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Seminar Report:
International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Convention
Lansing MI, August 6-8, 2004
Hosted by Art of Combat

Mike Sastre and Ralph practice a flow drill in the Drawpoint class

Now in its 5th year, the ISMAC event in Lansing, Michigan was again a great time, with classes on all manner of swordplay and Western martial arts related topics. From bata and bareknuckle boxing to singletick and side-sword, there were classes for every taste and style. Plus many of the instructors taught longer intensive classes and offered private lessons, so there was as much learning to be had as one could absorb!

I taught a special
Comtech Drawpoint Level I: Reverse-Grip Defensive Knifecraft Three-Hour Masters Class at this Event, as well as a second nighttime two-hour class on Drawpoint Level II concepts that was well attended. We covered a lot of ground in the practical application of these defensive knife skills with an eye towards legality and the appropriate use of force, including the unarmed application of the Drawpoint method.

Knife grappling is a reality! Here Missy and I tie up out of the flow

Additionally, I ran a half-hour morning warm-up and workout both Saturday and Sunday, introducing folks to the joys of anaerobic conditioning (as opposed to the aerobic conditioning people are used to) at an early hour. A series of high intensity intervals of combative skills and calisthenics showed everyone how in under 10 minutes you can get a workout that will kick your behind! Plus we had some fun with unusual stretching, mass fighting, and breathing exercises.

Using the enemy as a human shield!

I was really excited to meet for the first time some excellent instructors like Guy Windsor and Steve Huff as well as to get some more time chatting and swapping tips with folks I’ve known for years. It is always a sad thing that we only get to have a few days together at a shot, but on the other hand at least we get that much!

Hanging with Mike Sastre of River City Sheaths
Knives are both new and old versions of James Keating's excellent Chinook design!

Thank you to all the students for your hard work and determination in learning. People were clearly focused and learning a lot in all the classes. Because everyone was there for the same reason we were able to go so much farther in our study than is sometimes possible, and do things that should seem “impossible” in the time allotted (such as having everyone in the class doing a .5 second draw and strike out of movement in the Drawpoint class after only 2 hours of hands on work).

Some of the knife sparring scenario combat survivors from the Chicago Swordplay Guild
The two on the left are part of the sheep dog pack...

A special howl from the Swamp to the four sheep-dogs who took care of business on the street Saturday night when the universe gave you all that “test”. While locals walked by, you strangers rendered aid to those in need and prevented two assaults in the process (maybe more) and should be commended for your professional handling of the situation.

Also a raise of the paw to the fellows who hung tough in the impromptu knife kill shot sparring / scenario combats we did outside on Saturday. You really took it to each other and have the marks to prove it, as well as the guts and skill. Always remember, “preserve your life first”. Incense for next year? We will see...

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