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cudgel Training

Ice and Fire Stav, USA Seminar 2020

Stav Training with Graham Butcher

Hosted by the Gallowglass Academy in Leaf River, Illinois, USA, 30th and 31st of May 2020. Please see the full programme here

Saturday – Stav Martial Training Principles

Introduction: The main objective of martial arts training and practice is to train the mind. If both the conscious and unconscious mind is properly prepared then the body can be used efficiently. If there is a proper understanding of strategic principles then situations can be engaged with as they actually happen. The untrained mind will deals with what might happen, or what did happen, but often fails to deal with the reality of what is. This seminar will focus on how to train mind and body using the essential principles of martial arts.

Working with principles based martial arts:

In Stav Martial Training there are two main concepts, the Web of Orlog and the Five Principles, or strategies, of Stav. The Web of Orlog suggests that the universe is a web of connections in time and space. All things and all happenings are connected by the lines of the web. We can learn to see these lines. Being effective as human beings means being able to work with the lines in whatever we do. Any martial training is a highly effective way of learning how to see the lines and discovering how to work with them. Stav uses this concept more intentionally than most other systems of training.

Having learned how to interact with the Web of Orlog we can become more effective human beings as we live out our lives. If we practice, or even use, our martial knowledge in accordance with the web we will be more effective than if we lack this awareness. We may learn to understand the Orlog through martial training, or we may be better martial artists because of our understanding of the Orlog. It does not really matter, all understanding of the Orlog is training for life.

The five principles of Stav are five ways of interacting with the web according to your intention. Each intention or strategy provides a different way of dealing with a conflict situation. The five principles can be briefly described as follows:

  • The Trel Principle - The conflict is not really your problem, so how do you extricate yourself from the situation as safely as possible?
  • The Karl Principle - It is your responsibility to maintain the safety and integrity of a geographical area and the people, animals and property within those boundaries. How do you defend this area?
  • The Herse Principle - It is your responsibility to maintain law and order within a particular community or area. What is the most effective way to exercise your authority?
  • The Jarl Principle - The position of judgment and leadership. The Jarl keeps a detached overview of a situation and guides the outcome of a conflict through careful observation and wise decisions.
  • The Konge Principle - The Konge is prepared to sacrifice his own life if the situation demands it. The Konge reserves the right to decide when and if this sacrifice is justified.
  • It is important to know the difference between strategy and tactics. The strategy is an overall intention as described in the five principles. Tactics are simply the methods which are used to fulfill a strategic intention. There is a third factor known as the operational art which is the skill of matching available tactical options to strategic intentions. All martial art techniques are just tactical options. Such options are obviously important, but to be truly effective in resolving conflict situations we must also know strategy and the art of choosing the appropriate tactics.

    What can you learn in a day of training in Principles Based Martial Arts?

    In over twenty five years of training, practicing and teaching Stav as a martial art I have developed various training systems involving both weapons and unarmed skills. Most of these systems need to be learned and practised correctly before the underlying principles become apparent. However, for occasions such as this seminar, I have developed two quite simple training methods which can be shared in a few hours. I say shared rather than taught because I do not mind if you take the drills away and work with them in your own time. It is also fine if you just want to explore the principles you have learned using a training method with which you are more familiar.

    These two training methods are my cudgel training system and, what I call, Five Principles Knife Defence. There are tactical skills to be learned in each set of drills and if you find anything useful to you then please take it and practice it. However, this is not the real point. My intention is to share key principles of martial arts which can be discovered in any training system or method once you know what you are looking for. The key principle is that:

    What you learn from training is much more important than just learning techniques. Monkey see, monkey do, is a starting point for training when you just copy what your instructor shows you. Long term practice brings about an inner transformation of understanding and this is where the real value is.

    The Programme

    In the first part of the day we will train with the cudgel or walking stick. We will work with six strikes and three thrusts. Then we will look at two person drills to see how the stick can be used to defend against a strike, a thrust, an unarmed person and a person armed with deadly weapon such as a knife. Training with the cudgel also prepares you for using a langsax or one handed sword. However, we will go way beyond tactical skills and as we train I will be highlighting the following principles:

  • Seeing and using the lines of the web.
  • AIM, the combination of action, intention and movement.
  • Redundancy, building in protection which you probably will not need but you would be taking a risk without it.
  • Chaos points, the moments in time and space when there is maximum vulnerability to change and manipulation. How to protect yourself at such moments and exploit these opportunities against an opponent.
  • Manipulation of distance as the most effective way of negating an opponent's power and skill.
  • How to work towards genuinely realistic training methods. There is no way of really simulating combat in a training context. This has been a problem for any one teaching martial skills for thousands of years. I do not have a complete solution either but real combat skills can be safely tested in the right context. I would like to share my approach with you.
  • In the second part we will move onto Five Principles Knife Defence. Yes, I know that knife attacks are very difficult to deal with and teaching effective knife defence is is highly problematic. These five drills are for teaching strategic thinking through tactical exercises. Direct engagement with an attacker weilding a knife is best avoided if at all possible. If the right strategy is in place then direct confrontation may be avoided.

    As we explore each principle we will practice a tactical skill which is appropriate to a worst case scenario for each strategy. We will also discuss tactical options which would serve the strategy with far less personal risk. For example, when we come to the Karl principle I will show you a method of preventing an attacker from forcing their way into your doorway with a knife. I will also point out that it would be best to not open the door in the first place. The best tactical response when defending space is lock the door with the attacker on the outside. We will also look at ways of creating easily defensible spaces where a threat can be managed with the minimum of risk. None of this stuff is particularly difficult. You just need to grasp some very simple principles of strategic thinking and have appropriate tactical options available to you.

    If we finish the day and all you have done is realise that you intuitively knew this stuff all along then my efforts will not have been in vain.

    Who is this seminar for? For a student of Stav this will be a solid introduction to the concept of the web and the five principles. If you are an experienced martial artist then you will finish the day with some valuable insights into the principles of martial arts. You can then use this principles to see ways of improving your own training and practice. If you are a relative beginner as far as martial arts are concerned you are still welcome to come. You will learn some effective tactical skills but these will only be useful to you if practiced in the right context.

    Cost and Booking

    Early booking rate for the Saturday Martial Training Only $80 From 1st of March $125. After 15th April $200

    If you have any questions about the seminar or are ready to book your place please message Allen Reed by email, or discuss it on the Facebook event.

    If you are interested in attending both days of the seminar please see here