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Jessica Finley
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Location: Topeka, Kansas
Joined: 29 Dec 2003

Posts: 110

PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 1:02 pm    Post subject: Announcing: Aron Montaini, Free Scholar         Reply with quote

This week the Great Plains Fechtschule had the great pleasure of hosting our principal instructor Christian Tobler at our school for a few days of training and testing.

It is with much joy and pride in my student that I announce that Aron Montaini was tested by Christian at the level of Free Scholar and was found to be performing the Art at that level or above on all matters tested.

The test included a written essay on Messer combat, completed previous to the visit; oral quizzing on the history, theories and morality of the Art; physical demonstration of specifically requested techniques with longsword, spear, poleaxe and wrestling; and finally a bouting portion with both longsword and spear. Additionally, due to his interest in instruction, he was observed instructing a regular Fechtschule class for critique on his instruction skills and class organization.

Aron has been a student at the Great Plains Fechtschule since February 2006, tested at the Scholar level in the summer of 2007 and has since that time acted as assistant instructor of GPF under myself.

Congratulations, Aron, on a job well done!

Jessica Finley
Instructor, Great Plains Fechtschule

Selohaar Fechtschule, Free Scholar
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations! Such achewements are not something gained easilly, and everyone gaining new height of understanding in the arts is working towards better understanding of them by us all.
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Huzza! Huzza! Huzza!

Here's to Selohaar's newest Free Scholar!

Well Done!

Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I'm not sure what this means exactly, but it certainly sounds good, so congradulations to both the student and the instructor (without you, he wouldn't be as he is now).

And as an aside, I gather Free Scholar is a ranking of some kind. Could someone explain the ranking system to me? I knew there were schools and such, but wasn't aware the Western Martial Arts were this organized...
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 2:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Colt Reeves wrote:
Well, I'm not sure what this means exactly, but it certainly sounds good, so congradulations to both the student and the instructor (without you, he wouldn't be as he is now).

And as an aside, I gather Free Scholar is a ranking of some kind. Could someone explain the ranking system to me? I knew there were schools and such, but wasn't aware the Western Martial Arts were this organized...


Hi Colt,

Not all groups are this organized, and those that are don't share the same testing criteria.

Here is a loose break down of the way some period schools were set up using the British system of ranks.

Novice (just joined)

Scholar (passed basic proficiency test with the main weapon, can also grant freeplay rights with other Scholars and above)

Free Scholar (Has full understanding of the weapons in the system, can explain each weapons use and demonstrate requested techniques, shows proper application of the system under the pressure of freeplay with a required set of weapons, and be able to teach a class at the school he attends)

Provost ( Proficient with all weapons in the system, designs class curriculum, full fledged instructor at the school he attends)

Usher (Proficient with all weapons in the system, designs class curriculum, full fledged instructor, helps run the fight school)

Master (Tested by other masters with in his system to be awarded this title, master of all weapons in the system. The person allowed to open a licensed fight school, teach and test his students up to the rank of Usher )

In today's world, the Classical Fencing system has an active ranking system that never died out so they have a organized pedigree to their testing that dates back to Masaniello Parise, first director of the celebrated 19th century Military Masters School in Rome (Scuola Magistrale di Scherma). Some of those who are trying to reestablish the forgotten/dead portions to our art have adopted the ranking systems of the period schools, but with this one issue... we had no living masters to train us. So... at this time, Free Scholar is the big prize for most of us to aspire to. We are still working towards producing Masters with in our systems. There are those who have awarded themselves the rank of Master in the WMA, but those that do often find themselves with a big bullseye on their back with in the WMA community as our understanding of these lost arts are still in the learning mode. We've come far in the last 20 years, and I look forward to watching the art grow over the next 20.


Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 9:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:
Colt Reeves wrote:
Well, I'm not sure what this means exactly, but it certainly sounds good, so congratulations to both the student and the instructor (without you, he wouldn't be as he is now).

And as an aside, I gather Free Scholar is a ranking of some kind. Could someone explain the ranking system to me? I knew there were schools and such, but wasn't aware the Western Martial Arts were this organized...


Hi Colt,

Not all groups are this organized, and those that are don't share the same testing criteria.



I agree and those of us who don't have a formal testing and ranking system may be unsure where they rank in practical skills ?

We may have " unbalanced or incomplete skills in that we may be very advanced in understanding or using some techniques or even better have acquired an intuitive feel for the basic principles that the techniques are usually just examples of the ideal application of a technique when conditions are ideal to perform this technique.

At the same time that one might be judged very skilled in some aspects one might also have big " holes " in one's competencies over the whole range of techniques.

In our group we have a " grid " of 100 " points "covering I guess the whole or most of the Liechtenauer system that include basic things common to any martial art ( general skill sets applicable to any weapon or even unarmed techniques like distance management, timing, fühlen etc ...... ) The grid gives points for A) Knowledge of a technique when used in a cooperative drill. B) Being able to use the technique with an uncooperative " Agent " C) Being able to apply the technique for bouting or duels.

But this is given just to help the student to know what he has mastered, what he knows but hasn't mastered and see whatever he still needs to work on or hasn't yet practised. Just having done practice drills on a technique is not sufficient to be considered to have achieved the (A) level since after a few years one will have come across all or most of the techniques at least once ...... I guess what is judged is what parts of the material have " stuck " or have been integrated as skills and not just been practised in class a few times.

Oh, and congratulations to Aron for attaining the Free Scholar level. Happy Cool

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Mon 22 Feb, 2010 12:15 am; edited 3 times in total
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Travis Canaday




Location: Overland Park, Kansas
Joined: 24 Oct 2005

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Sun 21 Feb, 2010 11:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would like to congratulate Aron again. I train with Jessica and Aron and I can say Aron has been working very hard for this and it shows. He is a great instructor, enthusiastically dedicated to our Art. I feel privileged having the opportunity to swing steel with him.

I raise my humble can of Hamm's to you good Sir!

Travis
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 1:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations, Aron!
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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Aron M.





Joined: 29 May 2008

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for the kind words and support. I would like to specifically thank Christian Tobler and the Selohaar Fechtschule for his and their development of a fine curriculum to follow and train with, and I would like to extend my great appreciation to instructor Jess Finley; were it not for her guidance this goal would not have been achieved.
Also to the greater community, I offer my gratitude to those who have devoted countless hours of translating, studying, training, publishing, and sharing that make this all possible.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
we had no living masters to train us. So... at this time, Free Scholar is the big prize for most of us to aspire to. We are still working towards producing Masters with in our systems.


I don't see how this is just a problem in our time. Would the same problem not exist in medieval times? Where did the first masters come from? And what happened when martial arts changed? A 15th century master is going to know very different things than a 12th century master because the art changed so much. How could a 15th century master be a master if the techniques didn't even exist a century earlier?

Perhaps we can produce a master by the same means as happened in medieval times after all?
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Quote:
we had no living masters to train us. So... at this time, Free Scholar is the big prize for most of us to aspire to. We are still working towards producing Masters with in our systems.


I don't see how this is just a problem in our time. Would the same problem not exist in medieval times? Where did the first masters come from? And what happened when martial arts changed? A 15th century master is going to know very different things than a 12th century master because the art changed so much. How could a 15th century master be a master if the techniques didn't even exist a century earlier?

Perhaps we can produce a master by the same means as happened in medieval times after all?


Hello Sander,

As soon as we go back to killing with the sword that just might happen....

Get it?

Otherwise, all we have is the pressure of freeplay and not judicial duels to the death (the big reason we have the 60 plus fight books known so far in the German system)

Also, everybody's interpretation of the fightbooks they work from is still under change and review. In the last 8 years I had had to trash core movements and change the system with advancements in the art I study. I expect a few more changes before we are done.

Now, you're right that the art changed over time, but during that time people used swords in war, civil defense, and duels... we don't have that constant feedback from victors to build a "new" system or produce masters of defense.

I think a great example is the group I belong to as a remote study group (Selohaar).:

We all study the Longsword in Selohaar as the basic weapon.

My study group works with the longsword, a smaller number the messer, we know the basic throws from the longsword but don't have a full fledged ringen program ( I know the basics of dagger, poleaxe, spear and sword & bucker along with a couple of my longtime students.) I'm trying to build up my current core group so they can work with the dagger, spear, poleaxe, and learn more ringen, this is going to take the next few years in my part of the country.(Nobody in my group knows how to ride a horse, a major requirement for the fighting from horseback portion of the art).

Jessica Finley's chapter has been working with ringen ,developing a program that is advanced as our Longsword program.

Michael Edelson's chapter has been leading the way with applying the techniques we study with cutting with sharps.

Since I'm stuck in Alaska I have no idea what the rest of the other chapters are up to or who is a equestrian, but we all have period text that we are working with to flesh out our system .

Now, a 14th & 15th century KdF master was only expected to be a master of unarmed, dagger, arming sword, sword & buckler, messer, longsword, poleaxe, short spear, long spear, harness fighting, and fighting from horseback....

If you can show me anybody who can do all of these things today, I will cheerfully call him (or her) a Fight Master, otherwise we have to get back to work building towards producing the first of the modern KdF masters. I hope to see one before I die as I'm already in my mid 50's.

Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:

Now, a 14th & 15th century KdF master was only expected to be a master of unarmed, dagger, arming sword, sword & buckler, messer, longsword, poleaxe, short spear, long spear, harness fighting, and fighting from horseback....


I'm not so sure about that. Ott was a wrestling master...is there mention of him have prowess with any of the weapons? VD has works by authors in specialty fields, Ringeck has no dagger combat and both are missing some of what you listed above. Most fechtbuchs, in fact, do not have all of these things in them, and some are tightly focused.

New York Historical Fencing Association
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
David Teague wrote:

Now, a 14th & 15th century KdF master was only expected to be a master of unarmed, dagger, arming sword, sword & buckler, messer, longsword, poleaxe, short spear, long spear, harness fighting, and fighting from horseback....


I'm not so sure about that. Ott was a wrestling master...is there mention of him have prowess with any of the weapons? VD has works by authors in specialty fields, Ringeck has no dagger combat and both are missing some of what you listed above. Most fechtbuchs, in fact, do not have all of these things in them, and some are tightly focused.


Hi Michael,

Please don't confuse fechtbuch with fechtmeister as we both know some fechtbuch were compiled for a noble's use, some seem to be a published brochure to seek employment from said nobles, and one I can think of was a 100ish years of KdF notes put in one codex et al.

Talhoffer, Kal, both have all the above listed in their codex. They both were known fechtmeisters, Ott was know as a ringen meister and his ringen work is incorporated in more than one fechtbuch. Edit: I just checked Kal's list of the Liechtenauer Society and Ott is included as a Master of the Society who was wrestler to the Lord of Austria... I read that as he was a fechtmeister that excelled at ringen, just like his fellow fechtmeister Master Dietrich who by Kal's foreword excelled with the Dagger.

I did mean to come back to this thread to add the following disclaimer:

While there are a few folks working with the mounted portions of both the Italian & German schools, the fact is the modern masters will most likely not need to know how to use that part of the system as horses just aren't the main form of transportation anymore and riding is skill of it's own (learned over a lifetime ) In the 16th century we saw the removal of the mounted work by Meyers time to be a fechtmeister.

Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."


Last edited by David Teague on Mon 22 Feb, 2010 6:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 6:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't want to derail Aron's thread any further.

Aron, my apologies.

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Christian Henry Tobler
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Location: Oxford, CT
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Feb, 2010 6:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings all,

Aron worked very hard to attain this goal; so hard in fact, that it was clear to me he could've done it easily 12 months ago. His accomplishment is a fine reflection of his own talents and commitment, as well as that of his teacher Jessica Finley.

I'm extremely proud of what he's done and he goes forward with my full confidence as an instructor of the Selohaar Fechtschule. Well done Aron, you did right!

Yours,

Christian Henry Tobler
Principal Instructor, Selohaar Fechtschule

Christian Henry Tobler
Order of Selohaar

Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Feb, 2010 1:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
I don't want to derail Aron's thread any further.

Aron, my apologies.


You are right of course. My apologies (and congratulations) as well Aron.

Perhaps we could spin this in a separate thread though? I think it's an interesting topic...
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