My fellow Caterans, mentors, members of the Apprenticeship Program, friends, fans and supporters!
The last year was a tough one for all of us all over the world. The pandemic crisis changed our allday life and work in many ways and had heavy impact on our training. Many of us could only train under restrictions or not at all. This was and still is a tough time for us martial artists, because we had to put our sport and passion behind.
Many of us had and still have to struggle with financially hard times due to short-time work or losing their income, some may even have their livelihood at stake. Many of us had to juggle between homeoffice and homeschooling, taking care of their kids, their parents, their loved ones. Many of us had to work in a job, which was a high risk environment for an infection. Many of us have loved ones who have health troubles, mental troubles or social troubles, who need our help and support. Maybe some of us struggled with an infection or mental and social problems. And over all might lie a shadow of uncertainty and fear what the future will bring.
Swordsmanship is for many of us a way to express ourselfs and to get freedom from our allday struggles. Having to cut this or even do without might therefore be hard on many of us. Now this is a situation, which demands true fighting spirit.
Nevertheless the Cateran Society is still growing with our online program. We are maybe the HEMA group mostly used to train on our own in a backyard, park, garage or even in our living room. We are used to be connected worldwide with the help of the internet, to exchange knowledge, research and move forward in our training the digital way. So I am very proud of all of you, who take part in our Online program, who work in pairs, small groups or even alone, especially in the current situation. We even had some mentor certifications during the year. You are all very dedicated and excited martial artists and I am gratefull and proud to be your president and see your progress.
Even during this era of restrictions and uncertainty, the members of the Cateran Society worked onwards in the fields of research and supporting the training of others. I want to especially thank and honor Jay Maas of the Broadsword Academy Manitoba, who not only created excellent “Covid 19 Solo Lessons” for his youtube-channel, but also managed to get hold of an original “Anti-Pugilism” by Captain G. Sinclair, which he made available as a pdf file with the help of Nick Thomas (Academy of Historical Fencing) and the support of many donators. Also I want to thank and honor Dana Sweetman (Aurora, Canada) for starting to create a Double-Broadswords video lesson series. I´d also like to thank and congratulate Ben Hamilton (Scotland) for his commitment by giving a workshop in the scottish Highlands during the Highland Survival Course (by Primal Bushcraft & Survival with Tom Langhorne).
Thanks a lot again to all of you for your commitment, dedication and hard work. I really hope, that the upcoming year will be a better one. Whatever may come, let us move on with our work, research and training as best as we can.
Nollaig Chridheil, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, God Jul, Hyvää Joulua, Frohe Weihnachten and Happy Holidays to all of you!