Wrestled to the floor, with daggers!


And greetings from stormy Kansas. I arrived on Wednesday night after a more eventful than is ideal trip. There was a medical emergency on the plane (I’m the wrong kind of doctor to be useful there, but the right kind of doctor literally ran across a row of seats to get to the action); then there was a queue at passport control that took over 2 hours, while I had an hour and 40 minutes to catch my connecting flight; which was fortunately delayed just long enough that I made it, though my bag didn’t. It’s easy to get really stressed in that kind of situation, but I kept calm with the following thoughts:

  1. the person with the emergency was being taken care of, and in the end was taken off the plane alive at our scheduled destination. No emergency landings at a closer airport (which would have been entirely justifiable if necessary to save a life, but very inconvenient), and no death on the flight.
  2. there was an entire separate lane at passport control for refugees. And another one for people in wheelchairs. I’m coming from a safe, comfortable home, have no trouble walking, and am going to a friend’s house. If it takes a bit longer, or costs a bit more, so what?
  3. there were some things in the bag that I would have hated to lose (my favourite daggers, for instance), and that I needed for the shooting (also my favourite daggers). But if necessary we could have got the job done without any of it, and the delay actually meant that we spent a day getting the tech sorted out (why my Rode lavalier mike wouldn’t work with the Rode wireless ME thingy, so we had to go buy a different Rode lavalier mike, is beyond me). So all in all it was a good thing that we didn’t shoot anything, because I was still knackered from the flight and the quality would have been below my best.
  4. Not so very long ago it would have taken some span of time best measured in months to get from my house in Ipswich to Jessica’s in Kansas. With delays of weeks if the wind is wrong, or the roads washed out. An hour here or there, or maybe even a whole day? Not such a problem.

We did get some things shot on the first day though. We produced some amazing footage. Really high level stuff, like this:

And this:

We started shooting the less serious stuff on Friday morning, and we have bagged all of the dagger plays (that’s 73 of the damn things), plus the dagger versus sword, sword in the scabbard versus dagger, and even the staff and dagger versus spear plays. We could have taken the rest of the time off, but Jessica had the bright idea of shooting a section of wrestling plays, so we did them too: The Twerchringen (“cross-wrestling”) section of the Von Baumann (aka “Codex Wallerstein”). It’s seven plays, each with a counter and a counter to the counter, making 21 plays in all. It’s less than a fifth of the total number of wrestling plays in that treatise, but it’s sufficiently broad and deep that it will provide a solid foundation to any wrestler, and complement our Abrazare (Fiore’s wrestling) very well.

Jess took a sneaky video of a bit of the video (meta or what?), and uploaded it to her Instagram (also meta!), here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C82IJ7OOD7D/

And then she took this.

Be awed by my martial vigour.

And then I got up and we did all the plays of the longsword on foot out of armour. 54 of those.

So I’m writing this on a day off, helped along by Josh Bond of Kansas City Muscle Therapy. He does myofascial release stuff, and spent literally two hours picking my shoulders apart. I’m going back today for him to do my legs. Pray for me… and if you’re in the area by all means go get yourself reassembled too.

I’ll be spending the 4th of July in a secret hideout before heading up to Madison for the seminar this weekend. I’ll let you know how that goes…

This week on the podcast: Federations, Forests and Body Awareness, with Marine Beaumel

Marine Beaumel is a historical martial arts instructor best known for her work with Royal Armouries Manuscript 1.33 Sword and Buckler. She started her historical martial arts career in Toulouse before moving to Finland, like all sensible people, where she co-founded the Tampere HEMA club. She is a member of the board of the French Federation of Historical European Martial Arts. And she has served on the executive board of the International Federation of Historical European Martial Arts.

We talk a bit about what these federations are and how they help, and move on to talk about Marine’s master’s in plant science and the fascinating ways that plants can be used to help restore the environment and farm more sustainably.

We also talk about injury prevention and training with sharps.



Guy Windsor's Swordschool

Dr. Guy Windsor is a world-renowned instructor and a pioneering researcher of medieval and renaissance martial arts. He has been teaching the Art of Arms full-time since founding The School of European Swordsmanship in Helsinki, Finland, in 2001. His day job is finding and analysing historical swordsmanship treatises, figuring out the systems they represent, creating a syllabus from the treatises for his students to train with, and teaching the system to his students all over the world. Guy is the author of numerous classic books about the art of swordsmanship and has consulted on swordfighting game design and stage combat. He developed the card game, Audatia, based on Fiore dei Liberi's Art of Arms, his primary field of study. In 2018 Edinburgh University awarded him a PhD by Research Publications for his work recreating historical combat systems. When not studying medieval and renaissance swordsmanship or writing books Guy can be found in his shed woodworking or spending time with his family.

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