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Evolution of the Blade

Western Knife Arts from Medieval to Modern

June 21-23, 2002 - London, England

The Evolution of the Blade seminar was an amazing time! The class was very enthusiastic and willing to jump right in to everything, so we covered a lot of ground in 3 days - Medieval dagger, Bowie knife, grappling with blades, fighting when pinned to the wall or the floor, unarmed against the knife, surprise attack in a group, quickdraws and counters, Comtech Drawpoint method, group wrestling drills and combative games, 19th century physical culture, breathing, and conditioning exercises to mention just some of the highlights!

To all the people and groups who made this event such a success, Thank You! Because of your enthusiasm, it already looks like we'll be doing another seminar in London next year! Stay tuned for details as they develop...

Enjoy the pictures from the seminar (and these from ancient places) and Richard Lancashire's write up on the weekend!

All the best,

Pete Kautz

Seminar Report by Richard Lancashire from FORMA UK

Hi all - Just got back from a three-day knifework seminar with Pete Kautz of Alliance Martial Arts. Right forearm battered to hell, strange muscles aching and brain still trying to assimilate three days' intensive material. I'll say it up front - the teaching was fantastic, more than worth every penny and second invested. Pete's enthusiasm for his subject, his research and his instructing ability shone through the whole course; it's pretty infectious, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. There were twenty of us martial artists in all, knife experience ranging from some tai chi students with none at all to some with considerable fencing and sword work; representatives of Chinese, Japanese, Pacific, Russian and Western European arts - a very friendly bunch.

The first day covered medieval close-quarter combat; from translated German training manuals, we know that Europeans had a pretty developed technical skill in knifework, with disarms and principals as detailed and formalized as many of the Pacific arts. The culture obviously makes a big difference, though, so some familiar techniques were presented in a new way or with new variations. The next day covered Bowie knife styles, principally fencing techniques brought from Europe and adapted to the shorter blade; the final day was modern knife combatives, including the practicalities of carrying, drawing and applying force legally.

Interspersed with the instruction were drills of all shapes and sizes that gradually built up the realism and intensity, history lessons and footnotes from the various sources to add a little 'flavour' to the techniques, and fun warm-up games and patterns that everyone will be taking home and adding to their club repertoires, to liven up the Boring Bit at the Start.

It was a great seminar; I'd recommend Pete (and Alliance in general) to anyone interested in learning or developing their knifework at whatever level. Pete's got a lot of experience in several arts (such as Filipino knife and western wrestling), so he can relate the details in a way that is understandable to people in a wide range of backgrounds.

Thanks to John Gardiner of the Zhong Ding association for organizing it.

The material is informative, the skill development is progressive and logical and above all, the stuff you learn will practically benefit your training and fighting skills. It's all really good stuff, as judged by someone who flatters himself that he knows the difference! If you get the chance, I'd urge you to go and see him - or organize a seminar yourselves.


Rich Lancashire

Federation of Russian Martial Arts U.K.


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