Well that went fast!
Since the last letter my own Techniques of Medieval Armour Reproduction has sold through the first printing and is already into the second! I must say that I am surprised; I had feared the market for a work of this type much smaller than it has proven to be. Currently I am finishing up the companion book that contains patterns to make everything in the book and other pieces by talented armourers from around the world. Over the summer I'll be starting on the next book the one that emphasises intermediate and advanced techniques, following the construction of a Milanese harness from cap a pied without recourse to modern techniques. I hope to feature some cool techniques from renowned armourers in the techniques section; Paladin is excited by this project and has already extended the contract.
In the last few months there has been a flurry of activity on the Tournament Companies mailing list, with discussions centered mostly on the fechtbuchs and on rules modifications designed to allow for more authentic combat formats in modern medieval tournament reenactments.
In January Bob Charron of the Academy of Saint Martin hosted an exciting Liberi seminar where he dycrypted this most important treatise. The Los Angeles event was by all accounts a success; it will see a repeat at the Schola St. George Swordsmanship Symposium.
Our intent with the Symposium, to be held on the 11th - 13th of May 2001--in Livermore, California--will be to bring closer together those on the West coast with interest in swordsmanship that range from tournament companies, members of the reenactment community, stage combatants, medieval martial arts instructors, historical and classical fencing teachers, and combat societies such as the SCA and Adria. We have three days of exiciting seminars, panels and workshops, plus two tournaments; one for Renaissance Rapier combat and a pas d'armes for baton/waster or rebated combats.
If you're wondering what all the fuss is about with respect to medieval fighting manuals--after all, they've been around for nealry 500 years, right?--a small cadre of individuals has worked very hard to bring the magic of these manuals to light, offering their wisdom to a whole new generation of combatants. Individuals such as Steve Hicks, Dr. Sydney Anglo, Steve Armbruger, Greg Mele, David Cvet, John Waller, John Clements, Stephan Hand, Ramon Martinez, Paul MacDonald, Mark Rector, Andrea Lupo Sinclair and many others too numerous to include here have finally brough this material together into a semblance of order--now it is available for use by the whole community of swordsmanship practicioners.
This rise in interst in the Medieval Martial Arts carries with it a new interest in medieval tournament formats. Some of this interest has come from the reenactment community, but most of it has come from tournament companies and swordsmanship students who want to test their skills and celebrate the spectrum of chivalric virtues, extending their prowess through new venues. I believe that this renewal can lead to a brand new demand for tournaments in a medieval style, but rather than trying to force these tournaments into a single standard, tournament sponsors should rather declare the rules and format of their tournament and then let the community of tournament participants determine which formats are compelling enough to surivive, and which rules should be used. Over time we will reach something short of a consensus on these rules that will hopefully include a wide spectrum of interest vectors from the behourd to the rebated, up to and including jousting and the other medieval equestrian arts.
We will also be expanding our REVIEWS on the site of various books thanks to a formal arrangement with Boydell & Brewer, publisher of many fine books of interest to tournament reenactors. They are starting to target this market with their selections and will be bringing a host of new titles to the fore.
Lastly, we have begun to keep the world's finest pavilions IN STOCK; we currently have a rich variety of medieval rounds, 15th century Burgundians, campaign and bell tents ready for immediate shipping.
I would like to welcome Nicholas Cioran to the KCT staff, now co-editor
on the Tournaments section and keeper of the holy calendar. Keep him abreast
of your events so that he can in turn keep the calendar updated!