Monday, October 27, 2014

Voyages of Discovery happened!

Yup. That was a thing right there!
(Picture by Leonete D'Angely)
This past weekend was Voyages of Discovery, and it was really cool. You people, seriously, it was great. I got to do a book report poster session and talk all day about stuff that I think is awesome! I got to listen to other people talk about things that they think are awesome! It was great. Admittedly, I was deeply terrified going in to it, but it turned out really great.

I ended up doing my work on comparing the postures of Capo Ferro and Fabris, and some of the similarities that they have (because yeah, they totally have some) and the differences they have, and my belief that Fabris was That Kind Of Powergamer, who heavily optimized his techniques for Killing Dudes Who Have Rapiers, With A Rapier, at the expense of a lot of other things. I talked with fencers! With people who are just starting out fencing! With people who used to fence! With people who have never fenced ever but were weirdly interested in what I had to say!

So that all went well. Shockingly so to me, but yeah.

I also happened to be standing right next to Magnus, so I learned about Early Viking Not-Ale, and possible bread travel ration things, and lots of other things which I didn't know were even a thing before Saturday, and now I think are really great!

 I've gotten some good feedback about how the day went. I was fortunate in that there was ample space to be able to demonstrate what was happening on the poster with some motion. I think that makes a huge difference with this type of thing.

Maybe I should include a more serious picture?
(Picture by Leonete D'Angely)
I've been asked to turn this into a paper of some kind, and I imagine I'll do that over the next month or so. I may revise this poster thing and maybe - maybe - enter A&S Champions with it? Or maybe do something different? Who knows?

Either way though, I learned a lot and had a fantastic time geeking around with people at an event which was all about geeking. Nothing to distract from that, which was awesome. A++, would geek again.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Unarmored Spear Use

No, I'm not going to get into the whole "rapier spears" thing here. Rather, what I'm going to drop here is a bunch of references to historic unarmored spear.

At one point during a discussion salon at yesterday's event, one person mentioned that there are no examples of unarmored spear use. (In the context of this discussion, "armor" was referring to something along the lines of SCA heavy armored combat, so meaning a historical equivalent of full heavy battlefield armor.) Using heroic amounts of restraint, I didn't say anything other than "you're wrong" and "let me get back to you with references." So here we are. (As an aside, I want to thank the nice people behind Wiktenauer so much. Seriously, this is an awesome resource.)

Firstly, I'd like to bring up our own Don Dylan's research on the London Masters of Defense, and their playing of the prize! Dylan notes that the Morris pike was used in such fights. He also goes on to note that "It is also uncertain if participants wore armor during the prize, but it is reasonable to assume that they wore at least some armor, perhaps a buffcoat." A buffcoat by itself would certainly offer protection against cuts and some impact, but absolutely doesn't approach "armored" in this kind of context.

Along those lines, John Clements has an essay (yeah, I know, Clements) which also notes that the participants playing the prize were unarmored, and made use of the Morris pike.

From there, let's go look at historic manuals!

Fiore has a section on spear. So does Vadi. Trending later, Manciolino covers spears (with and without shields). Even George Silver talks about them.

Fiore and Vadi spend time discussing a lot of battlefield weapons. However, I find it notable that the illustrations used in both their manuals have a very high degree of men in civilian dress demonstrating the techniques - including spear techniques. Fiore goes out of his way to note in his manual that in general, anything that can be done in armor can also be done out of armor. (There are some exceptions - for instance, there are some defenses that you may not want to do without something rigid, or at least padded, on your forearm, but even those are better off being done without armor than getting stabbed.) He takes the time to note when there are techniques he describes that should only be done in armor, which certainly implies that those aside, you can absolutely perform anything else in his manual with or without armor.

Marozzo and Silver are, in my opinion, trending far into the civilian area of combat. Certainly, at that point, it wouldn't be expected that you would be wearing a full harness of plate. Illustrations in Opera Nova bear this out, as well.

In short, yes, there is absolutely more than enough evidence for the historic use of spears in an "unarmored" setting.

What I've been up to, and there's this event next week!

Most of what I've been up to lately is just cleaning up my fighting, making it work better, and reminding myself of broad concepts like "footwork" and "timing" and "taking control of the fight, come on, you know what you should be doing here aaaaaaagh."

...okay, that last may have more to it than just a broad concept, but still.

Anyway! This is mostly to let you know that if you haven't heard of it, you should totally come out to Voyages of Discovery next week! It's all A&S research presentations, all the time!

I am even now putting together a 5th grade book report poster in which you can see the guards and lunges of Capo Ferro and Fabris side by side through the wonder of photoshop! Marvel at how wacky and different they are!

So that's what I'm up to. And y'all come out to the event, it's gonna be great.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hey, is this thing still on? Or, an update!

So hey, blogging about stuff I'm doing. That's a thing I should do more of. Then again, I haven't had a free weekend since my last update a month ago, so here we are.

In short, then:

  • I put together the belt that was pictured in the last entry. Turned out too small for me, so I gave it to someone else and made another one. I've still got a long, long way to go even with super sketchy and not really real leatherworking skills, but belts are fun. I don't do anything really pro like slicking down edges, but whatever. 
    • I used rivets for them, mostly because I think that if I tried to stitch all them by hand, I'd have lost my mind. Still, that's a goal.
    • I need to make a white belt (Yes, as a gift. Shush.), so I'm resorting to the acrylic leather paint, because I don't want to buy a whole damn side of white leather.
  • Fabris! I'm reading the manual, and I'm not really deep into the plates at all for purposes of actually fighting with it. I'm mostly trying to get the basic body mechanics down, and get used to moving while I'm in the postures. I'm tending to train lower than I fight, which is 100% okay in my book right now. 
  • Capo Ferro! I mostly default to this when I'm just Fighting My Fight, which is also 100% okay in my book. I need to do a little more drilling with upright footwork, just to remind me that it's also a thing.
  • In terms of fighting my fight, I need to remember to just relax and do that more, and trust that a lot of the deeply period stuff will filter in over time, because that's what drills are for. I just want to make sure that I still retain my general level of prowess, but also that I've integrated enough Fabris for the By The Book tourney next year at Pennsic.
  • Finally, I'm going to be doing a poster display for Voyages of Discovery that should be contrasting the guard stances of Capo Ferro and Fabris, and the similarities and differences between them. I expect to be doing a lot of excited talking and demonstrating things, and I'm really looking forward to it.
That's where I'm at with Stuff What Tends To Show Up On This Blog!