Forteza Fitness

Events

Victorian Martial Arts: Bartitsu Relaunches May 25th!!!!

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The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes is BACK! 

Bartitsu and the old Bartitsu Club were key components as we were designing the Forteza studio. Designed as a way to introduce other martial artists to the unique “fusion” and “combat improvisation” of Barton-Wright, the one major request we had from students was a more structured way to introduce new comers to the fundamental boxing, kicking, throwing and stick-fighting skills upon which Bartitsu is based.

We listened, and after a year of fine-tuning, Bartitsu returns to Forteza on May 25th with a five hour workshop taught by renowned Victorian martial arts historian and Bartitsu Club of Chicago founder, Tony Wolf. A highly experienced martial arts instructor, Tony has taught Bartitsu intensives in England, Ireland, Italy, Australia, Canada and throughout the USA. Tony also edited the two volumes of the Bartitsu Compendium (2005 and 2008) and co-produced/directed the feature documentary Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes (2010).

New “Introduction to Bartitsu” Course

But the relaunch does not end with the workshop.  Tony will be ably assisted by Forteza instructors Nathan Wisniewksi and Treyson Ptak, who will then be taking the lead with our newly designed Introduction to Bartitsu course. Beginning June 5th, 6-week class is designed to instill basic striking, kicking, cane-fighting, grappling and safety skills. Perfect for those new to martial arts as well as those who are not familiar with the particular art which comprise Bartitsu, this course is high-energy, skills-focused and designed to lay a foundation that students will bring to on-going training in the Bartitsu Club of Chicago. The club meets twice a month for advanced training and “combat integration” – the unique blending of its component arts that makes Bartitsu an unique fighting art in its own right.

A Whole New World of Victorian Martial Arts

But Bartitsu is just one aspect of Forteza’s new Victorian Martial Arts program, which includes a wide-range of antagonistics, the study of fencing, boxing, wrestling and stick-fighting  typically combined with physical culture (calisthenics, gymnastics and weight-training) that was popular in Britain and America in the late 19th century. Forteza’s Antagonistics courses include:

  • Sabre and Bayonet Fencing;
  • Stick Fighting;
  • Bowie Knife and Tomahawk combat (most distinctly American weapons);
  • Physical Culture; a truly “old school” workout regimen of calisthenics, Indian clubs, and more!

As we have done previously with our wildly popular Bowie and ‘hawk seminars, Antagonistics will be taught in a series of workshops and short courses, allowing students with limited time and busy schedules to get chance to sample the breadth of 19th century martial culture.

How Can YOU Get Involved?

Whether you’ve trained us before or are brand new to any martial arts, there are many ways to jump in to the relaunch of our Victorian Martial Arts program, and the sooner you get involved, the more affordable it is!

Bartitsu Seminar Date, Sunday May 25th from 12-5pm
$60, $75 at the door

Introduction to Bartitsu Course, Starts on Thursday June 5th from 7-9pm:
Length – 6 weeks
Cost – $125, discounted to $100 for seminar attendees!

Pre-register for both the seminar and introduction for $150, a $50 savings!

Continuing Classes: Bartitsu Club of Chicago Starts on Friday July 11th from 7-8pm:

Classes are on the second and fourth Friday of each month

Cost: $50/month and includes on-going access to the Introduction class, providing 10 hours of training a month!
Antagonistics Courses
One day workshops and short courses are held throughout the year and registered for separately.
As you can see, if you are called to by the rough-and-tumble and gentleman duelist side of the Victorian-era calls to you, there are multiple ways to get involved and start training today!
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Event Review: Combatives Training with Lee Morrisson

Dan Vigil gets a "love tap" from a Millwall Brick, courtesy of Lee Morrison

Dan Vigil gets a “love tap” from a Millwall Brick, courtesy of Lee Morrison.

This past February, Dan Vigil hosted a three day combatives seminar with UK instructor Lee Morrison. Originally scheduled for last year, the seminar had to be rescheduled due to a training injury Lee received. Seeing in person how hard the man trains, this isn’t too surprising!

I missed the first day of training, but Lee did his best to catch us up. The seminar began with going over the proper mindset needed for successful self defense, or what Lee calls combative psychology. A lot of self-defense instructors teach their students to not become victims; Lee pushes that much further, and instead teaches how to become a worse predator than the one you will potentially face on the street. A lot of emphasis was put on proper mindset in three distinct stages: pre-conflict, during the actual fight, and perhaps most importantly, post conflict. Lee makes it his mission to help develop your inner predator, with an understanding that it doesn’t have to hang on your shoulders like a burden. Instead, it is something you tap into when you need it, and leave it locked away when you don’t.

The structure of the seminar was interesting. There was a lot of downtime between actual physical training sessions, because Lee’s emphasis was on mindset, which required a lot of prepping us for the next training session, and some after action review post training. Lee’s approach was very module based; we would focus on a specific set of skills, recap, and then move on to more training. While there was a lot of classroom learning, when we were on the floor, it was all out, high intensity, and high impact training.

Instead of waiting for trouble to come to you, Lee is all about preempting. As he put it: you hit f@#$ing hard, and even more importantly, hit first. We worked a lot of pad drills, both against a single target, and multiple opponents. The holder would give the trainee feedback. If your hit was judged hard enough to do significant damage, the holder would fade back and allow you to engage the next target. If your strike was full of weak sauce, then the holder would keep the target in play, and you would have to blitz in with multiple strikes before turning your attention to the next target.

Other modules includemultiple opponent tactics, counter grappling/mma, and improvised weapons. Not much in the way of actual technique was covered. Instead, you used your preexisting skill set, and Lee focused his energy on getting the proper attitude and mindset, and working on developing power to all of your strikes. Lee talked a lot about how the guy on the street is going to be hitting you with hurt and anger, and you have to do the same to him. Emotional content, as Lee (both Morrison and Bruce) says.

A few of the drills we did felt as close to a real fight as I’ve felt in a long time. This is where the training got really interesting, as one of the best takeaways from the Lee Morrison seminar was just how hard you can train, and still be ok. Having shorter training segments allowed us to really amp up the intensity, and and then be able to recover as we transitioned to the next topic..

The last thing that really stood out about Lee was how athletic and explosive he was, and how necessary such attributes were if you are going to train in his blend of combatives. In the UK, all weapons have been outlawed, which of course criminals could care less about. When you don’t have guns or knives to rely on for protection, your empty hand skills need to be at the highest level. Lee trains as hard as a professional fighter; spending hours every week hitting pads, and dedicating himself to a rigorous strength and conditioning routine. The athlete in me really appreciated this, and because of my day job, I am able to dedicate a lot of time to training. However, for those with far less free time to train, I honestly don’t think it would be possible to emulate Lee directly.However, between his combat psychology, and the intensity of his training, any student of self protection will get a lot out of training with Lee. Even if you don’t have the physical attributes to fight like him, you’ll still get a lot out of it. Plus, it might inspire you to make a bit more time to train.

I would suggest that if you ever get to train with Lee, you bring your own training partner. That way, you can train as hard or as light as you want. Also, Lee really was one hell of a nice guy. I was able to go out to dinner with him and some of the group on Saturday night, and he was super cool, which makes training and hanging out with him that much more enjoyable.

Lee's a great guy to spend time -- with was probably a good thing for all of us, cause he can seriously deliver the goods!

Lee’s a great guy to spend time — with was probably a good thing for all of us, cause he can seriously deliver the goods!-Keith

 

 

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Martial Blade Concepts/Sobadiwan Eskrima Progressive Skills Seminar May 3-4th

MBC_Full_Logo6Internationally-known and respected personal defense and protection expert Michael Janich returns to Chicago for a special, two-day workshop!

PROGRAM
In this two-day seminar, Michael Janich will present intermediate and advanced instruction in the skills of his MBC system, focusing on the latest refinements of MBC’s standard-grip methods. It will also include rarely-seen instruction in the MBC approach to traditional weapon skills, including single stick, double stick, sword/machete, and espada ydaga (sword and dagger) tactics.

Keith and Trey SumbradaDay One: MBC Practical Knife Defense
Day 1 of this course will provide step-by-step instruction the “state of the art” of the MBC system. It will review the critical skills of using a knife as a practical defensive weapon and maximize the efficiency of those skills by focusing on the details of structure, timing, body position, angles, footwork, and leverage. Day 1 will also fine tune the students’ execution of MBC’s reflex training drills and show how drills can be combined into strategic training sets to isolate, refine, and challenge specific reflex patterns.

Day Two: Practical Use of Traditional Weapons 
In day 2 of the seminar, Janich will share his perspective on traditional Filipino weapon skills, applying MBC’s proven analytical process to classical Filipino martial arts technique to extract practical, combat-worthy skills and tactics. This session will address the use of sticks, swords/machetes, and sword-and-dagger tactics, as well as other aspects of Janich’s Sobadiwan Eskrima system.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
02-reinforced-grip-copyMichael Janich has been studying and teaching self-defense and the martial arts for more than 35 years. He has earned instructor’s credentials in American Self-Protection (ASP – an eclectic art that includes elements of judo, aikido, boxing, fencing and French Savate), the Filipino art of Serrada Eskrima, and Joseph Simonet’s Silat Concepts and is a member of the elite International Close-Combat Instructors’ Association. He has also trained extensively in wing chun gung fu, tae kwon do, wu ying tao, Thai boxing, arnis de mano and military combatives. Janich is also one of the foremost modern authorities on handgun point shooting and is one of the few contemporary instructors to have been personally trained by the late close-combat legend Colonel Rex Applegate.

Janich served nine years in the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, including a three-year tour at the National Security Agency. fter completing his military service, Janich was recruited by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and served as an Intelligence Officer for that agency’s Stony Beach Program in Hong Kong and the Philippines. He also served as an Investigation Team Leader for the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC) and Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) and has led numerous investigations into remote areas of Vietnam and Laos in search of information regarding American prisoners of war and missing in action (POW/MIA).

Author of six books, co-author of seven more, he has also been featured in more than 20 instructional videos on defensive edged-weapon use, use of the Filipino balisong knife, the use of throwing weapons and exotic weapons, stick fighting, and combat shooting. Currently, he serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for the Spyderco knife company of Golden, Colorado. With Spyderco’s support, he continues to offer state-of-the-art tactical training as co-host of The Best Defense on Outdoor Channel.

REGISTRATION
Early Bird Registration (before April 1st) $150

Pre-Registration (after April 1st, before May 3rd) $175

Day of Registration $200

For more information or to register, please contact:

Forteza Fitness and Martial Arts
4437 N. Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
773.271.3988

 info@fortezafitness.com

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Urban Survival Seminar at Forteza Fitness!

Johnny Tsai founder/director of the renowned C.U.M.A. Survival School will be teaching a one day course at Forteza on urban survival.

What is “urban survival”? Ask yourself this short list of questions:

  • What would you do if the power grid in your state went out for several weeks?
  • Are you prepared to deal with the aftermath of a hurricane or earth quake situation?
  • Do you have enough supplies and equipment to be able to survive for several weeks?
  • How would you deal with a home invasion?
  • Do you know how to evacuate your area in the case of civil unrest?

These are just some basic questions you need to have an answer for!

On our 1-day Urban Survival Training Courses, we will give you the knowledge needed to make the best of things in a disaster situation. We will teach you how to plan and prepare to deal with the problems you will face.

This class is designed to prepare you and your family to survive an urban disaster, either natural or man made. Hands-on instruction focuses on both short-term situations ranging from 24 to 72 hours as well as long-term survival resulting from a grid-down situation or pandemic. This class location contain both indoor and outdoor activities and involves lecture, small-group activities, and individual planning exercises. It is designed to take you from drafting a family or personal emergency plan to what implementation should look like and the critical survival gear needed along the way

Topics covered:

  • Survival psychology and the mindset of successful survivors
  • When to stay put in your home and when to bail out
  • Home food and water storage recommendations and the 5 key areas of home preparation
  • Pre-disaster planning and establishing rendezvous points with family members
  • Local, regional, and statewide evacuation strategies
  • How to construct a personal Bail-Out Bag (BOB) for the home, office, and vehicle
  • Water purification methods~ Off-grid medical issues
  • Urban survivor’s first-aid kit
  • Sanitation & hygiene issues
  • Traps and tools for feeding yourself when the grocery shelves empty
  • Communication methods and tips for getting in touch with separated family members
  • Equipping your vehicle for roadside survival

Subjects covered on our Urban Survival Training Courses in ILLINOIS include:

  • Disaster planning
  • Emergency equipment
  • Emergency food and water
  • Fire lighting
  • First aid
  • Communications
  • Security and CUMA COMBATIVES
  • Movement
  • Basic escape and evasion

If you have a survival gear bag/bug out bag, please bring it with you.  Instructor Johnny Tsai will go over your gear and give you feed back.

Date: April 6th, 11 am

Cost: The fee for our 1 Day course is $150 per person at door / $120 with paid advanced registration.

To preregister, please email us at info@fortezafitness.com

Space is limited so act now!

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New Forteza Combatives Six Week Course: Reverse Grip Knife/Improvised Weapons/Core Empty Hand Striking

Empty Hand Tactics- basic strikes, developing knock out power, “hitting first, and hardest”, and dealing with multiple opponents. Reverse Grip Tactics- the MBC approach to reverse grip knife.  

We will explore the differences in body mechanics and tactics compared to forward grip, as well as how reverse grip knife directly relates to non-lethal impact self defense tools. 

Improvised Weapons- a straightforward approach to using flashlights, pens, and various improvised impact weapons as defensive tools.

Tuesday nights at 7pm, and Weds nights at 6:30pm.
Course runs from February 18th, through March 20th.
Cost is $125, or a drop in rate of $20 per class.
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February Workshop! A Solid Foundation: Medieval Wrestling from three sources

In this day-long class we will explore medieval German wrestling techniques (known as Ringen) from three different medieval and renaissance sources.  First, we will learn to move into and escape from various grips.  As the day continues, we will move from the grip to the throw, seeing a variety of types of actions with the feet and hands, including locks, trips, sweeps and breaks.  We will learn counters to these throws, and learn how and when to apply them.  Towards the end of the day, we’ll continue the fight to the ground and perform some common holds and pins seen in the German corpus of techniques.  The seminar will present techniques from the 15th century wrestling master Ott, the early 16th century master Auerswald and finally from the anonymous writer of the ringen found in the Glasgow Fechtbuch.  After this seminar, the student should have an understanding of the principles of Ringen, and how to continue the study both in the German traditions as well as other unrelated wrestling traditions.
Required Gear:  A jacket either purpose-made for wrestling, such as a wrestling jacket, a judo gi or a bjj gi.  If unavailable, any strong denim or linen jacket can work in a pinch.
Cost: $50 for members, $60 for non-members. Register today!
About the Instructor:

Jessica Finley has been a student of the sword for over twelve years. Her interest began in stage combat, but quickly branched out to German Medieval Swordsmanship. She had been a student of Christian Tobler’s since 2002, and currently is the principal instructor of Great Plains Fechtschule, a chapter of Selohaar Fechtschule, within which she hold a rank of Free Scholar. She also has experience in Judo, and achieved the rank of Nikyu under the tutledge Arden Cowherd of Topeka Judo Club.

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Joint Lock Seminar Review (“Junkyard Aikido”)

Our wrists were sore, but we were happy!

Our wrists were sore, but we were happy!

On October 27th we had Eric Mayes, owner of Rocky Mountain Self Defense, out for a one day seminar on joint locking.  Eric is a black belt in Combat Hapkido, as well as a fully certified instructor of Martial Blade Concepts, so his approach was a good combination of martial arts fundamentals, as well as a more pragmatic, combative approach.

Jesse gets taken for a ride!

Jesse gets taken for a ride!

Eric began emphasizing that applying joint locks is not necessarily going to be your primary goal in a self defense situation.  Rather they are a tool, and are often times either accidental or incidental to your achieving your goal, which is to get out of harms’ way.  Eric they went over where people usually fail with their locking techniques, and broke down how you actually put a joint into position where you can actually either damage or lock out the joint.  Outside wrist lock, center lock, a “Z” lock, and an escort/come-along wrist lock were all taught in fine detail.  Eric then showed how to link all of these locks together in a flow by taking advantage of knowing how you partner would realistically try and escape the lock.
We finished the day’s training with how to counter each lock, as well as applying joint locks in a combative situation off of punches and blocks.  By the end of the seminar, all of the students in attendance were able to apply various joint locks from different positions, flow from lock to lock, and successfully escape even the most painful of joint locks.  Special thanks to Eric Mayes for making the trip all the way out to Chicago to share his expertise with us!
You can catch a bit of the excitement in this video clip, where Eric demonstrates a wristlock flow drill:

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Junkyard Aikido and Joint-Lock Flow Seminar

October 27th
11am-5:30pm
Cost is only $70 for non-members, $60 for members

Junkyard Aikido cuts through the myth and misinformation to make joint locking skills accessible to any martial artist or self-defense practitioner. In this 6 hour seminar, Instructor Eric Mayes will teach step-by-step how to successfully apply joint locks in a combative setting, as well as flow drill to help link each action.

Instead of throws and submissions, the applications of Junkyard Aikido focus on breaking joints and creating opportunities for disabling strikes that will decisively end a fight. It also teaches you locks as the basis for weapon strips and disarms, giving you a decisive advantage over an armed attacker.

Instructor Bio for Eric Mayes:

Owner of Rocky Mountain Self-defense

Grand County SWAT Defensive Tactics Instructor

Martial Blade Concepts:

  • Certified Full Instructor in Martial Blade Concepts, Counter Blade Concepts, and the subsystems of Damithurt Silat , Sobadiwana Escrima
International Combat Hapkido Federation:

  • Rocky Mountain Region Director of Training and Operations
  • Rocky Mountain Region Director of Weapons and Ground Survival
  • 5th Degree Black Belt in Combat Hapkido

Hoch Hochheim’s Scientific Fighting Congress:

  • Certified Close Quarter Combatives Advanced Instructor
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Western Martial Arts Workshop After-Action Review

Forteza Co-Owner and Chicago Swordplay Guild founder, Gregory Mele has just posted an after-action review of the 2013 Western Martial Arts Workshop. Begun in 1999, WMAW is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, international event of its kind!

As a bonus, here is some footage of the CSG’s own Rob Rutherfoord in a rapier exhibition bout with the Virginia Academy of Fencing’s Bill Grandy:

And a high-intensity, Bowie Knife duel between Forteza’s Keith Jennings and Thayne Alexander:

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Tomahawk and Long Knife Seminar Review and Training Footage

Meredith Lyons has posted a review of our recent Tomahawk and Long Knife seminar. This was the second part of our American Heritage Fighting Arts series, following on last month’s Bowie Knife Wokrshop. Next up: single-stick, both a training tool for the military saber, and a form of self-defense and fencing sport in its own right, and one of the martial arts of choice of the original Rough Rider himself, Teddy Roosevelt.

More on that soon, but for now, here is some video of both the recent ‘hawk and knife seminar, and some bowie knife fencing from the end of our first workshop:

‘Hawk and Knife

Bowie Basics

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152103117427846&set=vb.505617845&type=3&theater

And you can find more Bowie sparring clips at the recent after action event review.

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