We drove out in the morning and got to the hotel by 3pm, leaving us enough time to relax and chat a bit with some of the others already there. That evening was the conference dinner and opening ceremonies where all the instructors are introduced to the participants, and explain what they will be teaching. It was very good to see that there were many new faces student wise, and a couple new instructors to the event also.
The dinner was quite entertaining, including a table to table challenge to try and come up with a mostly valid way to kill someone with a random item that was left on the table. We had a child's Shrek pool floatie to deal with—we decided that we'd go for silly and said that you simply fill the floatie with rum, strangle suffocate the victim, light it on fire if necessary, then drink the remaining rum—or something like that. Many tables went overboard and had incredibly detailed explanations that were actually based on actual fighting systems. A few of the other items were a plushie seahorse, a small plastic crab, a fly swatter, a long plushie flower, and nylon pinwheel.
Other entertainment included a mock tourney set up by the hosting Art of Combat folks, that featured their members in an array of stage combat duels ranging from knives to longswords to girls in sumo suits to lightsabers.
Afterward, everyone jumped into the standard socialization mode, and impromptu knife sparring broke out also as usual. Note: alcohol and rubber training knives DO mix—at least for those who are smart enough to just watch.
As usual, we got back to our room much too late, but had a very fun and silly time.
I took it relatively easy (all weekend actually) since my back wasn't behaving as much as I would have liked. I sat in and observed a few of the morning classes, then was asked by Sean Hayes to be his assistant in his first I.33 class. Sean is one of the most respected and knowledgeable instructors in the community, so it's always a treat to work with him, and to be seen by him as experienced enough to work with him.
After that was my first master class (3 hours instead of the standard 90 minutes) with Tom Leoni on the use of feints in Fabris (rapier). All I can say is fabulous. Tom is the person that I consider to me MY teacher for the rapier. He, like Sean, is another very highly regarded instructor in the community, and THE authority on Fabris.
A large group of us went for Sushi that night, and the food and conversation was excellent, but we broke the restaurant. They just couldn't deal with that many of us at once (I think there were about 15 or 16 of us in the group), so food trickled to our table over nearly two hours, with on person only getting their food nearly at the end of that time. Oh, well.
Since the hotel bar was just stupid expensive ($8.50 for mixed drinks and nearly $5 for a domestic beer) we found a volunteer to make a liquor run for us all, and spent the rest of the night in one of the classroom trading stories and socializing, mainly with other Tattershall members, Sean, and a few others. As is typical, we stayed up too late (this is a given at these events). Before the socializing started, we did have an actually official Tattershall meeting, and discussed the direction of the school, future ranking and possible certification, and the reporting by study and training groups. Though not an official member, Sean was there, and helped keep us on track so the meeting didn't go too long, or get derailed. After all, we had booze waiting for us in the next room.
A very busy day that included Marozzo's Third Assault taught by WIlliam Wilson of Tattershall, The Montante of Figueiredo taught by Craig Johnson of Arms and Armor, Patience and Quickness in Capo Ferro by Andrew Feest of the Sussex Rapier Society, and an advanced Bowie knife class, my second master class, by the incomparable Dwight McLemore. I'm not really a knife guy at heart, but his concepts and methodology of the fight apply to everything. Dwight is simply an amazing individual.
More food, socializing, booze, and even acting as a second during a broadsword/single stick competition that night. As well as talking with and watching a group of longsworders sparring from AEMMA. We also watched the first round of the rapier tourney. We've grown a bit cold to the rules set that they use, and with the tourney being just 20 minutes after the final class, with no significant break for dinner, it's just too tiring to participate. You would think that they would figure this out, since there were only 8 participants this year: the lowest number yet.
With very little sleep, and a still complaining back, I somehow (body mechanics, body mechanics, body mechanics is my saviour) still managed to attend another class by Tom on Olivier's small sword, Gary Chelak's (another Tattershall guy) class on Agrippa, Sean's class on the Dueling sword of Masaniello Parise, and my final master class, and the final class of the conference, Tom's Spadone class ala Marozzo (the big mucking two-handed italian sword).
We quickly said our farewells, packed up the truck, and headed for home. We made excellent time until Gary Indiana, where we spent nearly an hour and a half to travel about 11 miles. Fatigue really hit home, and Jesslin and I were fully baked when we got in the door about 1:30 this morning. Oy.
OK, so not a very detailed account, but on the three brain cells I've got left, it will have to do. The links will help explain more for those interested. There are descriptions of most of the classes on the ISMAC site. Please let me know if any of the links aren't working.
Another incredible training weekend, and we're looking forward to the next one, for us, in September: WMAW. Then if we can swing it, we are going to try and attend 4W in February.
Cheers, All: I need more sleep. :)