Forteza generally tries to focus on historical martial arts and the teachings are kept as historically accurate as possible using training manuals from the original era, etc. Unfortunately, but rather obviously, no training manuals exist for tomahawk fighting, so the techniques have been developed from writings and firsthand accounts. Jennings begins the seminar by handing around four different types of tomahawks to the participants so that each can get the feel of where the weight lies in an actual tomahawk, whether the design is historical or modern.
The students consisted of a mix of experienced martial artists and beginners. Some had attended classes or a seminar at Forteza before and for some it was their first time. Ricardo Montalvo, a first time student, appreciated the hands on instruction, "Everyone at the Forteza team was very knowledgeable and were there to answer all my questions that came up. I always have tons of questions." Victor Bayona is an experienced martial artist and fight choreographer who has taken several seminars at Forteza. "The students and instructors are all warm and welcoming and genuine. In my time there, I have come to feel like part of their extended family and every opportunity to train with them is a joy," Bayona stated.
Jennings first went through the angles of attack with the tomahawk alone, making sure students understood where the weight would be and what their targets where and the reason for the angles of each strike. After having the students practice with their training tomahawks, the long knife was systematically introduced. After working alone with various strikes, the students eventually partnered up. Partners changes were encouraged frequently so that experienced students worked with those less confident and were able to lead them through techniques if necessary as well as opportunities to work with each other and experiment.
"The seminar certainly did not disappoint," said Bayona, who was not only curious to learn about a new weapon, but possibly get inspired for future creative fight choreography. "The tomahawk is an exciting and versatile weapon that I have come to develop a real fondness for. And I gained a lot of material that I hope to have the opportunity to work into future choreography, whether it is for a tomahawk per se or another implement that can play in a similar manner."
"I would do another seminar there just because of the experience I had this last time," said newcomer Montalvo, who was introduced to the idea through a friend who trains at Forteza. "I would also be interested in training there if I lived closer to the city."
Bayona often takes seminars at Forteza because they offer something a little different than traditional martial arts seminars, "Perhaps the most notable difference is the subject matter. Forteza hosts numerous seminars on a wide variety of Western weapons-based combat. From the Medieval and Renaissance weapons arts of Europe that complement Forteza's unique curricula, to modern urban knife and improvised weapon self-protection systems, Forteza offers unique seminars that are not easily or often found elsewhere."
To learn about upcoming seminars or programs at Forteza, check out their website or give them a call at 773-271-3988.