Author: Roger Norling

News: Translations of Pietro Monte’s fencing treatise Collectanea finally out!

Some fantastic news. Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng, the man behind some very good translations, including the two Joachim Meyer treatises, has completed his translation of Pietro Montes Collectanea and you can order it now, here: https://boydellandbrewer.com/pietro-monte-s-i-collectanea-i-hb.html   And not only that, Mike Pendergrast and Dr. Ingrid Sperber have made another translation of the same source, and are offering a digital copy for free, although you are also welcome to donate for his future work. They describes Monte in the following words:   “Pietro Monte (1457-1509) is perhaps the most renowned master of arms of the Renaissance era, a warrior...

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News: The Illustrated Ringeck

Renowned English HEMA instructor Tea Kew recently launched a project to explore the teachings in Sigmund Ringeck’s gloss, called the Illustrated Ringeck. The project is described in the following words: “This is a project to produce photographic interpretations of all the plays in Ringeck’s gloss, as an aid to modern practitioners. We’ll be putting up drafts through this Facebook page first, then producing a website edition with higher quality photographs from multiple angles. To keep updated, please like and follow the page. We’re planning to release one hauptstucke a week for the next three months, so there’s plenty of material...

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Announcing: The awardees of the HEMA Scholar Awards 2017

Finally, after a lot of hard work by the jury, and some delays in the organisation, we are extremely happy to present the awardees of the 2017 HEMA Scholar Awards, given for outstanding research published in English in 2016. Want to know who they are? Run off to the web site and have a look! And please share the hell out of this, wide and far! On behalf of the organisation, I would like to thank the jury, the sponsors and everyone who has sent in nominations! http://thehemascholarawards.com OUR SPONSORS: The HEMA Shop PBT Historical Fencing THOKK SPES Sparring...

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On Sale: Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies

Right now, Amazon has the quite well-received book Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies: A Nineteenth-Century Treatise on Boxing, Kicking, Grappling, and Fencing with the Cane and Quarterstaff, by Ben Miller on 50% sale. It was published as recently as in April 2015 and has a close to five star rating.  It is described as follows:  Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies is the treatise of Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery, a master swordsman who participated in more than fifty duels, fought under twelve flags, battled gangsters, and was constantly involved in the great conflicts and upheavals of his time. This book is the magnum...

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Announcement from Danelli Armouries

“Dear Customers, Sadly due to ill health, we need to close the Danelli Armouries forge: Marco needs time to recover from an ongoing illness which has left him unable to work and right now he needs to focus on his physical recovery. I hope that you can understand that to turn away almost two years of pre-planned work orders is heartbreaking for us as it is the work of our heart as much as we hate letting you down. For us the forge has never been about the business, but about delivering the very best blade we can, seeing...

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The Importance of Books

Renowned Scottish HEMA fencer Keith Farrell has now completed is interview series on The Importance of Books in the HEMA Community. He himself comments it with the following words:

“Personally, I think books are immensely important to the community (and in general!), but I was interested to find out more about how other people see the issue. I asked several well-known HEMA practitioners from around the world, including instructors, competitors, people who compete rarely, published authors, and academics.”
Check it out at his site keithfarrell.net

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HEMA projects to support on Patreon

Not only can you support HROARR on Patreon, but also the work of e.g. Roland Warzecha, and the Oakeshott Institute, and thereby gain access to special content and rewards. Rewards for supporting HROARR currently includes HROARR patches and digital and printed HEMA-related artwork. www.patreon.com/Dimicator  www.patreon.com/oakeshott  www.patreon.com/hroarr  ...

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HROARR move complete.

HROARR is now officially on a new and much faster and reliable server. Bit more expensive, but well worth it. And the new hosting account is upgraded with bills paid, so the transfer is now complete. It is such a great relief after two years of awful struggling with the old virtual server, so a heavy weight is off my shoulders. Now back to work on the site, and getting some new articles out there…

Meanwhile, have a look at some of the new content!

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Lecture videos added

In an attempt at boosting both the research and the making of HEMA lecture videos, HROARR from now on will have numerous pages with videos for you to study. You can find them all under the Research section, under Research Videos.

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Articles on HEMA pedagogics

A couple of years ago I felt that there was too little discussion on pedagogics and teaching methodology in HEMA, a feeling I still have even if it is slowly improving, and for this reason I wrote three articles on this particular topic. This material I have also rewritten to some degree for a new book which also has several other chapters added already.

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Training videos added

In an attempt at boosting both the training and the making of HEMA training and exercise videos, HROARR from now on will have numerous pages with videos for you to study. You can find them all under the Training section, under Training Videos.

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Study videos added

In an attempt at boosting both the study and the making of HEMA videos, HROARR from now on will have numerous pages with videos for you to study. You can find them all under the Study section, under Study Videos.

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Training videos from the GFFG

The training we do at the Gothenburg Free Fencers Guild is divided according to different areas of focus, like e.g: footwork, body mechanics, weapon mechanics etc. For this we do not always carry weapons, instead stripping away anything but focus on the particular movement, while also trying to keep things fun. Sometimes other tools are used, to emphasize the effects of the movement, like ropes and balls. Since we hope to inspire others to share their own exercises we have recorded ours, as our beginners practice them, and have uploaded them to this playlist on YouTube. This playlist also...

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4th meeting of IFHEMA in Athens

Delegates of IFHEMA member federations gathered in Athens on 2 December 2017 for the 4th regular session of the General Assembly. Their mission was to represent their national federations, to present the latest updates of HEMA in their countries, to discuss the issues they are dealing with on national and international level and to aid in the dissemination and evolution of Historical European Martial Arts. Sadly, this year Spain decided to leave IFHEMA, but Sweden and its Swedish HEMA Federation instead joined. The host of the event was the Greek IFHEMA member, HFHEMA (Hellenic Federation of Historical European Martial Arts) located...

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Book on cutting with medieval sword released

Long in the works after many years of dedicated work on the topic, renowned US HEMA instructor Mike Edelson has finally released his book on how to cut with medieval swords. The book is described as follows: “For centuries, masters of defense throughout the world jealously guarded their knowledge, sharing it only with their students and patrons. But it was not just their techniques that they wanted to keep hidden–their most closely guarded secret was not what to do with a sword, but how to do it. This book lays bare the principles of the use of the sword...

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PLEASE, PLEASE READ THIS IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT HROARR.

Hi! My name is Roger Norling and I am an instructor and researcher of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), with a particular focus on Renaissance fencing. Many of you already know me as I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to teach this beautiful art around the world, already having taught some 50 workshops at nearly 30 events around the world. BACKGROUND Some seven years ago I started up HROARR.com, a unique web magazine dedicated to the HEMA community. I did this for a variety of reasons. One of them was to help the community gather together and show...

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HROARR Video Challenge

So here is a challenge to you all: Start making series of really good, well-planned instructional videos of the system(s) you study/teach. Preferably the video series should include the following: 1. A brief description of the history and characteristics of the system. 2. Highlighting of the body and weapon mechanics, connected to stances and movement. 3. Footwork. 4. Techniques with references and preferably quotes from text. 5. Tactical considerations and applications. If enough people in the community gets to work on this, then we can build a great video archive that is very useful to beginners and advanced students...

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A tear in our beer for a great master

446 years ago on this day, the 24th of February, 1571, Fencing Master Joachim Meyer died shortly after his arrival at the court of the Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin. One year earlier, on this day, he also signed his preface for his famous fencing treatise Gründtliche Beschreibung der Adeligen und Ritterlichen Kunst des Fechtens which would influence generations to come. We salute Joachim Meyer by dedicating today to the studies of his teachings, training hard and lighting a candle while drinking good Strassburg beer and reading his treatises. Per tradition, we toast in Kronenburg 1664 Blanc, a beer...

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Help us make our vision come true

I posted the other day, asking you all to become patrons of HROARR, to pledge yourselves to paying a few dollars (or just a single dollar) every month to help me make my vision for HROARR come true. Basically, I am humbly asking for the historical fencing community to together employ me. www.patreon.com/hroarr I would like to explain a little more about what I have in mind. But first a little background: Some seven years ago I started up this web site, dedicating it to the HEMA community. I did this for a variety of reasons. One of them was...

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The Awardees of the HEMA Scholar Awards is now official!

Finally, after a lot of hard work by the jury, on the last few days of the year, we are extremely happy to present the awardees of the 2016 HEMA Scholar Awards, given for outstanding research published in English in 2015. Want to know who they are? Run off to the web site of the HEMA Scholar Awards and have a look! And please share the hell out of this, wide and far!   Thank you both the jury, the sponsors and everyone who has sent in...

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Review: Mora Bushcraft Survival Knife

Being Swedish, the town Mora more or less equates to knives and I would even go so far as to claim that “Mora” is pretty much a synonym for the word “knife”, here in Sweden, much like Wellingtons are a synonym for rubber boots in the UK. Say the word, and people will inevitably see a red-handled knife before them. Cheap, reliable, if you respect it, and very sharp, it is an icon ever since the 19th century, deeply embedded into the soul of Swedish culture. And over the last decade or so, the rest of the world has begun...

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Fighting with a monkey ghost on your back

In our studies and practice of HEMA many of us do it to get a bit of a refuge from other things, from worries and concerns, to get away and narrow reality down to a tight focus on just the fun and excitement of fighting. However, for some of us reality tends to still make its presence felt quite clearly, forcing us to act in ways that can easily be misunderstood by our training partners and students. This is made all the more difficult when those issues are something we do not like to, or even can, speak openly...

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Fighting as a communicative skill

Since the elements described and explained up to now are properly just a beginning and primer from which all combat devices with the sword can be learned, it is necessary that before I derive some devices from them, first I should show in what way this shall take place. For if you wish to write a full proper word, you must hold in your mind and memory all the letters, and also know thoroughly what the nature and property of each one is, so that the useful and appropriate letters will fly into the pen one after another in order; so likewise in combat you shall hold and...

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Support Fighters Against Racism

Here is a campaign we support 100% and strongly encourage you to consider supporting as well. So, what is Fighters Against Racism? The Fighters Against Racism movement was started by David Rawlings of the London Longsword Academy to promote and provide a positive environment within the martial arts regardless of gender, immigration status, race, or religion. FAR is a group for martial artists of all kinds who want to take a stand against racism and ensure that anyone can practice our arts and be part of the MA community without fear of discrimination. Wear the FAR logo to show your commitment to diversity and...

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The point of sparring

While sounding like a simple thing to define, sparring can have quite a few and very different goals and purposes that are sometimes hard to keep in sight in the heat of the sparring session. With experience this becomes easier to separate as you get accustomed to the intense situation and learn to handle it, but especially in the beginning it is easy to forget what you are actually doing, or mistaking it for or even wanting, it to be something else. So what are these different goals and purposes of sparring then? Let’s have a look at some of...

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Basic Meyer Quarterstaff Techniques 02: Schnappen & Zucken

This video was recorded by the MFFG at the 4th Meyer Symposium in Iowa, USA, 2016 and is yet another small sidetrack from the series.  It shows two basic techniques with Meyer’s quarterstaff; Schnappen and Zucken. Both these techniques absolutely require that you provoke the opponent into moving his staff to the right, exposing his left side. You can do this with a strike, a push or a thrust. Stepping in aggressively also protects you from a counterthrust, and in the case of Schnappen you are also somewhat covered by your own staff. The techniques need to be performed fast and decisively using the...

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Basic Meyer Quarterstaff Techniques 01: Ruck & Truck

This video was recorded by the MFFG at the 4th Meyer Symposium in Iowa, USA, 2016. It is a small sidetrack from the series and shows two basic techniques with Meyer’s quarterstaff; Ruck and Truck. Ruck requires a soft or medium bind to work and just won’t work with a hard bind. Truck on the other hand works with any bind, and is even better in a medium to hard bind. With Ruck you first extend the back end of your staff to the side and then quickly pull it back while you move forward, making a spiralling movement with your...

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NEWS: UFC’s Conor McGregor picks up HEMA

In a surprising but exciting move on the UFC YT Vlog, Irish UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor just announced that he will expand on his training regime by training HEMA and both longsword and spear in particular, and aiming to join the larger and tougher HEMA tournaments like Swordfish in Sweden this very year. McGregor is already known for using some unorthodox training methods, seeking inspiration from the animal kingdom and how animals move, and working with free-flowing rythmical movement, so perhaps it should not come as a surprise that he is adding one of the hottest “new” martial arts to...

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Basic Meyer Quarterstaff 02: Long & short edge

This second video in the Basic Meyer Quarterstaff series brings up a few topics: First of all the stance and angles of the legs, which has been debated a bit with different arguments concerning whether one really should stand and move in such low stances. My firm opinion is that yes, we should. Other martial arts certainly do it with comfort and I absolutely believe it is essential to get the body mechanics of Meyer’s combat art correct. Second, the mechanics for transitioning from one side to another with strikes has been debated a bit and while I can see...

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Basic Meyer Quarterstaff series

For the last seven years I have dedicated myself to the study of Joachim Meyer’s combat arts, and his quarterstaff in particular. In this I have had some very good friends accompanying me over the years in my club, and also some in other parts of the world. While the handling of lighter weapons like rapier or longsword can be reminiscent of solo dancing, handling heavier weapons like the quarterstaff, halberd or Zweihänder is more like partnered dancing or figure skating, where your weapon is your partner, both moving in perfect synchronicity. The need for proper mechanics and timing is...

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Saluting the master

On this day, the 24th of February, 1571, Fencing Master Joachim Meyer died shortly after his arrival at the court of the Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin. One year earlier, on this day, he also signed his preface for his famous fencing treatise Gründtliche Beschreibung der Adeligen und Ritterlichen Kunst des Fechtens which would influence generations to come. We salute Joachim Meyer by dedicating today to the studies of his teachings, training hard and lighting a candle while drinking good Strassburg beer and reading his treatises. Meyer had shortly after publishing his first, and only printed treatise Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst...

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Please help support HROARR!

Once again I would like to ask for your kind support in financing the server and software costs for the HROARR site. The funds we received from you last time are now running out fast and your help is crucial for the site to continue to exist. Please consider sponsoring the site with a few bucks so we can continue with this amazing experiment in HEMA community work. You can use the form on the site, send funds directly through Paypal or even make a direct bank transfer. Also, please help us by telling your fellow club leaders and...

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The Awardees of the HEMA Scholar Awards 2015

First of all I would like to congratulate all the awardees of this year’s HEMA Scholar Awards! I am personally very happy to see all these great people awarded for their incredible work! They are all wonderful people that do amazing things, so hats off and glasses raised! Who they are? You can find out on the new HEMA Scholar Awards site. I also have a lot of thank yous to give this year. To begin with the jury; Reinier van Noort, Ariella Elema, Jherek Swanger, Alex Bourdas and Tom Leoni, I think this jury just raised the bar in how...

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Review: Fällkniven A1, S1 & F1

Today we will review three knives by a Swedish brand that oddly enough is little known to the common Swede, but which is a proper success story of a company that enjoys great respect for their high quality knives, by professionals and civilians alike, worldwide. The company has a somewhat odd name, Fällkniven (Folding Knife) given that their greatest successes, and the very foundation of their existance, is fixed blade knives. Regardless, like so many other of the very best knife makers in the world, Fällkniven still remains very much a family business and as a result, they put great care into both their products and their customer relations,...

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New document on Research Methods added for download.

Posting this a bit early since I won’t be able to tomorrow. Not a new article, but a fairly extensive pdf that is derived from the powerpoint presentation that was used for my lecture first at WMAW 2015 in Racine, USA, and then before the GHFS in Gothenburg, Sweden. The topic is research methods and things we need to study in our research, both on a macro and micro level and all of it boils down to the two words “context” and “properties”. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions. I will try to answer as best I can. Research methods and tools for understanding combat...

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HEMA Charity Campaign 2015

Most of us have seen glimpes of the very disturbing images of drowning children fleeing from the horrors in Syria. Last year we launched a charity targeted specifically at this crisis and you were incredibly generous, donating 955€ which was used to buy packages of food for people starving and suffering. This year too we do the same and encourage you both to join us in donating, and to spread the message to your clubs and club mates. Just spread the hell out of it, because it is one of the most important things you will do this year....

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Meyer Pilgrimage Part 2 – Basel

Almost exactly a year ago I was lucky enough to be taken on a small journey that has been a long time dream of mine; walking in the footsteps of 16th cent fencing master Joachim Meyer, visiting the city where he spent many years teaching as Fechtmeister; Straßburg. I shared some of the things we believe we know about his life then, in an article entitled ‘Meyer Pilgrimage Part 1 – Straßburg‘. This year I was very happy to be invited to take on leg 2 of that pilgrimage, to visit the city where Joachim Meyer was born; Basel, and...

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News: New page with posts from the HEMA Blogosphere

We have very exciting news for you today. We finally officially launched a new page on HROARR called the HEMA Blogosphere found in the main menu under “Reading”. This page collects excerpts of all the latest posts from some of the most important HEMA blogs and presents them in a single place, with links to the full articles. This makes it far easier to get an overview over what is happening. Currently it lists more than 425 posts.

If you wish to have your blog added, or removed then just contact us and we will fix it right away. Hope you like it!

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A key to Meyer’s mechanics & footwork – part 1

Here is a rough diagram that tries to explain the core mechanics that go through all of Meyers fencing and which are the foundation for the footwork and weapon mechanics, regardless of weapon. These mechanics apply to pretty much all of Meyer’s teachings, with somewhat different emphasis for especially rappier and dagger. They unlock certain things in regards to moving & coordination as well as extension & reach. It also makes it easier to fight multiple opponents as you can change direction easily by just looking in the opposite direction, already prepared in stance. Somewhat unusual to some, this also includes moving the body...

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Official Swedish HEMA Championships

Hot News: The Swedish HEMA Federation has been given official approval to arrange Swedish Championships in HEMA by the Swedish Sports Confederation. This is a great leap forward for official and public recognition of HEMA as a martial art and sport. Good job guys!...

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A salute to Joachim Meÿer!

On this day, the 24th of February, 1571, Fencing Master and ex-soldier Joachim Meÿer died shortly after his arrival at the court of the Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin. One year earlier, on this day, he also signed his preface for his famous fencing treatise Gründtliche Beschreibung der Adeligen und Ritterlichen Kunst des Fechtens which would influence generations to come. We salute Joachim Meÿer by dedicating today to the studies of his teachings, training hard and lighting a candle while drinking good German beer and reading his treatises. Meÿer had shortly after publishing his first, and only printed treatise Gründtliche...

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Review: ESEE-4, ESEE-5 & ESEE-6 knives

ESEE Knives, formerly R.A.T Cutlery is one of the most well-regarded cutlers in the USA, a cutler with a strong reputation for quality, and with the owners Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin standing by their products no matter what. Their personal integrity is renowned, highly respected and never disputed. Despite having looked I have yet to find a single complaint against them. Quite the contrary, I can find nothing but praise for this company. Why is that? The answer to that question probably comes down to two very important components. First of all, the no-nonsense attitude towards utility and quality, based on extensive experience of...

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HEMA Pedagogics Part 3: How to create a good learning environment

This is the third part of my brief article series on HEMA and pedagogics. Starting with the first HEMA Pedagogics article where we looked at the gymnastics and pedagogics pioneers that laid the foundation for modern teaching we then looked closer at the implications of the 15 points listed at the end of that text. With this small foundation on some different modern pedagogics, here is a fairly pragmatic list of some of the things I think are important to strive for, based on what has already been discussed. Create a joy filled and relaxing mental environment If it is the first time, then welcome the students properly and...

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The nature of the work ahead of us

Our personal goals in studying HEMA are varied, complex and individually quite different. For myself, I try to understand how and why it is designed the way it is as a martial art. That means it is not enough mimicking the movements described in the manuals, since just doing that, in my opinion, is an empty gesture without real meaning. And not understanding the why means we can’t really understand the how either, given that the sources are always incomplete and inferior to receiving direct instruction such as the authors and fencers of old themselves had. Issues that can...

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HROARR has another sister site!

This week we launched a sister site called Northern Bush. This site is dedicated to living in the wild with hiking, camping, bushcrafting and survivalism as core topics. It will contain reviews and articles and it is quite possible that it will grow to become similar to HROARR in that it is open for others to write and share their experiences too, to a large audience. Let us know if you wish to join.

The site can be found at www.northernbush.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/northernbush

Remember to “like” the site and share the link to others who might find it useful and interesting! We really appreciate your help in spreading the word.

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Announcement: The HEMA Scholar Awardees of 2014!

The jury for the HEMA Scholar Awards 2014 has finally reached a decision on what nominees will be awarded for their work and dedication in 2013. Here are their choices and motivations. First of all however, as the the handyman running around with buckets and wrenches behind the scenes in this, I would like to thank the jury, the amazingly generous sponsors and the whole historical fencing community and their nominations. I would also especially like to mention the blacksmith and cutler behind the new prize we are introducing this year for the HEMA Scholar Awards; Dr. Fabrice Cognot… Read...

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HEMA Pedagogics Part 2: The implications

Continuing from what we examined in the first HEMA Pedagogics article where we looked at the gymnastics and pedagogics pioneers that laid the foundation for modern teaching we will now look closer at the implications of the 15 points listed at the end of that text. Again, while this article is more aimed at instructors of HEMA, it is also quite important for practitioners, as it also describes the needs,  roles and responsibilities of the practitioner. So, without further ado, here are the key elements. People have a natural desire to learn  Our desire to understand our surroundings is an integral part of...

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Support HROARR!

Originally starting out just as a simple site to share links to equipment suitable to HEMA and to clubs around the world, the HROARR site has now grown far beyond the hopes that I had when starting the transformation into more of a community site. I am personally extremely happy about this and judging from the response I get when meeting people at events, many feel the same. However, this growth now also means the place where the site resides has grown too small and we need to move to our own server. This became particularly obvious in these...

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Introduction to Joachim Meyer’s quarterstaff

Long overdue I’ve finally posted my booklet on the Meyer quarterstaff, a weapon also used to train spear and halberd. It is tied to the workshops I have been travelling teaching and contains both the core concepts including footwork and body & weapon mechanics as well as almost all of the techniques using a defined terminology. This 31 page booklet is entitled Meyer Quarterstaff – Catch him in his own techniques and can be downloaded through the embedded link...

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Review: The Böker Plus Schanz Dagger

Before we look at the knife in question for this review we have to step back in time a bit and look at where it comes from; i.e. the works of Col. Rex Applegate & Lt.Col. W.E. Fairbairn. Parts of these roots have already been described in the article The KA-BAR and the Fairbairn-Sykes: two fighting children of different philosophies. Col. Rex Applegate (1914-1998) Col. Rex Applegate was an American military officer who worked for the OSS, teaching and developing close quarters combat to commandos at Camp B (now Camp David) and at Camp X, in Ontario, Canada. Applegate would later also become friends with...

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Technical issues

Hi everyone! For the last few days we have been experiencing some technical issues with the site. I am not quite sure of the cause but it may be due to a server update, but possibly also some other reasons. We are working on solving this and would like to apologize for any problems this causes. Hope to get it in proper working order soon.  ...

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HEMA Pedagogics Part 1: The Pedagogics Pioneers & The Role of a HEMA teacher

This three-piece article, while aimed more at teachers of HEMA is also relevant to students of HEMA, since we are all students and the difference between learning and teaching can be a fine one. Furthermore, the article speaks just as much about learning as it does about teaching and how we learn is important to understand for all of us on a personal level. Finally, the future of HEMA depends on all of us, on how much and how well we study and are willing to share ideas, debate and fight. *** Few instructors in HEMA actually have a formal teaching background with education...

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An open-hearted letter about why I rarely fight in tournaments

Every now and then I get the question why I don’t take part in tournaments. The answer to that question is both very personal and complex and I always feel that it is difficult to properly explain the reasons eye-to-eye, especially to people who do take part in and enjoy them. Futhermore the public debate between those who take part in tournaments and those who don’t oftentimes gets very simplistic and heated with lots of misunderstandings on both sides. For that reason, and since I know others also feel a certain pressure that they have to and are expected...

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Skalastet – Sami quarterstaff & spear fighting tradition in Northern Sweden

Little is known of any indigenous martial arts traditions of Scandinavia, and while the Icelandic tales, Konungs Skuggsjá and Olaus Magnus give us some clues and Glima still remains both in its modern sport form and, to a lesser degree, in its older combat form, very little else can be found that doesn’t find its roots in Germanic, Italian, French or Asian traditions. However, just going back about 180 years we find a still living staff fighting tradition in the North of Sweden, among the Sami, called “Skalastet“. Below are two stories told by the priest Petrus Laestadius who served as a missionary  in...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 10

For practitioners of German longsword it is fairly commonly known that with some stances and cuts we should put our thumb against the flat of the blade. For example Meyer tells us “From there deliver a Thwart … so that your thumb always remains below on your shield…“(1). However, looking to the sources, several of them show a lot more complex variation in their gripping of the sword. This we shall now examine a bit closer. Shifting Grips While some masters seemingly do not show any variation in gripping at all, we see more complex gripping starting in the middle of the 1400s,...

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The Swordfish 2014 livestream

The Swordfish 2014 livestream is set to start on 20:00 CET, November 1 on this link: http://live.ghfs.se/ Please help us raise awareness of our beloved Historical European Martial Arts by spreading this information.See you...

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Extensive article on basic Meyer dusack added

I have just added a 28 page article based on my dusack workshop. It is entitled Meyer dusack – the dusack in motion. It is a simple introduction to some of the most basic principles underlying Joachim Meyer’s dusack fencing. It contains brief texts on background, theoretical reasoning, exercises, quotes and illustrations. You can find it...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 9

This time I will speak rather briefly about stances and the ideas behind them. This does not just apply to the longsword, but is applicable to all weapons. So, without further ado, let’s dig into it. Joachim Meyer describes stances in relation to the first attack in the following words: Now the guards or postures are a graceful but also necessary positioning and comportment of the whole body with the sword, in which the combatant places and positions himself when he is the first to come to his opponent in the place of encounter, as often happens, so that he will not be unexpectedly rushed up...

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Fabrice Cognot – Bladesmith & Scholar

Today we are introducing Dr. Fabrice Cognot, Burgundian swordsman, polearms specialist and bladesmith. Many of you already know him well, but perhaps not his excellent work on knives as much. The article is split into part interview and part commentary on the actual knives that I have kindly been given access to. All three knives are up for sale. So Dr. Cognot, can you tell me… …a bit about yourself, and your own relationship to swords and knives? I am Dr. Fabrice Cognot and I’ve been living in Dijon, France for over 20 years, originally from southern Burgundy and moved here for my studies. I...

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Call for papers to Acta Periodica Duellatorum 2015

Dear Swordsmen and -women, I would like to inform you that the Call for Papers period for Acta Periodica Duellatorum is now open. If you are  interested in submitting an article to our next issue you are more than welcome to send your abstract to: [email protected] Formal call for papers (pdf) If you are not the one who aims to write but you know other fellows who are looking for a possibility to publish their HEMA-related writings then please forward them this message. In doing so you will contribute greatly to the development of the yearbook. If you have any questions or would need some more info just please throw me an email. Best regards Mátyás Miskolczi...

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HEMA in the N.Y. Times

We’re quite excited to see HEMA being reported in the renowned and prestigious N.Y. Times magazine! It features both an article on the HEMA event Longpoint by Mac William Bishop as well as a video report, both showing well-known names like Jessica Finley, Axel Pettersson, Jake Norwood, Kiana Shurkin, Carl Ryrberg, Jess Rozek, Ben Floyd & Michael Chidester. The article can be found here: “Inside the World of Longsword...

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Researchers eligible for the HEMA Scholar Awards

As it can be difficult to remember who published research in 2013 we will here list some examples of researchers and authors we know are eligible for nomination. For sure, there are many more and we strongly encourage you to help us add more to the list and nominate others you know of, especially printed books. The Lifetime Achievement Award of course does not require publishing in 2013 and instead focuses on work throughout the nominee’s life. That work of course doesn’t have to be in English. Read more!  ...

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New book out: Henry de Sainct-Didier’s “Secrets of the Sword Alone”

Chris Slee has just published a translation of Henry de Sainct-Didier’s “Secrets of the Sword Alone”. You can find out how to buy it here: http://sleech.info/reviews/secrets-of-the-sword-alone-where-do-i-buy-it.html The back of the book says: A modern English translation of Henry de Sainct-Didier’s 1573 fencing training manual. Sainct-Didier taught a style of swordsmanship informed by more than two decades as a soldier on the battlefields of France’s Italian Wars. He demonstrates techniques which are straight forward and direct, without the niceties of the Italian and Spanish salles of the period. This is a textbook of lesson plans teaching basic cuts and thrusts, how to counter them, and the ways to respond to and defeat these defences. It is written so that each action builds step by step into complex two-person drills in which initiative passes back and forth between the combatants. No interpretation of Sainct-Didier’s text has been attempted, allowing his words to stand on their own...

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Restoration of 16th Century German Longsword Illustrations

Here’s a cool new HEMA Kickstarter project to consider. Adelheid Zimmerman has launched a project to restore the illustrations from Joachim Meyer’s fighting treatise of 1570, using high resolution scans of an original print, digital restoration, making of new engraving plates and printing them manually. I personally have a print on my study room wall and can attest to the beauty of these. I can’t wait to see some polearms. Hell, if I was rich enough, I would consider investing in one of those plates because they are so damn pretty and cool. The project is live now, so...

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Review: Swordbag Liechtenauer

As much as I love the pioneering aspect of Historical Fencing some aspects of it have, at times, also been a bit frustrating as we have had little actual gear designed specifically for what we do, apart from… weapons, at least until rather late in the modern history of HEMA. However there still exists one quite elusive piece of gear for historical fencers and that is something good to carry the weapons in, i.e. a weapons bag. Consequently, I have myself used bags designed for completely different uses, like soft and hard gun cases, fishing rod bags, ski &...

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Review: Ontario Knives Chimera

Among the countries of the world one stands out as truly blessed with excellent knife makers manufacturing big utility/combat knives. Why that is, is hard to tell. Size is of course one factor, but perhaps also a generally high living standard combined with a still fairly common need for the knife as a tool, both for utility and for soldiering. Maybe even combined with romantic ideas about the early days of the nation with Davy Crocket and Jim Bowie, with the WW2, Korea and Vietnam wars and surviving in harsh conditions and in parts just tied to a certain common love for weapons. Or all...

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Meyer Pilgrimage Part 1 – Straßburg

We all share the same love for our personal and shared discoveries of a forgotten European martial arts tradition and studying it we all learn to know some important and commonly known names like Liechtenauer, Fiore, Ringeck, Talhoffer, Kal, Vadi, Marozzo, Fabris and Silver etc. Most of us study their texts and the numerous anonymous ones somewhat generically but as we continue on or journey many of us also end up choosing to go down a more narrow street, focusing on one master only. As many know, for me, that street is the Joachim Meyer street, and while certainly studying other sources,...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 8

Although not originally planned to be included in this series, I decided to add an article on a topic that deserves special treatment, since to best understand several of the core teachings of this whole article series it is vital to understand this particular topic. That topic is “deception“. Mess with the mind first, then with the body Fighting is like sex1. First you try to seduce and woo your opponent trying to stir emotions and ideas, using any means at your disposal; physical features, moving confidently, display of skills, your voice and your wit. In your exchange you give off an impression of courage &...

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Time to nominate for HEMA Scholar Awards 2014!

It’s about that time of the year again where we need to start thinking of nominations for the HEMA Scholar Awards of 2014, ie researchers who have published work in 2013. Last year’s award was a great success and we sincerely hope we can do as well again this year. We are still seeking one more jury member. As we already have three jury members from the USA we will be looking for someone not from the USA, to complement the others. If you are interested then contact us. Sponsors: If you are interested in sponsoring these awards and the research...

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Brief description on training weapons in history

A very brief description on training weapons in history, mostly based on a short email to a sports fencer who is researching the topic, although focusing on the “foil”. Figured it might interest others too and maybe even inspire someone to write a proper article on the topic. The currently earliest known European sword made specifically for training is the two-handed fechtschwert1 , although regular swords were likely blunted and used even earlier, not to mention sticks. The fechtschwert profile for swords was in use already around mid 1400s, probably earlier too, but provably so in one of the Gladiatoria Fechtbuch”...

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Review: Tinea Kombat Knife

  Today we are going to look closer at a fairly new modern Italian-design combat knife that not so many have heard of yet, a knife that due to its design, quality and price certainly deserves more attention. This is the Tinea Kombat Knife, designed by M° Danilo Rossi Lajolo di Cossano and Frank Beltrame of the famous Italian cuttler town Maniago. Background Fratelli Beltrame F&C Beltrame Cutlers was founded after WW2 by Vittorio Beltrame in Maniago, Italy. His father too was a blacksmith and had made sailor and multi-purpose knives, commissioned by various companies. Vittorio had a son in 1941 and...

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Review: KA-BAR D2 Extreme Fighting/Utility Knife

  When it comes to combat knives, next to the classical Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife, few are as iconic as the USMC “KA-BAR”. However, while the Fairbairn-Sykes represents a more elegant design and delicate use, made specifically for surprise attacks, the KA-BAR is also a great utility knife that can be used not just for fighting, but also for a variety of chores when hiking or living outdoors. It is the role-model, the grand-daddy of many modern military and survival type knives used today. It has changed rather little over time, but in its most modern form it carries some distinct improvements which we will look closer at. To really...

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The KA-BAR and the Fairbairn-Sykes: two fighting children of different philosophies

  The knife is a silent and deadly weapon that is easily concealed and against which, in the hands of an expert, there is no sure defence, except firearms or running like hell. -From the declassified Special Operations Executive Syllabus When it comes to modern combat knives, the two most iconic knives of the Western world are undoubtedly the American “KA-BAR” and the British Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife. These two knives represent completely different philosophies with the KA-BAR being a very strong and sturdy fighting knife of utilitarian design, and the Fairbairn-Sykes representing a more elegant design for more delicate use in clandestine operations. To really understand these knives, however,...

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Meyer quarterstaff workshop in Florence, Italy

Here’s the workshop on Joachim Meyer’s quarterstaff held by me and my fellow GHFS member Mattias Moberg at the HEMAC Florentia event in March, in Florence, Italy. It has been edited down from a 3 hour workshop into a 1 hour movie. Thank you so much for filming, editing and sharing this guys! It truly was a memory for life and a great honour being invited! Thank you also to Mattias for being such a great help and training partner! Adding to this, for those interested, here are two videos of free fencing as described in this article: Free Fencing Exercises...

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Happy Easter from HROARR!

Just wishing everyone a terrific, HEMAtistic Easter! Keep up the great work with training, fighting, researching and most importantly sharing your knowledge, learnings and experience. Together we learn and understand more...

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Review: SPES Dussack Waster

Given how important the dusack has been both in the fencing schools and tournaments, all the way from the very early 1500s up until Napoleon and the late 1700s, as well as on the battle fields as a weapon of war, it is somewhat surprising to see how comparatively little love it is given within historical fencing circles, at least when compared to the longsword and the rapier. Possibly this is due to two causes; both a still common belief that it was just a wooden toy sword – not quite understanding its historical role and use, but more...

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Free Fencing exercises

In our Meyer staff class we have been forced to develop methods that meet the simple fact that in staff fencing you are actually training with the actual sharp weapon and no protective gear will keep you safe from potentially crippling harm. Consequently we have needed to find ways of coming as close as possible to full contact sparring, using all available techniques, without too high a risk of actually injuring each other permanently. For this I have defined two methods that are close, but distinctly different in nature; sparring and free fencing. Both are quite easily applicable to whatever weapon...

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Hroarr is closing down

Hello dear HEMA community! I am sad to say that I’ve reached one of those points in life where you have to make a drastic choice, where you look back on things done and weigh their value against the possible futures. Unfortunately weighing HEMA and what I have invested into it up until now has led me to realise that I for A too long time have Prioritized the wrong things in life, that I am wasting my time on childish sword fantasies and it is time to finally grow up. Consequently I am dropping HEMA for good, closing down the HROARR site immediately. It hasn’t been an easy decision, but it has been growing within for a long time and I believe it is the Right one. With this, I will also be removing myself from the Internet, dropping all digital communication, going back to my roots up north, to nature, living off of the Land with my family and guns. I apologize to everyone who is negatively affected by this. Best of luck to all of you. Have Fun! I am done. Time to move On to other more important things. Ordinary Life, and real Strength… It’s a brand new DAY.  Roger Norling Ex-Chief Editor and Responsible Publisher of HROARR.com Update: If you haven’t figured out by now, today is April 1, the traditional day for making pranks on...

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Swedish HEMA Federation member of the Budo & Martial Sports Federation

Big news both for international HEMA and in particular the Swedish HEMA fencers! The Swedish HEMA Federation is now an official member of the Swedish Budo and Martial Sports Federation (Svenska Budo och Kampsportsförbundet). This is a big and important step in making HEMA an officially recognized martial art and sport and this year promises to be very interesting for both Swedish and international HEMA!...

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HEMA Charity 2014

It never ceases to amaze me what incredible people that make up the Historical Fencing community. Your hospitality, openness, willingness to share and generosity is second to none and just recently it struck me; Why not put that awesomeness to good use for a specific charity purpose? So, I made a quick decision and from now on, for two months every year, HROARR will be gathering funds for a specific, internationally recognized charity organization. Learn more about this campaign...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 7

This week we will be taking advantage of one of the greatest benefits from reading somewhat later masters, like Joachim Meyer and George Silver, by looking closer at a subject that most early treatises speak little of; tactics. We will here only focus on the former master though, and take a look at what tactical advice he gives on combat. However, before we actually do that, we should perhaps look at the definition of that very word; tactics, as it is often confused with strategy. Here is one definition of the two: Tactics are the actual means used to gain an objective, while strategy is the overall campaign plan. So, strategy is the long-term plan that uses different shorter-term tactics to achieve the objective. In combat the objective is commonly to hit the opponent, although it can also be to dominate the opponent or just flee unscathed. To do this, different strategies are used, like e.g. confusing and overwhelming the opponent, which can be done using different tactics, like moving constantly, taking the initiative first, provoking, fenting etc. Looking to the strategies Meyer is close to the earlier masters, but tactically he expands on the older art by also using for the time modern concepts from many sources, not least the Bolognese tradition. Holistic reading and general or particular advice? To understand Meyer’s Art of combat one needs to consider his...

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Support the Rossfechten Symposium!

This needs all the support you can give, so please pitch in! We have the chance to create a truly historic event, the first of it’s kind, combining some of the most challenging disciplines in existence, riding, martial arts and historical research. Fifteenth century German fencing manuals call the art of combat on horseback Rossfechten. This means not just fighting on horseback but horse and rider fighting as one. To return this to life is our ultimate goal. We are a group of  HEMAists (Historical European Martial Artists)   accomplished riders and re-enactors who are passionate about reconstructing mounted combat...

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HEMA and politics

Looking at the recent “sexistic HEMA banner debate” I really feel a concern about how quickly these women and men who object have been disregarded as rabid feminists by some. For some reason that happens quite often with feminism. Feminists are regarded as overly angry women that need to calm down and are treated as somewhat ignorant and single-minded, like children, instead of people who strive to create equality for more than half of our population and for that reason deserve our respect. No, there wasn’t any ill-will, intentional sexism etc on the behalf on any of the involved. However that...

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Wiktenauer fundraiser

As you may have suspected, running Wiktenauer isn’t free. While neither I nor sysadmin Christian receive any compensation for our efforts, the costs associated with hosting Wiktenauer come to about $500 a year. For the past year and a half, the HEMA Alliance has kindly absorbed that cost (before that it was out of pocket), but this year the Alliance general council has asked us to run a quick fundraiser to see if our community of users would be willing to cover some of it.So from now until the end of January, you can click the banner at the top of the site to contribute via paypal, or just click the paypal button that resides at the bottom of the sidebar, as usual. (Note that if you aren’t logged in, the banner doesn’t display on the main page, so click any link to see it–or just go here:http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Wiktenauer:Fundraiser) Our initial goal is $500 to cover hosting costs for the next twelve months. If we exceed that sum, we’ll set aside the additional funds for future manual acquisitions. Our current push to pair transcriptions with manuscript scans has brought us in contact with various libraries and institutions who only ask for a small consideration of €50-100 in exchange for permanent hosting rights for a full manuscript, which we’re more than happy to pay when funds are available. In other cases,...

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Thank you for 2013!

I just want to thank everyone for an amazing year, both for me as a person for being given the chance to travel the world to teach and meet some incredible people, but also for the quite stunning development the HROARR site has had over the last few years with the help of all the authors and readers. This year we have had 18 authors sharing 38 good quality articles for free which is just amazing. We have also had more than 50,000 unique returning visitors from more than a 100 countries, which would seem to indicate a large number of non-HEMA people using the site as well, with a much greater audience of reenactors, and other people with an interest in historical combat, arms and armour. Out of those about 25,000 have visited the site more than 10 times. In total the site has had about 200,000 page views in 2013 and more than half have lasted for more than a minute each on average. This year we have also seen the introduction of some very cool things. Three clubs have their own forums on HROARR now (as can any club for free). We have a very good book page, maintained by GHFS member Mattias Moberg and we also saw the very first HEMA Scholar Awards which we have great hopes for as something that will stand on...

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Review: SPES HEMA Jacket – Axel P model

Looking at how the HEMA community looks today it is easy to forget how hard we have been working to get the attention of manufacturers hoping to get proper protective gear for our specific brand of martial arts. Only three years ago things were very different and there simply were no good fencing jackets for HEMA, and what we instead used had several issues simply due to the fact that they weren’t originally designed for what we do. Things have changed dramatically though and today we even have several brands to choose from, some of them created by HEMA...

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The jury has reached a decision!

Finally we have a decision on the awardees of the HEMA Scholar Awards 2013. After careful consideration of all nominations sent in by the HEMA community five excellent researchers and instructors have been selected. Who they are? Well find out by reading about them here HEMA Scholar Awards – Awardees of...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 6

Throughout history going all the way back from at least medieval times up until modern military bayonet training a diagram typically depicting four crossing lines with seven or eight directions of cutting or striking have been used. The fact that it has changed little is of course not very surprising as it is tied to human physiology, both that of our opponent and in how we are capable of using our weapons in striking. This week we will look briefly at this and how we can categorize the various types of cuts and reflect a bit on their forms...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 5

This week’s article will be talking about the topic of various ways of counterstriking against an attack. Different masters and traditions handle this differently, depending on their core tactics and views on what distances and timing to use as the basis for the general fighting. Some even mix different solutions in varying proportions, combining different and sometimes disparate styles into their own personal style, with Joachim Meyer being a prime example of this. Kinetic energy, opposing strikes, leverage, Versetzen and distance Basically there are three different methods (1) for handling the opponent’s strikes with a counterstrike: 1. Opposing kinetic...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 4

This time we will start moving into somewhat more unexplored and unmapped territory, working with various clues gathered from different places, to help us guide the way through the (wide) distance. The working theory is that there is a certain distance that many of us need to learn to fight at and utilize more intently and not just pass through or end up in – a distance that is little discussed in the “German” treatises, as it just didn’t need as much explaining for our predecessors since it was common practice to utilize it and thus the authors chose to focus on the...

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Nominate people for the HEMA Scholar Awards

Finally, it is time to start nominating the researchers you admire, respect and consider to be worthy of having their hard work awarded both with these awards and nice prizes like swords, books and fencing gear. Surely you know of some, or are even club mates or friends with such people, so please take a few minutes to check the award categories here: http://hroarr.com/hema-scholar-awards/award-categories For the 2013 awards we are now accepting nominations for work published in English in 2012, as well as nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award. When nominating people and their work for these awards you need to send...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 3

Time for part 3 in the Onion Article Series, this time taking a closer look at the parts of the weapon and how it relates to handling of distance and tactics. Simply put there are two ways of approaching the issue of controlling the opponent; either physically or mentally. But more on that later. 3. The Schweche, the Mittel and the Stercke Physically controlling your opponent and his/her weapon can be done either with your body, or with your weapon and its features. To better understand this we need to look at how a regular longsword is divided into...

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The lost 2nd Giganti treatise rediscovered

Nicoletto Giganti is one of the most celebrated Italian fencing masters of the 17th century. His widely-acclaimed treatise of 1606 promised a second work, which however was long considered lost or never to have been written. Nonetheless in 1847 Alberto Marchionni did describe a purported second book by Giganti, outlining its contents in reasonable detail. In 2012 Joshua Pendragon (as Guest Exhibition Curator for the Noble Art of the Sword exhibition at the Wallace Collection in London) and Piermarco Terminiello, determined that the 1608 edition of Giganti held in the Lord Howard De Walden Library, is none other than the volume promised by Giganti in 1606, and described by Marchionni. This is the only known extant copy, of a work whose very existence had long been considered no more than a rumour. A book sought after and anticipated for centuries. This find is significant for scholars and enthusiasts of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) worldwide, and for Fox Spirit the treasure hunt of its rediscovery is equally compelling. We are very proud and excited, after centuries of obscurity, to present you with the ‘lost’ work of a great Italian master, fully illustrated, in complete English translation. Read more...

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A tear in our beer for Sir Richard Burton

With no little shame, and for lack of time, I would today just very briefly like to suggest a toast for one of the more colourful, and bad-ass looking HEMA pioneers of the British Empire, Captain Sir Richard Burton, explorer, translator, soldier, fencer, orientalist, ethnologist, spy, diplomat, poet and rebel “sexologist”, who died on this very day 1890, with a life time experience enough for ten men. Sir Richard Burton studied fencing under Professor Charles Pons (1793-1885), Maitre d’Armes in Paris, and he was also a member of the infamous Kernoozer’s Club, alongside of men like Baron de Cosson, Egerton Castle...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 2

Continuing with part 2 in the Onion series of articles we will now focus on the topic of controlling the fight, or lack thereof and regaining it. In German terms these concepts are called Vor, Nach and Nachreissen. These concepts are hugely important, but at the same time very hard for a beginner to sense and utilise, but they can be trained with the right set of exercises, while they build the correct mentality for both parties. So, what do these concepts really mean? 2. Vor, Nach, Gleich & Nachreissen explained Before we begin, I would like to remind you...

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The Onion: Basics of European Longsword: Part 1

For the last year or so I have been working on a group of primarily longsword exercises based on studying fechtmeister Joachim Meyer‘s holistic system for training and fighting, focusing on the dussack, longsword and staff in combination with some additional mostly untutored practice of Portuguese Jogo do Pau. Some of the core questions have revolved around how to become more dynamic in fencing while also learning to fence in a more safe way that leads to fewer double kills. A good friend recently compared this group of exercises to an onion that has many, many layers of sublime understandings that you...

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In memory of Lt. Egerton Castle

On this day Sep 16 1920 one of our greatest HEMA Pioneers, Egerton Castle died. Together with men like Cpt Alfred Hutton, Baron de Cosson, Archibald Corble and Kpt Emil Fick and some 50 more men around Europe, he struggled to learn and understand the martial arts systems of medieval and Renaissance Europe in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His most well-known book on the topic is Schools and Masters of Fencing, but he also authored several novels together with his wife, Agnes, which commonly included scenes of fencing based on his understanding of European martial arts. He was also a member of the Kernoozer’s club, a small British gentlemen’s club focused on the study of medieval arms and armour, and to some degree the use of them. One of the members was Baron de Cosson, who owned the two antique fechtschwerter that was used as a template for the replicas used by Cpt Alfred Hutton, Egerton Castle and others. Much more can be said about this great man, but time is short so I will just suggest a toast in his memory today. And as a freaky coincidence there may be more reason for a toast, although again for a rather sad reason. On this day in Marchdorf, Swabia, a man called Johannes Liechtnouw was murdered although the year is unclear. The only notes of this mention...

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Regarding the USFCA HEMA instructors program.

With all due respect to those who have opposing views regarding the new USFCA Master title, and to Ken Mondschein, Jerry Benson, Walter Green of  of Salle Green and Jeff Lord, Tom and John Farmer of the Knoxville Academy of the Blade, and Mark Logan of Salle Green  – and feel free to correct any errors or misunderstandings. I sincerely believe the USFCA program for certifying instructors for historical fencing has been a very badly managed affair which could have ended up much more positively and constructively through a reasonable degree of transparency and inclusiveness and with some other vital decisions made in the process. Our “community” may be split into many smaller subcommunities, but we are united by ultimately having similar goals, despite us using different methods and approaches and focusing on different aspects of HEMA. Handled wisely, we could have seen a great collaboration between the USFCA and HEMA. As it is, we now run serious risk of having this blocking any such future attempts for quite some time. This has been discussed for about a year and a half, although not in any official capacity, and was seemingly only reluctantly presented on a few forums, then as something quite different than what we now see. Now we are presented with something that to us is even more controversial than when first described. The originally suggested first level of “Initiateur d’Escrime...

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Review: Black Lance 5-finger HEMA Gloves

  One of the most elusive pieces of protective gear for HEMA, the Holy Grail if you will, is good protective gloves that offer enough dexterity to not hinder us in our fencing, when we try to apply the techniques that we struggle to learn in the fencing treatises. For many years we made do with Lacrosse gloves, but those were still somewhat clumsy, and swollen, fractured or even broken fingers weren’t uncommon, especially in the tournaments where more tension and power often came into play. This is of course not so surprising as Lacrosse gloves just weren’t designed...

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Furor et Ferrum

Very nicely choreographed public display of Renaissance fighting with various weapons. They won two well deserved golds in an international competition. And outfits to die for too…...

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Joachim Meyer’s dagger system

Note: This is a working document and will continuously be updated as we work with our interpretations of Joachim Meyer’s dagger teachings. Similarly to how I worked with his staff teachings I will attempt at systemizing the principles and techniques taught and described both in his writings and his illustrations. Analysis will also be done with comparative work on the teachings of Marozzo as there are an unusual percentage of strong similarities in the illustrations and it is yet not clear if this extends to the text as well. Some comparison to the works of Hans Talhoffer will also be made as there are distinct similarities to it also.   If you are interested in learning more about how we approach the fencing treatises, then these two articles will help you: Tools for research Basic questions for research, text analysis and academic writing.  How to approach the material Important questions to keep in mind while reading What is the personal history of the author? – Born in Basel, 1537. Becomes a burgher of Straßburg in 1560, as a cuttler, where he also becomes a Fechtmeister sometime in the 1560s, and arranges five fechtschulen. Possibly has military experience and likely served in the town militia at one point. Wrote three or four fencing treatises and received employment as master-at-arms at the Duke of Mecklinburg in Schwerin, but dies in 1571, on his way to...

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Arming Sword Geometry by Peter Johnsson

Designing a sword of mid 14th century style using a system of geometric drawing that is inspired by surviving plans of medieval gothic architecture. Please visit my site at peterjohnsson.com for more information about this principle of design and the hypothesis that it may have been used in defining the proportions of the medieval...

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Pro Gauntlets Crowd-Funding project!

Great new project for creating a proper articulated protective glove for HEMA fencing that we strongly support. It is run as a crowd-funding project by Maarten Kamphuis, the man behind Mblades.com and the Swing, together with Youval Kuipers with whom he also designed the tournament software Hema Tournament Manager used at last year’s Swordfish. Both of them are active HEMA-practitioners and have set very high goals for this project, with gloves that should offer ultimate protection at the same time as they should be articulated enough to allow you to play musical instruments. Maarten’s engineering background combined with his understanding of HEMA gives us good hope that they will be able to create something unique and remarkable. Learn more here, and do your best in supporting their efforts. It is much needed for us to be able to succeed in recreating these Arts: The ProGauntlent Crowd-Funding...

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HEMA Scholar Awards

Hi everyone! As we all know HEMA has many different aspects that are all equally important in our shared effort in recreating these forgotten martial arts. Lately, tournaments have received much attention and the top fighters are household names for all of us involved in HEMA. This is really cool and exciting to see and we are very happy for it! However, all of our success rests on the hard work of researchers, transcribers, translators and interpreters, hard work that often receives little recognition or actual reward in the way that tournament fighting does, not least since much work is done silently and generously published online for free. This, some of us feel is both unfortunate and possibly also somewhat dangerous for the future development of HEMA as we risk stagnation in the field of research. So, HROARR wishes to put the spotlight on examples of great researchers to be inspired by, for the future generations. With this in mind, and acting as a neutral party within the HEMA community, HROARR is now introducing annual awards for Best efforts in HEMA research. Read more...

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A mentality of fear – and its importance to fighting

“If you want to learn how to fight properly and effectively with the long sword, so that you may, without gloves and without all armour, guard your hands and your entire body against all kinds of weapons, against sword, against spear, against halberd, against long knife and also against other weapons, then firstly mark that you know well the strikes and the steps, and mark that you always turn your hands upward with the hilt, and always hide behind the sword, and hold the head close to the hilt…” -Hugo Wittenwiler, ca 1493 The starting point This time I will...

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News from Dr. Forgeng

Great news for students of Joachim Meyer and Leküchner, from Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng, posted on the Reprint Forgeng’s “The Art of Combat” Facebook group. “I’m happy to be able to report some updates on the various projects. I have contacted Freelance Academy Press and let them know that I would be happy to have them publish both the 1570 Meyer and my translation of the Lund Meyer manuscript. We are talking about prioritizing the Lund Meyer, while we try to arrange with Pen and Sword to retrieve the rights to the Art of Combat translation. I have also today nudged Boydell and Brewer about getting in gear on the Leckuechner. The book is almost entirely camera-ready–it will just take a couple of weeks’ work to bring it to completion once I have contracts with the publisher and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Again, I would like to thank people for their support through this difficult time. Between Christine’s death and the impending integration of the Higgins collection into the Worcester Art Museum–on a very tight timeline–I have a lot of challenges on my plate. I’m happy to say that the Higgins Armory’s interim director, Suzanne Maas, has been very supportive amidst it all, which has been a major factor in allowing me to move forward on the publications again.“...

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Review: Where’s my fighting trousers?

“A telegram? Oh, dear. It seems someone has been “biting me”…? Fetch me my trousers at once! No, not those. Those are my time travel trousers. No, those are my tea trousers… That’s it! Those ones. My fighting trousers! Ah, yeah!” When it comes to equipment HEMA has come a very long way in just a few years. Just two-three years ago it was still hard finding any equipment that suited our specific needs and which had a consistent look. Land hockey/soccer goalie pants, t-shirts, fencing coach’s jackets & medieval gambeson, Lacrosse gloves etc painted a rather ragged picture. Today, things are very different and we have a whole range of manufacturers catering to our needs. Still some aspects of this hasn’t really received as much attention and fighting trousers is one such area. It is easy to overlook this, but they really are an important part of a good HEMA outfit. Luckily, a few manufacturers like Absolute Force provide quality products in this area and this is what I will review today; the AF HEMA Black Pants. To put it short; I love these! They do have certain areas which can be improved upon, which I will return to later, but they have a rugged and tough design that really suits my tastes. The fabric is sturdy, the tailoring and fitting is really, really good and they look very sharp and...

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Illustration showing the hanging of Paul Hektor Mair

This is a pretty damn exciting find! Eric Wiggins discovered an illustration depicting the hanging of 16th cent martial arts enthusiast and fechtbuch collector Paul Hektor Mair and Ben Floyd tracked down a colour version of it. The story behind this is well-known to many, but until now there has been no known illustration of neither Mair nor the execution. And here it is, in all its glory. Thanks Eric and Ben! For more about Mair, read this: Remember...

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Die Vorpal-Klinge!

This short movie shows a glimpse of the world of the Collegiate Fencing, the still living child of the Fechtschule tradition. For more reading, look at the excellent article An overview of German collegiate fencing traditions by Jörg Bellinghausen. Also the article Academic Fencing might be of interest. And finally, the blog of Christoph Amberger has a lot of great articles relating to this topic and...

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New EU laws regarding the carrying of swords

With a recent and surprising decision, the EU Directive 135/52/EC, people within the European Union are from the beginning of this month forbidden to carry swords or swordlike objects outside of their homes without specific license to do so. The number of licenses will be limited nationally in order to keep control over the number of swords in circulation. This new directive was originally an initiative from the Swedish EU diplomats who sought to extend and implement the country’s national laws regarding the carrying of sharp instruments in public, a law that forbids the carrying of swords, knives, screwdrivers and any pointy or sharp instrument that can be used to commit violent crimes, to the whole union. This law even extends into carrying such instruments in one’s car. The direct consequence for the European HEMA community is that we from now on will be forced to apply for a license, a process that is said to take up to a year to handle. Meanwhile, the alternative solution is to return to practice and fight with modified shinai or synthetic or wooden wasters only. An undesired, but as it appears necessary step back for us all. Reportedly, the US government is following this closely and similar laws are being prepared in the States as well. This is said to be near its completion and will likely be implemented shortly. A number of...

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Meyer Rappier research launch

There is a growing interest in Meyer’s rappier and to aid in this, and as I also plan to study this more myself since it is basically required in order to fully understand Meyer, I decided to create this page. If anyone wishes to collaborate with other Meyer Rappier fencers and post articles for debate here on this very topic, then let me know and I will help you get sorted. Meanwhile, here are some good articles by Chris Slee: Meyer’s Rapier and Dagger (and Cloak) Meyer’s Rapier Parries Meyer’s Rapier: In the Onset Meyer’s Rapier in One Post Meyer’s Rapier: Attacking the Straight Parry … and some nice clips posted by Robert Rutherfoord. Scheitelhauw Scheitelhauw Dempffhauw Schiller Schiller Hüffthauw Rundhauw Doppel Rundhauw Halßhauw Handthauw Oberstich...

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Forum update

Now your club can also have a private or public place to debate, right here on HROARR under the forum Clubs & Organisations. All you need to do is to register yourself at www.hroarr.com/wp-register.php and contact me and I will help you to create a sub-forum for your club. I am also working on cleaning up the old forum on HROARR. Although there are already several HEMA-forums, I am expanding this forum a bit, so we can debate things, not least the material that is posted on HROARR, but also any other HEMA related topic. Consequently, I have added new sub-forums and I might remove others if they aren’t used, to keep it tighter. I hope this service will turn out to be useful to us all. I would love to have some good and proper...

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Meyer freeflow exercises

To begin with, just for clarification, this is not a typical article per se, but rather a text sorted under the Meyer Research Project, thus a more reasoning and speculative piece of text, posted for the sake of discussion and sharing of ideas concerning Meyer’s teachings. I am developing a series of exercises derived both from Meyer’s well-known Kreutz diagram as shown above, and from things I think are similar in other historical fencing traditions like various forms of Bolognese, sabre and Jogo do Pau. The reason for choosing these three are that I think they in some aspects...

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Dynamic gripping of swords

Here’s a good clip from John Clements focusing on an often forgotten aspect of swordfighting; the dynamic gripping of swords. Some time ago I wrote an article about this and although I find it lacking today, I still think it has some good images, even if I really should add more to them. This topic is important for our understanding of the historical fencing, I believe, and I suggest you take a look at both the clip, the article and the images. However, keep in mind that both the clip and my old article brings together a lot of unrelated sources...

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Meyer’s masters

On this day, 443 years ago, Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer published his magnificent fencing treatise ‘Gründliche Beschreibung der Freyen Ritterlichen und Adeligen Kunst des Fechtens’. Exactly one year later, on February 24th 1571, he died from sudden illness, while travelling to take up his position as Fechtmeister at the court of the Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin. Currently, I am writing on a couple of books about the Polearms of Joachim Meyer, and to commemorate both Meyer’s legacy and his far too early death, I am here sharing a rough draft for one of the chapters, as a small ‘teaser’. Please...

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Finals of Fechtschule America broadcast live online!

Something not to miss: Like the two last Swordfish events, Fechtschule America is now broadcasting the final fights live on the Internet. The fights are taking place in Texas, USA on March 15-16th, with the live streaming finals on March 16th at 16:00 CST. So get your popcorns ready and get yourselves ready in front of your TVs, computers, pads and smartphones! There will be some seriously tough fighting this year with some very good international fighters participating!...

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Save the wrestling! A short history of wrestling

In a somewhat surprising decision the Olympic Committee has now decided to exclude both Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling from the Olympic Games, while still retaining other considerably less traditional sports and opening up for adding a more modern sport. To us Historical European martial artists, this should be quite upsetting, as Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling are one of the few remaining historical European martial sports still being practiced in Europe, outside of some rare and regional folk wrestling, boxing and sports fencing. Greco-Roman wrestling has been a part of the modern Olympic Games right from its start in 1896 and it has been...

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Review: Regenyei fechtschwert

  The swordsmiths around the world have seen some pretty fierce competition developing over the last few years, especially the high-end companies like Albion, who suddenly find themselves being outrun by swordsmiths who directly target the needs of us HEMA-fencers, which Albion really doesn’t, instead more catering to sword collectors. One such swordsmith that I have been fortunate enough to follow is the Hungarian swordsmith Péter Regenyei. This review will discuss his training swords of the so called “feder” type. Data Manufacturer: Regenyei Armory Sword type: Fechtschwert Blade length: 39.4″ (100cm) – Can be modified to 35.4 – 40.9″ (90-104cm)....

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New: 2nd edition of Luis Preto’s book on Jogo do Pau!

Looking for something good to read about a living form of traditional European Martial Arts? Well here’s a good tip for you: Luis Preto is just releasing his 2nd edition of his first book on Portuguese staff fencing Jogo do Pau. It has been revised based on all the things Luis has learned since he first wrote this book eight years ago and it has lots of good, new material. Personally, I find it invaluable to study this, if you are a student of Meyer, but all fencers can find useful things in this book. To make it even more fun, there is even a 25% discount valid until Feb 28th, so go have a look: More info at http://jogodopau.blogspot.no/ Buy it at: https://www.createspace.com/4045951 It will also very soon be available on...

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The HEMAtrix

HROARR now has its own ‘Pinterest’-style page called the HEMAtrix. Each image is gathered from the article material and links directly to its article. A fun, random and interesting new way of browsing the HROARR site, I hope. The page can be found in the menu under ‘Reading/Galleries’. http://hroarr.com/articles-reviews/galleries/hematrix/...

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The genealogy of the Glima masters recognized by the Viking Glima Federation

Lars Magnar Enoksen (b. 1960) is president of the Viking Glima Federation and its master instructor. The following text is a short presentation of the grand masters who are Lars Magnar’s most influential instructors in the art of Glima. Lars Magnar began his apprenticeship in the late 1980s when he was tutored by experienced masters of Glima in Iceland which was the only place at the time where this art was still practiced in unbroken traditions since the Viking age. It should be mentioned that in the late 1980s there was almost nobody who knew of Glima in Scandinavia...

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To all HEMA-related business owners

To all swordsmiths, protection gear manufacturers, equipment retailers, event organizers and other HEMA-related business owners: HROARR is now introducing a discreet and HEMA-specific Ad banner system to help you market your products. The hope is that this will get you all better profit from your business so we all can benefit from your product development in seeing better and better gear for HEMA. Simply put; Your success is good for us! The site reaches about 5000+ HEMA fencers each month, which is close to half of the whole HEMA-community, and many more if you look at it over a longer...

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International event in Italy

Here is a Historical Fencing event in Rome, Italy, some of you may not be familiar with. It is now being prepared for the sixth time and will include tournaments, workshops and seminars. This should be great fun, so have a look!...

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Post your thoughts on HROARR

The beauty of posting your texts on HROARR is that we then can have lots of HEMA articles published under various categories, even quite specific ones, where people post their thoughts and research, and all of it is searchable for the whole community. This makes everything so much easier to find, while it exposes your ideas to almost the whole community and creates a synergy effect where people work together internationally, across all borders. This is so much better than having everything spread out on various blogs, forums and club/organization sites or even unsearchable pdfs or word docs. Note that...

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The WhatChaMaCallit-Schwert

In Sweden we have a saying; “A loved child has many names” and looking at what is today called a federschwert this seems to be true for this type of sword as well, at least if we think of it in general terms as a sword for training. Historically, the simplest choice of word was of course schwert, and it was certainly the most commonly used alongside of the less used langen schwert, but terms like paratschwert and fechtschwert have also been used historically, at least in non-fechtbucher sources, although it is hard to tell what the words actually mean. This...

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Translation of Meyer’s first treatise finally here!

After a long and excited waiting, Kevin Maurer has finally managed to deliver a great gift on the last day of the year; a complete translation of Meyer’s von Solms treatise, dated to ca 1560. Kevin has been working on this and lots of other great research for many, many years and I am personally most grateful for his generosity and hard work here. So, a deep and heartfelt thank you to Kevin and the MFFG from us here. This is another important piece in understanding Meyer and his teachings and I encourage everyone with even a slight interest in Meyer to read it. It is well worth it. You can find the translation here: Meyer 1560 – MFFG Research site And here: MS A.4°.2 – English Translation (on Hroarr)  And you can read more about the provenance of the treatise here: The history of Joachim Meyer’s fencing treatise to Otto von Solms. The original treatise can be found here MS...

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Rest in peace, gentle giant!

We are deeply saddened by the news that Rory van Noort of AMEK, one of the brightest shining rising stars of HEMA has left us far too young. We wish to express our most sincere sympathies to his family and friends in these very sad days. We have all lost a great man and athlete and the world is less bright without him. In his honour, the GHFS will be holding a moment of silence before tomorrow’s training. We encourage everyone to attend and others to do the same. Also in his honour, the HROARR site will not be linking to any...

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Noël, Noël!

Still not in that proper Christmas mood yet? Well grab your eggnog, turn up the speakers and sing along! Here is another Christmas card from GHFS and HROARR! 2012 has been an amazing year and we are deeply grateful to the whole HEMA community for making our lives so interesting and fun! Let’s all make 2013 even more historical than this...

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In memory of Cpt. Alfred Hutton

  Today we raise our glasses to the memory of the 19th cent. HEMA-pioneer Cpt. Alfred Hutton who died on this very day, at the age of 71, on Dec 18 1910, 102 years ago. Cpt. Hutton was an officer of the King’s 1st Dragoon Guards as well as an antiquarian and renowned fencing master and swordsman. He is without doubt one of the most important men in the first wave of HEMA-pioneers, alongside of men like Carl Thimm, Lt. Egerton Castle, Gustav Hergsell, Sir Richard Burton, Josef Schmied-Kowarzik, Hans Kufahl, Pehr Henrik Ling, and Emil Fick, men whose importance to our current research simply can’t be overestimated...

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Remember Mair

On this day, December 10, 433 years ago, Paul Hektor Mair was hung at the age of 62, convicted of embezzlement of the city of Augsburg’s funds. He had spent the money on a lavish lifestyle, often throwing big parties with important people, likely in order to build good connections with the most influential people of the city. To maintain this lifestyle, he abused his position as the City Treasurer of Augsburg to steal money from the city. He managed to uphold this for several decades and his abuse of his position was only discovered after a disgruntled assistant reported him in 1579. Sentence came quickly and he was summarily hanged, not allowed the more noble beheading. However, about 30-40 years earlier he had initiated what can only be described as an amazing but slightly insane project. At a time where the book printing has been available for three generations and books could be made in large numbers of cheap copies with good return of investment, he decides to invest in a project where three hand written and lavishly painted manuscripts encompassing all known European martial arts are to be created. Consequently, he sets out to create the most magnificent work on European martial arts ever made. For this purpose, and for his own passion of the Arts, he also invested in collecting older books on martial arts, like...

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The Dussack – a weapon of war

In my opinion the dussack doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves in the historical fencing community, despite the fact that it was a highly important weapon in the old fencing guilds. It is not really studied properly, probably due to many commonly believing that the wooden/leather waster is all that the dussack is, not realizing that it in reality was a complex-hilt steel sabre that became more common in the first quarter of the 1500s and was used well into the mid 1600s, after which it more and more transformed into the proper sabre. Interestingly though, in its wooden training...

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Record for Swordfish 2012

Swordfish 2012 in Gothenburg, Sweden is already a smashing hit with more than 200 participants registered. Every year it grows and this year we have six tournaments, including a grappling tournament and a Ladies’ Tournament. And about 20 high class workshops alongside of lots and lots of people you really want to meet you simply can’t go wrong coming here…...

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The Wreath or the Cash? On Tournament fighting

“Ey fåår Fächtare Krantz förn ändas Manlige Strijden. The Fighter shall not receive the wreath until the manly battle is ended (according to the rules).” -2 Tim 2:5. I sincerely consider tournament fighting to be vital to our efforts in recreating the historical European martial arts, but I also believe that tournaments can be quite damaging to the fencing and HEMA when done incorrectly, too early and for the wrong reasons. This is a controversial topic, as the tournaments are very popular, but this is not an attack on individual fighters or tournament organizers. We are all to varying degrees guilty of the sins...

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Gen 2 of The Swing

I just wanted to let everyone know how much I love the new version of The Swing training “sword” from Mblades.com. Although the old version is still shown on the site, a distinctly improved version is already ready for sale. It offers removable and changeable weights that range from the lighter to the heavier spectra of the swords and together with different pommel designs and weights you can alter the balance to your liking. The grip has also been improved with a new “cord” structure and the cross is now made out of metal with a nice “real” look to it. Soon there will also be a Montante-version with an extension or a longer pommel. The new version was brought to and sold with success at Fightcamp 2012 in Birmingham, UK and several commented on their amazement that with closed eyes you were actually fooled into thinking that you held a real sword in your hands, a notion I completely agree with. For those of you unfamiliar with The Swing, it is a tool that is designed to emulate the handling characteristics of a real one- or twohanded sword, although with a very short “blade”, slightly shorter than a forearm and the whole tool can be disassembled for transport. The idea is that you can use it for solo practice during your lunch break, while you travel or in tight...

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A thank you!

It is very, very cool to see that statistics show how reviews on HROARR with time reaches at least about 20-25% of the whole HEMA community! Thank you so much for all your visits! And soon there will be a new review series of HEMA specific equipment with jackets, arm & leg protection, neck & throat protection and gloves. Keep an eye open for that! Finally things are rolling along nicely and it is a very different situation to only two years ago, so thanks to all the great manufacturers who have taken us seriously and dedicate themselves to helping us with better protection! So huge thanks to SPES, AbsoluteForce, KnightShop, PBT, Sparringglove.com, Allstar and Negrini and whoever I forgot to mention! We truly appreciate your efforts...

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A goldmine of printed fencing treatises

Today I thought I would share a little “secret”. In Saarbrucken, Germany there is this great little bookbindery called Fines Mundi that produces prints of antique books with traditional binding and in many different styles ranging from quite simple to very luxurious, depending on your wallet. Currently they have about 3000 titles of antique books in stock. The cool thing is that the man who runs the company, Rolf, is a sports fencers from 40 years back and some time ago he decided to republish old fencing treatises, more for love of fencing than with any expectations to make a profit from it. Currently, they have 47 titles listed and the really great thing is that they start a new project as long as the expect to sell about 30 copies, which means that most clubs can get prints of their favourite fencing master, provided that there are good enough source material and the copyrights are in order. For new projects I have suggested a print of Freyfechter Andre Paurnfeindt‘s treatise of 1516 and a print of the edited Paurnfeindt of 1531 by Egonolff, as Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer was inspired by one of these, or both, and there are links to the works of Paul Hektor Mair as well. Furthermore, having checked three copies of Meyer, Sutor and DiGrassi, I think Fines Mundi need a bit of help with gaining access to really...

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The Rose and the Pentagram

This article is written to accompany the recent article about the mysticist, and possibly even fencer and a Freyfechter, Heinrich Agrippa. If you haven’t read the article, it is suggested you do so, before reading this article. Die Rose (the Rose) is a longsword, dussack, rappier and quarterstaff technique described by fencing masters starting from about 1516AD. This striking sequence, as used by several masters including, Andre Paurnfeindt, Paul Hektor Mair [1] and Joachim Meyer [2], and several later derivative works [3], has confused some of us as we try to understand the relationship between the name and the application of the technique. To be able to understand Die Rose I believe we need to understand what connotations the renaissance man had to the word rose and with that understanding we can apply it to our interpretations of the technique. The following article might seem like a novel by Dan Brown, but explores some of the ideas the men and women of the Renaissance shared, sometimes in more or less secret societies. Symbolism regarding the human body and strength & weakness, geometrics, angles and actions all tie together in the various illustrations of many fencing treatises of the Renaissance and we need to examine this topic both broadly and deeply. Here, the relationship between the Rose, the Pentagon and the Pentagram are crucial to our interpretations. Having studied the topic for some time, I would suggest that...

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HEMA Facebook group for women

“… Esfinges, a [Facebook] group recently started by Ruth Garcia Navarro and Perica Lòpez for women in HEMA. We aim to unite the ones we’ve got around the world and encourage more women to take up the art. Come and join the discussion, invite your friends! We have cake! And wine!” – Fran Terminiello...

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Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, a fine student, black magician – and a Freyfechter?

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (15 September 1486 – 18 February 1535) was a German knight, an ambassador, magician, occult writer, theologian, astrologer, and alchemist, and as it appears a soldier and possibly even an independent Freyfechter. Agrippa’s history is fascinating in many ways, full of drama, war, free-thinking, controversy, magic, desperate poverty, several jail sentences and the deaths of two dearly loved and deeply mourned wifes and several children. He was born in the Free Imperial City of Cologne on 15 September 1486, almost exactly a month after the Duke of Austria, Kaiser Frederick III had given the Marxbrüder their first priveleges. The name Agrippa is uncommon at the time and it has been suggested to have been added to his name as a result of him being born feet first, as this was how the Romans were thought to have used the name. However, the city of Cologne is also founded on the remains of the Roman colony Aggripina and his name might therefore refer to his family’s origin in Cologne. Cologne is associated with the House of Austria, the Habsburgers, and Agrippa’s family was of minor nobility who had served the royalty of Austria for many generations. His father directly assisted Emperor Frederick III. Agrippa remained a Catholic throughout his life, but he was also openly sympathetic to the protestant reformist Martin Luther. With this in mind it is interesting to note that another early and contemporary Freyfechter;...

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A call to arms!

From at least as far back as the early to mid 1400s, all the way up until about the French Revolution in 1789, longsword fencers have been practicing with fechtschwerter, or what is today commonly called federschwert, a specific sword type with a flared schildt and blunt edges, used specifically for training and/or competing. However, only 23 confirmed swords are known to be preserved in various collections and for this very reason, we would like to ask for your help in locating more of these swords! We need to pool and organize our resources so we can contact as many museums and collections as possible....

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Visiting countries

I find it utterly amazing that since I started measuring the visitor statistics of the HROARR site in March 2009 we have had visitors from the following 115 countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Guernsey, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia [FYROM], Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam. Of these, about a quarter are common countries of origin for the visitors. The Top 10 countries are, in order: United States, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Poland, Canada, Italy, Australia and Spain....

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Review: Arms & Armor Fechterspiel Sword

  Swordsmith: Arms & Armor Arms & Armor have been making swords for practice and sparring since the late 80’s which makes them a very old player in the HEMA field indeed. According to themselves, they felt that they originally had a hard time building a market for swords of the federschwert type, since most customers wanted something that looked like a “real” sharp, and it wasn’t until the late 90’s that they felt that there was a growing market for the federschwert. Still, that makes their federschwert one of the oldest and most tested training swords in HEMA, particularly...

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R.L. Scott Conference in Glasgow, 2012

A Celebration of R.L. Scott and His Arms & Armour Collection Glasgow Museums 19-20 September 2012 “No master better versed in their points” This was arms and armour scholar Sir James Mann’s assessment of this remarkable man. Robert Lyons Scott (1871-1939) was the chairman of the oldest shipbuilding firm in the world. On his death he bequeathed to the people of Glasgow his magnificent collection of arms and armour comprising 890 pieces and 3000 books and manuscripts; the “most considerable collection in private hands at that time”. It included such treasures as the “Avant” armour, c. 1440 and the Greenwich armour for man and horse of the first earl of Pembroke, c. 1555. Along with arms and armour his extraordinary collection contained one of the finest libraries of its kind. What he referred to in 1935 as “the inevitable books – damn them!” include the only surviving copy of the earliest printed book with illustrations on swordsmanship (Vienna, 1516), a unique illustrated MS of the followers of Liechtenauer, and a manuscript in the hand of the master of arms Gregor Erhart. The aim of Scott’s generous bequest was to “provide an instructive survey of the history of arms and armour” to the people of Glasgow. Confirmed speakers include: Prof. Sydney Anglo Dr Tobias Capwell Messrs Michael Chidester John Clements Matt Galas Steve Hick Peter Johnsson Robert C. Woosnam-Savage Location:...

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HEMA event: Bilbao Armata 2012 in Spain.

Confirmed instructors thus far are: Roman Vucajnk (Academia artis dimicatoriae) Harry Winter (Dreynschlag) Alberto Bomprezzi (AEEA) Mishaël Lopes Cardozo (AMEK) Ignacio Buján (Sala de Armas Fénix) Classes will cover dagger, grappling, longsword (close combat techniques, Goliath), rapier (Spanish Destreza), sword&buckler (Lignitzer) and biomechanics. As a reference we leave some comments from Bilbao Armata 2011 instructors Fabrice Cognot (De Taille et d’Estoc) I’ve had the honour and pleasure to be invited to teach at the Bilbao Armata last September. It is always a treat to see old HEMA friends and make new ones, but this pleasure was heightened by the smooth organisation of this event and the outstanding hospitality of its hosts. And in spite of very hot days and nights (though not necessarily for the same reasons), this event delivered, to say the least. I can’t judge for my own part (I talked about French rapier and Burgundian Poleaxe), but I can vouch for the quality of the other classes thanks not only to the high level of martial proficiency and teaching of the other instructors, but also the receptive, dedicated and sometimes highly skilled audience – they even managed to bear with my dubious humour, and that’s saying something. And I had good free play time too. All in all, I have nothing but fond memories of this event – worth every second. Please guys, let me be...

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Meyer and Marozzo dagger comparison

  It has been debated regarding to what extent Meyer was inspired by the Italians, the Napolitans and the Bolognese fighting systems and although there appears to be ties to this, exactly what they are and how they came about is still unclear. However, comparing Marozzo’s and Meyer’s dagger images I think there is an unusual amount of similarities between the two, enough to lead me to believe that Meyer is the closest to Marozzo’s treatise, when comparing also to other treatises, both “German” and Italian”. Examining the illustrations in both treatises we find that Marozzo shows 17 dagger fighting...

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Spanish FEEH HEMA event in the Mallorcas!

The FEEH (Spanish Historical Fencing Federation) holds it’s first international event the 12th, 13th and 14th of OCTOBER 2012 and the whole international HEMA community is invited. The event is focused on fencers who already have certain experience and would like to deepen their knowledge on certain weapons or styles. However no experience is really required to attend. There will be nothing too fancy, Longsword, Rapier, Dagger, Messer, Ringen and Double Weapons, mainly, Free Fencing all day long and a small tournament (Rapier and Longsword) but with two levels for each weapon, a basic one to get it’s working principles and a more advanced one for veteran fencers, or just fencers that have already taken the first class (although this is, of course, not mandatory) and wish to focus more on that weapon or style. Confirmed workshops thus far are: Ringen and Hand to Hand – Jaime Girona Rapier by Joachim Meyer – Roman Vucajnk Time and Measure Practical Application with Longsword – Pablo Moya Montes Double Wield with Renaissance weapons – Eugenio García-Salmones Lecküchner’s Messer – Alex Kiermeyer There will be two tournaments; a Longsword Tournament and a Rapier Tournament. There will also be a guided tour around Palma de Mallorca’s beautiful streets, including cultural visits and of course free fencing. For more info, go to: Mallorca HEMA...

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New research project: Meyer’s general advice

This project will collect all of Joachim Meyer’s personal advice on fighting, stripping away all techniques instead focusing on fighting principles, tactics and strategies. Anyone is welcome to join us in this project. The results will be posted here continuously as the work progresses. Initially we will try to focus on five topics: 1. Meyer’s General Advice 2. Meyer’s advice on the Two-handed swords 3. Meyer’s advice on the Dussack 4. Meyer’s advice on the Rappier 5. Meyer’s advice on the...

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Travel diary from visiting Sint Michielsgilde /Hallebardiers – the oldest European Fencing School in Brugge, Belgium

Last week I visited the Hallebardiers/Sint Michielsgilde in Brugge, Belgium having been invited to assist the excellent Kevin Maurer of the Meyer Frei Fechter Guild by teaching the Halbenstangen (quarterstaff) of Joachim Meyer. Here is a short travel diary from that visit. Friday 27/4 Up at 04:00 after a night without sleep due to a certain tension before the trip and due to the battery of my alarm clock almost being completely drained… Flight leaves Gothenburg at 06:55 and I arrive in Brussels at 12:50 where the super-friendly Krist Martens picks me up. We go straight to the University Library of Leuven...

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New German rapier treatise added: Joachim Koppen from 1619 (1625)

Joachim Koppen was a Phil. and Med. Doctor in Magdeburg who wrote this treatise after having been taught to fence at the University of Wittenberg by a certain Heinrich Beler(n) von Bautzen. It was first published in 1619, and then in 1625 and 1880. His treatise is also inspired by Italian fencing master Salvator Fabris. Furthermore there are notes from 1630-35 about a Fähnrich and Capitain Joachim Köppen in Swedish service fighting against the Catholics. If this is the same person is at this stage still unclear. Neuer Discurs der Rittermessigen Kuns des...

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Doing what we are told or what we are taught?

Here’s an old but still always relevant question for us HEMA practitioners to ask ourselves: When we read the old fencing treatises, should we only practice what we are told to do in the treatises or should we try to continue with the next step of playing with it and even do things that we are not explicitly shown or suggested to do in the various stücke? To be able to explore this question; here’s a specific topic that constantly keeps returning in various debates: Meyer is said to not be teaching thrusting with the longsword. Yet, we know for...

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Unique new treatise added

We just added a rather unique new, but uncompleted treatise to our database. This time it is the Codex Guelf 83.4 August 8°, entitled “Das ander Theil des newen kunstreichen Fechtbuches, darin alle fürnembste nutzbarliche vnd geheimbte Stücke, so im Schwerdt, halben Stangen, Helbart, Tolch, Dosacken, Tolchnehmen vnd im Ringen  vnd Werffen nützlich können gebraucht werdenn, zu befinden seindt. Anno 1591. Mit handschriftlichen Erklärungen dazu”, written by an anonymous author in 1591. What makes it unique is the fact that it is not a Liechtenauer treatise and yet teaches both Ringen, longsword, dagger, staff, halberd and dussack. As such it is the fourth known “original” treatise to handle the dussack, alongside of Andres Paurnfeindt, Paul Hektor Mair and Joachim Meyer (not counting the Meyer-derived Jakob Sutor and Theodor Verolini). It is also the 2nd proper illustrated treatise to handle the Halben Stangen and the Halberd, with the other being the 1570 treatise of Joachim Meyer. All this makes this treatise very, very interesting indeed. Not to mention the rather gruesome and gory images showing some sturdy boys whacking the living shit out of each other. Thanks to Herzog August Bibliothek for providing...

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Happy Easter!

  We would like to wish you all a Happy Easter! A lot of really exciting things are going on in our community. The number of practitioners is constantly growing and we appear to be a couple of thousand more than we were only two years ago, totalling an estimated 12,000 worldwide. We have also finally received good attention from manufacturers of protective gear, like, Absolute Force, Akademia Broni, Allstar, Negrini, PBT and not least Spes Historical Fencing who all have almost complete HEMA lines. Absolute Force even lists us on the same level as judo, karate, boxing & fencing, which is very cool. A lot of interesting research is going on and we can look forward to even more, read worthy publications soon, like the new print of the MS. I.33, a book on Duarte and a book on Leküchner, all by Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng. On top of that we have all the HEMA events which seem to be growing healthily, with the recently held Fechtschule America, the upcoming 11th gathering in Dijon and SKUNKS in Rybnik, Poland in May, Longpoint 2012 in Baltimore, USA in June, the 3rd World Wide Open Longsword Championship in Hannover, Germany and Fight Camp in Coventry, UK in August and of course Swordfish in Gothenburg, Sweden in November. And there are several other very interesting events to be found on the events page of HROARR. Recently we also saw the formation of both the French and the Swedish national HEMA federations....

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Liechtenauer a Swede!

Just found solid proof that Johannes Liechtenauer originally came from Sweden and that this Johannes of Sueeno is indeed the fencing teacher that Fiore Dei Liberi says he was taught by. Sueeno is an older spelling of what is today called “Svea”. Tacitus (and Julius Caesar)  wrote about the Suebi’s who originally lived in Northern Germany close to the Elbe, and the Suiones in Scandinavia, in both Svea, Suomi (Finland) and Swabia. The Suebi did indeed move south to what became Swabia. The Svea clan was one of the competing clans in Sweden and the ones who finally seized power over what would become Svea Rike ie Sverige (Sweden). Finland (Suomi) was a part of Sweden all the way up until 1819 when we lost it to Russia and its name Suomi is linguistically related to Sweden. The names of the clans of Suebi and Suioni has been suggested to mean “Free people” or “One’s own people“. I can also reveal that Johan originally came from Lidsjön (pronounced “lichoen”) in Värmland, near Dalarna, Sweden. It is easy to see how the name has mutated over the centuries… Johan från Lidsjön became Johannes von Lichtenau. This evidence also provides a clear link between Viking staff fighting and Portuguese Jogo do Pau as the Swedes ruled Gallicia in Northern Portual and spread their staff fighting techniques while living there. Suebic King Hermeric founded the Galician...

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The history of Joachim Meyer’s fencing treatise to Otto von Solms.

The Joachim Meyer fechtbuch named MS A.4°.2, a beautiful hand-written and watercolour-illustrated fencing treatise dedicated to Herrn Otto von Solms-Sonnewalde is currently held at the University Library of Lund, but how did it end up there after having been given to the young Count Otto von Solms some time in the 1560s? As it was a personal gift to Otto von Solms we can fairly safely assume that he was given the book sometime during either his studies or his early travels. As it happens, Otto traveled to Strassburg both in 1560 and in 1568, two years before Joachim Meyer’s death, where...

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Beautiful facsimiles of the I.33 coming soon

The Royal Armouries have teamed up with specialist publishers of military manuscripts Extraordinary Editions to produce a full-size facsimile of the manuscript in a limited edition. Each copy of the manuscript will come complete with a companion volume containing a full transcription and translation of every page and a new introduction by Dr Jeffrey L. Forgeng. Royal Armouries manuscript I.33, also known as the Tower Fechtbuch or the Walpurgis Manuscript, is the oldest known manual of swordsmanship in the western canon and one of the oldest in the world. The manuscript comprises 64 pages of approximately 30 x 23 cm, each richly illustrated, depicting a priest instructing a scholar and describing, with text and verse, a system of combat with the sword and buckler (a small  round shield). Beginning with a few remarks on the art and illustrations of the seven basic guards it then proceeds to depict some 38 combat sequences. Dr Forgeng is the Paul S. Morgan Curator at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worchester, Massachusetts. He rediscovered the manuscript lying almost unknown in the Royal Armouries’ library at the Tower of London and set about translating it. He became the world’s foremost authority on the manuscript and his original work published in 2003 sold out quickly and has been sought after ever since. He now adds nearly a decade of research to that original text. More...

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New HEMA club in Dundee, Scotland

New HEMA club in Dundee, Scotland called The Institute for Historical Arts. The club is run by Mark Wilkie and James Burn, who also runs the University based group RMAS, which is affiliated with Academy of Historical Arts (AHA). The club has a strong focus on the Liechtenauer tradition, but will also be offering Silver’s broadsword , I.33 Sword & Buckler and in time even...

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In honour of the 19th cent pioneers of HEMA

In honour of the 19th cent pioneers of HEMA, Cpt Alfred Hutton, Barton Wright, Gustav Hergsell, Egerton Castle, Cpt Sir Richard Burton, Cpt. Carl Thimm, Colonel Cyril Matthey, Sir Frederick Pollock, Prof. Dr. Panconcelli-Calzia, J. Kpt Emil Fick, Major Nils Hellsten, Schmied-Kowarzik & H. Kufahl and others like minded and amazing...

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New HEMA group in London, UK

A new baby is born: Kunst des Fechtens has had a 12th chapter, fathered by Peter Smallridge who has studied with KdF Nottingham before moving south. The focus will naturally be on Liechtenauer longsword with “an approach based around compact, efficient body mechanics, engaging with the source material and training KdF as an alive martial art. The group will be meeting in central London starting from March or April. If interested, you can contact Peter at...

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The tools for the job

To understand the body mechanics involved in a technique we not only have to train our bodies so we are strong and agile enough, we also need to use tools that work together with our bodies in the appropriate manner. This may seem obvious but is really not and it can become quite apparent when interpreting the sources with tools that have very different characteristics. One such example is how you can train Joachim Meyer’s Halben Stangen Techniques with a regular staff and build your understanding solely on that. However, since Meyer is actually preparing us for the use of the Halberd, we really need to have that in mind and even practice the body mechanics that are required for a considerably more “forward-heavy” weapon, like a proper halberd. Then, it becomes apparent how you need to move to be able to do the Kreutzhauw, where you cross-cut without crossing your arms, like with the Montante. Another such example that I am currently very curious about, as I am exploring the body mechanics of Meyer’s longsword, is what the characteristics really are for his longsword? We know that they were quite long, at least in his treatise of 1570, reaching well into the armpit and with a hilt the length of your forearm. Judging from the pommel size and tapering of the blades shown in the illustrations they do not seem to be...

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Joachim Meÿer Halben Stangen techniques

The Guards Here are the main guards of Joachim Meÿer’s Halben Stangen: 1. Oberhut (left) 2. Gerader Versatzung (or Mittelhut) 3. Unterhut 4. Wechselhut (Not really a “main” guard, but a key stance) 5. Oberhut (right) 6. Steurhut 7. Nebenhut (left) All these can be tied together in a cross-cutting exercise called the “Kreutzhauw“. __________________________________________________________ The Kreutzhauw This is the Kreutzhauw practice using the main guards of Joachim Meÿer’s Halben Stangen: 1. Oberhut (left) 2. Gerader Versatzung (or Mittelhut) 3. Unterhut 4. Wechselhut (Not really a “main” guard, but a key stance) 5. Oberhut (right) 6. Steurhut 7. Nebenhut (left) __________________________________________________________ Parrying from Oberhut This is a simple parrying exercise where you start from the two Oberhut, somewhat corresponding to the longsword guards Tag and Ochs. The exercise means that you start in one of the two guards and can parry with a strike into any other guard. Note: This clip should be replaced since it didn’t quite turn out as I wanted to. I should have restricted myself more clearly to the two Oberhut and more tightly to using Zwerch-like parries. __________________________________________________________ Parrying from Unterhut & Steürhut This is a simple parrying exercise where you start from Unterhut and Steürhut. The exercise means that you start in one of the two guards and can parry with a strike into any other guard. __________________________________________________________ Parrying from Left Nebenhut and...

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Strengthening exercises

Here are some very crude video clips we shot today of the strengthening exercises we have begun working with in the Meÿer Halben Stangen class at Gothenburg Historical Fencing School. Since they are relevant to longsword practice, the article is cross-post into both the Halben Stangen and the Longsword project. As you can see we are still not performing some of them properly as we are still building enough strength and balance to be able to do that. But, it will give you some ideas on what you can do. Our focus is currently on building leg strength and balance, combined with the body mechanics and footwork of Meÿer. We will record these again and replace these raw clips as we get better. Oh, and sorry for the heavy breathing! Wish I could mute all clips, but YT does not allow that. Pole Yoga Make sure your feet, hips and shoulders extend and twist properly. This is basically done to stretch your joints and muscles, but also to train your balance and get you used to the body mechanics of Meyer’s Halben Stangen techniques. Skipping rope or the “Tom Cruise” (not shown.) To get some cardio and to strengthen your calves. Kreutzhauw with weighted staff The staff has 4kg of weight attached at the end. Make sure to extend properly by passing through the stances Left Oberhut (Tag) – Gerader...

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The French HEMA Federation (FFAMHE) has been founded.

After 12 years in preparation several French associations and clubs have gathered and managed to create a structure for a French HEMA federation. The site of the Fédération Française des Arts Martiaux Historiques Européens (FFAMHE) can be found here. http://www.ffamhe.fr/ The founding associations are: CREATIF (Conservatoire Régional d’Escrime Artistique et de Théâtre d’Ile de France) REGHT (Recherche et Expérimentation du Geste Historique et Technique) Ecole Chevaleresque d’Art Martial Historique Européen PEAMHE (Pôle d’Etude des Arts Martiaux Historiques Européens) Compagnie Saint Guilhem ARCA (Ateliers de Reconstitution de la Croix d’Argent) Association pour la Recherche et le Développement des Arts Martiaux Historiques Européens – Ile de France (A.R.D.A.M.H.E.-I.D.F.), Arts d’Armes De Taille et d’Estoc – Association Bourguignonne de Recherche et de Développement des Arts Martiaux Historiques Européens Cercle des Escrimeurs Libres Nantais (CLEN) Clair de Lame EPEE Médiévale Lugdunenses Their elected president is Guillaume Vaillaut, from De taille et d’estoc. More about the goals and purposes of the federation can be found on their site....

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An open invitation.

Hi everyone! I would like to share a bit of my vision for the new HROARR site. First of all, its purpose is simply to help research, material development and practicing of HEMA. This is done by providing tools, source material, links and info. Thus far the work has been done mostly by me, with the good support of GHFS, but in the future I hope to expand on several existing collaborations and grow quite a few new ones. It has occured to me, however, that the HEMA community currently has no common place to gather for connecting, finding news, share research and be inspired by what other people do. True, there are forums and blogs, but they are not quite what I speak of. So, basically, what I and some other like-minded people are now hoping to be able to do, with your help, is to turn the HROARR site into a mix of a free online HEMA magazine and a research / project tool. A water hole for the HEMA community, if you will… With the new version of the site comes a lot of new, interesting possibilities, as I can now open up the HROARR site to other researchers and practitioners. For one thing, I can now add sub-pages for community projects and one is already up, where the GHFS Halben Stangen group will collaborate with anyone interested and share exercises, ideas and interpretations....

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Chronicon Helvetiae

Just some brief reflections on  images from Chronicon Helvetiae by Christoph Silberysen, dated to 1576, currently kept in the Aargauer Kantonsbibliothek in Aarau, Switzerland. Christoph Silbereysen (* 1541 in Baden AG; † 1608 in Wettingen)  was  abbot of the Cistercian Monastery of Wettingen. The chronicle was illustrated by Jacob Hoffmann and it is part of the Swiss Chronicles. It is currently kept in  the Aargau Cantonal library. The two parts from which these images are taken describe the early history of Switzerland, the founding of the cantons and amongst many other interesting battles, the Battle of Morgarten against the German King Rudolf I in 1315 and...

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Talhoffer: New research in the Royal Library.

Here’s a interesting post on the front page of the Danish Royal Library. Amongst other things, the research of well-known HEMA-researcher and curator Claus Sørensen is presented and the whole news post is illustrated by an image from Talhoffer’s “Thott” treatise, located in the the Danish Royal Library. The 640 page yearbook entitled Fund og Forskning i Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Bind 50, 2011 in which all this research is presented in can be bought for 500 Danish Crowns. Purchase details are provided in the news article. If you are not so fluent in Danish, here is a Google...

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Meyer quarterstaff – A lesson plan

I thought it might interest some to see how a typical lesson plan for our Meÿer staff class in GHFS looks like. This is of course too much for a single 2 hour class and most of it will be practiced repeatedly through various exercises and the more technical parts will be broken down over the next few months. But this class aims to freshen up on the whole concept of Meÿer’s teachings. ____________________________________________________________ Warm-up 1. Footwork exercises 2. Strengthening circuit. 50sec/station.  a. Kreutzhauw with weighted staff – Foot, shoulder & hip twist.  b. Sideways squats with club.  c. Diagonal Heel lift / jumping rope  d. Jumping squats or splits – high up.  e. Sexy pole dancing  f. The clock  g. Squat jacks   3. Parries: Longsword, Dussack or JdP. Free choice.   Discussion Why practice the Kreutzhauw?   Exercises 1. Precision thrusts with steps. 2. Distances and entering the bind from different guards” ii. Forward-most part of the staff and longest range. 1. Schlagen / Umbschlagen 2. Bleiben a. Schnappen / Zucken b. Rucken c. Dürchwechseln   iii. Mid-forward part of the staff and somewhat closer range OR in between the hands and close range. 1. Absetzen 2. Winden 3. Überschiessen stoss 4. Trücken   iv. Close range 1. Überschiessen + Streich/ Ringen 2. Stangen nehmen 3. Ringen am Stangen   Sparring  ...

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Welcome.

[metaslider id=9849] The HROARR site focuses on different aspects of Historical European Martial Arts. It is meant to serve both as a help to active HEMA practitioners and as a source of inspiration for people that are unfamiliar with this form of Martial Arts. At its core the HROARR site is a free online HEMA magazine with contributions from the whole community. It is also a neutral meeting ground where we can all connect, share and learn from each other using the tools provided by the...

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A restart!

Welcome to the brand new site for HROARR. There are literally tons of interesting material to dive into and we have only begun to scratch at the surface. If you wish to contribute with any material, then please let me know. Furthermore, please accept my apologies for broken links! The news archive in particular will contain many broken links  and links leading to the old site due to migrating the site from the old server and platform to a new. If you find any in articles and link pages, please let me know. I appreciate any...

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Review: Lichtenauer steel longsword

In a way I think one’s first real sword is like your first love. It is something you will always remember in a special way, since it was such a strong emotion experienced for the first time. My first, was a Pavel Moc Dürrer. Since then I have bought several swords of his making, both sharp and blunt. Following a debate regarding the length of longswords, and having written a short article about How long a longsword should be, I was quite excited hearing that Pavel had designed a new really long longsword called the “Lichtenauer”. The images I initially saw didn’t exactly lessen this excitement. But first a little background on the maker of this sword: Pavel lives and works in Kolin, 45km east of Prague, and has been making swords professionally for 13 years. In his ancestry Pavel has blacksmiths going back several generations and this, in combination with his interest in history led him onto the path of becoming a professional swordsmith. In his factory he designs and produces swords both for reenactors, for HEMA-sparring and truly amazing high-end replicas for museums and collectors. The specific profile of his works is to create designs close to historic originals and still keep the price range in line with what is affordable to the wider swordsmen community. At this he is without doubt quite successful, although a certain...

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Review: The Dave Rawlings/Knightshop Synthetic longsword – Pro-Line Extreme

Few HEMA-related products have caused as much debate as the Dave Rawlings/Knightshop range of Synthetic Swords. This comes quite natural as they were developed in close collaboration with the HEMA community, and the way we practice differ quite a lot inbetween clubs. So how has the Red Dragon Armoury succeeded in satisfying all our different expectations? The answer is complicated and to be perfectly honest, I find the Knightshop line of synthetic swords a bit tricky to review, which is the reason why the review was delayed quite a bit. Although I have had concerns for some of the characteristics of the blades and share other peoples’ concern regarding “whippiness” and a tendency to leave somewhat nastier bruises, I also think it is partly a matter of using the right tool for the job.  Furthermore, I am deeply impressed by the manufacturer’s ambition to improve on the blades to make them suit the HEMA fencers’ needs while maintaining a sustainable production method that works with mass production. With that said, the Knightshop synthetic longswords have both advantages and disadvantages. The blades are quite safe in thrusting. At the same time, a bit too large flexibility still makes working from the bind rather tricky and since this is essential in the fencing most of us study, it is a problem. However, it becomes less pronounced with each “generation” of these...

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The Secret Fechtbuch of the Little Fuggers.

The famous Augsburg family Fuggers are still considered to have been one of the wealthiest families in the world of all times, and since they were based in Augsburg, and also lived in Nuremberg and other well-known centres of fencing, it would only seem natural that at least some members of this family trained fencing in the Liechtenauer tradition. Here are some clues that might just reinforce this thought. The images below are taken from the book Das Ehrenbuch der Fugger (BSB Cgm.9460) from 1545-48. It depicts various members of the family and was probably commissioned by Anton Fugger,...

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Fechtschwert or a blunt longsword?

What kind of steel longsword should one choose for sparring? There are of course many aspects to consider. However, many instinctively discount the so called fechtschwert, since they look too weak and commonly are associated with sports fencing in late 16th century fechtschulen, rather than proper training for combat and duelling. They are simply not seen as “real” swords. Is this really a fair assumption? With this in mind, we can look to the fencing manuals and see what was used by our predecessors. After all, they ought to have had a good grasp on what tools one should...

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Deutsche Fechtkunst im 16. Jahrhundert.

What was it like in a German 16th Century Fechtboden? Here is a glimpse written by Prof. Dr. G Panconcelli-Calzia in 1926, based on his studies of the manuscript entitled “Codex Guelf 83.4 August 8°, which still resides in the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. Prof. Dr. G Panconcelli-Calzia is a notable author of several books on experimental phonetics and was an early researcher of the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). Preceeded by the more famous Alfred Hutton, Egerton Castle, Sir Richard Burton, and other early fencers in the late 19th century, he tried reviving HEMA in the mid 1920’s, when he was in his 40s. As such he is quite interesting, since he belongs to a second generation of early HEMA recreationists. However, little is known about how his ambitions actually turned out. And of course, the decades following his publications on Kunst des Fechtens (KDF) saw chaos and turmoil of never before seen proportions, with the rise of the fascist movement in large parts of Europe and the coming WWII, which may explain why we see no more articles on the topic after the 1920s. But, during the years of 1922-48 Panconcelli-Calzia was a professor at the University of Hamburg and during his first  years he wrote several extensive articles on the topic of fencing, both modern and historical. Here is a list of the known articles:...

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Review: Zugadore poly sparring sword by Revival.us.

This waster came seemingly out of nowhere onto the market, at a time were we are seeing very quick changes and developments in the line of sparring swords available for HEMA fencers. Its sleek lines and, for a Liechtenauer-fencer, odd-sounding name has raised a bit of attention amongst the HEMA fencers, but how does it hold up to closer scrutiny? Let’s find out… The Zugadore waster was designed by Revival.us in close collaboration with Brian R. Price, notable author of several books on medieval and Renaissance combat and the founder of Schola St. George, which today has 17 chapters...

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Review: Norrlands waster by Plastsmeden

The best longsword nylon wasters I have tried thus far were hand made by Pentti of GHFS. Unfortunately he no longer produces these, so they are near impossible to come by. However, the little known “Norrlandswastern” is the next in line and it offers quite unique features. In fact it excels in many ways and makes the Penttis look crude. These too are handmade with quite a bit of love and pride, and they can be designed according to your specifications, with regards to length and balance. In fact, a small folder, describing how to shorten the grip to...

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Review: Synthetic Longsword Type II by Purpleheart Armoury

This hand-made Synthetic Longsword II is actually a bit of an old Rolls Royce or a Bentley. The quality of the build and components is excellent and it is based on a design of wooden wasters that have been proven from more than ten years of use. It is very sturdy and will probably outlast many of the other nylon wasters. At the same time, in my opinion, the general design has been somewhat bypassed by synthetic swords of other makers, both in handling and with regards to safety characteristics. Looking at the characteristics it is roughly an equivalent...

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Review: Synthetic Longsword Waster by Pentti of GHFS

I consider myself very fortunate having had the chance to follow the development and having been able to practice with the infamous Pentti nylon wasters, which in my experience is amongst the finest nylon sword simulators, if not the finest; due to a very simple reason, the quality of the material in the blades… Sparring clip showing the last generation of the Pentti wasters. Unfortunately Pentti no longer produces these wasters so they can only be bought second hand, if you are lucky enough to find someone who is willing to part with his Pentti waster. However, the blade characteristics of these are so unique that I feel that it is vital to take a closer look at the Penttis before discussing the other synthetics on offer by other makers. UPDATE: PurpleHearts makes very fine copies of these called Pentti+ and I can highly recommend them, as they are near identical in design, and above all uses the same high-quality material, rolled Amid PA6. Admirably, Pentti has never settled with a single design. On the contrary, he has listened to the opinions and thoughts of the rest of the club and has constantly sought to improve his designs, ending with a 4th generation of his longsword design. Cleverly, this has obviously been studied well during the development of the Knightshop synthetic longswords and it continues to influence other makers as...

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Spinning around Hollywood Style?

Never ever turn your back against your opponent sounds like a good, solid advice, but is it always so? What do you do for instance, when you face multiple opponents? This article will give a few examples of Renaissance sources that touch upon this topic. In almost every movie fight involving swords there is a certain sequence that involves a pirouette, where the hero spins around, temporarily turning his back on his adversary, before striking in. It looks cool and flashy, but is commonly disregarded by HEMA fencers as being “unmartial” and ridiculous. It is something Kung Fu monks...

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Knightly Arts: A true-hearted letter of warning of the sad state of current Christianity.

How did one train soldiers and horses for war in the 17th century? These images give a small glimpse of how this was done in Germany, quite possibly in the city of Siegen, somewhere around the first quarter of the 1600s. These illustrations are taken from Johann Jacobi von Wallhausen’s “Ritter kunst : Darinnen begriffen, I. Ein trewhertziges Warnung- schreiben wegen deß Betrübten Zustands jetziger Christenheit. II. Undersicht aller Handgriffen so ein jeder Cauallirer hochnötig zu wissen bedarff.“ of 1614, and show various forms of practice for war, both for man and horse. In my opinion they are especially...

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Is there really a Left Vom Tag?

Well there is a right Vom Tag, and a middle one… so there has to be a left Vom Tag as well, hasn’t there? We make all master cuts cut from both sides, so it is simple logic, right? Looking through the manuscripts and manuals of the 15th and 16th century, it is obvious that the guard Vom Tag can be done in numerous variations, as described in this article: How do you do the Vom Tag? However, one vital question has received fairly little attention; the question if there really is a proper left Vom Tag for right-handed...

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How do you do the Vom Tag?

No, it’s not the hottest, new move on the dance floor. It’s just the old High Guard as it is taught by Master Liechtenauer and his disciples, may God rest their souls. But how should it be done, really? The guard Vom Tag is a simple thing when you look at it super- ficially. However, when you examine the often ambiguous advise given in the manuscripts and reflect on the possible translations of words and sentences, while comparing with the illustrations, you soon realize that the term Vom Tag contains a very broad spectra of possible stances. Basically there...

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How long should a longsword be?

A simple reply would be long enough to reach your opponent. Stupid answer, I know… But the question is also stupid… sort of. Let me explain. Real longswords from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance can range from about 110cm – 150cm with a medium probably about a 120-125cm, which is the “standard” length of most sparring swords today as well, give or take a couple of centimetres. However, when we look at illustrations in the fechtbuchen, we soon discover that the swords shown usually reaches from well into the armpit all the way up to the forehead. We...

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How do you grip a sword?

Gripping a sword may sound like the easiest part of fencing; I mean it is just a matter of grabbing a sword and holding on to it. However, as we will briefly examine below, at least with some fencing masters like Hans Talhoffer, things are just a little bit more complicated than that. In fact, the practice of gripping the arming and longsword in different ways may well have been a strong factor in the development of swords with complex hilts. These are various images showing variations in grip and wrist angles with different types of sword. The earliest...

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Sparring swords – Introduction

What defines a good sparring weapon? A common notion is that it should be as close as possible to the real, sharp weapon it simulates, but be designed with safety in mind, thus lowering the risk of permanent injury. However, since a sharp weapon is designed to injure, this is an inbuilt contradiction. Due to this simple fact, safer weapons always have drawbacks since they just aren’t supposed to perform the same way as real weapons. This has lead to various forms of solutions by different makers, both historically and in modern times. Traditionally, there have been a few...

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Review: Scimitars Fencing Shoes

Finding good, suitable equipment for Hema is a problem we all wrestle with and there are few products aiming to fulfill our particular needs. I have been looking at shoes for handball, basketball, land hockey, boxing, wrestling, budo and regular sneakers, but none of them really hold up to closer inspection. They do work of course, but they are designed for other uses and thus have features that are slightly “off” with regards to Hema. But, since we are fencing with swords, I thought I’d take a closer look at specialized fencing shoes. Having been naturally gifted with small...

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