We have a prize! Starla and the kind folks at Zen Warrior Armory have generously donated this fine weapon for the winner of the Tournament. It could be you! Be sure to study the rules and be ready for a challenge. Well much work and a couple of sleepless nights for me. Hope to see you all there. Remember to arrive about 8:45 so we can get you registered and then right to the fun stuff.
Here it is just barely a week until the event. It had been my intent to raise the price up to $200 for participation in the event in the last week or two. However I am going to hold the line on the price at $175. Please note there is a hard limit for participants that I do not want to exceed because a crowd would diminish the experience for those of you who have already paid and registered. So I will leave registration online open til Thursday 3/31 or until we reach capacity. If it is your wish to pay on the day you must contact me in advance to hold your space. If you do not I can not guarentee your spot. PM me or contact me through the Website.
I have been reminded that I have been remiss in failing to mention the dress requirements for the social events. The Still is a faux pub in an upscale neighborhood. So "Smart Casual" would be the order of the day. We have reserved a semi private area in the pub. You need not feel obliged to eat at the Pub if you do not want to. However the food there is not bad and reasonably priced.
There is sufficient time for you to change and enjoy dinner at any number of really nice restaurants in the area before 7:30. I would recommend trying something Crab while in town like a Crab cake or if you really want to do a B-more thing a couple of Steamed Crabs. (Waitress will show you how if you have never "picked" one.) Oysters are still in season too. Raw they are said to be aphrodisiacs. On the other hand there are also many budget eating choices close by too.
Looking forward to seeing you all there!
One of the unique features of the American Smallsword Symposium is the use of a scenario based competition. This was instituted because a lot of smallsword competitions or demonstrations were just too tame. While they did represent the duel or salle play it was often rather tame salle play. It seemed so tame that it was rightly noted that it looked too clean, too nice, too choreographed. On the other hand was a school of thought that smallsword was just like foil or epee fencing but with a historic weapon and without much of the fear that an encounter with sharps such as a duel would evoke.
We have chosen a different road. The use of the weapon to defend one's life on the street or the battlefield is certainly a valid period context that would have been trained for in the period. If we want to be as complete a swordsperson, as an authentic a swordsperson as we can we should also embrace the self defense context as well as the salle and the duel. The scenario based exercise is designed to test our skill at tactical analysis and flexibility under stress. While we cannot be completely authentic and still be safe we can include a reasonable amount of realism and induce stress by using time as a measure of performance.
These are potential scenarios for this year's competition. They are provided here so that participants will not be totally unprepared.
Scenario One. After the Battle
27 July 1689 at Killiecrankie near Pitlochry Scotland It has been a tough day for Redcoats like you. As you run exhausted from the battlefield you see many of your friends are already dead or like your comrade Donald McBane have fled the field. You watched amazed as he leapt nearly twenty feet to freedom across the river Garry. Your route of escape appears in front of you; a narrow defile in the gorge. Blocking your way stand two men; one Highlander armed with a musket and plug bayonet and behind him an aristocratic man armed with a smallsword. You are unarmed having thrown down your musket and accoutrement so as to run faster. As luck would have it a smallsword lies at your feet. The Highlanders are not taking prisoners. You must dispatch both of your opponents to live. As you reach down to pick up your only chance of survival you say boldly so all can hear " Well now, we shall see if those fencing lessons were worth the money!" And the fight begins . . . . .
Scenario Two. Unintended Consequences
April 3, 1730 Natchez Mississippi. Spring in the American Deep South. You sip your tea in the courtyard of a tavern as the morning sun warms your face. You close your eyes and breath deep. The Magnolias are in bloom and the air is heavy with their scent and that of the other myriad of flora which has burst back into life after a long winter of hiding. You to have had your own season of hiding. Six months ago you left New Orleans in a hurry. It was not meant to be a duel to the death but those damned smoothbore pistols are incredibly inaccurate . Usually this meant a clean miss but this time it meant a messy and fatal head shot to the only son of one of the leading citizens of the city. The seconds and most of the town understood but the father of the dead man, Don Francisco, was inconsolable. He has sworn to hunt you down and have his revenge. So it is not then a total surprise as you open your eyes that you see Don Francisco with his old fashioned Rapier in hand advancing across the courtyard toward you. He is restrained suddenly by another man. A man with the cool confidence and demeanor which betrays his experience and a familiarity with death. The other man speaks as he draws his smallsword and comes on guard. "This is what you paid me for Don Francisco. Please stand back and let me earn my pay". You draw your sword certain that this is a professional killer and in a moment your blades meet . . . . .
Scenario Three. Mistaken Identity
April 3, 1755 Just outside of Nice France. You are traveling to the home of your sick uncle in town. Anxious to rejoin your new wife who nurses him you have ridden all night. As your horse ambles east along the coast road from Monaco the birds begin to wake and celebrate the day. The sun burns off the dew releasing the rich warm smell of the wild sage. Suddenly there is a gunshot and another. Your horse bolts and you are thrown to the dusty road. You are not wounded. You look up and ten yards away two men re-holster their heavy cavalry pistols on their saddles and dismount. Their clothes are rather plain and humble in contrast to their surly and imposing arms-across-the-chest pose. " I Sir am Louis Mandrin and you are the new agent of the Ferme générale , and so you must die. " "Me" you protest " A tax collector? You are mistaken I am just a humble traveler. I hate the Gabelle and the Aides and those leaches who farm not for crops but for gold in the name of the king as much as any Frenchman. I go to my new wife. Pray let me pass monsieur." There is a pause. The highwayman speaks " It is sad, She has awoken this day as a wife and yet will sleep tonight as a widow. " There are no more words as you and your attackers simultaneously draw your smallswords and engage, . . . .
Things are rapidly coming together. I think the warming Spring weather is stirring the blood. Spring is after all, when a mans heart turns to . . . . . Smallsword. It is dueling season, and of course time for the Symposium. Here is what is new since the last update:
New Instructor: Ragnhild Viken is flying across the pond to present to us some elements of the smallsword of Donald McBane.
Meet, Greet and Dinner: All of the social activities will be at "the Still" located less than a mile from the venue. So that is Friday night after 8:00 and Saturday night after 7:30. Saturday we will have a couple of rooms reserved for us. There is no buffet or formal dinner at a set time. So come, Eat, drink, and be merry.
Original Texts: thanks to the kindness and generosity of Christoph Amberger you will be able to view more original smallsword texts in one room that anywhere else in the US and maybe the world. You will be amazed and inspired.
Helmet Cam: I will mount the action cam to a spare mask so you can see what you look like to an opponent. This will be available during the designated free play times.
Registration: There are still a few openings. It is not too late to sign up. but once we reach capacity we will have to turn procrastinators away. We will keep the online discounted price of $175.00 as long as there are any openings left.
Looking forward to seeing you all there!
In a just thirty days from now we will convene the second American Smallsword Symposium. Things are finally coming together and the excitement is building , at least it is for me. Some updates
Several people have mentioned that they would rather save expenses and enjoy a larger choice of options for Saturday dinner. So we will not run a flat fee buffet as we did last year. We will reserve some tables and convene as a local restaurant and each may order to suit their taste and budget. The location will be within one mile of the venue. I will announce the location shortly. The Friday "Meet and Greet" will probably also be at the same location.
Yes, it will involve mixed weapons.
Yes, we will have a class on dealing with rapiers and such before the "Competition" begins.
Yes, there will be prizes! Thanks to our generous sponsors. Please see our Vendor/Sponsor Page
(Hmmmm? Dinner and a Tournament. Where have I heard that before?)