Summer Round-Up

autumn-foresWe’ve reached that magical time in the year again.

The days have been shortening, but they’re about to get a great deal shorter. 22nd September is the Autumn Equinox, ushering in cooler breezes and much darker days.

Looking back, we’ve had a fantastic Summer here in the Forest of Dean. Despite a few rainy days, for the most part we’ve been able to run our sessions with little or no issues (minus that small run-in with a few interested kids!) and once more all our students have made some great progress.

The Summer is a time for capitalising on the longer hours and cracking sticks until dusk, and that’s just what all of you have been doing. The hard work and practice has been paying off and, as teachers, it’s incredibly satisfying to see so much improvement in your techniques.

Kevan, Rachel and I have been keeping a close eye on every single one of you and, after a brief team talk, we’ve come up with a shortlist of award nominees. Of course, we like to make sure that all our students’ progress – no matter how big or small – is properly recognised.

The awards are reserved for those who have exhibited the skills of a total warrior. Those who have shown themselves to be devious in battle, fierce in resilience and even in temper will be awarded with one of our hand-crafted trophies.

short-sword-fightersThis year we’re going to be upgrading our Awards night and joining forces with our border-allies, The Cotswold Warriors. The lads from over the way have been training in Broad and Short Swords for the last 3 years.

After meeting Jason at a competition earlier in the year, we’ve kept in touch, and are proud to be holding our celebration nights in tandem this October.

My quarter-staff student, Barbara, has been kind enough to offer the huge space she has in her barn, so we’ll be feasting like our forefathers and drinking like them too, hopefully!

Before we move onto our Winter plans, I thought I’d mention out little trip to the Highlands, during the peak of Summer. The midges may have been out in full force, but that didn’t stop 20 of us making the journey up North to stay in the lovely Cottages that we had rented for the weekend.

highlands-swordsAfter some one-on-one training sessions, our broadsword fighters made some big improvements and Jason pulled off some particularly clever moves, deposing our reigning Champion Kevan to claim The Prize.

A wonderfully deft feint put our valiant Sword instructor off balance, and gave Jason the upper hand in this thrilling closing bout of the weekend. Congratulations go to both participants.

Now, with our eyes firmly set on the future, we can look forward to the next three-day event which will be taking place on our home turf, The Forest of Dean.

Rachel will be putting the skills her Assassin’s have been learning over the Summer to the test with a weekend long stake out missions. Two teams of light-footed cutthroats will be scouring the forest for four groups of targets (comprised of our Quarter Staff and Sword students), all of whom will be on the look out for would-be attackers.

larpersAll of the targets will be given enough food and drink to keep them going, and medieval camping gear will be provided to those who need it. As ever the rules of costume and camouflage will apply for the whole weekend: no electronics and no modern clothing or equipment!

For the time being, don’t mourn the loss of Summer too much, let’s make the most of the evening hours we’ve got left.

Jeremy Whiting-Huntsley has been running training sessions and seminars from the Forest of Dean for the last decade. He enjoys Quarter-Staff training the best, but has been known to pose as Short Sword wielding Merc on certain weekends away…


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