aca Archive

  • <p>Scott McDonald, principal of the Australia College of Arms and convenor of Swordplay 12, dropped this on the Queensland Living History Federation‘s facebook page. I was planning on posting about this but he beat me to the punch.</p>
<blockquote><p>Puck Curtis, one of the world’s most respected historic swordplay researchers, will as part of Swordplay’ 12 present for the first time in public never before seen in English instructions on Spanish Sword and Dagger combat. His formal workshop scheduled for Friday 7th September will cover this material over 6 hours.</p>
<p>Puck will be available on Saturday and Sunday to run impromptu </p></blockquote> […]

    Puck Curtis will be at Swordplay 12

    Scott McDonald, principal of the Australia College of Arms and convenor of Swordplay 12, dropped this on the Queensland Living History Federation‘s facebook page. I was planning on posting about this but he beat me to the punch.

    Puck Curtis, one of the world’s most respected historic swordplay researchers, will as part of Swordplay’ 12 present for the first time in public never before seen in English instructions on Spanish Sword and Dagger combat. His formal workshop scheduled for Friday 7th September will cover this material over 6 hours.

    Puck will be available on Saturday and Sunday to run impromptu

    […]
  • <p>The Australian College of Arms (ACA) runs an annual gathering in September of historical and period swordsmanship which brings together competitors and participants from all over this wide brown land. Swordplay 2012 is destined to be the biggest and best.</p>
<p>This year Swordplay 2012 features the return of Puck Curtis from the Destreza Translation and Research Project to run a workshop in Spanish rapier fencing.</p>
<p>There’s Skill-at-Arms tourneys in three weapons systems this year: longsword, rapier and sidesword.</p>
<p>As always, there’s plenty of opportunities to meet other who share your passion for swords, fencing and history.</p>
<p>If you’re not at  […]</p>

    Here Comes Swordplay 2012

    The Australian College of Arms (ACA) runs an annual gathering in September of historical and period swordsmanship which brings together competitors and participants from all over this wide brown land. Swordplay 2012 is destined to be the biggest and best.

    This year Swordplay 2012 features the return of Puck Curtis from the Destreza Translation and Research Project to run a workshop in Spanish rapier fencing.

    There’s Skill-at-Arms tourneys in three weapons systems this year: longsword, rapier and sidesword.

    As always, there’s plenty of opportunities to meet other who share your passion for swords, fencing and history.

    If you’re not at […]

  • <p>An simple but surprisingly effective set of rapier bouting rules spontaneously emerged from training last week. While it seems to owe a lot of the Belgian Guild Tournament Rules for longsword, nothing was further from our minds when we came up with them. I’ll outline the rules before describing their creation – which I find just as interesting.</p>
<blockquote><p>The ABC Rapier Bout Rules cover what is essentially a game of tag with swords. Start with two players in an arena of some kind (we use a section of a basketball court). The rest of the players and any spectators stand </p></blockquote> […]

    ABC Rapier Bout Rules

    An simple but surprisingly effective set of rapier bouting rules spontaneously emerged from training last week. While it seems to owe a lot of the Belgian Guild Tournament Rules for longsword, nothing was further from our minds when we came up with them. I’ll outline the rules before describing their creation – which I find just as interesting.

    The ABC Rapier Bout Rules cover what is essentially a game of tag with swords. Start with two players in an arena of some kind (we use a section of a basketball court). The rest of the players and any spectators stand

    […]
  • Swordplay 2012 is Australia's national gathering for period fencing and historical swordsmanship. The key events are Puck Curtis jetting in from the United States to teach a workshop on Spanish Destreza fencing and the Skill-At-Arms tournament. I've struggled long and hard with my conscience and finally taken the decision that I must do something dramatic to even the playing field at the tournament. So, here is the secret teachings of the Australian College of Arms. Use this knowledge wisely in your preparations for the event.

    Fencing Advice for Swordplay 2012

    Swordplay 2012 is Australia's national gathering for period fencing and historical swordsmanship. The key events are Puck Curtis jetting in from the United States to teach a workshop on Spanish Destreza fencing and the Skill-At-Arms tournament. I've struggled long and hard with my conscience and finally taken the decision that I must do something dramatic to even the playing field at the tournament. So, here is the secret teachings of the Australian College of Arms. Use this knowledge wisely in your preparations for the event.
  • <p>Papa got a new side sword. Yeow!</p>
<p>My latest addition is Darkwood Armory‘s magnificent “Arms and Side-ring” side sword which they list under the code ARMSIDE. It’s a great example of a sixteenth century rapier which, for me, matches the swords you find in the diagrams in many manuals of the period, in particular, Joachim Meyer’s Art of War, Henri de Sainct Didier and the rest of the gang who published around 1570 or so.</p>
<p>It lacks the complex hilt of later rapiers in favour of a simpler cross hilt with a knuckle bow and finger rings. It’ll be interesting  […]</p>

    A New Sidesword for Me!

    Papa got a new side sword. Yeow!

    My latest addition is Darkwood Armory‘s magnificent “Arms and Side-ring” side sword which they list under the code ARMSIDE. It’s a great example of a sixteenth century rapier which, for me, matches the swords you find in the diagrams in many manuals of the period, in particular, Joachim Meyer’s Art of War, Henri de Sainct Didier and the rest of the gang who published around 1570 or so.

    It lacks the complex hilt of later rapiers in favour of a simpler cross hilt with a knuckle bow and finger rings. It’ll be interesting […]

  • <p>Swordplay is a three day gathering of schools of historical swordsmanship held each September in Brisbane, Australia and run by the Australian College of Arms (ACA). The idea behind the event is to bring together fencers from all corners of this wide brown land to meet, exchange ideas and cross blades is a friendly atmosphere. This year, we kidnapped Puck Curtis and refused to release him until he presented a workshop on one of his passions, La Verdadera Destreza, the Spanish rapier technique of the sixteenth and seventeen centuries.</p>
<p>The format seems to have roughly fallen out as a day  […]</p>

    I Survived Swordplay 11

    Swordplay is a three day gathering of schools of historical swordsmanship held each September in Brisbane, Australia and run by the Australian College of Arms (ACA). The idea behind the event is to bring together fencers from all corners of this wide brown land to meet, exchange ideas and cross blades is a friendly atmosphere. This year, we kidnapped Puck Curtis and refused to release him until he presented a workshop on one of his passions, La Verdadera Destreza, the Spanish rapier technique of the sixteenth and seventeen centuries.

    The format seems to have roughly fallen out as a day […]

  • <p>It’s September and that means Swordplay 11 is just around the corner. In fact, it’s on in less than a week. Yay!</p>
<p>Obviously, all historical fencers in Australia know about Swordplay but there’s bound to be a poor benighted few who haven’t heard of it. Swordplay is an annual event run by the Australian College of Arms which brings together schools of swordplay and historical fencing from all over the country in order to chat, compare notes and, of course, cross blades. It’s been going for a few years now and leaping from strength to strength. You won’t find three  […]</p>

    Swordplay 11 Is On!

    It’s September and that means Swordplay 11 is just around the corner. In fact, it’s on in less than a week. Yay!

    Obviously, all historical fencers in Australia know about Swordplay but there’s bound to be a poor benighted few who haven’t heard of it. Swordplay is an annual event run by the Australian College of Arms which brings together schools of swordplay and historical fencing from all over the country in order to chat, compare notes and, of course, cross blades. It’s been going for a few years now and leaping from strength to strength. You won’t find three […]

  • <p>One recent development has been playing on my mind of late: the height of pedestal on which we place the masters of the various historical fencing techniques we study. In our collective hero-worship no one seems to have considered that the masters’ techniques either just plain don’t work or work only in a limited set of circumstances. This type of hagiography does not to advance our understanding of historical swordplay nor does it provide a useful basis for the future of the sport.</p>
<p>The context in which a particular master wrote is the key piece of information missing from the  […]</p>

    On the Sanctity of the Masters

    One recent development has been playing on my mind of late: the height of pedestal on which we place the masters of the various historical fencing techniques we study. In our collective hero-worship no one seems to have considered that the masters’ techniques either just plain don’t work or work only in a limited set of circumstances. This type of hagiography does not to advance our understanding of historical swordplay nor does it provide a useful basis for the future of the sport.

    The context in which a particular master wrote is the key piece of information missing from the […]

  • <p>A factor which goes completely unrecognised by most practitioners as we struggle to revive the lost fighting arts of Medieval and Renaissance Europe is the differenced between “sword fighting” and “fencing”. I’m going to try to explain the difference and show how knowing the difference shapes our practice. First, let’s define the terms.</p>
<p><strong>Sword Fighting</strong>: battlefield or martial swordplay skills answering the question “what’s the fastest way to put the other guy on the ground and move forward to the next target?” The focus here is on efficiency and economy of action in an environment where skill-at-arms meant life  […]</p>

    Sword Fighting Versus Fencing

    A factor which goes completely unrecognised by most practitioners as we struggle to revive the lost fighting arts of Medieval and Renaissance Europe is the differenced between “sword fighting” and “fencing”. I’m going to try to explain the difference and show how knowing the difference shapes our practice. First, let’s define the terms.

    Sword Fighting: battlefield or martial swordplay skills answering the question “what’s the fastest way to put the other guy on the ground and move forward to the next target?” The focus here is on efficiency and economy of action in an environment where skill-at-arms meant life […]

  • <p>I’ve been reviewing a bunch of video of my rapier bouts at Swordplay 10 and I’m a little unsure whether to be pleased or disappointed. The real cringing, gut-wrenching joy of seeing your performance on video is that it lays you bare before the harshest critic in the universe: yourself. There is no better platform from which to learn and improve. Here’s how:</p>
<p>1) Watch the videos again and again. Take notes. Specifically, note all the good points, all the things you did. Be generous. List as many good points as you can: stance, guard positions, actions, correctly anticipating the  […]</p>

    Long Dark Night of the Sword

    I’ve been reviewing a bunch of video of my rapier bouts at Swordplay 10 and I’m a little unsure whether to be pleased or disappointed. The real cringing, gut-wrenching joy of seeing your performance on video is that it lays you bare before the harshest critic in the universe: yourself. There is no better platform from which to learn and improve. Here’s how:

    1) Watch the videos again and again. Take notes. Specifically, note all the good points, all the things you did. Be generous. List as many good points as you can: stance, guard positions, actions, correctly anticipating the […]

  • Swordplay 10 was brilliant fun. Historical fencing schools from all over the country turned up and we had at each other for three days straight with a variety of weapons. The highlights for me were the chance to bout with longswords with the guys from Glen Lachlann Estate College of Arms (GLECA) and a dusack bout with padded foam “boffer” weapons with Paul Wganer of the Stoccata School of Defence (Stoccata). The coffee van turning up each morning rates pretty highly as well.

    Swordplay 10 Review

    Swordplay 10 was brilliant fun. Historical fencing schools from all over the country turned up and we had at each other for three days straight with a variety of weapons. The highlights for me were the chance to bout with longswords with the guys from Glen Lachlann Estate College of Arms (GLECA) and a dusack bout with padded foam “boffer” weapons with Paul Wganer of the Stoccata School of Defence (Stoccata). The coffee van turning up each morning rates pretty highly as well.
  • <p>Let’s face it. Fencing is a dead activity. At no time in my life will I ever be called upon to fight a duel, let alone a duel with swords. As a combat art, fencing is a technique without a purpose. So, other than to be pretentious (which is an end in itself) why do I learn, study and practice the fighting styles of a bunch of dead white dudes?</p>
<p> I’m going to discuss this problem through an analogy to languages (another passion of mine, by the way). In this way, I hope to diffuse some of the emotion that  […]</p>

    Breathing Life into Historical Fencing

    Let’s face it. Fencing is a dead activity. At no time in my life will I ever be called upon to fight a duel, let alone a duel with swords. As a combat art, fencing is a technique without a purpose. So, other than to be pretentious (which is an end in itself) why do I learn, study and practice the fighting styles of a bunch of dead white dudes?

    I’m going to discuss this problem through an analogy to languages (another passion of mine, by the way). In this way, I hope to diffuse some of the emotion that […]

  • Last weekend, I went to the SCA’s annual Fencing Fest, now in its seventh year, to see what they’re up to and to cross blades with as many people as my cold allowed. I ate their food, drank their coffee and managed something more than half a dozen bouts with various people. On top of all of this, I even managed a couple of realisations which may change the way I apporach this hobby. And there’s photos.

    Fencing Fest VII

    Last weekend, I went to the SCA’s annual Fencing Fest, now in its seventh year, to see what they’re up to and to cross blades with as many people as my cold allowed. I ate their food, drank their coffee and managed something more than half a dozen bouts with various people. On top of all of this, I even managed a couple of realisations which may change the way I apporach this hobby. And there’s photos.
  • Go to the website of any band and you’ll find a page which lists in gratuitous detail the guitars, amps, effects pedals, etc each band member uses. Although I haven’t been in bands for many, many years, I fence and reckon the sport has the same kind of equipment fetishism. Now you too can revel in the glory of my gear.

    My Historical Fencing Gear

    Go to the website of any band and you’ll find a page which lists in gratuitous detail the guitars, amps, effects pedals, etc each band member uses. Although I haven’t been in bands for many, many years, I fence and reckon the sport has the same kind of equipment fetishism. Now you too can revel in the glory of my gear.
  • <p>I’m still in the middle of contract disputes but both my contracting aganecy and the multinational I work at are looking after me. It’s rare to find the opportunity to say “Yay, big business!” but that’s what I’ve been doing this week.</p>
<p>I have four weeks off work starting at the end of today and, yes, it was planned. Now I’m starting to think of what to do during this vast amount of time to myself. There will be, of course, celebrations of Charlotte’s and Marianne’s birthday and a memorial something to remember their deaths. I’m coming to terms with  […]</p>

    Four Weeks Holiday

    I’m still in the middle of contract disputes but both my contracting aganecy and the multinational I work at are looking after me. It’s rare to find the opportunity to say “Yay, big business!” but that’s what I’ve been doing this week.

    I have four weeks off work starting at the end of today and, yes, it was planned. Now I’m starting to think of what to do during this vast amount of time to myself. There will be, of course, celebrations of Charlotte’s and Marianne’s birthday and a memorial something to remember their deaths. I’m coming to terms with […]