Although the majority of the philosophy sessions here have been good, it is refreshing to get out of academia, especially when the people can be somewhat insulated. Perhaps more on that in another post. Looking through the program I found a couple of sessions devoted to Western martial arts, and was able to attend the second one.
So, New Scot, you might enjoy this. The instructor, Mr. Bob Charron, was well-versed with medieval history and culture, which I found surprising, relating the manuals to writings of Cicero and Aristotle! Many of the (better?) martial arts manuals were attempts at a "scientific" exposition, with strict terminology and an elaboration of fundamental principles.
He also mentioned the fact that there were the medievals were keen on memorization techniques. It would be nice to learn some of those, though it may be too late for me. We are too dependent upon the written word.
Mr. Charron gave some demonstrations with a longer, two-handed sword. I would like to get his opinion on 16th and 17th century developments on the art of fencing. We talked a little about unarmed combat, and he mentioned the fact that Fiore dei Liberi (the subject of the talk) advised people to learn wrestling before striking, and speculated that this was to make people comfortable with closing in on the other person instead of fostering a bad habit of trying to avoid all contact. Interesting stuff.
Oh, by the way, there were 2 or 3 guys in the room with ponytails, including Mr. Charron.