Saturday, December 18, 2010

FMSS Event : How a man shall be armed in the 14th century

The Friends of the Medieval Studies Society (FMSS) of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presented to its Members, along with an invitation to the members of AEMMA, a presentation on how a man shall be armed in the 14th century, delivered by David M. Cvet. The intimate audience witnessed the arming up from the feet (solarets/sabotans), to legs, to body and arms and head. Each component of the armour (harness) was described in detail with respect to its design and function. Additional historical details on the specifications of the armour including sources, weight and time frame were included.

David M. Cvet is the founding President of FMSS; the Founder and President of the Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts; and an Honorary Fellow and President of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. David has spent the last 15 years in the research, reconstruction, training and instructing in the mediaeval fighting arts.

Click here for a downloadable copy of the Fall issue of the FMSS newsletter.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Helping out a brother in arms

Ken Mondschein, a student of historical fencing, originally from NYC, contacted AEMMA and asked if we'd be willing to help him in creating a demo of him narrating the Battle of Poitiers (1356) for the possibility of narrating a series on History Channel. After much discussion, AEMMA agreed to assist Ken and the film crew, scheduled on Thanksgiving Monday.

The Battle of Poitiers was fought between the English and French, which highlighted Edward, the Black Prince ("a bad ass" as Ken puts it) where the English had about 6,000 foot soldiers and 1,000 archers against the 3,000 bowman, 500 knights and 17,000 foot soldiers on the French side. The battle was won by the English, and to add further misery to the French, their King John II was captured. The demo focused on the English foot soldiers and how they defeated the heavily armoured French knight.

The AEMMA personnel included David M. Cvet and Kel Rekuta (both armoured), Aaron Bolarinho (unarmoured) and Jacqueline Miller who was a great assistant in harnessing up. She also took the photos in this post as well as those found on the AEMMA photo album.

The day began around 8am at the salle d'armes on Dupont, loading up the Jeep and pickup truck, and north to Newmarket, where the site was arranged at a horse farm near the woods. A timeless setting with trees and a babbling brook which could look like any period in history. The day concluded about 4pm, with the film crew having generated tons of video. Editing will take this volume down to about 2 minutes to present to History Channel. Good luck to Ken, and hopefully, he'll get the gig!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sick Kids gig

On Thursday afternoon, Oct 8, David M. Cvet of AEMMA, assisted by Alex Wagner also of AEMMA delivered a presentation to a group of excited children and patients at the Hospital for Sick Children. The presentation included a combination of a brief background on heraldry, having the kids draw and colour their own coats of arms, and how a man shall be armed in the 14th century, called the "Tin Man" presentation within the hospital. Thanks goes out to Susie Petro, Child Life Specialist of the Hospital. This is the fourth such gig for David and AEMMA, and undoubtedly, more will be scheduled in the new year.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

End-of-summer BBQ in Smiths Cove, NS

The AEMMA NS Chapter's 3rd annual BBQ celebrating the end of summer, hosted by David at their summer residence in Smiths Cove, was an afternoon and evening of good cheer and lots of fun. The afternoon began with the boys playing with a throwing spear. David's wife, Gail retrieved a large pumpkin from the target, providing a much more challenging target for the spear throws. David, after numerous attempts, nailed the pumpkin, whereas, Dieter nailed the target post.

This was followed by archery, which included a number of different archery styles, including longbow, recurve, compound and crossbow. This took up the rest of the afternoon till the BBQ itself. The students and their wives, brought great food contributing to a well stocked dinner, of burgers, sausages, potato salad and other salads and great lemon marange pie created by Rob himself!

The day continued into the evening with a fireside, with the firepit blazing, and more libations well into the late evening. Despite the rather wet weekend produced by "Earl", the BBQ materialized and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A number of selected videos can be seen by visiting the AEMMA youtube channel by clicking here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Swinging Swords in Digby, NS

On a hot and sunny afternoon, on Sunday, August 28th at the bandshell next to the Digby Wharf, swords were swinging, arms and armour were on display, depicting a little piece of historical martial arts by the AEMMA NS Chapter. The spectators were treated to something quite unique for this little fishing town near the coast of the Bay of Fundy.

The presentation included a weapons display table, depicting the various training weapons used by the Chapter, including spears, poleaxes, swords and daggers. The volunteers included AEMMA NS students (L-R) Jurgen Griegoschewski, D. Jeremy Walsh, Timothy Simms, Robert Wilkinson and Dieter Jilge. Dieter's wife Marion also volunteered to help out with the event. Demonstrations began with a brief look at the three styles trained, beginning with "abrazare" (grappling), "daga" (dagger) and "spada" (sword). Various drills executed with efficiency by the students dazzled the spectators. This first part of the presentation concluded with a number of cuts with a sharp arming sword, using "HFTs" or Human Facsimile Targets composed of rolled tatami mats, having been soaked in water overnight. The image on the right depicting Jurgen preparing to take a cut at the target.

Following the demonstration of the fighting art, David delivered the popular "How a man shall be armed in the 14th century", donning his complete harness, suitably impressing the spectators. This generated a number of questions from the spectators and concluded with a photo opportunity whereby photos with the "knight" were made with donation of funds for the AEMMA NS Chapter by those taking the photos. David, accompanied with "Lady Marion" did a walk-about in the town of Digby, terrorizing the locals concluding the demonstrations of the day. Click here to view a short youtube video on the walkabout.

All in all, a fun and successful presentation. AEMMA wishes to thank the volunteers for taking the time out of their busy weekend to participate in the event.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

8th Annual OMSG Camping Weekend

The Ottawa Medieval Sword Guild (OMSG) hosted their 8th annual camping weekend on the farm of John Woods (co-founder OMSG) and his wife, Liz in Groveton near Spencerville, ON south of Ottawa during the weekend of July 30 - Aug 2. The weekend featured many of the usual events including an archery contest, bonfires, libations and a pig-roast banguet on the Sunday evening.

This year's event, John had extended a challenge to Dale Gienow to a joust followed by sword on horseback and grappling on horseback. A jousting list was built on the east side of the farm. The event also featured the return of the "Scallagrims", a Viking re-enactment and fighting group from Toronto. They challenged the AEMMA & OMSG combatants to armoured combat within the lists. This was concluded with a small melee, in which four of the Scallagrims formed a shield wall, and the four armoured combatants from AEMMA & OMSG attempted to breach the shield wall with some success. The "battle" was a hard one, and a Scallagrim was the only one left standing.

The banquet was held Sunday evening. Prior to the meal, Anton and John of OMSG, awarded medallions to all armoured combatants, including the Scallagrims. Other awards went to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for the archery contest taken by North Gienow in 1st, Dale Gienow in 2nd and Samuel Cvet (Anton's son) taking 3rd.

AEMMA wishes to thank the OMSG folks for another great weekend and do look forward to next year's event!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Presentation, Juniper House, NS

David delivered a presentation for kids between the ages of 13-15 yrs, associated with Juniper House, NS, a transition house that provides a safe shelter for abused women and their children. The presentation took place in St. Mary's Bay Academy in Weymouth, NS on May 12.

The presentation began with a talk on the history of the medieval fighting arts, and the principles and concepts behind the fighting system, which are applicable to today's potential physical scenarios. The presentation included the attributes of respect and compassion. The presentation in the gym continued with instruction on a few movements of "abrazare" or grappling.

The presentation continued after the gym session with a lecture and presentation on heraldry and chivalry. All of the kids received blank shields on paper, and were asked to draw their own personal coat of arms with symbolisms which reflected who they are and who their families are and their current interests. The winner, determined by the loudness of applause was awarded a Primer on Canadian heraldry, published by the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. The presentation was well received, and the kids were nothing short of attentive! AEMMA NS would like to thank Lori Andrews, RPC for organizing the event.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pas d'armes 2010

This year's pas d'armes (a reproduction of a late 14th century tournament on foot), on April 25, was held at AEMMA's salle d'armes located near Dupont and Ossington, Toronto. The field comprised of 9 armoured combatants, 5 from AEMMA Toronto, the defendants, being challenged by the appellants, 3 from Ottawa and 1 from Muskoka. The salle proved to be a viable venue for the event, and it was felt that future pas d'armes can be held at the salle. Spectators numbered around 50 people. They were informed on the event during the ROM March Break, where AEMMA distributed flyers announcing the event and its new location.

The defendants included David M. Cvet, Brian McIlmoyle, Kel Rekuta, Aldo Valente and Matt Brundle, all of AEMMA Toronto. The appellants included Dale Gienow, a jouster who hails from Muskoka. The other appellants were John Woods, Chris Penney and Matt McKee all from the Ottawa Medieval Sword Guild, and all appellants were no stranger to the AEMMA pas d'armes.

The pas d'armes began with a lavish procession, complete with heralds, pagentry and banners. It was a memorable site for the spectators witnessing this event. The closing procession was also as impressive. Each of the combatants were awarded a medallion, signying their participation in the event. Despite the bouts being fought with dramatic intensity, there were no injuries incurred by the combatants, save a cut finger, and a slight concussion from being struck to the head with a sword blow. All combatants were extremely pleased and excited about how well the event went, and most certainly, conveyed that they will return at the next one in 2011.

AEMMA was fortunate in having a photo-journalist from Reuters, the results of his work appearing in numerous publications listed below.
Toronto Sun, April 26, 2010 by Mark Blinch, a closeup of the same.
Edmonton Journal, April 26, 2010 by Mark Blinch, a closeup of the same.
Windsor_Star, April 26, 2010 by Mark Blinch, a closeup of the same.
Yahoo News, Photos filed by Mark Blinch
AEMMA Spring Pas d'Armes photos by Emily Tanaka
Washington Post, April 26, 2010 (click on photo #7)
Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2010 (scroll down about 1/2 of the page)
The Vancouver Sun, April 26, 2010
Telegraph, UK
Дневник (Bulgaria)
Terra Networks Brasil S.A.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spanish Swordsmanship Workshop

AEMMA invited Maestro Ramon Martinez (Martinez Academy of Arms) to Toronto over the weekend of April 17-18, to provide instruction on Spanish Swordsmanship, to broaden our understanding of other historical fencing systems in Medieval and Renaissance Europe for the purpose of enhancing our own techniques as they pertain to Fiore dei Liberi.

The Spanish style, founded by Carranza in the late 16th century, is characterized by entirely circular footwork - as opposed to the mostly linear footwork found in Italian rapier - and is practiced with the sword alone, or with a dagger as a secondary weapon. Unlike the Italian school, which evolved rather quickly from the 16th century onwards, the Spanish school went almost completely unchanged from its inception to the beginning of the 19th century.

The content covered during the workshop included:

  • How to stand in guard and move along the circle.

  • The cuts and thrusts used in the school (small to large compass, from various angles).

  • Blade engagements.

  • Stepping along the circle as both an offensive and defensive maneuver (desviar).

  • The disarm (movimiento de conclusion) and other actions.

The workshop was well received and was attended by 16 students. Maestro Martinez is an excellent instructor, and everyone who attended found the workshop most useful and were completely satisfied. AEMMA is discussing the possibility of having Maestro Martinez return for a follow-up workshop on the same subject.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Looking forward in 2010

There is always something going on at AEMMA, with projects, papers, new ideas in training, events, and so forth. 2010 will be no different as the year unfolds, and things continue to develop. Kel continues to interface with the public schools in the GTA, providing the students at the schools, a practical look at arms and armour of the medieval period, evaporating the many incorrect perceptions and historical data.

Training continues to evolve, looking at expanding the training regimen with the inclusion of drills or "sequenza". Although, in the early formative days of AEMMA, drills were created oriented towards German longsword, and were called "folgen". However, new interest in developing drills, focused on one or two attributes of fencing appears to be making traction in the AEMMA environment. The design of the drills, at least initially, appear to be incorporating Fiore's foundations, with gioco largo plays and leveraging some details of Vadi in their design. If anything, they are fun to do, in particular, when the speed of the exchanges are ratcheted up.

It was a great disappointment that the ROM has terminated the hosting of the annual "pas d'armes" or tournament. It appears that the issue has to do with insurance risks with respect to the spectators. AEMMA does plan to approach the ROM, providing sounds arguments in favour of them lifting the "ban" and returning the event to the ROM.

In the next Medieval Symposium, organized by the Friends of the Medieval Studies Society of the Royal Ontario Museum, scheduled for Saturday, April 27, 9-5pm at the ROM, look for our very own Ariella Elema, who will be delivering a lecture on medieval fighting arts. Check with the ROM website to register to attend this symposium.