular as they had been the year before, but folks who paid attention enjoyed the medieval and Renaissance swordplay demos that Academy members and friends put on.

Later in the spring, we imported Brad Waller from the East Coast for a popular workshop of close-quarter combat from the medieval masters. Brad’s modern approach includes huge charts comparing the illustrations from the various manuscripts side-by-side.

In early June, we journeyed to eastern Ohio, where Allen taught and learned from the stick-whacking lads of Cumann Bhata. This year’s commemorative t-shirt involved a slogan about enjoying stick-fighting “cuz I heard that chicks dig scars”..... Well, Lake Pymatuning forest preserve is a lovely setting for it all.

Josh Little came out to Leaf River from Michigan to teach German longsword for an elite, enthusiastic turnout over the solstice weekend.

Andrea got in on the act at AWSDA – that’s Association for Women’s Self Defense Advancement – co-teaching an improvised weapons session we call “Dress for Success.” Greenville, South Carolina in August has much nicer weather than it sounds....

Late in October, we took part in the 36th annual RockCon – a gamers convention in Rockford. Although we were Definitely A Novelty for that convention, some of the eager participants had dragged along family members who spotted us, and everybody seemed to appreciate the demos that Allen and some of the creative Rockford anachronists performed.

We offered the 4-hour AWSDA self-defense class 3 times, and cobbled together a 2-hour class for women at Rockford Federal Courthouse. Allen led an exercise class he’s calling “Warrior Spirit” at Highland Community College in Freeport. I like to describe it as “kinda like tae-bo except he’s white and has hair, and there’s no music.” Allen usually suggest something more along the lines of “calisthenics based on martial-arts moves.”

We’re moving forward, into final edits on two instructional DVDs, and hope to have them available before long: “Introduction to Bartitsu” and “Fighting with the Bowie Knife” feature Allen (of course), and members Patrick Bailey, Adam Velez, and Chris Vail.

In his Elizabethan superhero persona of Baron AElfred of Chester, Allen taught historical swordplay at a number of Creative Anachronist events: Ayreton Carnival in the spring, Middle Kingdom Academy of Defence (MKAOD) over Labor Day, Knowne Worlde Academy of the Rapier (KWAR) in Cincinnati in November, and a cut-n-thrust class at Mynydd Seren (Bloomington IN).

Academy member Patrick Bailey wrote an article on historical mounted combat, and how to train in it if you don’t have happen to have a medieval horse on hand. With assistance from fellow member Michael Pennock, as well as respective wives Kallie Bailey and Antina Richards-Pennock, he also starred in photos illustrating how to build the Equi-simtm system. Read all about it in Scott Baltic’s W M A Illustrated #3, which you might think about subscribing to.

Upcoming for 2009:
Starting in late January, we’re offering the “Warrior Sprit” class again at Highland, as well as a co-ed self-defense class for their winter term. We’ll be at RenactorFest again, where Allen will offer a class in Bowie Knife combat to all those Civil War and Cowboy Single-Action folks. We’ll offer a selection of practice weapons (some great Bowies!), and Chivalry Bookshelf and Paladin Press titles, as well as some used histories and historical cookbooks.
Actual Gallowglass events: Allen and Mike Pennock plan to teach a one-day session of Introduction to Rapier Defence (Feb 28), co-taught by Allen and Mike Pennock. Later in the Spring, Randal Gustitis has promised to come out from Bryn Mawr PA to teach a modern art: ROSS Russian Martial Arts (Apr 18-19).
Late in April we will make the pilgrimage “across the Pond”, where Allen and Gallowglass gentlemen Terry Tindill and Tim Lyon will be hosted by an SCA group in England for a weekend combat event.
And still on the to-be-arranged-sometime-this-year list, we need to get Tony Wolf out here to show us how Bartitsu is supposed to be done. And a Scholars Weekend would be nice, to ease folks into the study of historical combat.... to bring the WMA to the “unswashed masses” as Jamie Klock so nicely put it, lo! those many years ago. Five, in truth. Five years.

So that’s what we’ve been up to, with most of the bee-stings and boring things taken out. We hope your 2009 is off to as great a start as we’ve got going!

Friday, January 02, 2009

My wife and I were in Bloomington, IN so I could teach a class this

We went down a day early so we could stop at the Frazier Museum in
Louisville, KY and meet with Barrett Cooper, the head curator of
interpretations, and talk to him about the Bartitsu demo the Frazier
is putting on.

Cooper was very friendly and spent almost two hours chatting with us
about the Frazier, it's interpretations department and Bartitsu.

The Frazier Museum opened in 2004. It is a partner with the Royal
Armouries in Leeds, England and gets a lot of it's fighting demo's from
Leeds. The interpreters at the museum are also encouraged to do their
own research to develop their own interpretations, both fighting and

We watched the Bartitsu demo which is played as if Dr. Watson, played
by Cooper, was to host Barton-Wright for a demo of Bartitsu but since
BW is unable to make the demo Watson decides to continue the demo based
on his personal training at the Bartitsu Institute.

Watson is then interrupted by Sherlock Holmes, who believes Watson
isn't up on his form. The demo mostly involves use of Vigny's stick
techniques. I felt it gave a good representation of what we know about

After the demo I chatted with Cooper and was able to help him with the
footwork for septime envelope.

If anyone reading this is in the Louisville area I recommend a stop at
the Frazier. It is nice small museum with well put together exhibits.