Finished the first day of classes at ISMAC.  Classes thus far have included a grounding in Fiore from Bob Charron, Longsword drills from Mishael Lopez, Messer with Christian Tobler, and a free-fighting period where I did some videotaping and a bout each with knife and rapier.

Tomorrow continues two of those, and adds Cabala and the Cube with John Lennox.  The evening includes tournaments, which I don’t see much point in my participating (there’s plenty of folks here who’d mop the floor with me), but which will be fun to watch (and shoot).

It’s good to see so many familiar faces from Paddy Crean workshops (Brad Waller, the Martinez Maestre, Jared Kirby, John Lennox, Mishael Lopez, Steve Huff, Tony Wolf, and that’s just from the instructors), but also great to be able to meet and take classes from folks I haven’t gotten to before.  Bob Charron’s class is reminding me of a lot of the aspects of Bujinkan Taijutsu that I liked, combined with principles of the Taiji I’m currently studying and lots of the Marozzo that I learned with Brad when I first started taking stage combat classes.  Christian Tobler is a pleasure to meet and work with in person, having tried to study from his books devoid of partners or prior contextual knowledge.  All have been welcoming, encouraging, and supportive; occasionally even flattering, especially since I generally don’t refer to myself as a martial artist these days.

At the same time, I also realize there’s folks here I’ve known now for a decade (having gone to my first to Paddy Creans in 1999), and haven’t taken classes from in almost as long.  I had a bit of a revelation with Scott Brown at the last Banff; I’d taken a class from him at the one before and not been impressed, but then this last year I took another of his classes and found both his content and his entire teaching approach/style/personality to have radically changed.  Maybe it’s me too, don’t know, but it was a great reminder that people can change, and these people are constantly learning new things both about their arts and teaching others, so it’s not like you can say oh, I took their class a decade ago, I don’t need to anymore! Never enough time to take ’em all, though.  Not taking any rapier or smallsword or staff this time around, for example.  Seem to be on more of a grappling/levering/hitting jag these days, but then fencing a bout with the rapier was a good reminder of what I’ve learned and how much I still have to learn.

Got conversational confirmation from Tony Wolf that the new Sherlock Holmes movie at least is influenced by Bartitsu.  Tony himself was stuck in the US getting his green card, and thus unable to leave the country for a time, but some of the folks at apparently sent some
materials to Richard Ryan… although the only IMDB credited fight consultant is a Wing Chun guy.

Bartitsu is apparently mentioned in some reviews, even, which I expect will bring more attention to the art.  Shame that some others can’t seem to get it right.

Other things here: a table of drool-worthy goodies from Arms & Armour, focusing on training versions, and with a discount for ISMAC, and a variety of publications and other goodies.

Plus lots of good drinking and talking, although the expense of the in-house alcohol and my lack of organization/motiviation to procure off-site has kept me from the former thus far.

Should probably be using this time to catch up on sleep some anyway, given all I have awaiting me to do upon my return to Seattle…


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