Born 1956 in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan to a military family. Moved around a lot. Took Judo, and boxing when growing up in a small town just outside Winnipeg. The Northern Cree in Winnipeg are a very spiritual warrior culture. Managed to hold my ground with them. The only real entertainment was getting into “rumbles” as we called them back then. They were not well organized, but people were seldom hurt badly. Good fun though. Came to Ontario, and discovered that “rumbles” were foreign to the Ontario culture. There was “street fighting” though (such as it was), and that was enough to keep my edge. Discovered wrestling. First, Intercollegiate where I started to get a name for myself, then its value in street fighting became very obvious when I discovered that you could “win” without actually beating each other to a pulp. I joined the military in 1979, and discovered the usefulness of a gym for the first time.
But not the last time. Resistance training is a lifelong useful tool. The exposure to hundreds of different philosophies and several styles of martial arts was an eye opener but of course the big one was the shooting arts.I became good shot, eventually coming second in the Maritime mixed firearms competition in ’97. Coming in second is not too shabby since I was going up against all police and military in three provinces! Shooting was never a goal in and of itself, I have never enjoyed hunting, my guns are tools to be used only at need. I ran a couple of shooting ranges during my time in the military, and I am over the novelty of it. Around about 79 or 80, I discovered a group of geeky sword fighters. Hey, I was a nerd, and a fighter, what was this sword stuff all about? Turns out the Society for Creative Anachronism doesn’t actually fight with real swords. But the clubs they use to simulate sword work hit just fine…you need armour if you expect to hold your own! So I built that unknown thing…the armour making shop! It still exists today. They were the first and largest bunch I was ever associated with who tried to re-create a medieval experience. Perhaps only a watered down, Victorian, unlikely experience without the smell and the rats, but whatever.I have tremendous fondness for the SCA still, though I really wanted to progess to real steel swords, and they don’t allow it. I have retained the “philosophy” however. The flip side of any martial art is the “philosophy”, its what makes it an art IMHO. Provides structure. You don’t really learn any new techniques after you earn a black belt…its now all about how and when to use it, and how to put it together. The SCA is no different…they taught me that experiencing the fight was more important than the win.
The fight is like a toboggan ride down hill…nobody wins or loses, it is the ride which counts! Like the wrestling I learned back in high school, the loser is not injured, the winner knows he won “that” day but next day may differ. Both won the experience. Back then, remember, there were not so many sword fighting schools as there are now. In fact, there was one. Mine. And one member. Me. Self teaching is really not the best way to learn a techniques driven art, but the first part, choosing the path, anybody can do. And should do. A nerdy guy like me can and does read books, and there are books written in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance which will take you through the art. It is almost impossible to learn techniques that way, but you can do a lot! Get into armour, try out one or two of the techniques. Find a few extra people with like minded interests. See if their reading and “take” on it is the same. Try it out, and adjust the styles, footwork and technique. Spar. If it works, keep it. If it doesn’t work, put it aside and try to decipher it later. This approach works really well if you don’t have an instructor, and the result will not be the same as the guy over in the next city who is trying to do the same thing. So the next step is to find somebody who actually has done some of that stuff.
There are people who still fight with swords. Cossacks in the Ukraine. Some Japanese will never let go of the sword. Considering that people really have not changed, the tools have not changed much. So I hunted down Gong Fu seifus, Kenjustu Senseis, and eventually I found Jean Vallaincort. He taught me how to meditate, and how to integrate the elements together. The “South Tower System” will forever more have a dynamic Kenjutsu component to it. Interesting from MY point of view….a art which started with watching Cree shove snooker balls into one another’s mouths and has progressed to beautiful broadsword play in shining armour…
its all the same…
FEDUN, William Edward (Bill)
Died October 8, 2014
Swordfighter, medieval armourer, airman, mentor and teacher. Died as he lived life, faithful and steadfast to all that is best in the chivalric ideal, worshipped God, defended his country, protected the weak, encouraged the faltering and honoured his wife, Brenda. (Brewer). Peacefully at Elisabeth Bruyere, on Oct. 8th, 2014 aged 58 after a short but determined battle with cancer. Son of the late Andrew Fedun and Joyce Lundeen. Brother of David, brother in law of Bill Brewer of B.C. Bill was an RCAF veteran, teacher of chivalrous swordhandling at Algonquin College and Plant Recreation Centre, co-founder of the Armoured Company of the Sword. He was self-taught in the art of medieval armour and generously gave of his skill and knowledge to many others. He believed in and lived by the virtues of Chivalry: Honour, Courtesy, Loyalty, Generosity, Prowess, Wisdom and Noblesse Oblige. Thanks to the staff at Elisabeth Bruyere and the Ottawa Cancer Centre at the General Campus and particularly Drs. Jonker and Sud and social worker, Krisann Dennis. If desired memorial donations made to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation would be appreciated.