Showing posts from February, 2012

Fundamental Fitness

light-footed - having a light and springy step flat-footed - unprepared and unable to react quickly
My basic fitness re-training for my Western Martial Arts started in what some might consider being a slightly unusual place: re-training my feet.
I was (still largely am) quite flat-footed and generally unbalanced so before I even consider touching a sword again I needed some fitness training to improve my ability to move my feet lightly, swiftly, with balance and power. All my future training would benefit.
It’s long been remarked by Historical Fencers that people back in the day (prior to the 1970’s) didn’t wear padded shoes, so most clubs encourage people almost as a tradition to wear flat soled shoes. However from my experience, as someone who has generally worn flat soled shoes (converse, samba etc), this doesn’t really have the desired drastic improvement effect.
So, after being introduced to Vibram five-fingers by Stuart Peers ( and buying a pair it occurr…

What are the fundamentals?

“A Man may remember the whole parades of the sword, and yet not be able to act with such judgement as another, who perhaps has but an indifferent memory, yet knows the sum and substance of the art.” - Archibald MacGregor
After many years of studying different manuscripts and practising different techniques I faced a conundrum: I could still be given a run for my money from someone who had only been in the club for a couple of weeks.
My experience was that certain people could walk into the class, pick up a sword for the first time and within a week or two be beating everyone in the class, beginners and experienced alike.
Why? Generally it was as simple as they had above average fitness. 
This gave them the strength to move the sword with ease, they would have the stamina to hold their guards, the power to snap out the cuts and parries at speed. They would not be panting and dropping into low guards after 30 seconds. Thus they quickly picked up the basic technique and soon, as a result, …

Musing on the study of WMA

Life is short, this is God's way of encouraging a bit of focus.  ~Robert Brault
Most people do not have the luxury of being able to study or train full time. It is an activity that we fit in around day jobs, study, family, children, second jobs and all the general hubbub of our lives. Therefore when we devote ourselves to poring over manuscripts in the wee small hours, snatched sessions of personal training, or training sessions: we need to be sure we’re getting the most from our time. The purpose of this article is to draw from my own experience and to offer some practical advice to help people get the most from their time.
So to start off I would recommend you ask yourself the fundamental question: “what are your goals?” I think most people who want or who do study the martial arts draw from a variety of different motivations and I think with a bit of reflection you can make these explicit and then rank them in terms of importance.
To give an example, for me, it boils down to thre…


This is a blog for my thoughts on the general study of Western Martial Arts and on the treatise of Joachim Meyer in particular.
Deeds not words is my theme: a practical contribution to the common cause rather than criticism of the contributions of others. 
I have much to learn and welcome proven learning from everyone of experience. If my ideas are different from your ideas, or if you are inspired by my ideas, I want to hear from you.