Friday, November 13, 2015

Modern Medievalist Women of Excellence-Volume Two


Welcome to Volume Two, of  Modern Medievalist Women of Excellence.

As a father of a young woman, I have often struggled to explain the actions of people, or the attitudes that have been perpetuated down through the centuries. Some ideas and actions I have seen as malevolent practices to keep a woman under control, and others as a form of lazy propaganda that has flourished in a nutrient rich soup of misinformation, where such things grow.

It is then my duty and my honor to show her examples of excellence, to help her become the best version of herself that she can be.  What follows is an excerpt of a much larger article.

~The things we know to be true.~
An example of what I am talking about~Everyone knows a sword can cut your head off. So if you swing it at someone in armour, you are going to cut through their armour like tissue paper and they are going to die! Everyone knows that!

So everyone knew that men fought. And women stood alongside and cleaned up the mess afterwards. There were no female warriors nor were women capable of defending themselves. Everyone knows that!

What statistics have shown is that women have always fought. They have always been there, step by step with their male counterparts.

Kameron Hurley in her award winning blog entry-discusses what the world knows and what it thinks it knows and the reality between the two:

I wanted to share with my readers the women of today who are making their own way, cutting the brush and leaving a path for others to follow.

I don't know exactly when you could point to an exact date that things started to change in this modern world of ours. But I think you could safely say January 1st, 2001. It was a new year, a new century, and a new millennium, and with this 'newness' came a change in attitude. Women began to look around and think to themselves "Hey I could do this." And as most people will tell you, thinking you can do something is the first step in actually doing something.

The original post had over thirty women and their profiles featured. It initially started out as a small post about Women Jousters. It quickly morphed, and as one subject put it, "Diversified", to become something much larger than what was originally intended. I have decided to change the post and pick twelve women from around the world and share their stories. I will continue to do this until all 30 + have been profiled.

On an editorial note: The pictures used in this article and subsequent articles have been shared with me by the subjects. There is no advertising on my blog, nor will I make any money from it. This is for educational purposes only. All rights remain with the authors and all watermarks have been kept intact as they were given to me. ( I am using them under the fair use act.)

This post is dedicated to the amazing women who live in what I call the Modern Medieval World. It is also for the fourteen-year old young woman who keeps me inspired.

What follows is an index of female personages I have interacted with as the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Medievalist. The list is far from complete, and if anyone has been left out, it is because of time constraints, schedules, or my own failings.

To the women in this post~Thank you for holding the torch aloft so others might follow.

-DS Baker.

The United States of America:

Stacy Wasson:  NYC, NY.

SCA fighter, Equestrian, Jouster, Living History Interpreter/Docent and School Teacher.
Equestrian enthusiast who has been on horseback for the past 40 years.
"I started riding when I was seven years old, one of my younger brothers had died from childhood leukemia - and friends of the family had thought it would be therapeutic for my parents. My parents in turn gave me the option to begin riding lessons - what little girl wouldn't want to take riding lessons?"

"Being Jeff Wasson's wife, people think he was the one who got me into jousting. It was the other way around. He supported my efforts with Medieval Scenarios and Recreation. The next year he was on a horse. That was almost 14 years ago."

(Jeff Wasson is a well known armorsmith who works for a number of museums, jousters and reenactors around the world.)

I am an equestrian enthusiast who has been on horseback for the past 40 years. I began jousting in 2002. 

Being Jeff Wasson's wife, a lot of people probably think he was the one who brought me into jousting - but it's actually the opposite!

We met in 2000 when we were both doing armoured rattan combat in the SCA. I belonged to another medieval group Medieval Scenarios and Recreation -- they actually owned horses and had what they called their "Horse Project" which was a group of members recreating "the sport of kings" with balsa tipped lances. 

I started jousting and Jeff was totally taken with the endeavor. He did everything he could to help out - and the next year he was up there jousting with me. It's been a family effort ever since. Our daughter Emma has grown up around the joust and at this point she has squired at countless tournaments - many of which have taken us all to other states and even other countries!

(From left to right, XIV Century Blackened Armour; WWII 3rd Army Combat Nurse, XV Century Armour with her own distinctive Coat of Arms.-Armour made by Jeff Wasson.

Armour By Jeff Wasson:

Amanda Michaels: Kingman, Arizona.

SCA fighter, Artisan, Armorsmith and Textile Artisan. 
Business owner, Paramedic

From her Art and Crafts page on Facebook-

"I've been an artist all of my life and when I was younger I did a lot of cartoon, comic book and fantasy art. It wasn't until I got involved in the Society for Creative anachronism that I started studying medieval artwork. I started out doing medieval-ish manuscript illumination pieces for SCA awards, and gradually started studying historical pieces. That eventually led me to a much stronger desire to do things more authentically within my ability"

On her love of sword fighting:
"I first started sword fighting as a kid, with sticks, broom handles or whatever I could get my hands on but not as a martial art until my early 20's when I joined the SCA. I started out fencing and then developed an interest in armored combat and eventually dropped fencing altogether in favor of that. This has been a decade long journey."

Tobi Beck: Indianapolis, Indiana.

Army Major (ret.) Knight SCA, Duchess (SCA)

Tobi Beck is one of the few women knights in the Society of Creative Anachronists. The count is currently at 43 Female Belted Knights in the entire society. Which incidentally is one of the largest standing armies in the world. While I’ve traveled the country growing up, and then in the military, I currently live just outside of Indianapolis IN, USA.

If you don’t count the wrestling with my brother, I started martial arts when I was 14, taking Judo and Jujitsu. When I was 18 I authorized in full contact armored combat, as a birthday present to myself. I’ve been fighting in heavy combat since for over 30 years. In the Army (Military Police-Strategic Force.), it was easy to extend my training time to include hand to hand and Pugil stick practice.

I first got into SCA fighting because it was a full contact sport, there really aren’t many of those to work with out there. 

It appeals to me for a number of reasons, the fun of knowing that my opponent and I are both working hard to hit the other, but neither of us will be seriously hurt. There are skills developed there that can’t be developed anywhere else. 

There is a confidence that is created when you know, really know, that you are not a victim, and can and will defend yourself, and those around you. There is a camaraderie of those that fight, and that is also enjoyable.
The family Motto: "Das Schwert ist Familie "The Sword is Family"


Sascha Buchmann: Newcastle, New South Wales.

Jouster, Horse Trainer/Rehabilitator, Educator.

I began riding in historical reenactment events in New Zealand in 2003, mostly Dark Ages/Viking and 14th Century, and was soon approved to Level 3 (Jousting) by the International Jousting Association (IJA). We moved to Australia, where I trained my own horses for the joust and contributed to over fifty ridden Skill at Arms and Jousting displays and tournaments. I competed and placed in Skill at Arms and Horse Archery competitions overseas riding unfamiliar horses, including at the 600th Anniversary of Grunwald in 2010, as well as in Italy, the Netherlands and more. I was ranked in the Top 10 in Skill at Arms by the International Jousting League (IJL) that year. I organised several seminars on horse archery, and won a Gold medal in the Olympic Bareback Division at the 2012 World Firefighter Games (on foot). Nowadays I am mentoring several novice riders on their horsemanship journey, with a special consideration of rehabilitating rescue horses and bring them along to the best of their abilities.

I encountered 18th Century Cavalry riding at a multi-period event in 2010, and soon established the NSW branch of the local D Troop Hussars. In 2014 I attended the German Cavalry Championships and learnt about equipment standards and disciplines in cavalry reenactment. On return home I bought a green mare and we soon started competing in Horse Trials/Three Day Eventing at Newcomer level. This year I had the chance to ride at the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo. This massive event was held on the actual historical battlefield in Belgium, among 100 cannons, 400 riders and over 8,000 riflemen and had 70,000+ spectators including members of Royalty. This event had been planned for over five years and became one of the biggest Equestrian reenactments the world has ever seen. We are now preparing further events with the Australian Light Horse and their British counterparts.

I had been authorised and competed as a Close Contact Heavy Combatant in the Society for Anachronism (SCA) Barony of Southron Gaard around 2004, and have also been metal fighting in Dark Age groups. With my team I have won the back then only New Zealand-wide Swordfight Competition, and today participate in international events, most recently the 1000th Anniversary of Clontarf in Ireland. I believe weekly practise with period-close weaponry and armour is a necessary foundation for Mounted Melee and Combat, and am regular attending talks and workshops to further my knowledge.

One of the things Buchman feels passionate about is the rescuing of horses, which she often uses and helps in her living history pursuits:

Bronwyn Elliott: Sydney, New South Wales.

Photographer, Business owner, Medical Care, and Mother to the Elliott Mob and Sister to Strays Everywhere-(Including the Author.)

Proud to be a retired member of 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers, and active in their RSO club. Elliot has been taking pictures for the past 15 years. With a special interest in the Medieval Scene in Australia.  Known for her large aperture lense Camera~a Canon 7d (which is a crop sensor, sports body camera) with a 50 to 500 mm lens . She specializes in the medieval events. 

She owns her own Photography Studio Eclectasy:

Elliot is a true original. "I would rather be an original than live the life of a copy."

Sarah Hay:  South West Sydney, New South Wales.

Jouster, TAFE Instructor, Equestrian

I have been riding since before I could walk and have competed all through pony club, hacking, western riding, camp drafting, side-saddle, jumping, sport events, dressage, mounted archery and now jousting.

Started balsa jousting in Australia in 2008, and started jousting internationally in 2010. Having jousted in New Zealand, USA, Canada, Belgium, France, Poland and Denmark. 

Each year I try to do at least 2-3 international jousting trips around the world.
Motto – ‘Courage. Passion. Integrity.’

My number one jousting and mounted archery horse is a ¾ Friesian warmblood – Femke. Trained for jousting and mounted archery by me.

I run Tournament Australis, which is part of a tri-part jousting series called the Southern Cross Jousting Series in NSW, Australia.
Career highlights 
-highest ranking rider on the International Jousting League ranking table.
-Australian champion jouster
-being the first woman ever to win a number of particular jousting tournaments around the world, including a historical joust.

Short Jousting Video of Sarah Hay vs. Stacy Wasson:


Ira Rogozovsky:
 Petah Tiqwa, Hamerkaz, Israel.
Soldier, Archaeological Student. Bohurt Fighter.

Latvian Immigrant, who had to learn Hebrew. Rogozovsky became a Non Commissioned Officer In the Infantry. Later she transitioned to an emergency response team. She is a full time Student of Archaeology and BOTN/IMCF Live Steel Fighter. 

On sword fighting-"I do mostly Bohurt, I like the teamwork it requires, the feeling you are not alone on the battlefield, the trust that is required among team members, the strategy and tactics you have to use... all of this makes Bohurt a wonderful sport in my eyes."

On the biggest surprise of her fighting career thus far, "Halberd blow to the head! It really makes you reevaluate your training methods!"

As as statement to the world, "You have to have the will to fight. With it, you can overcome the training. You can get used to the armour bites and the bruises. It is actually easy if you want it. But if you don't have the desire or the will to push through, then you have no business in the BOTN or Bohurt fighting."

Battle of the Nations 2014 Women's Profights. Skye (Australia) v Ira (Israel):


Caroline Walsh: Galway, Ireland.
Photographer, HEMA Sword Fighting Student. Photographic Asst. Editor Modern Medievalist-(Facebook.)

Interesting fact: Developed a robust fantasy and promotional photography business despite having suffered the loss of vision in one eye.
Got my first camera at 16 out of my first wage packet and lived on nothing for a week to pay for it. I loved to capture moments .....or memories was like a way of keeping them for myself.

Her motto is: "The purpose of life is a life of purpose."

Two nights a week she can be found at the The Irish School of Historical Combat:

Asa Cidh: Uppsala, Sweden.

Historical Reenactor, Equestrian, Jouster, Horse Trainer.

I live in Uppsala, Sweden.

I've been riding all my life. Show jumping, reining, dressage, jousting and lately working equitation. I compete internationally in both jousting and working equitation. I also do lot of liberty dressage shows.

I started jousting cause I wanted something fun and challenging to do with my horse. At first I only did show jousting, but later on I started competing.

I love the adrenaline rush combined with the art of riding. 
I've been riding since I was 6 years old and jousting for 13 years.

I have 3 horses. A knabstrupper (danish breed) named Helge, a lusitano named Algarve and a quarterhorse named Majors Lovely Arwen.

My motto (at least in show jousting) is "oderint dum metuant" (let them hate as long as they fear)


Myriam Guèvremont: Quebec, Canada.
Horse Trainer, Sword Fighter, Jouster, Entertainer, and Business Owner.

Myriam Guèvremont Alias (Gabrielle De foix. stage name.)

I have been horseback riding since I was eight years old. I started sword fighting and training since 1996.

Since 2001 I have been learning and practicing médieval games, skill at arms and jousting, mostly for show or friendly competition. I just started two years ago practicing the art of horseback archery ( I love it).

I have been teaching horseback riding at my equestrian center in Québec since 2005. 

I love horses, costumes, shows, acting, fighting and working with passionate people and a medieval show puts it all together.

Co-Owner/Founder of Les Terres du Rohan:  

A full service place for leisure western riding, classical and medieval / medieval Horse show on request / Tournament medieval-style / medieval Training Camps / Camps equestrian day / Medieval Wedding Package turnkey including a knightly tournament and a carousel ladies. Equestrian Clinic. Archery. LARP games.

Here is the link to the Ekasringa Equestrian Circus Myriam helped to found, which also helped her to develop her artistic and athletic abilities.

Caroline LaBrie: Laurentines, Quebec

Jouster, Equestrian Trainer, Event Coordinator and Mother

Caroline has always been a horse lover. She finally realized her dream and bought her first one in 2003, two years after her debut in the medieval hobby where she already was aspiring to joust. 

In 2005, she reached her goal and began to sharpen her skill in local tournaments. Sometimes exchanging the armor for medieval gowns, Caroline also loves carousels and “Pas de deux”. 

In 2008, she participated in her first international competition in Belgium, the well known IJL tournament “Hackaland” in Seraing. 

She placed in third position in 2012 at « les Médiévales de Lachute » in Québec and In 2013, she accompanied two friends who were competing at the reputed Arundel Tournament in England. Caroline loves to travel and meet other horse and medieval enthusiasts.

Some exciting new challenges lurks ahead, like the second jousting season of her purebred Canadian stallion Skippy , a new jousting armor and the renewed collaboration between her company, Arion and the Duché de Bicolline for the organisation of the second International jousting tournament for 2016 and other equestrian events.
Caroline is the owner of:
Arion Productions: (Google Translation)-
Equestrian entertainment and shows

Founded in 2013, Arion work in the creation and realization of animations and performances inspired equestrian flavor of history, tales and mythology.

The company specializes in the creation, development, support and management of animation and horse show. From the administration needed when starting the project, the design and creation of sets and equipment, coordination of staff at events and large-scale festivals; the range of services offered is varied.

Gravitating since 2001 in the field of medieval horse show, these years of experience are consolidated with a curious and creative mind and a very good knowledge of horses and needs related to them (resources, equipment, infrastructure ... etc).

Always on the lookout for what is done in the middle for historical reenactments, demonstrations and horse shows, Arion Productions aspire to offer you original and high quality services to the public.

Once again I would like to thank all of the participants in this article. Without their willingness to share and allow my blog into their lives, this article would not have been possible.

Look soon for Volume Three coming soon!

DS Baker.

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