Sadly my hubby and I came home from Dragon*Con with a horrible case of con crud and I unfortunately had to cancel my Silver’s Gryps and Closes class which I had planned for Academy of the Rapier/Atlantian University the following weekend.

To make a long story short though, my revised paper,The Mannr of Certaine Gryps, (upon which the class in based) has been uploaded to the site and is now available on the Research page.



I really debated doing and Ymir recap.

You see, I put off posting about my Twilight Sparkle inspired Norse that I made for the event thinking I would do a big Ymir Event/Project post.  It wasn’t like it was a super-secret project or anything but I was really pushing myself to finish it as well as a Norse ensemble for my husband and I didn’t take time to post about either of them.  But the event…well, let’s just say I have had better Ymirs.

While my husband looked smashing in his Norse I didn’t get any pictures (he was marshaling the heavy tournament all day) and I didn’t even get to wear mine.  I did wear my very warm, very nice wool jerkin, but I had to whip stitch it closed in the front because the fabric I had brought with me for finishing up the buttons made the most horrid, awful buttons that I would rather have sewn myself into it than spent one more moment making ugly buttons that I would just have had to remake anyway.  It wasn’t ideal (sewing the jerking closed meant it was a little poochy/bunchy in the front where it should have overlapped to button) but it worked, I was warm, and only one person noticed.

It was a very pretty Ymir.  It was cold and brisk and we had a light snowfall and flurries all day but it didn’t stick to anything.  The kind of snowfall that would have been great for pictures…if I had taken any.  I didn’t get to fight in the tournament like I had planned but I did get to watch my apprentice win it.  I participated in the White Scarf Challenge and got in a few pickups.  I was disappointed that the Black Sword Tourney was allowed to run opposite the White Scarf Challenge.

So, now I need to get pictures up of the Norse ensembles I finished and the completed jerkin.  I had hoped to get pictures done this weekend but it looks like it will be later this week (Wed, Thursday, or Friday).

I had a wonderful day at Atlantian Fall Crown this past Saturday.  I was very honored to be fought for by my husband, Master Gaston Valmont.  Our friends Efenwalt and Talento heralded for us.  It’s been posted on Facebook but below is footage of our procession.  Enjoy!

Gaston looked great in his surcoat and I told him if we decide to do it again I will make us matching banners since, after all these years, we still don’t have any. 🙂

I need new rapier armor.  I made a doublet and a pair of Venetians last year but I need at least two more doublets, a couple more pairs of trunkhose, and a jerkin or two.  So for inspiration I’ve started going through my copy of De Gheyn’s The Exercise of Armes.  The treatise is about training foot soldiers on the handling of such weapons as muskets, pikes, and calivers and as an added side benefit it is beautifully illustrated with over an hundred images of early c1607 dress.


Even if you aren’t interested in soldiering during the time period it makes a great resource for garb.  The variety of decoration, styles, and garments included in the images of the soldiers is a wealth of ideas.  You can see a few examples here in this post.  Once I’ve settled on my inspiration plates I will post them here with fabric samples for you guys.

It’s been hot in NC the past couple of weeks.  Real hot.  Crazy hot.  Thankfully it should break tomorrow and be in the 80?s for the rest of the week.

It’s been really rough.  I’ve been doing much better in the heat as I’ve lost weight.  But with highs of 105 there is only so much that can be done.  Two weeks ago at practice I did alright.  We hit a high of 97 that day.  Last Thursday though we hit a high 101 and I chose to stay home.  Over a hundred is just too hot.  I did get in a run Monday but my time and endurance was really off because of the heat so I’ve just been trying to take it easy with the outdoor exercise this week.

But thankfully it should start breaking tomorrow so I’m really looking forward to practice Thursday (the forecast high is 80!!!!) and maybe getting in a couple good runs next week.

I had meant to post this yesterday but I didn’t get it out before we got into the car to head for Atlantian University.  I decided to combine this weeks fitness and fighting post because this weeks post are both kinda introductory and I thought they would complement each other.


I have posted before in the past about my efforts to get healthy and fit but they always sorta fell flat.  I would do alright for a week or two (sometimes as many as 4) but then something would come up (I’d get sick, we’d go out of town, there would be a birthday/wedding/shower) and I would fall off the wagon and then spend the next 2 or 3 months wondering what the heck happened.

Last December I decided I was going to rededicate myself to fitness.  Since it was the holiday season I started slowly-just working on making it to the gym twice a week.  That went pretty well.  After Christmas I started focusing on what I was eating.  I tried a few different things but in April I settled back on Weight Watchers which has always helped my focus on better eating and exercise habits.

Right now I am hitting the gym twice a week, fencing practice at least once a week (trying to make twice a week a regular thing and not a pipe dream), and running once or twice a week.  I’d like to start hiking in Umstead at least once a week again now that it’s nice.

Currently I’m down about 15 pounds and about half way to my goal of being down 30 pounds by the end of August (ambitions but I think doable).

The thing I want to focus on this next week with jazzing up my weekly weight routine.  It’s gotten a little stale after 7 months.


So my fighting.  As part of getting healthy I am refocusing on my fighting.  I had been in a bit of a slump where I wasn’t enjoying it as much but that seems to have turned around sometime around Gulf Wars and now if I don’t get to fight at an event I’m pretty bummed.

I’m kinda rusty but the rust has been falling off over the past month or two.  Right now I’m trying to find a new way to challenge myself.

Originally posted July 22, 2010

Di Grassi believed that fencing was more firmly rooted in footwork than in anything else. It was necessary to provide balance and to help a fighter put force behind his blows.


In his treatise, Di Grassi recommends that a fighter stand with his body “stable” and turned towards the enemy. A fighter should make himself as small a target as possible and if he must bend his body, he should take care to bend away from the enemy. When a fighter strikes he should either advance or thrust forward as soon as it is to his advantage to do so. You should always carry your body so as to make yourself firm and immovable. Don’t make any unnecessary movements. Don’t skip or leap. Rather keep your feet on the ground and make firm and unwavering movements. Always strike or defend in one or half a motion and be careful to keep foot and arm movements together.

It is important that a fighter maintain his stability because without stability he is vulnerable not only to attack but also to grappling. He is especially susceptible to being thrown off balance or to the ground by his opponent and in such a position he would be extremely vulnerable to attack and mostly likely unable to defend himself. That’s part of why a fighter shouldn’t skip or leap about. Such action can seriously affect his stability.

It’s nearly impossible to have a stable, strong stance when you’re leaping through the air. A fighter should strive not to make any unnecessary movements because they waste time and energy and you may inadvertently place yourself in a disadvantageous position. Di Grassi also touches on a fact that he discusses many times in his work: striking or defending in one or half a motion. It is important to attack and defend in as few motions as possible. Doing so conserves time, motion, and energy. Also, elsewhere in his treatise Di Grassi demonstrates with an illustration how attacking in two times rather than one opens a fighter up to attack from his opponent. Thus it’s especially important to make you attacks and parries in as few movements as possible. Preferably a fighter should be able to attack and defend himself at the same time as this provides the most security against attacks from ones opponent.


When moving your feet you should always take care to “frame a reasonable pace.” If you want to strike you should advance or increase one foot. Conversely, when defending you should retreat or withdraw one foot, taking care not to put yourself off balance or fall.

Di Grassi does not specify what distance is to be considered a reasonable pace. Instead he explains that since all fighters have different body types a given distance, which might be “reasonable”, or comfortable, for one fighter would not be for another fighter. Thus, since everyone’s “reasonable pace” will be different, fighters should take care to figure out the distance that is comfortable for them.

The feet move straight or circularly, forwards or backwards, in a half or a whole pace. A whole pace is made when the back foot is carried forwards in front of the front foot without moving the front foot. The whole pace can be made in a straight pace or a slope (crooked) pace, however Di Grassi notes that a fighter seldom performs a straight whole pace. In a slope (crooked) pace the back foot is still brought in front of the front foot, but this time it is placed at an angle so ass to carry the body out of line of the attack. A whole pace can also be made backwards, but usually only as a straight pace. A half pace is a transitional movement and is made when the back foot is brought even with the front foot and left there or then moved forwards. When preformed backwards, the front foot is moved even with the back foot and left there or from there moved behind the back foot. A circular pace is made when the front or back foot is moved to the right or left in a compass motion. This can also be made as a half or whole circular pace. A whole circular pace is also commonly known as a volte and demi volte is also another common term for the half circular pace.

A big benefit of the movements Di Grassi outlines in his treatise is that they not only move the body through a fight but many of them also void the body out of line of attack. This is especially true for the slope and circular paces. A fighter can use these movements to not only secure a more advantageous position from which to launch his attack but he also adds an extra layer of protection to his own body at the same time. This provides a fighter more weapons for his arsenal and additional methods that he can use to both attack and defend himself at the same time, a strategy that Di Grassi advocates over and over again.

The agreement of the hands and feet

Di Grassi felt very strongly that the strength of the right hand came from the right leg. Similarly the left leg is the strength of the left hand. This theory is known as the agreement of the feet and hands. By this logic, the force of a blow should come from the legs. Because of this, the position of the arms should agree with the position of the legs. For example, if the right leg is behind the body then the fighter should stand so that the right hand is behind the left.

You can put a lot more force into your attacks by using your legs and hips than you can by using just your arms. Your leg muscles are generally larger and stronger than those of your arm and your hips can generate quite a bit of force just from torque. This additional force would be invaluable if you found yourself on an actual field of battle where life and death truly hung in the balance. In such a situation you need all the additional force and strength for you attacks that you can generate.

Closing thoughts

A fighter needs a solid foundation in order to be successful and good footwork is a big part of that foundation. Di Grassi understood that and spent several pages of his treatise discussing proper stance and movement. We can learn a great deal from his methods and much of it can benefit not only our fighting but also our own studies of the Arte of Defense. His thoughts on stance and stability are invaluable and have wide applications to both fighting and study. Similarly his thoughts on attacking and defending in time and his use of body voids are especially beneficial to fighters interested in applying their studies in real world combat.

*This article is a 2009  revision of an earlier article that I wrote in 2006.


*Originally posted November 9, 2010

This is a transcription that I did from a passage of The Third Book of Of Honor and Arms that I thought might make interesting reading for a [Saturday] morning.  I took the liberty of modernizing some of the language in hopes of making it easier to read.  If anyone would like it in the original please feel free email me.  My contact information can be found on the about page.

Reference: Author Unknown. The Booke of Honor and Armes. Published by Richard Jones. 1590. Available from Downloaded Sept. 2007

What Sorts of Men Ought not to be Admitted to Trial of Arms

Because the trial of arms is the realm of the gentleman and gentility itself is an honorable state it is not fit that any person of base or mean condition (i.e. any ungentlemanly person) should be admitted into that realm.  Just as judges of civil trials will often reject the testimony of an infamous witness, so to should a man of mean or base quality be disallowed from accusing an honorable man.  After all, how can such a man charge another of a crime when he himself has committed an offence against his own reputation?

1.       It has therefore been determined that no man having committed treason against his prince or country should be admitted.

2.       Also any man who has had intelligence or conference with the enemies of this prince or who having been taken by his prince’s enemies chooses to remain with them even if he has the means to return to his prince’s service.

3.       He who becomes a spy for the enemy, takes an oath against his prince, or takes his prince’s money and leaves before serving his full time.

4.       He who abandons the army of his prince and flees to the enemy, or who after having been discharged goes to the enemy during a skirmish or fight.  He shall be reputed as infamous and as a traitor.

5.       He that abandons the ensign of his prince or captain or that either during the day or night maliciously departs from the place of his charge about the prince’s person or in camp.

6.       All thieves, beggars, bawds[1], victuallers[2], excommunicated persons, usurers, men banished from the army, and every other man engaged in an occupation or trade unfit and unworthy of a gentleman or soldier.

7.       Finally, whosoever is defamed of any notable crime or who is by law not allowed to bear witness.

These are the men who should rightfully and lawfully be disallowed from challenging any gentleman or soldier and should also be abhorred by every honest person.  If a man of good reputation should fight with such person be besmirches his own character in doing so.  However, if a gentleman would refuse a challenger on these grounds he must confidently know that this man has been condemned for such crimes or at least he has been condemned for crimes so notorious that the repulsed party cannot deny it.  It should be known though that if any man of such infamy were to be challenged by a gentleman or a soldier, he may not himself refuse, unless after the challenge the challenger commits some infamous act which must be observed by both parties.

Citation: Unknown. The Booke of Honor and Armes. (1590) p.30-32

[1]Bawd: a person dealing in the prostitution industry.

[2] Victualler: a person licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.  Also used to refer to the landlord of a public house or similar establishment

It took me longer than I would care to admit (although I am posting it…) to clean my armour after Gulf Wars but I finally finished cleaning, re-bluing, and waxing everything last weekend.  It still needs to be polished though.  I’m hoping I will be able to get that done tonight or Friday night before Baronial Practice Sunday.

This time I used a new bluing agent.  It was much stronger than the gun blue I was used to using and while it did give a much nicer blue I didn’t account for the stronger reaction when I waxed my armour so I didn’t put enough wax on the pieces to effectively stop the bluing process.  So I had to clean the pieces again Tuesday night.  All that considered though I think it still looks pretty good and I don’t think I will need to strip everything off and clean and blue it again.  We’ll see though.

Getting my oil changed, eating sushi, and…


Cutting out the muslin for my new arming cotte.