June 22nd: Announcing our sixth and final instructor:

Paul Macdonald

 

 

Paul will be offering 2 talks on the day

 

Talk 1:

Donald McBane - The Legend and the Legacy.

A brief gallop through historic actions experienced by McBane and the very locations that are still known today.

 

Talk 2:

For King and Country and Business Interests - The Blades that Forged the Man.

A show and study of original contemporary blades by which McBane earned both his pay and reputation.

 

Maestro Paul Macdonald was born in 1972, and raised in the West Highland village of Glenuig, Moidart, Scotland. He began his study of fencing in the 1992 at Napier University, in Edinburgh, founding and running the University club as President and principal instructor for two and a half years. With an ever-growing interest in historical swordsmanship, he founded the Dawn Duellists Society in 1994, and ran the DDS as President until 2006.

Since 1994, Maestro Macdonald has dedicated his path to European martial arts, travelling throughout the UK, Europe, Canada and the US to research, study, practice, present seminars and demonstrations and teach. He has studied most styles of historical European combat and revived the methods and techniques of several lost systems, such as the medieval duelling shield, spada in arme, dusack and backsword. In 1998, Maestro Macdonald founded the British Federation for Historical Swordplay (BFHS), serving as its President from 1998 - 2004.

Maestro Macdonald received his Master-at-Arms certification from the Italian Ancient and Historical Federation (FISAS) in 1999 and established the Macdonald Academy of Arms in 2001. In early 2008, Maestro Macdonald founded the Commando D Living History Group with Mike Smith, specialising in WW2 combatives. When not making swords or teaching, Maestro Macdonald enjoys gliding, for which he holds a solo pilot`s licence, researching historical battlefield sites, and metal detecting.

Maestro Macdonald is one of the founders of the International Masters at Arms Federation and a fencing advisor to the Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts. He is also a member of the Association for Historical Fencing and has given instruction at Leeds Royal Armouries and various historical fencing schools such as the Martinez Academy of Arms and the Italian Ancient and Historical Fencing Federation (FISAS)

 

 

June 21st: Announcing our Quiz Master

​Robert Brooks

 

We will be finishing with a Sword Themed Pub Quiz, so grab a drink of your choice and have your sword knowledge tested.

 

 

June 19th: Announcing the timetable for the McBane 2020 Online Event

 

1200-1205: Greetings

 

1205-1255: Paul Macdonald

                   Donald McBane - The Legend and the Legacy

 

1300-1350: Manolis Rhodokanakis 

                  The Heroic Narrative of Everyday Life

 

1400-1500: Panel with Mike Smith, Andrei Xuereb, Greig Watson & Ragnhild Viken

                   Starting Your Own School: 18th C vs 21st C

 

1500-1530: Break

 

1530-1615: Mike Smith 

                   7 vs 1: a Recap

 

1620-1720: Mark P. Donnelly

                  Short and to the Point:

                  A comparative examination of the tactical principles of daggers, knives, dirks, and bekkesnijden.

 

1725-1825: Jared Kirby 

                   Extraction and Extrapolation:

                  Understanding a Fencing System from Historic Treatises

 

1830-1925: Ben Miller

                  McBane the Gladiator

 

1930-2000: Paul Macdonald

                   For King and Country and Business Interests - The Blades that Forged the Man

 

2005-2100ish: Robert Brooks

                      Sword Themed Pub Quiz

 

2100: General Chat

 

June 17th: Announcing the next talk. A Panel Discussion with

Mike Smith, Andrei Xuereb, Greig Watson and Ragnhild Viken Esbensen

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Your Own School: 18th C vs 21st C

Throughout McBane's life story, he mentions many times about starting the business of running a fencing school, and often the trouble it brought him. For those familiar with his story, you will know what other side businesses he was operating.

This panel discussion will include instructors who have started their own schools, and we will be discussing the modern day issues one faces. While taking references from McBane's life story, hopefully this will be an insight for anyone considering starting their own school, or perhaps a more indepth look into the work and thought involved, while also listening to some of McBane's own personal accounts and exploits.

 

Panel Guest List:

Andrei Xuereb

Malta Historical Fencing Association

Andrei Xuereb is the person responsible for the introduction of Historical Fencing as a martial art in the Maltese islands, having founded the Mithras Swordfight Club in 2005 and the Malta Historical Fencing Association in 2009. From a sport fencing background, Andrei totally devoted himself to the research and practice of Historical Fencing and European Martial Arts. Since 2006 he is a student of the methods taught by his teacher Andrea Lupo Sinclair, founder and technical director of the A.S.D FISAS.

In order to give the best instruction possible to students within the Malta Historical Fencing Association, Andrei has attended and regularly still attends academies and international meetings on Historical Fencing organized by various groups in Europe. Andrei earned the highest teaching qualifications under the FISAS system after passing public examinations. He is the first non-Italian student to be qualified in the FISAS system and also the first instructor in Malta to be qualified in Historical Fencing. He teaches regular classes twice a week and has taught classes in various weapons and combinations in international events in Malta and abroad.
For more information you can visit http://www.historicalfencingmalta.org/

 

Greig Watson

Edinburgh Renaissance Fencing Academy

Greig began practising historical fencing in the summer of 2002 when he joined long-running Edinburgh group the Dawn Duellists' Society. He trained with that club for a number of years, gaining a broad knowledge of the basics of a range of historical sword systems. Later he began conducting his own research directly from treatises, eventually becoming a club instructor. After a short break of a few years while working abroad, Greig returned to his native Scotland in 2013, going on to found his own club, Edinburgh Renaissance Fencing Academy in 2014. ERFA focuses mostly on the 16th century fencing system of Giacomo di Grassi, with occasional sidelines in other Italian styles such as Capoferro's 17th century rapier and Bertelli's late-18th century smallsword.

In his day job Greig teaches English as a foreign language to a combination of private clients and students at a specialised language school.

 

Mike Smith

The Cat's Glove - School of Traditional Defence

Mike started Historical Fencing at the end of 2004 with the Macdonald Academy of Arms just weeks after moving to Scotland from Australia.

After becoming a Free Fencer, Mike became Chief de Salle of the Academy and was teaching students at various levels.

Having taught at international events, Mike decided it was time to set up his own school, and in 2016, The Cat’s Glove – School of Traditional Defence was born. Becoming the sister school to the Macdonald Academy, they both teach the Scottish backsword, and Mike has done his own study into Fixed Bayonet Fencing which is offered at his school, as well a few other weapon styles.

In 2007, Mike also started the Commando D – Living History Group with Paul Macdonald, which focuses on training in the close quarter methods of fighting as taught to allied special forces in WW2.

Ragnhild Viken Esbensen

Polaris Historical & Traditional Fencing

Having waved toy swords around since the age of four, Ragnhild properly started her journey in the world of Fence in 2002. Since then she has travelled internationally in Europe and N. America in pursuit of learning fencing at various events, and in 2007 became a student at the Macdonald Academy of Arms; later also with Blackboar School of Swordsmanship in Scotland.

Eventually starting to pick up the teacher’s mantle in the early -10s, she founded Polaris Historical & Traditional Fencing in 2015, and qualified as Certified Instructor with the British Federation for Historical Swordplay in 2018. To date, Ragnhild has taught in Scotland, England, Spain and USA as well as in her native Norway.

She draws on her master’s degree and research in conflict resolution to further inform and develop her fencing approach, particularly in order to increase understanding of the deeper principles of self defence aspects of the martial nature of the Art of the Sword.

June 16th: Announcing our fifth instructor...me:

Mike Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 vs 1: a Recap

We will be looking back at the 2019’s workshop inspired by McBane’s mass pub fight, where he took on 7 armed men with his Spadroon in hand one and a stick in the other. Taught by Mike Smith and Paul Macdonald, the workshop looked at the small recorded evidence and imagined what methods would be applied when facing so many blades.

After building up the multiple opponents, students could volunteer to try their luck to last against 7 opponents in real time.

Some of these fights were filmed, and we will be using them to deconstruct where things worked, and when they did not.

During this talk, we will also be discussing some of the methods applied and how the techniques now change. Based on the wounds recorded and McBane’s own advice, we can paint a rough picture.

 

Mike started Historical Fencing at the end of 2004 with the Macdonald Academy of Arms just weeks after moving to Scotland from Australia.

After becoming a Free Fencer, Mike became Chief de Salle of the Academy and was teaching students at various levels.

Having taught at international events, Mike decided it was time to set up his own school, and in 2016, The Cat’s Glove – School of Traditional Defence was born.  Becoming the sister school to the Macdonald Academy, they both teach the Scottish backsword, and Mike has done his own study into Fixed Bayonet Fencing which is offered at his school, as well as few other weapon styles.

In 2007, Mike started the Commando D – Living History Group with Paul Macdonald, which focuses on training in the close quarter methods of fighting as taught to allied special forces in WW2. Mike continues to teach these methods in his school as a warmup to every lesson.

Besides from organising the annual McBane Event, Mike has taught in Canada, Italy, Malta and across the UK. Mike’s day job is managing a well known whisky and beer bar in Edinburgh’s Old Town, and has been known to work as an artist on the sides.

 

 

June 10th: Announcing our fourth instructor:

Mark P Donnelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short and to the point:

A comparative examination of the tactical principles of daggers, knives, dirks, and bekkesnijden.

McBane never satisfactorily addresses the principles or techniques of fighting with dirks, mentioning only briefly the Hollanders' knife fight. But his long years of soldiering throughout the Netherlands would have exposed him to the apparently commonplace custom of Dutch knife fighting in taverns. This session will explore that tradition and its strong parallels with Scottish Dirk.

Professor Mark P. Donnelly has been actively studying armed combat in various incarnations since 1982. After decades of research and training in the disparate disciplines of western martial arts, sport fencing, stage combat, tournament fighting and eastern martial disciplines, he moved from the US to England in 1996 to undertake a PhD in Medieval Archaeology. While in England he was one of the founding fathers of the British Federation of Historical Swordplay (BFHS). He became a full-time Historical Combat Instructor in 1998 and founded the Society for the Study of Swordsmanship (S.S.S.) which expanded to cover 7 chapters throughout the north of England.

He also created the Edenhill Academy of Arms in 2002 as a specialized research body. He has worked with HM Royal Monuments, English Heritage, the National Trust, National Maritime museum at Greenwich, Sandhurst Military Academy, the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as the HMS Trincomalee, HMS Victory, The Cutty Sark and the Grand Turk.

Prof. Donnelly is also the auteur of both the Tontine and of S.W.A.S.H.-UK (Symposium on the Western Arts of Swordsmanship through History) which he organised and hosted on behalf of the BFHS at the Royal Armouries in Leeds for several years before eventually moving back to the US. Prof. Donnelly has been honoured to instruct at major national and international events such as: F.I.S.A.S. in Verbania, Italy; H.E.M.A.C. at Dijon in France; A.E.E.M.A. in Madrid; A.R.G.O. in Prague; B.F.H.S. AGMs and Instructor Training; The American Smallsword Symposium, The International Sabre Symposium, The international Bartitsu Congress and, of course, S.W.A.S.H. as well as many others. He currently resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where he is pleased to serve as Professore di Armes for K.A.D.S. – The Keystone Academy of Dueling and Swordsmanship

He is a life-time research associate with H.M. Royal Armouries in Leeds as well as with The Tower of London and with the National Maritime museum, at Greenwich. He is additionally an experienced stage combatant and licensed fight director.

Professionally, Donnelly writes and produces historical documentaries for: Discovery Channel Networks; History Channel International; National Geographic; PBS; BBC; and several other international affiliates. He is also the author and/or co-author of around thirty books currently in print (most of which focus on historical subjects).

 

June 9th: Announcing our third instructor:

Ben Miller

 

 

 

 

 

McBane the Gladiator

In his memoir, Donald McBane claimed to have fought thirty-seven prize fights, and is described elsewhere as a “celebrated Highland prize-fighter.” But was his fame indeed merited, and was his reputed prowess as a gladiator genuine? And what of the people McBane faced—who were they, and what were their backgrounds? Were they obscure amateurs, or fighters of skill and renown? In this presentation, we attempt to answer these questions by examining McBane’s career as a gladiator, which is documented in numerous recorded challenges and references from the early 18th century. We will discuss what can be learned from these surviving historical references, the adversaries he fought, as well as the different weapons that he is recorded as having used in these gladiatorial events.

BEN MILLER is an American filmmaker and author. He is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, was the winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant for screenwriting, and has worked for notable personages such as Martin Scorsese and Roger Corman. For the last fifteen years, Miller has studied fencing at the Martinez Academy of Arms, one of the last places in the world still teaching an authentic living tradition of classical fencing. He has served as the Academy's chef de salle and has authored articles for the Association of Historical Fencing, focusing on the fencing and dueling of the American colonial period. He is the author of "Irish Swordsmanship: Fencing and Dueling in Eighteenth Century Ireland" (Hudson Society Press, 2017), and one of the authors of "Scottish Fencing: Five 18th Century Texts on the Use of the Small-sword, Broadsword, Spadroon, Cavalry Sword, and Highland Battlefield Tactics" (Hudson Society Press, 2018). He is the editor of "Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies: A Nineteenth-Century Treatise on Boxing, Kicking, Grappling, and Fencing with the Cane and Quarterstaff" (North Atlantic Books, 2015), containing the writings of the noted duelist and fencing master, Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery, and was also the editor of “King of the Swordsmen” (2019), a biographical treatment of Monstery’s duels and adventures in Spanish America. He wrote the foreword to the republication of Donald McBane's classic martial arts treatise, "The Expert Sword-Man's Companion: Or the True Art of Self-Defence" (New York: Jared Kirby Rare Books, 2017). Miller's articles about fencing and martial arts history can be found on the websites martialartsnewyork.org and outofthiscentury.wordpress.com.

https://martialartsnewyork.org/

 

 

June 8th: Announcing our second instructor:

Manolis Rhodokanakis

The Heroic Narrative of Everyday Life
Why are we fascinated by the life story of Donald McBane?  Why do Heroic Stories resonate that much with us?  After all, there is nothing heroic or adventurous about our everyday lives, right?  Well, it may come as a surprise to some, but it is a well-known fact that people are shaped by stories, rather than the other way around.  In this presentation, I will try to give an idea of how the magic of Stories works, using as an example the Tale of Donald McBane.  But after that comes the really interesting part, where we try to put this magic to use, and see what all that stuff means to us, and how it can actually have an impact to our lives.  Think of this as less of a presentation, and more of a discussion.  So come prepared to talk!

Manolis Rhodokanakis, President of the Board at Marxbrüder Guild Hellas, has been into Historical Fencing for ten years and into Psychology for twelve.   He has studied Scottish Backsword at the Macdonald Academy of Arms, German Longsword at the Marxbrüder, and now focuses on La Verdadera Destreza in Academia da Espada Hellas.  He has also studied Psychology, with a Msc in Counselling from the University of Edinburgh, and his main interests lie with the Narrative Formation of Reality, and especially the Heroic Journey, its connections with Initiation Rituals and its Psychotherapeutic Applications.  Other interests include Le Jeu de la Hache, early 18th century fencing, and horror stories.

 

June 7th: Announcing our first instructor:

Jared Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extraction and Extrapolation: Understanding a Fencing System from Historic Treatises

There are several basic processes that will make it simpler and easier to unlock the knowledge in a treatise. With a few 'keys', you can extract fundamental information which will allow you to extrapolate more about a master's fencing system.

 

Jared Kirby has been involved in Western Martial Arts for nearly 25 years. He teaches in New York City (and the metro area) and has taught workshops across the US and around the world including Canada, England, Scotland, Finland, Italy and Australia. 

He is the president of Combat Con in Las Vegas, past president of Art of Combat, and served for six years on the  board of the International Order of the Sword & Pen.

Jared currently teaches fencing at SUNY Purchase, Sarah Lawrence College and is a Master of Arms (Maestro d’Armi) through the Martinez Academy of Arms

Jared is the editor and one of the translators of “Italian Rapier Combat”, the first complete, professional translation of Capo Ferro. He is also the editor and wrote the introduction for “The School of Fencing” by Domenico Angelo and annotated by Maestro Jeannette Acosta-Martínez. Most recently “A Gentleman’s Guide to Duelling” was released in February 2014 and a reprint of Donald McBane’s The Expert Swordsman’s Companion was released in January 2017. For more information, see Amazon.com.

Jared is also a Fight Director who has choreographed fights Off-Broadway, Nationally, in London and Sydney. He has worked with stars such as Peter SarsgaardSteve GuttenbergCameron Douglas and has trained performers who are working on hit shows.

 

June 2nd We have launched tickets to our McBane Online event, to be held on June 26th.

We will be announcing the presentations soon.

 

May 23rd We are considering hosting an on-line conference spread over a day of the McBane weekend, with a list of International instructors giving talks. Plans are still being made, and details announced soon.

 

May 20th Due to COVID19, we are currently looking at new dates. It is still too early to know how lockdown will be eased exactly, so will be keep options open.

 

 

March 24th COVID19 Update: At the moment, the McBane Event is still going ahead, but we will continue to monitor the situation. If needs be, we will look into postponing the event to later in the year, as the last thing we want to do is cancel.

 

Feb 26th That's the Early Bird ticket deal now finished, with tickets now at full price. Thanks you to everyone who has already signed up.

 

Jan 25th Early Bird tickets have gone live! Get in now to make a saving.

NEWS UPDATES

June 23rd: The Zoom link has been sent out to everyone that has signed up, anyone signing up from tonight will find the details in your confirmation email.

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