The start of June saw our biggest Bladeworks ever, with sixty fencers and instructors from around Ireland and the UK descending upon Bangor for a weekend of fencing and socializing. As last year’s venue was unavailable, we shifted Bladeworks 2019 to EliteArchery NI’s range just outside Bangor. The old garden centre complex gave us more space than last year that was a bit better in terms of separation of areas.
As arrivals on Friday were spread throughout the evening, we decided to keep things social – some conversation, some drinks, and some gaming – and give people time to get set up and settled in. We may revisit this next year and offer a workshop an some sparring games on the Friday evening to get everyone moving into the spirit of the event.
Saturday morning kicked off with two workshops, Martin Fabian’s full day of longsword, and Paul Reck’s dussack. Space was a little tighter than we expected, but the weather was lovely outside, so dussack became an outdoors workshop rather than our contingency plan of disrupting the social area. The longsword workshop got off to a (almost literally) flying start, with Martin’s warm-up being… strenuous 😊 The remainder of the longsword content drilled down into the successful use of core techniques, approaching the matter from several different angles to give a well-rounded understanding of the tactics and applications.
Following the dussack came Fiore’s dagger, excellently taught by Tom Gorman of The Exiles Galway, and as expected included much stabbing and some lovely locks. This was followed by a lovely workshop on Naval Cutlass by Eanna Watters of the 1595 Club Ireland (who had a wonderfully pirate-y flag marking their portion of the camping area). Alongside all of this our own instructor, Ross, supervised test cutting throughout the weekend. It was excellent to see so many from a diverse range of clubs trying some test cutting, some for the first time.
Saturday evening inevitably led to more socializing, involving yet more board games, and more drinks. Bladeworks 2019 was supplied with a copy of the Highlander Board Game by River Horse Games, and since both Matthew and Ross owned their own copies, it seemed a fitting game for a weekend of fencing. Lulled by the sofas and comfortable seating of Elite’s social area, the conversation about games, fencing, and general nonsense continued into the small hours.
Sunday morning saw b