Author: Chris Slee

"The Use of Weapons", René François (1621)

The entry on fencing in René François' 1621 encyclopedia is a rich source of terminology and practices common in the fencing salles of this period in which France was developing its own native fencing style as well as trying to rid itself of foreign cultural influences. René François was the pseudonym of Etienne Binet, who held the position of Predicateur du roi [King's Preacher] to Louis XIII. He published several other books, mainly works of hagiography and religious philosophy. His encyclopedia, Essay on Nature's Marvels and the Most Noble Inventions,1 had considerable success as the raw material of conversation in a world where the currency of elite...

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Adolphe Corthey: A French 19th Century HEMA Pioneer

In the introduction to The Sword and the Centuries (1901),1 Alfred Hutton mentions a curious incident. His fencing group in the London Rifle Brigade were invited to Belgium to put on a display of historical fencing. What can we discover about this Belgian event? What follows is an overview some literary detective work that reveals Adolphe Corthey, a man in every way Hutton's equal and the powerhouse behind late nineteenth century HEMA in France. Hutton names the event in Belgium "L'Escrime à travers les Âges" (Fencing through the Ages) and states that it was presented by the Cercle d'Escrime...

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What is HEMA?

If you would like to learn more about HEMA, then please read about Historical European Martial Arts on Wikipedia.

Global HEMA Census

In an attempt to build a stronger case for the HEMA community when speaking to manufacturers of protective gear and sparring swords, media, and other Martial Arts disciplines, I have initiated a survey to calculate the numbers of Hema practitioners all over the world.

The current results can be found here: The Great Big Global Hema Census

If your club has no numbers attached to it, or if your club isn't even listed, then please don't hesitate to contact me.