This is a project I’m excited about and one in which I have had the honor to play a small part (I assisted Mike in a few seminars and have functioned as a moving pell from time to time as he’s worked on the material )
It’s not every day that a “new” branch of historical fencing comes to light, but Mike’s research into Georgian Parikaoba and Lashkroba is just that. Outside of Georgia, where the last three masters died only in the 1990s and where the art is still practiced here and there, few people have heard of this tradition. Even into the late 1990s here in the States most fencers interested in the historical side of things had very little to go on, mostly Richard Halliburton’s flawed early 20th cen. “ethnographic” account of the “Lost Crusaders” and a few more critical examinations of his work (Amberger’s Secrets of the Sword covered it briefly).
In addition to translating Elashvili’s Soviet era work on the “sport” side of the tradition, Parikaoba, Mike has been in touch with practitioners trained by the last masters, demonstration teams (Khridoli), sword smiths, scholars, and others in Georgia and beyond in order to share this addictively fun tradition with everyone.
It is a folk system, one generally passed down person to person, in the rugged highland regions of the Republic of Georgia. There is much to mine here as well apart from the joy of sword and buckler fighting–fans of Insular and especially Highland broadsword will find parallels in Lashkroba; students of I 33, of Andre Liegniczer, Marozzo, and other sword and buckler systems can add this tradition to their comparative studies; and students of dagger, polearms, grappling, and improvised weapons like the various combat-rings worn on the thumb will be enriched as well.
This web link, as Mike explains, is the book he has been working on for over a decade. Since his research is ongoing anything published traditionally now might be out of date or incorrect six months later, so this is one way to get the material he has promised into the world and make it updateable. NOTE: Mike is still uploading his work to the site.
Please check it out!