Lone Star Schwertlager 2005 - Review

group2.jpg (179368 bytes)On the weekend of August 27th-28th, 2005, ARMA members gathered at the first Lone Star Schwertlager in Houston, Texas for a weekend of instruction in grappling, staff, half-swording, sword and buckler, and dagger fighting, and of course, a Senior Free-Scholar Prize Playing. Though organized jointly by the ARMA Houston Northsiders and Southsiders Study Groups as a regional event, over 30 ARMA members from all around Texas as well as Utah, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia and Louisiana were in attendance, once again demonstrating our members' willingness to travel in order to obtain quality instruction and fellowship with their peers from around the country.

It is our pleasure to report that the weekend began on Friday with the awarding of the rank of Senior Free-Scholar to Matthew Anderson of ARMA Virginia Beach, VA. The prize playing was held in the sparring ring at the house of Kyle and Kim Cook, and in one of the fastest and most furious prizings we've seen, Matt fought an incredible 122 bouts in the Texas heat in one hour and five minutes with 87 victories and 35 losses for a winning percentage of 71%. More than 20 fighters showed up to test Matt, and good fighting was seen from all who entered the ring. Matt's prize was hard fought and well-earned, and Stewart Feil, Gene Tausk and Stacy Clifford were proud to award him with his new rank.

On Saturday the day began with three hours of tumbling instruction and grappling and wrestling fundamentals taught by Gene Tausk and Erich Wagner. We all learned some valuable techniques which turned out to be very useful in the other classes held later in the weekend. Needless to say, three hours of tumbling, lifting, throwing, and being thrown got us pretty warmed up, and some spirited sparring broke out during lunch. After lunch, Stacy Clifford taught a class on the basic concepts of English staff fighting which was very well received and prompted a lot of questions afterward from members who were using a staff for the first time. Next Matt Anderson and Shane Smith took the floor for their class on half-swording. No matter how many times we study this subject, it seems like we always learn a new trick we haven't seen before, and the boys from Virginia didn't disappoint. It was a real pleasure to see the consumate skill with which Matt and Shane performed their demonstrations of the various techniques. We finished Saturday off with a steak dinner and more sparring.

Sunday morning Stewart Feil put us through our paces drilling the surprisingly complex sword and buckler techniques of MS I.33. Everyone really enjoyed this one, and it's obvious how much time and effort Stew and Brian Hunt have put into interpreting this manual. We were immediately able to put some of the stuff we learned in class to good use as we led into lunch with another round of free-play. After lunch, Aaron Pynenberg and Brad Patrick were tested and awarded their General Free-Scholar ranking. Next, Professor Ron Harris showed us unarmed vs. dagger disarms from the manual of Nicholas Petter. Many ARMA members don't need to be told that Ron's classes are never boring, and once again we found good use for the grappling concepts we learned from Gene and Erich. As usual, Ron had a variety of interesting and memorable ways for us to tie each other in knots and take away our weapons. We wound up the day with still more free-play and answering questions brought up about earlier classes. We parted company with our comrades until the next time over the excellent Tex-Mex faire of Pappasito's.

As is becoming habitual with all ARMA events, everyone went home tired and sore, but extremely happy to have come and with a lot of new material to take home and work on. At the end of it all, the Texas members could only say "Y'all come back now, y' hear?"

Matt Anderson's Senior Free-Scholar Prize Playing
122 bouts, duration 1 hour and 5 minutes

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Wrestling taught by Gene Tausk and Erich Wagner
Fundamentals of tumbling, grappling and throws

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English Quarterstaff taught by Stacy Clifford
Basic staff techniques derived from Joseph Swetnam and George Silver

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Sword and Buckler taught by Stewart Feil
Sword and buckler fighting from MS I.33

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Half-Swording taught by Matt Anderson and Shane Smith
Half-swording techniques from Fiore, Codex Wallerstein, and other sources

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Dagger taught by Ron Harris
Dagger fighting and disarms from Nicholas Petter

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