The Cateran Society

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Cateran members on “Knife or Death” show (History channel)

The Cateran Society is very proud to announce that two of our Broadsword Academy Apprenticeship Online Program members are taking part in the TV show „Forged in Fire – Knife or Death“. Joshua Campell and Kenneth Tucker are taking part in this show.

The show is an competition series that airs on the History channel as a spin-off from the successful „Forged in Fire“ series. The show is hosted by former NFL-player and wrestler Bill Goldberg and Tu Lam, a former Green Berets operative, martial artist and edged weapons expert. Two-time „Forged in Fire“ champion Travis Wuertz assists as the show’s blade inspection specialist. On each episode, eight contestants compete through two rounds, using edged weapons that they have either forged themselves or had fabricated to their specifications. They must submit their weapons to a preliminary examination by Wuertz and can be immediately disqualified in case of a safety issue or failure. The contestant who finishes the second-round course in the shorter time advances to the season finale, with a $20,000 cash prize at stake.

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Joshua is a 1st degree Mentor working in our Program under the mentorship of Chris Thompson and Heiko Große. Joshua trained already for a long time and next to the Broadsword with Targe, Dirk and the Twohanded Greatsword he now is working through Level II (Old Style). He was interested in the show, when he saw a casting call for it last spring. He applied online and went through a number of interviews to get on the show. It is not known yet when his episode will airing, but as soon as possible we will announce it here.

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Kenneth Tucker, born and raised in Marmet West Virginia, the very town his scottish ancestor Gideon David Fairleigh came in 1648, holds a shodan in Shotokan Karate and has been doing martial arts for over ten years and sword specific for 3 years. He found out about the show facebook and sent an email with a basic synopsis and a video of him cutting. After a few months process of interviews videos and emails exchanges he was given a flight and a filming date. His episode will be airing on 10/31.

See this Trailer for the show on facebook (inlcueding Kenneth).

We are very much looking forward to see their skills in the show and wish them both good luck and success. Congratulations to both gentlemen!

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New Book: Lessons of the Broadsword Masters

Cateran Society founder and first president Christopher Scott Thompson is happy to announce his next book “Lessons of the Broadsword Masters”.

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The most comprehensive book ever written on the art of fencing with the basket-hilted Highland broadsword, including every major technique and concept from broadsword and backsword masters Donald McBane (1728), Thomas Page (1746), Andrew Lonnergan (1771), Captain G. Sinclair (1790), Archibald MacGregor (1791), Henry Angelo (1799), John Taylor (1804), and Thomas Mathewson (1805).

Christopher Scott Thompson is the founder of the Cateran Society and the author of several books on the Highland broadsword and related topics, including Highland Broadsword from Paladin Press and the self-published Broadsword Academy and Lannaireachd: Gaelic Swordsmanship.

Lannaireachd was an early attempt to interpret the Highland broadsword style for modern historical fencers, and it contains inaccuracies and errors of interpretation. Despite its limitations, it did feature beautiful illustrations by Bob Giordano that Paladin Press chose not to include when they published Highland Broadsword. When Highland Broadsword was first published by Paladin, the state of research into the historical art of broadsword fencing was much less advanced than it is today. As a result, the book focused almost exclusively on the methods of Henry Angelo and neglected the wealth of information available from other sources. Broadsword Academy was meant to address this deficiency. However, Broadsword Academy did not include clear and complete instruction on the basics because that information was already included in Highland Broadsword. When Paladin Press went out of business in 2017, the copyright for Highland Broadsword reverted to the author, and it finally became possible to create a new book containing both basic instruction and complete, detailed information on the techniques of all eight broadsword masters studied by the Cateran Society.

This book contains text from all three works as well as Enclose and Command: How to Fight with Weapons. However, the material has been rearranged in a clear and logical order and expanded considerably to include nearly 500 training drills, as well as several of the Bob Giordano illustrations originally published in Lannaireachd. In addition, all text has been rewritten to use gender-neutral language. Extensive quotes from the manuals allow readers to directly compare the techniques of McBane, Page, Lonnergan, Sinclair, MacGregor, Angelo, Taylor, and Mathewson in chronological order, tracing the development of broadsword fencing over time.

Lessons of the Broadsword Masters is meant to be the most complete and useful reference work yet published on the use of the Highland broadsword, replacing all previous books by the author on the same topic. It will be useful for broadsword instructors, HEMA practitioners, and interested martial artists of all styles.

Paperback

eBook

Further informations also see: New Book

New mentor certification in Germany

The Broadsword Academy Germany is proud and happy to announce, that Peter Stabel has reached his certification for Broadsword and Targe successfully. Peter is training at the BAG since five years and is a very dedicated and technical fighter. After reaching certification for Regimental Broadsword (Level 1), he was constantly training for Level 3 Boadsword & Targe. Also he is helping a lot in regular classes and seminars as assistant-instructor.

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Peter showed his technical skills in many training sessions, working through the program and testing his skills in many training bouts, successfully adopting his lefty-style to his mostly right-handed opponents. Here you can see two training bouts of Peter showing his level of skill with the scottish shield:

As the final test Peter faced five different weapons in his official certification bouts. These were Broadsword & Targe, Broadsword & Basket-hilt Dagger, Double Espada, Espada y Daga and finally Half-Pike/Spear. He fought each bout constantly for 2-3 minutes with only short breaks in between the rounds always facing fresh fighters and different weapons. He clearly showed his ability to adopt to different styles and weapons, using the technical repertoire of Broadsword and Targe very well.

Here you can see Peter´s certification bouts in full:

We would like to thank our friend and brother-in-arms Lapu Lapu Dog Ericsson, who joined this certification bouts as an external fightzer. He is a long time practicioner of FMA Stickfighting and bladed weapons, being a 1. Dan of Modern Arnis and a full-dog of the Dog Brothers tribe.

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Congratulations, Peter, very good job!

New Videos available

Within the last months our Caterans were constantly working on many new videos on different topics. Check out our video material section to find out more 🙂

Instructional Videos

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New Cateran in Canada

The Cateran Society is proud to announce, that Jake Hodgson of Broadsword Academy Kingston (Ontario, Canada) has reached the level of a Cateran now.

Jake started his martial journey in 1980 picking up sport fencing for five years and became a long time practicioner of Chinese Internal Martial Arts, which he still practices today. He started with the Broadsword Academy Program online and then in person with Chris Thompson and Matt Park in 2009, finally establishing the Broadsword Academy Kingston as an open school in 2014.

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Jake proofed his skills and deep understanding of the art we study in many years of constant training, successfully teaching others and participating in man bouts. His school is running 3 classes a week, organising sparring events as well as seminars, like with Paul Wagner (Stoccata, Australia). His school does a number of other events during the year, like First Capital Day, Bellevue House National Historic Site with introduction and demonstrations to promote his club and enlighten the masses on the facts and myths of historical swordsmanship. Jake was even invited to be a technical expert by a local woodworking museum, which does a ‘make your own sword and shield’ workshop.

At the moment he is working out the final steps of a very promision set of official lessons with Broadsword and Dirk, a combination many of us try out now and then, but not often train systematically. With his hard work, dedication and great heart, Jake is contributing a lot to the Cateran Society and therefore deserves the position of a Cateran.

Congratulations 🙂

New Mentors in Russia

 

The Cateran Society is proud and happy to announce new mentor certifications for two students of the Broadsword Academy Siberia (Russia). Katya Artemyeva and Ivan Shirshov earned the rank of Level I-mentor (Regimental Broadsword). Both train under the mentorship and guidance of our Cateran Sergey Osipov, who did a great job to prepare them both for their certifications. Cateran president Heiko Große reviewed the training video footages, sparring and certification bouts too.

Katya and Ivan train with great discipline and precision and worked through all our lessons nearly to perfection. They proofed their skills in many free bouts with Singlesticks and Sabres. As a final test they both faced a great variety of weapons in several certification bouts. They fought with the Single Broadsword against Broadsword and Targe, Backsword and Buckler, Spear and Spear and Shield. They both showed great passion, high level of skill and courage.

You can see sequences of their training and fights in this video footages:

Congratulations to both of them and also to their instructor Sergey for his high level of training and guidance.

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New Level I-Mentor

The Cateran Society is very proud to announce the successfull certification for Level I (Regimental Broadsword) of Joshua Campbell (USA), who is working in our Online Apprenticeship Program under the mentorship of Chris Thompson and Heiko Große.
Joshua trained already for a long time and next to the Broadsword with Targe, Dirk and the Twohanded Greatsword (which he uses with great skill), he worked through all lessons of Level I Regimental Broadsword with discipline and continiously. His certification is very much deserved and he proofed his skills in many bouts, finally official certification bouts too against a variety of weapons and styles. He already started to work on Level II (Old Sytle).
Here you can see some scenes of his final bout versus the Longsword, please not that Joshua is using a scottish Halflang sword and adopting the Regimental style to it with great success:

Congratulations, Joshua!

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BAG at the Klingenmuseum Solingen

The Broadsword Academy Germany got the chance to visit the German Blademuseum in Solingen (www.klingenmuseum.de) for a private Sword handling session. Our friend Dr. Sixt Wetzler, co-director of the museum, kindly invited us to head north to the old bladesmith town and check out some of their Basket-hilted Swords in the arsenal. These items are not in the public display and we were honored not only to see, feel, measure, weight and photograph them, but also to use them (carefully of course, although the condition of every sword was very good). The idea of such a session came up at the 1. St. Martin Conference last year and finally we made an appointment. Sixt already told me at a Dog Brothers event a week before, that he hand-picked very nice items for us. So we were amazed of course.

Sword-Handling Session:

We met at our Dojo in the early morning and drove to the Museum. Dr. Weltzer´s collague Wolfgang Peter-Michel welcomed us, because our friend Sixt unfortunately could not attend due to a visit in Russia. But Wolfgang was a perfect host and guided us to the seperate show room with a wonderfull collection of various basket-hilted swords and some additional surprises.

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The museum presented five Venetian Schiavona, all with thumb-rings and the possibility to put the index finger over the leather-covered ricasso and the cross for better weapon control. These were real beautys and we realized, that although similar to the Highland Broadsword, the use of this weapon has more in common with the Sidesword like the Bolognese School taught it. Moulinets can be done, but not as much and free as with the Broadsword, because the cat-head shaped pommel cuts sharp into the palm. So cutting and thrusting with passing steps worked fine and especially thrusts and reverse cuts could be done very well with this kind of weapon. One of the Schiavona was a bit too top heavy, but all others were well balanced. Two had blades with a distal taper optimized for thrusting and cutting, one had a very thin and flat blade, which was surprisingly flexible, so indeed a nasty cutter.

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Of course we were amazed to see four Highland Broadswords in the showroom. One Victorian example, which was surprisingly well balanced and quickly became one of our favourites. The best example however was a Broasdword with a blade made in Solingen, propably 18th century. It had a bit tight and dented brass-Baskethilt, but the balance was perfect. Another fine example was a Cavalry Broadsword with a Glasgow-hilt from ca. 1750. It was well-balanced, overall pretty long and the blade was made in Solingen too. It was machete-like: thin and flexible and still very sharp. Even in the strength section of the blade near the hilt it was pretty flexible, so to parry with it against a stiffer blade, could possibly be difficult. However in quickness and especially to be used with a Targe, this sword was great. The fourth Broadsword was a monster! Very heavy in the broad and thick blade, which seemed to have been a bit shortened and was slightly curved. This sword was impossible to be used as a solo weapon without a targe and would require a lot of physical strength. In the Regimental style, it could not be used properly. Using Thomas Page´s Equilibrio however made it easier to whield it, but still we can assume this was for some fighter with lot of strength. The blade was made in 1600 and had the signature “C.C. Thomas”.

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Some other weapons displayed for us were a really well-balanced German Backsword from ca. 1650 and a less well-balanced german 16th century Basket-Hilted Broadsword. Next to them there was also a Austrian M1769 Pallasch (or a M1796 British Heavy Cavalry Sword), a wonderfull German Sabre and an English Hunting Hanger. Two more exotic weapons were an indian Tulwar and a Pata, an indian gauntlet-sword which was pretty cool.

We weigthed, photographed and of course handled all weapons. After the session, we took a Coffee break in the Museum before wandering through the regular public collection with its wonderfull Bronze and Iron Age weapons, medieval swords, Longswords, Twohanders, Sideswords, Rapiers, Sabres, Hunting Swords, Knifes and much more.

Collection of the Klingenmuseum:

In the afternoon, we had some beer and food at the marketplace in a very nice Coffehouse enjoying the summer sun over Solingen. After a quick walk through the beautiful Old Town, we headed back to our home.

Solingen

We like to thank Dr. Wetzler and the Klingenmuseum again for this splendid day and also his collague Wolfgang Peter-Michel for guiding us through the collection. This was a great opportunity and we learned a lot through handling these originals.

For the complete photo collection, please visit our photoalbum:

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Broadsword 2019

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The time has come for an international Broadsword gathering with the Cateran Society and our friends. This is an event, which has been in the works for years, and will feature instructors from across the globe.

There will be a heavy focus on mentoring, classes and sparring, and the art of broadsword from the British isles in all its many forms (Cutlass, Sabre, Backsword, and especially Highland Broadsword).

The best part of the gathering? It’s entirely free of charge! The University of Saint Boniface through which we run our program is allowing us to host the event.

Expect to see classes and mentoring by instructors like Paul Wagner, Christopher Thompson, Matt Park, Jonathan Mackenzie Gordon and many others. More information on instructors and classes will be posted and shared as the plans are finalized.

We will keep you updated on the details! Also check out the event facebook page:
Broadsword 2019

Smallsword Lessons by BAM

 

Jay Maas of the Broadsword Academy Manitoba just started a new video series on the Smallsword, which we can highly recommend. Jay already provided us with a great interpretation video series on the lessons of Captain G. Sinclair´s “Anti-Pugilism” and is currently working on a video series on Thomas Page´s Highland Broadsword . He started a video series now interpreting the lessons of ” The Army and Navy Gentleman’s Companion or a New and Complete Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Fencing” by John MacArthur of the Royal Navy (1780).

 

Jay is using the awesome transcription of our friend Peter Jameson from UK (with the Layout by Philip T. Crawley), which you can find here as a pdf-file:

MacArthur Smallsword Manual

We like to encourage everyone, who trains with the Broadsword, to pick up the Smallsword too at least once in a while. Not only is it great fun and a good combat art to practice, but it also provides fencers with many principles of swordsmanship, which are also needed for the Broadsword. No wonder, the old masters not only often recommend to train both weapons, Broad-/Back- and Small Sword, but many of them also combine them in their manuals, like Donald McBane or Sir William Hope.

MacArthur´s manual not only provides the reader with a short and clear instructions for the use of the Smallsword, but Jay´s videos are very helfpull to understand and practice the art.

 

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