ISMAC WMA conference report
A quick summary of the tenth annual International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Convention, held between May 21-25.
The venue, as per last year's conference, was the Detroit Westin hotel -
I would guess that there were about fifty participants at ISMAC '09, mostly from the US and Canada but others who had traveled from various parts of Europe. They were kept busy in a huge range of WMA classes including everything from combat SAMBO and savate to Venezuelan garrotte larense stick fighting, from Bartitsu to Renaissance German and Italian fencing styles. Some of these classes were progressions building from one to four days, others were one-off "tasters".
Tournament action featured competition in rapier, smallsword and knife fencing, with a bonus event of singlestick combat under the rules of the Broadsword League.
Lectures were held on subjects ranging from medieval chivalry to the use of webinar technology for "distance learning" in WMA.
The atmosphere was great throughout the five days of the conference, with many new contacts made and old friendships maintained. For those participants whose training schedules allowed it, more than one night ended in the wee small hours of the morning (4.00 a.m, to be precise).
I would strongly recommend ISMAC 2010 for anyone with an interest in the true breadth and depth of the European martial arts/combat sports.
Pictures and probably some video of classes etc. will become available o the ISMAC website over the next few weeks: http://artofcombat.org/Convention/AoCFlyer.htm
YouTube- ISMAC 10th Anniversary Montage
A video montage from classes at last year's ISMAC Western martial arts conference in Detroit.
What was going on with the guy on the bike?
That class was based on a c1900 British magazine article called "Self Protection on a Cycle". No-one's sure whether that article was originally supposed to be taken seriously, or if it was a parody of E.W. Barton-Wright's articles ("Self Defence with a Walking Stick", etc.)
The class involved "testing" whether any the techniques from the original article could possibly be pulled off in real life. It was basically just for fun and to have the chance to throw a bicycle at a heavily padded assistant.
Here's the article: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jimmy_f...tion/cycle.htm
Last edited by DdlR; 1/31/2010 11:42am at .
What is the rope weapon the Australian guy was demonstrating?
New Zealander, and it was a training version of a slungshot, a.k.a "monkey's fist" - basically a lead weight on the end of a rope, originally used as a weapon by sailors during the 19th century. There are basically no detailed records of how it was used historically, so that class presented a speculative method of using the slungshot as an adjunct to the bare-knuckle boxing and dirty wrestling of that period.
+1 on the Slungshot info.
It should be noted that, originally anyhow, slungshots were a "tool." They'd tie one end of the slungshot to a light line and the other end of the light line to mooring rope. Then they'd heave the slungshot to a mooring gang on the dock and those fella's would pull the line over, dragging the mooring rope with it.
It didn't take a genius to go, "ya know, I bet if I whacked someone upside the skull with this, it might make an impression."
There are next to no written records of its use, to say nothing of detailed records. What exists is mostly along the lines of "hit him upside the head" and come from newspaper accounts and police records. This is further muddied by the rather loose use of the term "slungshot" in these historic records. It didn't have to be a sailor's monkey-fist encasing a lead shot from naval guns. It came to be pretty much any heavy weight (usually, but not restricted to, lead) on a flexible line, used roughly like a flail.
I believe that its use was associated with the criminal underclass (or very misbehaving sailors - which might have been considered the same thing). However, that view may be skewed by the material used for research (police records and newspaper reports of criminal activities). However, this view is bolstered by the fact that most every State in the Union specifically outlaws "slungshot;" an action typically reserved for weapons viewed as "criminal" or "lower class" at the very least.
Peace favor your sword,
They were associated with muggers during the 1800s and (IIRC) weapons-of-choice by vagrants during the Great Depression.
I've heard that modern LEOs sometimes confiscate catapults on the mistaken impression that they are illegal, when in fact they're thinking of "slingshots" and confusing the two totally different weapons. Good argument for the lawbooks keeping up with the latest slang.
Here's a NY TImes articles about slung-shots being used in crimes from the 19th century if anybody feels like getting a subscription.
The NY times is a good source of info for 19th century crimes
Washington D.C. has a variant of a lead fishing weight on the end of a very light chain like a long wallet chain, a wire clothes hanger, or even those ribbon necklace ID tag straps. Basic technique, is to whip it into the head.
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