June 27th: And that's McBane 2021 done. After 13 and half hours on Zoom, we called it a night.
A massive thank you to all the organisers, and the instructors who put so much time and effort in their presentations, and thank you to all those you listened in, it's not an event with out you, and your donations will be going to a very important cause.
Bring on McBane 2022!
June 22nd: Announcing our final presentation, a panel discussion
The Treatise: Exposing the Master
Maestro Paul Macdonald
Maestro Ramon Martinez
Maestro Jeannette Acosta-Martinez
Maestro Antone Blair
Maestro Andrei Xuereb
June 22nd: Announcing the second presentation from Stephen Kilbane
Edinburgh - The City and the Sword:
A journey round Edinburgh’s Old Town, covering conflicts, duels and fencing schools over the past 500 years. No physical participation involved (unless you have a TARDIS).”
June 19th: Announcing our next presenter
In this lecture, we trace McBane’s path in Ireland, and his duels, adventures, and experiences there during the early part of his military career. Moving beyond McBane’s memoir, we will look at the larger martial context of the time, place, and specific areas that McBane was in, which at that time were subject to an Irish dueling mania which would last for approximately a century. We will look at the Irish swordsmen, swordswomen, fencing masters, and prize fighters that existed at that time in both Dublin and Connaught (where McBane lived and fought duels), for the purpose of imparting a greater understanding of the climate and culture that McBane found himself in, and the types of individuals that he would have expected to have encountered and crossed blades with. We will also examine some parallel sources—memoirs by Irish duelists and swordswomen who served in the same armies as McBane, and fought in the same battles, occasionally on opposite sides.
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 sixteen 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 17th: Announcing our next presentation, and second from Paul Macdonald
The Highlands of Scotland saw many aspects of tradition preserved for the longest time, particularly those of our martial arms and practice.
Focusing on our indigenous martial culture from the 17th and 18th centuries, this revealing talk shall cover aspects of training, techniques, heroes, traditions and weapons.
June 15th: Introducing our next presenter
'McBane & Marlborough: A Comparison on Two Books'
This presentation will be looking at the years of the War of the Spanish Succession, and how McBane's personal experiences match up with that written in the 1741 publication 'The History of John Duke of Marlborough' by John Bancks.
We will follow the battles and sieges and the towns visited, adding more fine details and supporting what McBane wrote.
With maps, etchings, and other eyewitness accounts, hopefully this will help paint a better picture to some of the hardest years of McBane's life.
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 11th: Introducing our next presenter
"Scottish Weaponry: Myths and Realities"
Popular myths and half-truths surrounding our martial culture will be shattered in this revealing talk which shall also confirm realities that exist behind them.
Various weapons shall be specifically covered in this talk, including Scottish medieval and basket-hilted swords, the Lochaber Axe, dirk and sgian dubh. The real etymology behind the word "Claymore" is also covered and much more.
Everything you wanted to really know about Scottish weaponry, but were afraid to ask, revealed!
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 9th: Tickets are now available, see above to sign up
June 8th: We have put together a schedule and it looks like we have a final line up
June 4th: Introducing our next Presenter:
"Clan MacBean: Sword & Spirit"
You might know that Clan MacBean is called the Sword of Clan Chattan, and that members of the Clan have taken part in many famous - and infamous - martial events... both in Scotland, and elsewhere; but did you know that the Clan has also produces a significant number of Churchmen over the centuries?
Together we will take a look at prominent individuals, and events, on both sides of the sword/spirit divide... involving some well known, and some less well known, members of Clan MacBean; including recently confirmed - documented - information about one of the Clan's most famous sons, and an announcement about Clan MacBean, and Clan MacBean Association, activities that are being planned to take place in Scotland during 2022.
Allan MacBain MBCS has been Associate Genealogist (UK & Europe), and Regional Commissioner (UK & Europe), for the Clan MacBean Association, since 2014.
He has also been honoured to have been appointed by the Chief/Acting Chief of Clan MacBean as a Chieftain of the Clan, in order to act as their personal representative at events in Scotland, on a number of occasions - including the McBane Event each year since its inception.
May 30th: Introducing our next Instructor:
"Effective Backsword Defence and Returns"
A detailed examination of the fundamental principles that enable the effective defence and returns characteristic of the Macdonald Academy Method of backsword. Solo and pair drills included, but physical participation is not required.
Stephen Kilbane has been studying historical swordsmanship since he joined the Macdonald Academy of Arms on its opening night in 2002, where he is now an instructor and Chef du Salle under Maestro Paul Macdonald.
Steve is also an instructor at The Cat's Glove School of Traditional Defence, where he teaches the Macdonald Academy method of backsword.
Steve has given workshops and seminars on historical swordsmanship at events in Scotland, England, Italy, Malta and the USA.
Aside from historical fencing, Steve also practices the De Longis method of bullwhip cracking, and is the founder of the Scottish Knife, Axe and Tomahawk Throwing Association skatta.org.uk
May 6th: Announcing our first Instructor:
"McBane on the Couch: Obtaining the Case History of an 18th century Fencing Master"
Imagine for a moment that we had to face notorious fencing master, professional soldier and prize fighter Donald McBane in a therapeutic setting. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, intimidating even, but it is still better than having to face him in a duel, so bear with me. Imagine we have spent our first session exploring his difficulties, setting his goals – God knows what they might be… – and talking about the therapeutic context, and so it is time to obtain his case history – to have him talk about his life, in plain words.
What would that feel like? What would we like to ask him? What would we tell him? What mental notes would we make? More importantly, can we reconstruct this hypothetical narrative, based on what he chose to share with the general public through his autobiography? Can we pin point what our thoughts would be on a therapeutic and analytical level?
This presentation, is essentially an exercise in active imagination. It is an effort to forget all we know about McBane the legend, and take a look at McBane the man. Hopefully, it will help us understand both man and legend better.
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
April 29th: Announcing the news that we will be going ahead with the McBane Event Online again for 2021. Plans are still being made, so keep an eye out for more details