Forteza Fitness

From the Blog

Knight Camp! — Kids Experience History, Culture and Honor in a New Way!

 

Welcome to the only authentic knight school for youth (ages 8 – 14) in the USA where knightly martial arts and chivalric virtues are taught in an engaging and safe environment by trained instructors.

More than just another martial arts class, our summer camp follows the same guiding principle as our popular Youth Swordplay Program: developing life skills and ethical, self-confident young men and women, through the traditional, chivalric virtues of the medieval knight. Classes interweave physical training with teamwork exercises, lessons on medieval and Renaissance military history, heraldry and arms and armour to hone students’ minds as surely as their bodies.

Camps take place at our beautiful 5,000 square foot facility in Chicago’s Ravenswood art district. We are within one block of the Brown Line and Montrose Ave exit for the Metra.

Program

Our unique, two-week camp combines physical fitness training and swordplay and authentic medieval games, lessons on heraldry, arms and armour and castle life. Underlying all of those activities is a daily lesson on the knightly Code of Chivalry and how the virtues it espouses — Prowess, Courage, Humility, Courtesy, Largesse (Generosity), Mercy and Temperance (Balance) — are relevant to living life today!

9:30 – 10 AM Chivalry

An introduction of one of the seven chivalric virtues and how the students can apply them in their lives today.

10 – 10:30 AM Warm-Ups

A unique physical fitness warm-up, taught through games played by medieval children centuries ago!

10:30 – Noon: Knightly Arts, Part I

Students learn a variety of the martial skills that the knights of old had to know: Wrestling, swordplay, and quarterstaff.

Noon – 12:30: Lunch

12:30 – 1:30: The Lesson

A daily topic on one aspect medieval life, accompanied with show and tell or some sort of hands-on project.

1:30 – 3:00 PM: Knightly Arts Part II

A second martial arts lesson, building on the first, combined with controlled sparring (using padded weapons and protective equipment).

3:00 – 3:30 PM: Chivalric Circle

Students review the day’s lesson, explain what they learned and nominate one of their number for who best exemplified that day’s virtue.

Tournament-at-Arms

The last day of camp ends with a Tournament-at-Arms, where students will show off their skills in a special event that combines all they have learned: martial arts, heraldic display, good sportsmanship chivalric behavior, and will choose a First-Amongst-Equals as the victor of the day. Of course, parents, friends, and family are welcome to attend the Tournament!The last day of camp ends with a Tournament-at-Arms, where students will show off their skills in a special event that combines all they have learned: martial arts, heraldic display, good sportsmanship chivalric behavior, and will choose a First-Amongst-Equals as the victor of the day. Of course, parents, friends, and family are welcome to attend the Tournament!

Before & After Care

To make things easier for parents, we offer before and after care services starting at 8:30am each morning and from 3:30 to 5:00pm each day. Kids are welcome to work on activities provided during the camp, play games we have on site, or bring their own activities from home. Although time is largely self-directed, there is full adult supervision, and we’ll make sure that after each day of camp, there is much to keep their minds occupied as there is their bodies!

Special Needs & Medical Concerns?
If your child has any allergies or other special medical concerns, please let us know before the camp starts so that we can ensure a special experience for all campers and parents.

Registration

We are pleased to present what we believe to be Chicagoland’s most unique and holistic youth summer martial arts program. Please contact us with any questions or better yet, sign your son or daughter up today!

Summer 2017 Dates
Session One: June 26 – 30
Session Two: July 10 – 14

No previous classes or training is necessary. Students need only register for the week in which they want to participate. Registration by phone and in-person also available.

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Old Fashioned Cocktail Party, with a Side of….Murder! (March 11)

 

Get out your be duds, Guys and Dolls, because we’re having and Old Fashioned Cocktail Party.

Saturday March 11th, at 8:00 PM

Forteza Fitness

4437 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago IL 60640

 Dance the night away to our fancy digital band, conducted by D.J. Neil C.

 Hors d’oeuvres and giggle water abound, with special cocktails designed by Brandon P.

If you hear a scream, remember to keep your cool. Willing party guests can help sleuth out who done-it in a dramatic Murder Mystery that will have you chatting the night away.

 Upstairs in the Lounge, we’ll be taking mug shots of suspects and guests, to document the evening.

 Also in the lounge, we’ll be honored with a reading from Christian Cameron’s new book, by the author himself. This is a respectable affair, after all.

Look, Mack, all yo have to do is pull out your wing tips and pony up $10 to get in.  It’ll be a night to remember.

See you there!

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Chicago Self Defense: Helping the Vulnerable Stand Against Bigotry and Intolerance

Forteza is pleased and honored to be home of a new, ongoing workshop: Chicago Self-Defense

Chicago Self Defense is a group of people coming together to strengthen each other against hatred, bigotry and violence. Our main focus is to provide self defense lessons and deescalation tactics to vulnerable populations, regardless of race, gender identity or religious beliefs.

Self-protection, particularly for those who never considered martial training as a way of life, requires developing a combination skill-set that includes awareness, self-assurance, self-determination and knowing the law as much as physical capabilities. These individual workshop sessions will feature a combination of life-long martial arts practitioners from all walks of life, trained psychologists and counselors and legal professionals.

Chicago Self Defense exists outside of our normal martial arts and self-defense programs and is offered as community service. All workshops are completely free to the public, although a donation to an appropriate charity, such as the ACLU is encouraged.

Organizational Meeting and Basic Self-Defense Skills Class: 11/26

CSD will have its first gathering on Saturday, November 26th from 3:30 – 5:30. This first gathering will cover basic self-defense principles and skills for the untrained, but will also be laying groundwork for on-going classes and lectures.

Class space for this first class is limited to 30 attendees, so we request that you register. (Your information will not be shared, you will only be sent mailing about events if you ask to be, and there is no charge.)

For further questions please email Kyle Bice.

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Eat, Drink and Be Scary at Our Phantasmagoric Halloween Evening this October 29th!

 

Calling all Ghosts, Ghouls, Goblins and Children of the Night!

The Mists of Mischievous Merriment are gathering….

Let them sweep you away

for an Evening of COSTUMED

and FIENDISH delights!

 

Schedule of Terrors

Eight of the Clock

The Doors of the Crypt Open — let the Danse Macabre Begin!

Terrifyingly-tasty Treats ~ Mmm…brains!

Cocktails ~ Slake Your Unholy Thirsts!

Fortune-Telling ~ Learn Your Fate

Door Prizes ~ Treat…or Trick????

and

a Phantasmagoric DJ ~ Shamble and Slither on our Dance Floor!

Ten of the Clock
The Menagerie of the Mad

Costume Contest — Categories and prizes to be announced.

 

Midnight, the Witching Hour
Crowning the Lords and Ladies of Darkness

Our Contest winners are chosen!

 

One of the Clock

The Crypt Closes Once Moor

 

Claim your place on the guest list by October 9th for the otherworldly price of $35 

After 10/9, guest reservations are $45

Tickets at the door are $55

Reserve Here …. if you dare!

(No really, reserve!)

 

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New Workshop! Hugging the Lion, Slicing the Griffon: Italian Martial Arts from Medieval to Modern (February 20 – 21st)

“Cum li braci vegno acusi ben distese per guadagnar in ogni modo le prese…” “With the arms extended I come to you to gain the grappling in any possible way..” – Fiore De Liberi, Flos Duellatorum, XV century

Forteza Fitness & Marital Arts and the Chicago Swordplay Guild welcome Dr. Marco Quarta of Nova Scrimia for a weekend long immersion in the unarmed combat  taught in Italian fencing and gymnastic academies from the late Middle Ages until the early XX century!

Italian Martial Arts can be divided into Zoghi di Concordia – Games of Concord, or combat sports, and Zoghi d’Ira – Games of Fury or Games of Rage, real combat. Based on ruthless efficiency, Abracar developed from the need of surviving in battlefields, as well as quickly defending in dark streets where people could attack armed with daggers at any time. Compared to its combat-sport counter parts Lotta (wrestling), Pugilato (boxing) or Pancrazio, (also called), Abracar shares the use of strategies and techniques (Zoghi), speed (Celeritas and Presteza) and strength (Fortituto). However it is characterized by less elegant and sophisticated actions, focusing instead on quickly escaping, injuring and ending a fight.

This combative approach didn’t disappear at the end of the Middle Ages, but was maintained across the centuries – the XIX century schools of mani libere (“hands”) maintain the same principles, and also focused mostly on self-defense (like in the case of Master Luigi Carmine or Alberto Cougnet schools). Today, similar methods are preserved within south of Italy schools, such as “calci & schiaffi” (kicks & slaps).

Part One: From Abrazare to Mani Liberi – Grappling and Hidden Weapons
In this workshops we will cover basic and advanced strategies for the transition from gioco largo to gioco stretto (long to short measure). We will also focus on the flow of grappling toward striking and back to grappling, including:

  • trovar di braccia (finding and binding the arms).
  • aprire e chiudere i cancelli (opening and closing the gates), to change measure during actions aimed to finalize an opponent. We will see:
  • Prese avantacade e Ligadure (trapping and blocking the opponent’s arms and legs);
  • Rotture (breaking joints and weaker bones of the body);
  • Percussioni (striking with hands, arms, elbows, legs and heads);
  • Lesioni (injuring with pressure and clinching on soft parts such as eyes, genitals, ears, etc.),
  • Gambarole, Capofitti and Stramazzi (different actions aimed to throw and take down the opponent on vital parts, such as the head, in combination with striking).

We will also study the actions in the context of hidden weapons. Indeed, Abracar (and the Italian school in general) is an art of unarmed fighting for armed fighters (ex. daggers, knives, sticks, swords). It is designed not only for unarmed combat, but in particular it is aimed to display fencing geometries designed for opening opportunities to grab your own or the opponent’s weapon, if available. By doing so, at the same time trying to prevent him to arm himself. Similarly, living traditions in Italy maintain the same concept in the use of the knife.

Part Two: Hands Against the Knife!
Fol 12Now that we are armed with a dagger or a knife, the workshop will move into the second part, dedicated to dagger and knife fencing (short range fencing). Translating abracar dynamics into dagger dynamics, we will:

  • Translate abracar dynamics into dagger dynamics – two weapons, one method!
  • Learn to flow from gioco largo to gioco stretto with short blades, in transitions of opening and closing the gates.
  • Study the use of gioco largo to control measure in opposition to gioco stretto aimed to finalize the opponent while neutralizing his weapon.

SEMINAR DETAILS

Date and Time:
Saturday, February 20th (11:30 AM – 5:30 PM)
Sunday, February 21st (11 AM – 5 PM)

Cost: $125.00 prepaid by February 15th, $150 thereafter.

Required Knowledge: None, but experience in unarmed and knife martial arts is helpful

Required Equipment: Comfortable training clothes, long-bladed training dagger, water-bottle, fencing mask. Additional masks and daggers are available at the studio.

Registration is limited to 30 people so register today!

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Butt-kicking Suffragettes, Edwardian Cults and….Forteza….coming at you in Four Digital Colors!

London, 1914: The leaders of the radical women’s rights movement are fugitives from the law. Their last line of defense is the secret society of “Amazons”: women trained in the martial art of bartitsu and sworn to defend their leaders from arrest and assault.

After a series of daring escapes and battles with the police, the stakes rise dramatically when the Amazons are forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse against an aristocratic, utopian cult…
Learn more about this Edwardian adventure, the almost equally strange true story of suffragettes gone wild, and thrill to seeing Forteza as the artistic inspiration for the Bartitsu Club in Amazon’s guest interview with Forteza Gym Museum Curator, Bartitsuka and Victorian/Edwardian Martial Arts historian, Tony Wolf!

http://www.kindlepost.com/2015/01/guest-post-by-tony-wolf-author-of-suffrajitsu-mrs-pankhursts-amazons.html

Suffrajitsu debuts this weekend!

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Forteza 2014 Year in Review and 2015 Teaser: Combatives

The past twelve months of Combatives training at Forteza has been so epic, we almost feel bad for everyone who didn’t get to train with us.  Almost.

In 2014, Forteza played host to literally the who’s who of teachers in the field of Combatives and Reality Based Self Defense training.  We kicked off the year with an in house Bowie knife seminar taught by Forteza instructor Keith Jennings.  Students learned the basics of American big blade fighting, and with many of the students having some training in historical fencing or Martial Blade Concepts, everyone took right to the weapon, and Bowie knife sparring has been seen at the monthly Fight Night ever since.

In the Spring we hosted an Urban Survival course taught by Johnny Tsai.  This informative seminar was one half lecture, helping students with contingency plans and how to assemble a bug out bag in case of a local disaster, and the other half we went out to the woods and learned how to build shelters, how to start a fire with a variety of tools, and even practiced some self defense skills.

In May, Forteza played host to Martial Blade Concepts founder and head instructor Mike Janich for a two-day seminar.  Since Forteza instructor Keith Jennings is one of Mike’s senior instructors, and most of the students in attendance had a solid training base, we were able to really amp up the training and focus on the more advanced aspects of MBC training.  On the first day, Mike presented a state-of-the-art seminar on the MBC forward grip knife curriculum.  Mike tuned up everyone’s basics, and then got everyone rocking out on flow drills, combat applications, and even a bit of knife chess.  The second day was a bit treat for all of the attendees, as Mike showed his seldom taught interpretation of  classical Filipino machete and sword and dagger training.  Mike was able to blend the traditonal aspects of sword and dagger with the logic of the MBC methodology into a brutally effective big blade system.

Forteza was honored to host Lee Morrison for an absolutely epic five days of training in July.  Lee is a UK Combatives instructor who is know for both his soft skills training, helping students cultivate the proper Combtives mindset, as well as the hard stills needed to survive a brutal street altercation.  And when we say hard, we mean hard.  Lee spent two days doing private training with the Forteza staff, focusing on developing explosive power and bone crunching power.  Then the two and a half day seminar pushed everyone to the edge.  Everyone took some hard shots, and gave just as much as they got.  The increase in skill level and overall toughness by the end of the last day was a sight to behold.

Self defense guru Hoch Hochheim taught a two day seminar in October.  Hoch is a legend in the field, and was one of the first instructors in the United States to teach self defense removed from the hangups of traditional martial arts.  Hoch covered a wide variety of material in his two day seminar.  We went over his empty hand striking skills, knife vs knife, and his modern version of traditional Filipino stick fighting.  Perhaps the best part of the seminar was hearing Hoch’s war stories of his police days, as well as the many martial arts personalities he’s met over the years.

Lastly, Forteza was extremely honored end the year hosting Kelly McCann for a two day seminar. Kelly is the most sought after instructor in the field of Combatives, but until recently his training was never available to civilians.  Thankfully, that has now changed.  After Keith trained with Kelly at his Civilian Training Center in Virginia, he had been trying to figure out a way to train with him again ever since.  When Kelly announced we was taking his Kembativs training on the road, Forteza jumped on the chance to be one of the first gyms to host him.  Students were introduced to Kelly’s boxing training, both in the sportive sense and bare knuckle boxing for the street.  We also did some classic Combatives training, doing everything from self offense, to stick and knife, and the dreaded pocket stick.  After a weekend full of bare knuckle boxing, chin rips, and combative throws, the amount of pain induced by the little pocket was almost comical, especially to Kelly.  It was an epic way to end an epic year of training.

COMBATIVES 2015

We are only a week into the new year, and 2015 is already shaping up to be an even better year of Combatives training.  To meet the demand of our students, we are going to be offering more weekend focus classes on specific self defense topics, and launch our invite-only Forteza Combatives Club.  Our first class of the new year is the Martial Blade Concepts Fundaments class.  More details to come.

Also, for our first big Combatives seminar of the year will be hosting Dom Rasso of Dynamis Alliance for a two day seminar.  We will be covering situational self defense, team tactics, car Combatives, and Dom will be showing the unique reverse grip knife tactics he used when he was an active Navy Seal.  To register, please follow this link:

https://www.dynamisalliance.com/gear/situational-combatives-course

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