SCA, ARMA, or other

stone_dragone

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If the topic has been discussed, I couldn't find it from my tapatalk app, so I apologize for any redundancy.

I've been interested in western sword, quarter staff and the like since I was a kid. As many of you may know, I've been involved in Asian arts for almost 18 years now and for the greater part of the last decade I've been on MT.

Today I attended my third Ren Fest and got to finally watch a weapons demo (and my son got to participate in a children's class, which was pretty cool!). It piqued my interest once again. I've also been looking for the next stage in my martial journey. Is it possible that I've found it?

Being new to this side of things, I'm wondering where to start. I've heard of the SCA and I've found ARMA online, but am not sure who else is out there. My interest lies in both effective self defense and the cultural side of things like the historic perspective, etc.

Where do I start? Does anyone know where to look in the San Antonio area? Thanks in advance....damn, I feel like a nube again...


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I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?jgjdri
 

jks9199

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If the topic has been discussed, I couldn't find it from my tapatalk app, so I apologize for any redundancy.

I've been interested in western sword, quarter staff and the like since I was a kid. As many of you may know, I've been involved in Asian arts for almost 18 years now and for the greater part of the last decade I've been on MT.

Today I attended my third Ren Fest and got to finally watch a weapons demo (and my son got to participate in a children's class, which was pretty cool!). It piqued my interest once again. I've also been looking for the next stage in my martial journey. Is it possible that I've found it?

Being new to this side of things, I'm wondering where to start. I've heard of the SCA and I've found ARMA online, but am not sure who else is out there. My interest lies in both effective self defense and the cultural side of things like the historic perspective, etc.

Where do I start? Does anyone know where to look in the San Antonio area? Thanks in advance....damn, I feel like a nube again...


---
I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?jgjdri

Might not be able to one-stop shop. ARMA and similar groups are doing their best to resurrect, recreate, or maintain the fighting systems of Western Europe. In the course of doing this, my understanding is that they don't necessarily get into the cultures too much, except as a by-product. Meanwhile, SCA is about "researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th Century Europe." Their fighting has, in the past, been accused of having little basis in reality.
 

Tony Dismukes

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SCA fighting is more of a full-contact combat sport than any sort of attempt at recreating historically accurate martial arts. It's lots of fun and certain elements of it may provide insight into facets of historical combat which get overlooked by other groups. Nevertheless I wouldn't rely on it as a primary tool for either practical self-defense or historical study.

(If you are interested in the non-martial aspects of medieval European culture, then the SCA does offer the chance to explore them in a fun environment. Participants in the SCA range from folks who just like to party while dressed up in costume up to others who are doing serious research in specialized aspects of medieval arts and crafts.)
 

Langenschwert

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Might not be able to one-stop shop. ARMA and similar groups are doing their best to resurrect, recreate, or maintain the fighting systems of Western Europe. In the course of doing this, my understanding is that they don't necessarily get into the cultures too much, except as a by-product. Meanwhile, SCA is about "researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th Century Europe." Their fighting has, in the past, been accused of having little basis in reality.

That's pretty much the long and the short of it. I've been impressed with the Freifechter as an organization, and their top guys have their stuff together. Whether the group in San Antonio is at par or better or worse than the organization as a whole I have no idea. You're not going to learn tapestry there though. They do however, take their history seriously, putting a lot of research into the context the Art was practiced in.

SCA heavy combat bears little resemblance to medieval combat. They are branching out into steel weapons in addition to their rattan fighting in some "kingdoms" though, as rattan doesn't behave like a sword. SCA combat is apprently good fun and you get to practice range and timing. You'll likely meet some really nice folks there and they are generally very family friendly. You could always do both. You'll just have to keep them separate.

Best regards,

-Mark
 

lklawson

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HEMA - There are lots of good organizations. Your best bet is to do a web search for what's available in your area. If you're interested in Medieval sword work, then "German Longsword" and all of its sub-variants (like "Von Danzik" and "Ringeck") or "Fiore Longsword" should be in your primary search criteria. "Messer" is also a good search item but will tend to send you down the German tradition. Be careful about "longsword" alone and don't use "quarterstaff" or "broadsword" at all - too much muddying of the waters by modern stuff. I got some good hits right off the bat: https://www.google.com/search?q=San+Antonio+%22german+longsword%22

ARMA - Some good, some bad. You should know that ARMA has managed to alienate themselves from much of the rest of the HEMA research. My (very) few interactions with ARMA leadership has been polite and pleasant, for what that's worth, but they have left a "bad taste" in the mouths of much of the broader community. They also had a pretty major split a few years ago. Not sure what happened to the splinter org.

SCA - Early stuff is bad bad bad from a Martial Arts perspective. Heavy Combat is bad bad bad from a historically accurate european martial arts perspective. However, there are a metric crap load of HEMA researchers and practitioners who are either in SCA now or who came from SCA and still have close ties. The SCA has had a small but growing movement to include historically accurate martial arts in their material. Historically accurate (or as close as is possible) HEMA instructors are teaching seminars and classes and lots of otherwise uninvolved HEMA/WMA instructors have been invited to teach. Last PENNSIC was awash with actual researchers and instructors in HEMA. So, while it might not be a sure bet to find HEMA instruction in the SCA, it's getting easier than ever. Maybe you wouldn't like the trappings that come along with life in the SCA, however. But maybe you would. <shrug>

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

jks9199

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Just curious -- but what's the issue with ARMA? Snobbery? Poor research? Crazy practices? Or something else?
 

lklawson

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Just curious -- but what's the issue with ARMA? Snobbery? Poor research? Crazy practices? Or something else?
Truthfully? From what I can tell, ARMA founder John Clements seems to have a unique ability to piss people off.

Now, I must stress, that in the very few interactions I have had with him (online), he has always been polite and pleasant to me.

However, I know for a fact that he rubs the fur the wrong way on a number of established western martial artists. When his early book on Rapier fencing came out, it was well received in general but also garnered some criticisms from Maestros who had living lineages back to dueling saber, smallsword, and rapier. People who, in some cases, had already put in decades of research and were living as professional fencers. He responded, um..., "negatively" and very publicly to these criticisms. In some cases those criticisms were intended to be helpful and in some, just to be plain blunt but not necessarily confrontational. Mr. Clements, however, was more, ah... "confrontational" for his part. To some degree this is to be expected. The kind of personality who would make a life of martial arts and start his own reconstructionist organization is going to be a "strong" personality that can "deal with" conflict. However, this has become the pattern of behavior. Whenever there is a conflict, his response is very martial: attack.

There have also been some allegations of questionable marketing practices and of abuse of authors working with/for him. Further, there was a flurry of different allegations (all in the same vein) during the split with HEMA Alliance.

Again, the few times I've interacted with him, he's been polite and helpful. I'm just passing on what I've learned about what others have felt/said/believed.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Dirty Dog

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I spent about 10 years playing with the SCA in Colorado and Texas. Fun people. The level of historical accuracy is spotty (in all areas, not just combat), but there are plenty of people who are intertested in actual research. When I started, "rapiers" were foils. When I left, the schlager was much more common, and techniques were becoming much more real.
 
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