I hope the other moderators will indulge me in answering the issues that concern the CSG’s origins.

Firstly, George, “ARMA” isn’t controversial in the community – it’s founder and director – John Clements, is. There are a number of earnest “ARMAteers” – Jake Norwood, Bart Wolczak, Tim Sheetz, David Lindholm, Jay Vail, Brian Hunt, Matt Anderson, etc., who do good work and serious research. While it is no secret that there is zero love-lost between John and I, I would prefer not to lump them in with personal problems that some of us may have with the ARMA director.

Originally posted by Caleb Hallgren
Why are you automatically assuming that it's speculation? I find it ironic that you are speculating that I am speculating.

Feel free to PM me if you don't believe me. [/B]
Secondly – ARMA and the CSG. To begin with, Caleb, I don’t know what you were told by ARMA, but I know that *I* never told you that you couldn’t train with us if you were a paid ARMA member. We’ve never met. You attended *one* class at our fledgling Kenosha study group, led by Jesse Kulla, and my understanding from those present and from a PM from you was that you wanted to talk about how to work in German material and other material outside the Guild’s set curriculum – which is in the Italian tradition and pre-set for all new students. That was not to your liking, so you didn’t return. No harm, no foul.

While I am well aware that John Clements has portrayed the CSG as a spin-off organization to ARMA members, this is patently untrue. For others, perhaps some of the confusion is that the old CSG webpage on Angelfire said that we used a training system similar to the HACA method of combining drills with wooden and steel weapons, with test-cutting and free-sparring. (I’m sure a Google cache search might find that.) By that definition, so do most modern knife-fighters, such as Hoch Hocheim’s “Scientific Fighting Congress”, Pete Kautz and Dwight McLemore – gentlemen that I have trained with, and whose methods and organizations really did impact our methodologies in the Guild. We never claimed to be a HACA group in any form.

Mark Rector and I – the Guild’s founders, met via the old HACA forum – that was the extent of HACA/ARMA/John’s role in our founding. This was in fall of ’98. Mark had been working with rapier and smallsword material for the previous few years, and I had been working with a number of sources, but principally Silver, di Grassi, Talhoffer and the PD dei Liberi, since ’93, four years before I ever met John Clements, which was via an email I sent him following the publication of Renaissance Swordsmanship. John and I were correspondents for several years, as were others, such as Chris Amberger, Steve Hand, Steve Hick, Terry Brown, etc., and like them, I provided John with several essays and manuscripts which he put on the HACA webpage. (The latter not only done without either acknowledgment or my permission, but after I specifically told him that we did not have permission from the holding museums to do so.)

The Guild began regular meetings in Jan of ’99. We had John out for a longsword seminar in June or July of that year, and John asked us if we wanted to be an official HACA group. While we enjoyed the workshop, and John is a talented athlete, we declined for four reasons: 1) we were interested in filial relations between groups, not creating a federation, 2) at this point, we were already moving towards a single tradition approach, and this did not jive with training methodology, 3) two of our founders – Aaron Popowitch and Bill Wahlgren – had had serious problems with John’s control and safety during his free-fencing demo at the seminar, 4) while in town John had wanted to hook up with a local chapter of the “Medieval Battling Club” – a boffer/LARP group he had created in the 80s. When I contacted them, not only did they not want to meet him, but they told me some things about one of the member’s prior interactions with John (I believe in Nevada). (People can debate our assessment, but those were our opinions, and led to our decision. Regardless, we remained in friendly, filial contact.)

In September of that year, HACA-Houston hosted a weekend training event, which Bill Wahlgren and I were invited to attend for free, to both promote interaction between our groups and to sit down with Mark Bertrand and John to work on SSI. This was a month before the first WMAW, and the idea was that we would attend Houston and John would come to Chicago, again, to help develop the nascent community. Bill and I stayed with Christian and Natasha Darce’ and attended one day of that seminar. Before I left, John informed me that he would not be coming to WMAW, because he didn’t want “people stealing my material”. I never trained with John again, and I only saw him in person two other times – at SSI in May 2000, and the Livermore Swordplay Symposium in May of 2001.

Hopefully this clears matters up. No offense, Caleb, but before you spread rumors about events that occurred years before you were training in HES, make sure that your facts are straight. you weren't there - indeed, you were about 12 or 13 years old Certainly, rather than posting authoritatively as to what you *know*, you could have asked me, which you have never done. So any information you have either comes from other third parties or from John. And while you are not obliged to take my word over John’s, making this a public issue on the forums without ever having heard the CSG’s version of events is something of kangaroo court, don’t you think?