Wednesday, February 8th – “The Book”

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Last class, we finally got around to presenting the “scholar book” aka “The Book.” Not the “Good Book”, nor the school book, just “The book.”  After the last WMAW, we found the idea of a guild book a fitting one (thank you, Rocky Mountain Sword Guild), and so on the way back, we threw some ideas out there of what we’d like it to be. It’s a long drive, so there were a lot of ideas.

Naturally, this fell into Rachel’s lap. She worked hard, without any direction or even semblance of help on my part, and the result is nothing short of stunning. A veritable work of art. The book contains information about the school, the virtues of the man at arms as set out by Fiore dei Liberi, and each Companion (ranked member) gets his own page with his heraldic arms displayed along with a short bio and any notable achievements they might have as relates to the school or the Art of Arms. Furthermore, there is a page chronicling the membership, whereby all members are asked to sign when they train with us – a “guest book” or sorts, so that even though some may leave for greener pastures, their passing will be marked and remembered. Every student adds to the school’s character, and thus to its history, and this is as it should be.
The book is bound in tooled vegetable tanned leather bearing the school’s arms, and is done in a style similar to illuminated manuscripts of the period, with hand drawn art and drop letters embellishing the introductory pages.
Pages will be added as events unfold, as it is a living document. With any luck, it will outlast me, and students of my students will still be adding their names to continue the tradition. But then again, I always did have a rather large-ish ego.
Old members were also invited back to sign their Companion pages, after which we did a quick warm-up and did some freeplay. And by freeplay, I mean freeplay. No pedagogical conditions, folks calling hits on themselves and not relying on others to judge their bouts, all done in fair play (ok, that *is* a pedagogical requirement, but still…) So, by my taking a hands-off approach, students got to learn what was and wasn’t an acceptable blow, how to recognise these on themselves, and most importantly, do push-ups for double hits. 5 for the first, 10 if there was a second, 15 for the third, etc.
So, thank you Rachel, thank you Norm and Mathieu for coming out, and thanks to all the students who were there. I had a good time – I hope you did too.
Without further adieu, here are some photos for your enjoyment.