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Bill Grandy
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Location: Alexandria, VA USA
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jun, 2007 1:22 pm    Post subject: Italian Longsword at the Charron's         Reply with quote

I just flew back from Wisconsin, where I had the immense pleasure of training in the arts of Fiore dei Liberi's longsword at Bob and Kristi Charron's new place. What a mind blowing experience it was. For the past several years I have focused purely on the German Liechtenauer side of the medieval martial arts, and have only given the Italian side a very casual study. It was my goal to make sure I wasn't mixing and matching several ahistorical components and therefore muddling my art. However, I felt it was time I really started giving Fiore more attention to give myself a more complete understanding, and I feel that I simply couldn't do better than training with Bob.

There were ten of us there for the past few days, with a slight mix of experiences. Some people had some Fiore experience, some came from rapier backgrounds. Myself, as I mentioned, came from the German arts. My partner was a woman who came from a Japanese swordsmanship background (and it was a real treat to be able to compare notes with her experiences). So of the ten of us, we had a nice collection.

We started out with Kristi giving us an excellent overview of combat from horseback, and she went through various historical documentation of what certain military and fencing masters said to do, and why certain techniques were done in certain ways. If anyone has any interest in the historical military equestrian arts, you simply MUST talk to Kristi. (later on I got to pour over the Paulus Kal fechtbuch with her there, and it was incredible to have her there pointing out the various subtle aspects of the artwork in regards to the horses which tells so much more than what I realized)

Bob gave us some fantastic groundwork in the theories and principles of this medieval Italian master's art, and most of our free time was spent with Bob describing the links between Fiore's manuscripts, classical Greco-Roman philosophy, medieval artwork, medieval pedagogy, numerology, alchemy and medieval culture. I've always known that these manuscripts were incredible, but let me tell you: Listening to Bob explain the larger picture simply blew me away. The man has an understanding of the cultural context that very few can rival, and more importantly he understands just how important understanding context is.

Furthermore, I truly believe Bob is onto something in regards to interpreting Fiore in a way that no one else is doing. He has found very important contextual clues within the manuscript that show a teaching pedagogy that Fiore created, not that modern teachers force upon the manual. Bob took us through each of the posta in the way that he believes Fiore intended, and it was amazing how quickly and easily all of us picked it up and began internalizing it. In the few days I spent with Bob, I think I learnt more about this artform then I could have through years of studying without him. And furthermore, I've sat through a number of classes and workshops on Fiore's system, and while the vast majority were very good, none were as simple and easy to understand, and none allowed such a quick level of competence as Bob's method.

And Bob and Kristi were such wonderful hosts. These are the kind of people that make you feel good about humanity, to make you know that there really are plain old good people in the world.

To anyone in the Madison area with any interest in learning medieval martial arts, you are doing yourself a HUGE disservice if you haven't trained with Bob yet. And if you've trained with Bob before, you already know much of this, but you need to get yourself back over and train with him more: He's reworked some things that will, quite simply, blow you away.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Jason G. Smith




Location: Quebec
Joined: 24 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jun, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I just flew back from Wisconsin, where I had the immense pleasure of training in the arts of Fiore dei Liberi's longsword at Bob and Kristi Charron's new place...

[snip]

... To anyone in the Madison area with any interest in learning medieval martial arts, you are doing yourself a HUGE disservice if you haven't trained with Bob yet. And if you've trained with Bob before, you already know much of this, but you need to get yourself back over and train with him more: He's reworked some things that will, quite simply, blow you away.


Any word on his oh-so long awaited book?

Les Maîtres d'Armes
Member of the
Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

... above all, you should feel in your conscience that your quarrel is good and just. - Le Jeu de la Hache
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Jonathon Janusz





Joined: 20 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jun, 2007 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm going to chime in agreement with BIll. I spent the better part of a day at the faire Bob was presenting at in Janesville the week before the event at his home. If I didn't have prior obligations, I would have been on the farm for the following weekend as well.

What Bill describes as Bob's newest methodology (discovery?) in teaching Fiore's art really is revolutionary. In about twenty minutes, Bob can now give almost anyone a fundamental understanding of the "big picture" of Fiore. I can see how, as he described, students can now have working practical functionality within the system in only a few training sessions. Further, Bob's breadth of understanding of the world in which Fiore taught and the passion with which he paints a picture of how Fiore's art fits within it can become almost spellbinding to a student of history or martial arts. It was a pleasure to listen to him and take an hour of his time to instruct me on a few things.

In my time with him no one even mentioned the book, and quite frankly, if Bob had written and published a book on the subject it would have been completely rewritten in light of this new found understanding. Believe me when I say that when that book is finally published, it will be well worth the wait, and even then the book may not even begin to do justice to truly learning it in "FIore's way". This point is why I believe Bob had made the progress he has and can offer the insight he does - instead of fighting to figure out how to teach it, Bob has worked to figure out how it was taught, and in doing so has taken a great step forward in discovering history rather than settling to attempt to recreate it from a modern perspective. In making that statement, I salute everyone who has been working toward that first goal - recreation - as without that pivotal first step "playing around" with it and encountering the obstacles that have arisen, we wouldn't have the pieces of the puzzle to fit together in the first place.

Where at first I began studying Fiore, with Bob's help I begin to understand Fiore. It is an exciting time for western martial arts. Happy

All that said, and with my current pursuits, I've started playing around with the German stuff. . . lots of fun!
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Chris Last




Location: Janesville, WI
Joined: 21 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Jun, 2007 8:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Italian Longsword at the Charron's         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:



And Bob and Kristi were such wonderful hosts. These are the kind of people that make you feel good about humanity, to make you know that there really are plain old good people in the world.

To anyone in the Madison area with any interest in learning medieval martial arts, you are doing yourself a HUGE disservice if you haven't trained with Bob yet. And if you've trained with Bob before, you already know much of this, but you need to get yourself back over and train with him more: He's reworked some things that will, quite simply, blow you away.


Couldn't agree more Bill. He was kind enough to come down to the Janesville WI ren faire I ran a couple weeks ago and it just reinforced my belief that he is truly a credit to the WMA community and really has begun to understand the teaching methodology illustrated in the manuscript.

Lucky for us he's local and we're diving right back in to work with him. Happy

" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

Chris Last
GSM-Bristol
http://www.gsmbristol.org
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