Author: Anders Linnard

Fencing and Modernity

What is a Fencer? Part II The sword is one of the most powerful symbols of our culture. But how does the sword and fencing fit into our modern world? And what defines modernity? Today, we take a deeper look at what it means to be a fencer. We dive into the soul of men to get a glimpse of the ancient battle between good and evil. Let there be light!    His education had been neither scientific nor classical – merely “Modern.” The severities both of abstraction and of high human tradition had passed him by: and he...

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Choreographing HEMA for film

A director who was filming a documentary about a historical battle on a ship recently approached me. So, this is an attempt to share experiences so that we can learn and develop our methods. I know that there are quite a few people within the HEMA community working with film at the moment. The reason is of course that HEMA is becoming more well known, and also that we have something to offer since we train actual fighting from history, have an abundance of highly skilled people. My preparations for the documentary were brief. I got the call about...

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Creativity, stress, and a stiff upper lip

Why is creativity important in fencing, and how come it shuts down when we are stressed? And what has that got to do with making sure you have waxed your moustache before facing mortal danger on the battlefield? Creativity is what we call the ability to create something new. Some time ago I watched a lecture by Dr. Örjan de Manzano(1). Dr. Manzano’s research shows that highly creative people who do well on divergent tests have a lower density of dopamine D2 receptors in the thalamus compared with less creative people. This means that they don’t filter as much information...

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GHFS’ guide for instructors now available in English

It is with great pleasure that I am able to present How we train – a guide for instructors in English. This is our primary study material for instructors on how to teach in our club, and I hope that people outside of Sweden will find it useful. This text came about as a result of my own need to write down my thoughts on training methodology, and I then realised that there was much that I didn’t know. So I started to do some research, and adding things to my own ideas. Writing How we train was very much a learning experience. I hope that I will continue to learn from the community, from my students and fellow instructors, so that I get the pleasure of updating and revising this text many times over in the future. I also hope that all of you interested in this subject will join me in a conversation on how we teach and train HEMA. If you have input, criticism or just want to share ideas, please don’t hesitate to write to me. There are a few people that I have to mention for their outstanding work. Axel Pettersson translated the English version, and I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to him for taking the time to do it. I would not have been able to do it myself, and just as...

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What is a fencer?

I know I am not the only one who feels fencing is more than training, research, techniques, sparring, and competitions. Being a fencer means something—but what, exactly? Some of the best people I know are fencers, and their personalities are a part of their fencing. Their greatness as humans carries over to their fencing and vice versa. I have witnessed students and teachers grow and better themselves as a result of their commitment to these arts. I certainly feel that I have made a positive personal journey over the last decade. Much of it can be attributed to this art. I do not mean ‘good’ here as in someone who altruistically makes the world a better place, but rather, ‘good’ as in personal growth. That distinction is counter-intuitive for the modern man because the ideal historical swordsman is a far more violent creature than what is acceptable today. He would use his sword to defend even minor infractions on his honour, which seems rather excessive by today’s standards. Likewise, practising HEMA raises a few eyebrows once people understand the level of contact that we allow. “Why on earth would anyone want to do that?“ But there is no way around it. Fencing is anachronistic. Regardless of the fact that having a propensity for lethal violence or training for it is considered bad in today’s civilian world, I still think...

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Review: Albion – The Regent

Thoughts: The Regent belongs to a category of longswords that can be presumed to have its origin in the mid 15th century Germany. The pommel is a development of the fishtail type, the blade is hollow ground and thus has no fuller. What hits you when you at first see the Regent, is quite likely the beautiful lines. The hollow ground blade that curves to an aggressive point, the characteristic pommel type and the unusual grip combines into a particularly pleasing overall impression. The looks in particular has also made many reevaluate the hollow ground swords, and the Regent...

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Review: Lutel 15019

Thoughts: Lutel 15019 is a typical sword created for modern training or steel sword sparring. The blade is simple and the edge is designed to take a beating and is therefore thick, and the sword’s characteristics are good, considering the price and the fact that it is a blunt weapon. There are a few problems though, the first being that the sword has a strong resonance and that the vibrations are considerable. The second is that such a heavy sword, that isn’t completely balanced, is straining in wrists and arms, to beginners in particular, whom likely are the target...

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