The Cateran Society

An Comunn Ceatharnach

The Angelo Broadsword

 

Some years ago I met Chris Adams from UK at a HEMA event in Malta. He trained Highland Broadsword under the guidance of Lyell Drummend in Sussex and was an apprentice of famous sword-smith Marco Danelli. We not only had a great time together with fencing, feasting and a fortress (the event took place inside the Fort St. Angelo), but we also exchanged a lot about making swords. Back then I asked Chris if he could make me a solid, simple training Broadsword. He would have loved to, but still being an apprentice, he was not in the position to take any orders yet.

We kept in contact and in 2018 Chris asked me for support to create a design for a good training Broadsword. He now had his own workshop Balefire Blades and I was very happy and honored to help. We worked through various Regimental desings of historical Broadswords from the period between the 1750s and 1780s and came up with a result for a prototype sword, which was named “The Angelo”.

After finishing the prototype, Chris sent it to me for extensive testing in training and bouting and so me and the other members of the Broadsword Academy Germany did. The prototype was already excellent and we loved it. Some improvements were necessary, but overall it was already a solid, affordable, realistic and historical correct training Broadsword. I wrote a detailed review, which you can read here.

You can see the test videos in our channel:

Chris took our order for the final model and worked on the design more also with other Cateran Society members, who were interested to order the Angelo. The design changed a bit inspired by a Regimental Broadsword model with an even more massive Basket-Hilt and the final result is now available for order in Chris´workshop 🙂 It looks amazing 🙂

Check out Balefire Blades to see the Angelo and order yours!

Excellent work, Chris, well done, we can´t wait to hold them in our hands 🙂 More informations and another review will follow 🙂

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New Level 3 Mentor in the USA

We are proud and happy to announce, that Joshua Campbell fullfilled the requirements for reaching Level 3: Broadsword & Targe within our program.

Joshua frequently trained and bouted with Sword and Targe and also other offhand weapons like the Buckler. He also participated in the TV show “Forged in Fire – Knife or Death”, a sword cutting test show. His episode is yet to be aired and hopefully soon.

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He also fought multiple SCA tournaments from melee to testing the skill of the combatants fighting to become the hosting Shire’s champion to an Ironman longsword challenge, king of the hill and more. He joined the tournament with Broadsword and his beloved Twohander commonly known as a Claymore. For the championship tournament he had the second highest number of wins over all, and in the longsword challenge he had 105 victories, the second highest was 65. Joshua also won 2nd place in the Sword Masters tournament. The tournament format was three separate tournaments with Single sword, Sword and Defensive tool and Twohanded sword.

He constantly improves his skills and bouts a lot versus other styles and weapons. He not only works with Broadsword, Targe and Twohander, but also with scottish onehanded medieval or halflang swords. He will now moving forward to study Level VI of the program.

Congratulations!

New Mentors in Siberia

The Cateran Society is happy to announce four new mentor certifications for students of the Broadsword Academy Siberia (Russia). Roman Sotnikov, Lyubov Kornienko, Maksim Borzykh and Alexander Lichman all have earned the rank of Level I-mentor (Regimental Broadsword). They all train under the mentorship of our Cateran Sergey Osipov, founder of the Broadsword Academy Siberia, who did again an excellent job to prepare his students with th program for the final test bouts.

All new mentors showed great discipline and precision and worked through all our lessons very good. They proofed their skills in many free bouts with Singlesticks and Sabres. They all showed great passion, high level of skill and courage.

Excellent job, congratulations to all of them!

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SWOOSH Netherlands 2019

I was kindly invited by Anouk Post to teach a class on Highland Broadsword & Targe at SWOOSH: The Military Fencing Gathering in Utrecht, Netherlands. Being a first timer this event was planned for only one day, but it was absolutely worth the trip to the Netherlands. Together with my assistant instructor Peter we were heading to Utrecht on Saturday morning. On our way to Utrecht we passed through Arnhem shortly after the border and went to see the Bronbeek Museum there.

This museum is dedicated to the colonial military history of the Netherlands and the KNIL (Koninklijk Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger). Since the 17th Century the Dutch with their East India Company were establishing colonies, especially in what became later known as the Dutch-Indies, todays Indonesia. The Museum covers this history from the early period until the Second World War and beyond with the focus on the military conflicts and colonial forces. The collection provided a lot of interesting informations and also lot of different uniforms and weapons of both, the Dutch and their opponents in these wars. Very interesting was the colonial wars were described from both perspectives, the dutch colonial and the indigenous side too.

From Arnhem we headed to Utrecht and our hotel and after a break we were going to the beautifull center of Utrecht to meet with other participants and instructors for some very good indonesean food. It was an excellent meal, we had various dishes available for everyone to taste and I can say everything was really good, inclueding the „Bacon-Cake“ and Indonesian beer. Also we could exchange with Anouk, Martin, Colin and others who joined a lot already about the dutch colonial history, historical fencing and more.

The next day after breakfast we went to the hall and met with the other instructors and participants. The crowd came from all over the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, UK, Czech Republic and more. Swoosh was really well organized and an excellent event. There were always two classes at the same time and the range was covering lot of topics from basic military sabre to more specialized things.

First I joined the class of Peter Frank (Freifecher Cologne), who was showing the Bayonet fencing of the KNIL with Rifle and Carbine. This material is basing on manuals from the 1930s, so a very late date, but the material was battle proven, straight forward, effective and great fun. Peter did a great job showing us all the thrusts, parrys and dangerous butt-strikes. Anouk Post was giving her class on basic Military Sabre at the same time, which was especially great for the Sabre newbies joining Swoosh.

After this class I joined Martin De Jong´s workshop on the use of the Klewang. The Klewang is a short hanger or cutlass, which was used by the KNIL for close-quarter combat in jungle warfare next to rifle and carbine. I already read about this weapon, when I started with HEMA and had a private lesson with Reinier van Noort at the second ISS in Hamburg. Being a Cutlass-enthusiast, was amazed to learn more about it and Martin is not only a very nice guy and good teacher, but he also has tons of informations on the colonial warfare and KNIL. It is also part of his heritage and family history, so you could really feel his deep connection with the material he was teaching. So what makes it really special is that the Carbine is held back with the free hand on the left side, while the Klewang is used for solid parrys and powerfull strikes. So the soldiers were having their firearm ready or safe from being taken away, while they used cold steel to fight in this kind of Guerilla attacks, when they were ambushed. Only in case of an emergency the carbine would be used for parrys, which surprised me first, but totally makes sense, when one knows the context of this fighting style. At the same time my mate Colin Fieldhouse (Schola Gladiatora, UK) was teaching his class on Thomas Mathewson.

After a lunch break my mate Colin Fieldhouse from UK was teaching his class on Thomas Mathewso I was giving my class on Highland Broadsword and Targe and I was amazed how many participants joined. Especially the fact that enough Targes were provided from different sources, that every single participant had his own Targe was awesome. I showed the attendants basic techniques and principles as well as advanced drills basing on and inspired by Donald McBane (1728), Thomas Page (1746), the Penicuik-Sketches and our practical experiences. It seems that the crowd liked it and this resulted in the planning of a Broadsword & Targe seminar in the Netherlands in summer. At the same time my friend Oliver Janseps (Mispeldorn Aachen) was giving his workshop on Christmann´s military baton.

The rest of the day was open for exchange, free-play, having a look at the antiques collection of weapons and taking a professional photo with the photographer, who was joining the event. I had the chance to do several sparrings, crossing blades with old friends and new ones. Especially the exchange with Peter Frank Broadsword & Targe versus Musket & Bayonet was a great experience and inspiration for future work on the topic.

At the same time Martin was setting up an obstacle course for a tournament. Participants had to run through this parcour, using a Klewang to cut and thrust different obstacles (like they learned in Martin´s class if they attended it), then get into the safe haven of their „fortress“ and use their Carbine to shoot at this range (of course shooting was not part of the course,). Points for the strikes were awarded and together with the time the participants needed counted into the final results. After a draw the final round for the first place was won by Oliver Janseps, the price was a Black Fencer Klewang trainer.

In the evening we had to drive back to Germany after a great day. We will for sure come back next day and due to the success Swoosh will be for sure two days then 🙂 Thanks again to Anouk for organizing this awesome day, thanks to all instructors and participants, it was a great weekend.

Here you go with all the videos of the event in our channel: Swoosh 2019 Playlist

New (old) channel for the Cateran Society

Important announcement:
 
We made some internal changes with our youtube-channels, so in future the pretty new Cateran Society channel will be closed. But don´t worry! All important videos, especially the Broadsword & Targe Lessons will be reposted in the BAG channel.
 
Due to the fact we have just much more subscribers there, will get the Cateran Society more attention. So we decided to make channel of the recent president and head-instructor the main channel during her or his presidency.
 
Also the channel of Chris which contains all lessons of the Online program is of course still active and can be used. The third most active channel with a lot of important and helpfull lessons is the one by Jay Maas of the Broadsword Academy Manitoba. Both will be posted below.
 
So here we go, check out the channel and if you don´t have yet, please subscribe:
 
 
Chris Thompson´s channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/gilbride100
 
 

Highland Bushcrafting & Staff stuff

Tom Langhorne of the Fandabi Dozi Wilderness and Adventures channel has made a series on 17th/18th Century Highlander survival and bushcrafting skills, which is highly recommended. In his newest video on the staff as a tool for hiking, bushcraft and fighting, I gladly helped him with the research informations on the scottish martial culture of the Quarterstaff and other things. Very happy to share this video and looking forward to see more 🙂

 

Broadsword Video with Matt Easton & Jay Maas

Our very own Cateran Jay Maas of Broadsword Academy Manitoba had the chance to make a video together with Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatora in Matt´s popular channel. It is of course about basket-hilts, their history and their design and some specific use according to some sources.

Check it out!

Scorners of Death – Review by Paul Wagner

Our mate Paul Wagner of Stoccata School of Defense in Australia made a review video on our book “Scorners of Death – Fighting Skills of Medieval Gaelic Warriors” on his youtube channel (next to the really good book “Scottish Fencing” by Ben Miller/Jared Kirby. Check out out!

Cateran Society 2018 – Recap

The year 2018 was a great one for the Cateran Society and the Broadsword Academy Germany. Our numbers are growing constantly and we have many dedicated groups and members, participants in the Online Apprenticeship Program and good contacts to many HEMA groups worldwide. The Cateran Society can be proud to have Caterans, Mentors and apprentices all over the world, in Canada, USA, Russia, Indonesia, Finland, Ireland, Malta, Germany and more, all dedicated to training and research. So it is no wonder, that with the constant progress we were able to certify a lot of new mentors and Caterans this year. Another amazing thing was two members of our program participating in the TV show “Forged in Fire – Knife or Death”, a sword cutting test show. Kenneth Tucker´s episode 5 of season 2 already aired on October 31, while Joshua Campbell will be seen in Season3. You can see Ken´s performance here. Congratulations again to all of you.

 

In the field of research the biggest achievement was publishing the book „Scorners of Death“, which is dealing with arms, armor and combat methods of the medieval gaelic warriors in Scotland and Ireland. This co-authored project by Christopher Scott Thompson, Randall Gustits, the late Ken Pfrenger and me was published by Falling Rook Publishing in Scotland, thanks to Keith Farrell and his team, who did a great job. So the book is in the best hands and in its „homecountry“ 🙂 More informations here. Additionally I was proud to see my article on the History and Use of the Military Sabre fully published in the german historical magazine Karfunkel Combat No. 14.

 

I would also like to thank Jay Maas, Cateran of the Broadsword Academy Manitoba and point out his hard and dedicated work. No one within the Cateran Society (and also outside) was so active in making full video interpretations of various Broadsword manuals and much more. He also makes it possible, that the first Cateran Society Broadsword Gathering will happen in Canada 2019.

 

Another amazing project was to create a training Broadsword prototype with Chris Adams of Balefire Blades. This was a new experience for us and it was awesome to exchange with Chris and work out the marvelous Angelo prototype, which will result in a final model soon.

 

The BAG was also very active in teaching and promoting our combat arts at various national and international seminars and workshops. 12 workshops and events in total, giving classes and seminars on various topics. We taught Highland Broadsword and Backhold Wrestling at the Krav Maga Crosscamp, Human Pankration Workshops and Ars Martialis Workshops in Hesse and Bavaria. We held a seminar with the Freifechter in Cologne on Sword and Targe and I participated again at the Noble Science Germany II hosted by Zornhau to teach Highland Wrestling. We also did a class on the Highland Charge at the Dog Brothers Woodscamp. We also invited over our friend and brother Mark De Fazio to widen our horizont and learning some Italian Knife Fighting.

 

An absolute highlight for me personally and as an instructor was of course the three days seminar on Highland Broadsword and Targe with Show of Arms on the beautifull island of Malta, which resulted in the founding of the Broadsword Academy Malta with three new mentors.

 

Another highlight was the International Montante Symposium hosted by Drey Wunder, where I held a lecture about the history and use of the scottish twohanded sword. The BAG also went to the German Blade Museum in Solingen to have a Sword-handling session with original Broadswords of different types, which was awesome. The International Sabre Symposium in Cologne was another highlight, although due to work I could not give my class on Backsword & Dagger, but several BAG members attended the event at least and had a great weekend.

 

I want to thank again all organisators, instructors and participants of these events, who I can call my friends and comrades with all my heart.

 

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What more there is to say? I am very proud and happy to be the 2nd president of the Cateran Society, a non-profit association of dedicated enthusiasts worldwide. Even though many of us are far away from each other, we are united in our love for the Scottish Martial Heritage, history, traditions, swordsmanship and fighting. You are all doing a great job and I am looking forward to more seminars, workshops, books, articles, videos, mentors, caterans and hard working members 🙂

Merry Christmas, happy Holidays, good Jul and a happy New Year to all of you, your families and friends. Keep up your dedication and spirit!

Cheers from the Broadsword Academy Germany 🙂

New Mentor certifications

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We are very happy to announce a lot of new mentor certifications from our various groups before New Year quickly.

The Caledonian Broadsword Academy of Baton Rogue is proud to announce that Dave Ray and Cooper Roddy are now certified for Level I: Regimental Broadsword. Additionally their Level I Mentor Sam Irving will lead the newly found Caledonian Broadsword Academy of New Orleans.

The Broadsword Academy Niagara is also happy too announce the Level I certification for Michael McKenna.

Thomas Lee Proctor of St. Louis Broadsword Academy passed all requirements for Level III: Broadsword & Targe (and other double weapons) and is now certified as a mentor in this level too.

Campbell_Mentor1

Finally we are happy to announce the certification of Joshua Campbell for Level 2: Old Style. He will work on with Level 3: Broadsword & Targe.

Congratulations to all of them 🙂

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