Guy's Blog

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Tag: Seattle

It has been a splendid few days in Seattle so far, kicked off by a trapeze lesson with the excellent Milla Marshall at SANCA. The place was pretty empty, so there was no-one to hold the camera (Milla was busy spotting me through the tricky bits), but we did manage to catch this new trick on video:

There's no better way to get the aeroplane out of your spine! This was my third class with Milla, and I can highly recommend her. I also managed to get one go on the flying trapeze on Friday, so that's my adrenal glands thoroughly exercised.

On Thursday evening, Dan from Lonin took me shooting; it's been a while since I last shot, but I didn't disgrace myself. Dan is a fan of old British militaria (up to and including driving a 1980s military Land Rover), and he kindly let me blast away with his (semi-auto) Sterling SMG, his Browning Hi-Power (my favourite 9mm pistol), a WWII Webley revolver, and, to cap it all, a WWI era Webley .455, just like my grandfather carried in the Great War.

I spent most of Friday working on my new Vadi book (it's not all fun and games!). I'm reading around the period quite widely, and came across an interesting light history of the Medici banking empire on my brother-in-law's bookshelves. Medici Money by Tim Parks is well worth a look if you're interested. It's not a mighty and definitive scholarly work, but it explained some aspects of Italian financial history I hadn't grasped before, and it's a fun read. It's by the same Tim Parks that wrote Teach us to Sit Still, a very personal journey into meditation. As my regular readers know, I meditate a lot; if the Vipassana stuff Tim talks about is a bit heavy, you could try this instead.

While I'm on the subject of books: I'm staying at Neal Stephenson's house, and came across an advance reader's copy of his next novel (co-written with Nicole Galland), The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.. Let me put it this way- I meant to just scan the opening pages, but am now 400 pages in… It's classic Neal, in that you can't really categorise it, but it's a lot like Reamde in tone, with a bit of Baroque cycle in content, and it manages to fuse both classic SF elements (quantum physics stuff) with magic, in a way that's just a delight to read. Yes, we're friends so I'm biased, but I would never recommend a book just because a friend wrote it.

Friday night I was teaching in my Seattle sword home, the Lonin loft at SANCA, then all day Saturday (Fiore stuff, with a bit of Vadi), and all day yesterday (I.33 in the morning, Capoferro in the afternoon).  A big shout out to Dan Weber for organising the whole thing, Alex Hanning for running the I.33 group, and Michael Heveran for keeping the rapier flag flying amidst all this medieval stuff. Sunday's seminars were graced by Devon Boorman and three of his Duello students, one of whom, Greg Reimer, is a superb graphic designer who has taken my free Fabris photos and laid them out with Tom Leoni's 2006 translation… I have an advance reader copy of the first section, so it looks like I'll have plenty to do on my flight home next week!

But before then, I'm off to Vancouver tomorrow, to teach seminars at Valkyrie, and, while I'm there, go horse riding for the first time in about a decade… wish me luck! I'll report back in due course. If you're in or around Vancouver next weekend, come and train!

 

Teaching a I.33 class in the Lonin loft.

A recurring theme in my life is a contact from someone who narrowly missed a seminar with me in some far-flung outpost because they didn’t know it was happening. So let me take a minute of your time to let you know about two events coming up in the Pacific North West:

This weekend, April 29-30th, I’ll be teaching in Seattle; Saturday’s class will be Fiore and Vadi, Sunday morning I.33 sword and buckler, and Sunday afternoon Capoferro rapier.

Please email info@lonin.org to register!

This is a regular bi-annual event; I expect to be back in Seattle in the autumn.

The following weekend, May 6th and 7th, I’ll be teaching for the first time at the Valkyrie Martial Arts Assembly in Vancouver BC. Valkyrie is the school of the author of one of my favourite HEMA blogs,  boxwrestlefence.com, Randy Packer, with Courtney Rice and Kaja Sadowski. Randy and Kaja have both shown me physical training exercises that I can’t do, so I’m looking forward to some useful cross-pollination.

It’s been two years since I last taught in Canada (at VISS 2015), and I don’t know when I’ll be back, so if you’re in the area don’t miss it!

Day one will be a beginner-friendly introduction to Fiore’s longsword material on Saturday May 6th.

Day two will be a full day of Vadi’s longsword on Sunday May 7th.

You can register here!

I’ll make sure that anyone that comes on the Saturday has the necessary training by the end of the day to get value out of Sunday’s more advanced session, so by all means sign up for both! (Plus, you get a discount!)

In every case, while the system we will cover is established in advance (eg Vadi Longsword), the exact content of the seminar is planned with the attendees on the day; we take a few minutes to survey the class and take requests, which I then work into a scheme for the class training. This works very well, and in almost every case the students get exactly what they came for.

If you have friends in the Seattle or Vancouver areas that you think might want to know about these seminars, please share this post with them!

I hope to see you there!

 

I am resistant to change in the English language. I dislike the use of ‘reference' as a verb. Refer to something, don't reference it. And as for the astonishingly lazy and stupid “I could care less” when the speaker means “I couldn't care less”, well, that makes me quite cross.

But every now and then a new word comes along that is the only fit and proper way to describe something. And that word, today, is “awesomesauce”.

When I visited Seattle in March this year, I saw one of my young students in an armour hoodie. Really, a hoodie that looks like armour, with pauldrons and everything. I admired it vocally, and the lad's father Matthew heard me, told me that his wife had made it, and asked me if I'd like one. Hell yes! I replied. And so, on my last trip over, there it was, hand crafted by the astonishingly kind and skillful Ren Roche.

What the well-dressed swordsman about town is wearing this season.

I wear it to the delight of my younger daughter and the despair of my elder; it's perfect on planes and playgrounds alike. And it's armour. Awesomesauce is the only word that captures all that.

That by itself justifies the neologism, but as if it wasn't enough, look what arrived from America the other day:

You may recall from my trip to Edinburgh that I'm something of a cinquedea nut. I just love them. And Brian Kerce, in Florida, got wind of this and just upped and made me one. It's breathtaking. The blade is canarywood, fullered with 4,3,2 and 1 as you go up the blade; the crossguard is wenge, the handle is maple inlaid with leopard wood. Most importantly, it doesn't just look gorgeous, it fits my hand to perfection. You can find some of his other work on Etsy.

Again, the only word I can think of that conveys amazement, delight, and a touch of awe, is AWESOMESAUCE.

And I hereby declare Brian and Ren the King and Queen of Awesomesauce!

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