Hi Jason and Brian (and anyone else interested in PHM's Sickle)
I have been working (somewhat independently) on Mair's Sickle material, but I also frequently share notes and collaborate with the guys at MEMAG.
I noticed that one of the videos that Jason linked in his original post was mine, but was attributed to MEMAG. I don't know if they have published any independent videos showing PHM's Sickle, but I would like to submit a link to a video that I produced in partnership with Chuck Wyatt from MEMAG that I think is a better example of how to read the first page.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-cgClKJbGg#t=2m06s
It includes some Peasant Staff plays and then the first page of Mair's Sickle. The link above has been time stamped to begin at the Sickle material.
I was working with a strange translation of the Latin text at the time and only recently had a chance to get a German translation of the first page. Because of the seeming discrepancy between texts I decided to show two 'versions' of the same page, one German and one Latin. Since getting my hands on Noorderwind's awesome Latin translation I have realized that the original translation I was using was goofy at parts, particularly the 4th (last) play. There is some room for interpretation in how to follow Mair's directions (particularly concerning how you grab your opponent's arms and wrists; do you intercept with an up turned or down turned hand? Also, do you hook the opponent's leg from the inside or outside?) At this point I would say that I am still considering different ways to approach the hand interceptions and leg hook, but I am very confident that the last play is performed according to what I had labeled the 'German Version' in the video posted above.
In regards to making trainers, I think that plywood Sickle shapes are a good place to start. That is what the trainers seen in both videos are made from. I cut out two identical sickle shapes (handle included) with a scroll saw. I made the 'blade' thicker than a real Sickle to give it some strength. I gorilla glued some pieces of blue camp foam around the wooden handle area to make it comfortable and then wrapped the whole thing in black tape. I'm not sure how much benefit the tape provided around the wooden 'blade' but I was hoping to reduce any possible splinters or cracking.
I do own a Seymour Grasshook, like the one linked in the OP. It seems to be VERY close to the original wheat sickles depicted in Mair, serrated and ambidextrous, but I think it is a little smaller than the ones we see in the manual. I have also considered grinding down the sharp point and teeth to create a training tool, but even then it might not be safe enough.
So anyhow, I was curious to learn more about your Sickle Study Group. Is it only reserved to those involved in Kron? I would love to participate and swap notes. How can I get involved?