Archive for September, 2009

Looks like there’s to be another dagger seminar already. I’ll be assisting Chris Wheeler again for Dagger/Close-Combat Seminar 2 (subtitled: “just in case you missed rolling around on the ground” 🙂 ), this Saturday, 3rd of October, over at the Goolrick Gym at Mary Wash. Looks to be a good time, and lots o’ learning lined up.

Cheers! 🙂


Read Full Post »

Illustration in Talhoffer's Fechtbuch showing rondel dagger combat.

Illustration in Talhoffer's Fechtbuch showing rondel dagger combat.

Last Friday’s “longsword” practice was to be focused on Medieval/Renaissance dagger work, in prep for the seminar we were giving the next day.

However, a new guy showed up; Chris (the instructor) stuck with him to show him the basics of longsword technique and philosophy (so the guy could decide if he liked it and would want to continue), so I worked with young Hallie in dagger. She hadn’t been there the night a couple of weeks before when we did a lot of dagger work, and was excited to get the chance. She’s only 12, but highly motivated (having her older brother Fritz being really into it helps), so she gets a pass on being there. Chris originally set the limit at 16 and above, but so far, she’s been just fine.

Later, a couple of the regulars showed up, so we continued to train, and it was good.

Saturday brought the Dagger Seminar at the University around, and it was great. Chris had asked me if I could assist, especially in the falling and throwing department. I’ve done Eastern-type martial arts for several years, and got into Russian Martial Art and loved it. But I have always maintained that the most bang-for-my-buck thing I’ve learned so far is proper falling. So Chris had me teach that one time for his class, because he was still feeling shaky about it.

The thing about Medieval combat training (and the manuals that accompanied it) is that it is fairly comprehensive. The manuals of the masters from those times usually had longsword as a base, and used the principles you gained with it to teach other weapons, such as spear and dagger.

They often also include wrestling, and Chris often has a wrestling-dedicated practice session. Because the purpose of the wrestling was to get someone to the ground (whether you are barehanded, or with a weapon), he felt that you should be very comfortable going to ground, hence the training in proper falling.

At the seminar on Saturday, after some warming up, he split the group of 12 or 14 or so into two groups. He worked with one group in footwork, and sent the other group to me on the mats to teach falling. After a period of time, we switched the groups out.

I typically teach falling very simply. The first part is collapsing, like a sack of potatoes. Then I work with people to get them rolling as best they can. After that it’s break-falls. I’ve found that I like to do it in that order, because by the time you get to break-falls, the students are familiar and comfortable being up and down and changing through different height levels. Plus, break-falls are really just incomplete rolls, so having done the rolls first, it’s a little easier to explain it. And finally, I am prejudiced toward rolling, because it’s actually safer than taking a break-fall. If you end up running out of time (which we did with one group), then I’d rather spend the time on rolls.

After that we went into Johannes Liechtenauer’s “The Three Wrestlings.” That was entertaining.

Then finally into the dagger work, off of a manual that I don’t remember the name of right at this moment. It was a long day, but the students were begging us to keep going. We stretched it as long as we could, but the gym finally was shutting down, so we had to skedaddle out of there. All in all, a good day.

Sunday found me once again at the University gymnasium, helping the Fencing Club with Olympic style of fencing. A good weekend of training.

And now, I’m back in Colorado, enjoying the icy rain, and the the snow in the mountains. Cheers.

Read Full Post »

I ended up fencing very hard last night, with perhaps the two most athletic, challenging of the fencers. Indeed, one of the fencers was not technically a student, but had graduated a few years ago, and was back for the weekend. He’s dating one of the students there, the Lovely Rachel.

After the club finished, we did the normal routine of heading over to the Eagle’s Nest, the campus café, for some grubbage. I ended up not feeling like eating anything yet, so I stuck to liquids–which I sorely needed. We all conversed for a while, then split for different arenas, most opting to go to a particular hall for a showing of The Princess Bride. This time, I abstained, and went directly home.

I was starting to “feel it,” the occasional bit of soreness/stiffness I feel in my right shoulder, knee, and sometimes forearm or elbow I sometimes get after fencing hard. I decided to try prophylactically icing it down with a cold pack I keep in the freezer.

The pack says to use the thing not more than 25 minutes or so. It went lukewarm after five to ten minutes. I wanted to keep going, so pulled another cold pack out. Again, a max of five to ten useful minutes.

My body must’ve been in extreme recovery phase, after the pretty energetic PT earlier, then the hard fencing. This morning, I feel fine, though I can still “feel it” in the shoulder and knee. You know the feeling–not painful, or particularly stiff or sore. But you know it’s there, and you used it.

Now just to make sure I eat half-way decently today! My mom sent me home last week with chocolate/peanut butter oatmeal no-bake cookies (my favorites!) and Guinness chocolate cake (mmmm!), and I’ve been partaking over the weekend. Looks like my workmates are going to be happy again…!!! 😀

Read Full Post »

Well, ostensibly, this was to be a low-travel month for me. Indeed, we have gotten to the point where instead of two weeks travel per month for the job, I am to be traveling one week a month.

However. This was also family reunion month, so I headed over to see the family (both sides) for a week. And in truth, it was a good visit. Got a little football played, lots of eating abominably ( 😀 ) and the like. Other than passing and punting the football, my workouts were basically helping my dad move heavy stuff–particularly a home-made iron pedestal from someone’s house to Dad’s. And this thing is heavy. I guess the guy wanted stability for his hand-loading apparatus. Now if I can just get my dad to load some more .44 Magnum!

We did in fact, go to the range. Let’s see if I can link the video of me shooting some bowling pins…

There. Good fun, and required of our family (we are West Virginians, after all… 🙂

My dad also got rid of some weights, by giving them to me. He and his wife Susan are hard-core stuff collectors, flea markets, garage sales, etc. He acquired a little while back an EZ Curl bar, sized for Olympic weights. He lived with it for a while, but he prefers (and has on tap) the weights with the small hole, vice the large hole Olympic barbell weights. Somehow, in some deal he also ended up with two 50 lb Weider (I think) disks, Olympic size. He finally ended up with the EZ Curl for the small size holes, so gave me the Olympic size, and the two 50 lb disks. Now, I normally don’t use the EZ Curl bar, and all my disks are the kilo marked ones–but, what can you do? This figures in a little later in the story…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, so to speak, my time at my actual home has not been seeing a lot of hard core lifting or physical training for a few weeks. But I have gotten some things in, such as ruck runs, etc. And some time at the TopGolf golf range with some buddies. Also, when I’m around, I’ve been pretty focused on my longsword training on Friday nights. A couple of weeks ago we did dagger fighting, which is great fun, and then we went into free play with some training swords the instructor came up with, made from shinai. Also, lots o’ fun. 😀

Last Friday night, Chris, the instructor (and is my roommate as well) was down with a cold, so we didn’t have class. Next weekend he’s giving a dagger seminar at the University. My schedule now looks like I will be able to be there to help co-instruct. That should be fun. I do get such a kick out of both the doing, and the teaching of these things.

Now back to the continuing stoooory (for you Muppet fans) of the old/new to me EZ Curl bar and the weights. I finally got them out of the truck bed and into the house for a PT session. Good CFT-type sweat-fest.

First, I started out with 10 minutes or so of longsword against heavy bags, focusing on half-swording. I have two bags that I use, because it’s nice to work out tactical problems with two targets. This could be called the Pre-Fatigue phase.

For the Core of the workout, I started with 10-12 jerks with the EZ Curl loaded up with the 50 lb plates. Granted it’s only, what, 125 lbs, but it was a nice easy weight to throw overhead.

After that set, went for a round against the heavy bag, empty hand.

Then back to the bar for a few sets of clean and jerks with the same weight still on it. As expected, the funky curves of the EZ Curl made it… interesting, as you clean it up to rack, then jerk it to the top.

In between the sets I went back to the bag for some empty hand vs heavy bag.

Back to the bar for a few close-grip then wide grip curls. I’m not a curl maniac, but it just begged to be done.

For the “Post-Fatigue” phase, I finished up with a good session of heavy bag again, then cool-down and stretching.

I will be going to the University tonight to help coach for the first time this semester, so I wanted to be loosened up and having the fires already lit, if you know what I mean. It’ll be good to be back. I basically haven’t touched Olympic fencing gear (except for the mask) all summer.

Right now, I’ve pretty much recovered from the workout, and finished my tortilla. Mind you, I’m talking about a Spanish tortilla, not the Mexican one. See tortilla.

And for Rob–this was made with the Xpress Redi Set Go. 😀 It’s turned out to be quite handy, and easily and readily makes omelets, as well as a variety of other things, quite well. I actually have a series of photos I posted on Facebook detailing some of my experiments. This one today was beautiful. Hot sausage, four eggs, spices, yum!

Read Full Post »