Category Archives: Musings

COVID-19 and Sheltering in Place

Written by Pamela Muir

With our efforts to flatten the curve, many of us are at home without practice partners. So what can we do in order to not significantly lose training time or enthusiasm for our art?

Let’s start with the obvious. I am rediscovering my motivation for solo drills. They have been lagging for a while, because, really, it is more fun to practice with friends.

Practice footwork, though footwork alone can be boring. Set a timer for one minute and see how many steps (advance, retreat, compass, triangle, etc.) you can do. Pick out an area in your backyard or a room in your house. Divide it into imaginary one foot squares and try to touch each one, in random order, with continuous footwork. Or crank up your favorite tunes and just have fun with it.

Practice your cuts. Do some shadow fencing. Work through plays and sequences. And…

Read with sword in hand. Now is the time to dive into that fechtbuch you have been meaning to read. You can find digital copies and translations at Wiktenauer. You can find print copies and modern training books and DVDs at Freelance Academy Press, Inc.. Freelance has articles and history books as well. Learn about other aspects of your art.

Pop in a training DVD and go through it chapter by chapter. Do some online training, but make sure it is someone you are familiar with, someone who has been an instructor at an event you attended or whose book(s) you have read. You want to make sure you have a consistent frame of reference.

Take the time to learn something new. At ACMA our primary focus is on weapons of the Liechtenauer system, but I am starting to dabble with broadsword. Maybe you want to try your hand at rapier or smallsword.

Make sure you stay fit. Walk. Use a workout app. Use free weights or do body weight exercises such as push ups, triceps bridges, and squats. Try a deck of cards work out. Don’t forget stretching. Maybe add in some yoga. I use a daily workout app that gives me 5 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of a full body workout, and 5 minutes of stretching.

Take care of your weapons. Now is the time to clean and polish. (I am trying to practice what I preach.)

Check on your practice partners. Encourage each other. We are all in this together. And let us cross swords in the future.


WMAW 2017

With apologies to Lerner and Loewe…

There is a legend of a magical realm, known as WMAW, that rises from the mists on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan. Inhabiting the grounds are valiant women and men, from locations near and far, learning and engaging in the fighting arts of times gone by. It is a place of chivalry and camaraderie. From early in the morning, when the sun rises over the lake, until late in the evening, the halls and grounds are filled with the sounds of clashing weapons and lively discourse about said weapons and their proper usages. Armoured knights compete in the lists in the afternoon sun. If you are lucky enough to stumble upon this legendary event and its denizens, you may be witness to even more mystic arts, such as Pangean rapier and Spoonfechten. Sadly the appearance of WMAW is all too fleeting. There are tales of attendees who return year upon year to experience it once again, knowingly risking the heartbreak of the farewells as WMAW once more recedes into the mists.

My sincere thanks to the hosts, instructors, and volunteers. You truly do make this a magical event and I look forward to the next.

Practice, practice, practice!

I am back from a fantastic event, the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium 2017, and feeling rejuvenated.  Practices will be resuming!  As it appears the weather seems to be on a warming trend we will be training at our outdoor venue.  For now, practice will take place during daylight hours on Saturdays and/or Sundays.  Newcomers are always welcome.  Use our contact page or send an email to for details.

All I Need to Know in Life I Learned from Master Liechtenauer

“Practice knighthood and learn
the Art that dignifies you.”
Be chivalrous. Be studious.

“Be a good grappler in wrestling;
lance, spear, sword and messer
handle manfully,
and foil them in your opponent’s hands.”
Find the right tool for the job, there’s plenty to choose from.  Learn to use them all.

“He who follows the strokes,
should rejoice little in his art.”
Don’t simply follow.  Be proactive.

“Do not fight above on the left if you are right-handed;
and if you are left-handed,
on the right you limp was well.”
Work from the areas where you are the most capable.  Always start from a position of strength.

“Before and After, these two things,
are to all skill a well-spring.”
Timing is everything.

“Four openings know,
aim:  so you hit certainly.”
Watch for and take advantage of opportunities.

“And test the attacks
if they are soft or hard.”
Never fight force with force.  Go around, yield, find another way.

“Learn the feeling.
The word Instantly slices sharply.”
Don’t take too long to make a decision, but make sure you have all the data before you act.

“Whoever conducts the Failer
from below he hits at his will.”
Even if you know your first attempt will likely not succeed, attempt it anyway, but have a fall back plan in mind.

“The Squinter breaks into
whatever a buffalo strikes or thrusts.”
Bullies need to be stopped.  Sometimes all it takes is a dirty look.

Verse credit:  Christian Tobler’s translation of the Van Danzig Fechtbuch as published in his book In Saint George’s Name available from Freelance Academy Press.

Musings by Pamela Muir