Kult of Athena


Sunday, January 23, 2011


Thursday's class was a rehash of everything we have learned up to this point. I was very happy to see all of the familiar faces at the Schola Meeting (Charles, Jarkko, Matty, and Spencer) but we had some new people too. I'd like to think that the two new guys were there because of the blog, but with eight followers so far it's pretty hard to tell.

However they got there, Sean and Jeramie were the two newest additions to SSG Boston, and a welcome one at that. When you first enter the training grounds of the school, it can be pretty daunting. Charles is an excellent Instruttore, but he tends to move rather fast in his teachings; throwing all kinds of medieval Italian at you, dagger moves, poste, Elephant Plays, the works. If you can sit tight for the first few hours then you can learn the sword.

For myself, I liked the addition of the new guys because it gave me the opportunity to dive into the training with them one-on-one. At one point, Charles said to me and Matt that we should go over the basic stances and movements with them. This was my fourth week and I was getting to instruct two new Zugadore! The experience was excellent! If you can teach someone else, then you're an authority. You can practice, you can wrote memorize all you want, but unless you can teach, how do you really know you know? You know?

With Jarkko, a high-ranking Scholaro and knowledgeable teacher, leaving the country forever in a month, I can only imagine that, should I learn enough, I will be able to teach more and become an important element to practice. At least, I am hoping to fill that role.

At the end of the recapp, which was mostly dagger plays and some sword poste, we played a game. One person would try, at a walk, to get a prize at the other end of the room. The only problem with getting to this prize, were the three other people with (wooden) daggers waiting to "kill you." Oh, and did I mention these people were slow moving, bloodthirsty zombies? Getting to the prize meant disarming, through means of one of the Dagga Plays, 3 people at once, more than once, and learning a real word defensive skill.

Every new student of the sword should get to be a zombie at least once.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Student

Last Thursday night was one of the most difficult lessons so far in the training.

Having not learned forms and fighting since I was in my 4th grade karate class, learning the movements, and medieval Italian names for these movements, proved to be almost as painful as watching the Patriots choke in the playoffs (which also happened recently.)

My Instruttore, Charles Deily, a Math teacher by trade, was patient enough when giving instruction to myself and to Matt, the other student-swordsman (and only other person there).

"Go over the 12 poste, the 3 volte, and 6 elephant plays (slow motion sword sparring). I'll be over here working with Jarkko on Italian master moves because I'm awesome like that (it's true)."

I tried to remember in my head all that I had learned in my extensive 3 weeks of training (that's 3 lessons as we meet once a week), and translate what I thought it looked like to my oh so coordinated frame.

It was...interesting. As I went through the different poste (positions or poses) with the sword, I looked to Matt for encouragement, and honestly, for answers.

Sometimes you just feel like if you stare at your partner/classmate long enough, when you have little to no idea what you are doing, the answer will just come to you. It helped a little but more often than not it was:

"Charles, we need the 3rd poste low, 2nd poste middle..." and so on...

We eventually got the gist of them.


  • Tutta Porta di ferro (Full Iron Gate)

  • Coda Longa (Long Tail)

  • Dente di Zenghiaro (Boar's Tooth)

  • Porta di Ferro Mezzana (Half Iron Gate)


  • Posta Breve (Short Stance)

  • Posta Longa (Long Stance)

  • Posta Bicorno (Two Horns)

  • Posta Frontale (Front Guard)


  • Poste Di Donna (Lady's Pose)

  • Finestre (Window with Wrists Crossed)

  • Donna Soprana (High Lady's Guard)

  • Posta di Donna Sinestra (High Left Lady's Guard)

Then we practiced the volte (turns). These are the ways in which to turn very quickly to fight multiple enemies with the long sword. These were known to me:

  • Tuta Volte (full turn)

  • Mezza Volte (half turn)

  • Volte Stabile (swift power shift)

After that, we practiced the compass drills. These are a series of movements where you face all of the cardinal points (North, South, East, and West) using fancy sword-guy footwork. Then, in very Kevin Bacon fashion, you use more spinning foot movements to face the intermediate directions (Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, Southeast).

At this point, my head was so crammed with movements and poste that I didn't even notice when we lined up for Elephant plays....

Each practice is 2.5 hours long. In that time, you get to hold a sword (righteous) and cram as much medieval Italian formations into your brain as possible. It is exciting, it is difficult, and it is worth it.

Once you learn all 296 plays, movements, poste, ect, you will be a Maestro and a bad ass with a broom handle. I look forward to the challenge.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"F*ck Yeah!"

That was me last Thursday night.

I had just blocked a wooden great sword, a baseball bat on steroids, being swung at my head as fast as it could go. It struck the cross piece of my wooden practice sword and its momentum died quicker than Carrot Top at the Apollo.

We separated from combat and the very first thing out of my mouth was: F*UCK YEAH! I couldn't help it. It felt amazing. What a rush! I think I was born for this kind of combat.

I have joined the Schola St. George, the sword school from my previous post. Last week was my third week at the SSG Boston and so far it is amazing. Please rest assured, it is not LARP'ing.

Many of you have expressed some concern that I am running around dressed as an elf, or some such thing, throwing fake lightning at people. I am not. Good for them if that's what they're into, but not me.

I feel like there has been some disconnect between myself, my blog, and the people (though few) who read it on the regular. I want it to be more personal. I want people to come on the journey with me while I try to learn a sword art from the 14th century. That is why I have enrolled. I can research and write all I want, but without actually DOING it, I could never call myself "an authority."

So, I am putting my body on the line, cash into someone else's wallet, and my thoughts to the ether of the web, so you all can know and appreciate the effort, time, and dedication it takes to really apply yourself to something, learn a skill, and become a more evolved (and hopefully better) individual.

And because you were so good and read all the way to the end, I present: