An overview of the Iberian Montante

An overview of the Iberian Montante

This article gathers a series of notes written while studying the sources on the Iberian montante sword of the late XV century and following centuries. The extant sources are listed and analysed. Different approaches to teaching this weapon’s handling are described, stressing those who can provide a context for its use.

Presenting for Education

Presenting for Education

The Phoenix Society went to the Arizona Knife Collector Association’s big knife-show and we didn’t go to recruit. The demographic was mostly older men, including knife-makers and knife-collectors. There were few, if any, potential recruits at this event....
Fencing and Modernity

Fencing and Modernity

What is a Fencer? Part II The sword is one of the most powerful symbols of our culture. But how does the sword and fencing fit into our modern world? And what defines modernity? Today, we take a deeper look at what it means to be a fencer. We dive into the soul of men...
Choreographing HEMA for film

Choreographing HEMA for film

A director who was filming a documentary about a historical battle on a ship recently approached me. So, this is an attempt to share experiences so that we can learn and develop our methods. I know that there are quite a few people within the HEMA community working...

On Tournament rules

Well I guess this is the “hot potato” of the HEMA community! I am sure that a lot of other people before me and surely a lot of others after me will deal with the subject. First of all I have to let you know that I never participated in any tournament due to...
Resources on Medieval Literacy, Part II

Resources on Medieval Literacy, Part II

The 13th Century: Commercial numeracy and literacy. Lay literacy and the first public schools. The Beguines of Flanders. The second life of the translation school of Toledo. Writing in the vernacular. Eyeglasses. The commonplace book. The Universities. The Fourth...
Resources on Medieval Literacy, Part I

Resources on Medieval Literacy, Part I

Resources on Medieval Literacy, Part 1 When we talk about Historical European Martial Arts we obviously tend to focus on the martial first and foremost. Most HEMA research emphasizes the content of the manuals themselves, parsing and reparsing the author’s words and...

Teaching progressions in Meyer’s longsword 1: the attacking skill tree

Over the last five years, I’ve given several workshops in both South Africa and Europe focused on sequencing the teaching of techniques from Joachim Meyer’s “Gründtliche Beschreibung… der Kunst des Fechtens”[i]. In my view, each section in Meyer’s 1570 text contains...
HEMA and politics

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...
The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 6

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...
The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 5

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...
The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 4

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...
Longswords and their data

Longswords and their data

For the past year or so, I have been gathering data on longswords. These come from a wide range of different source, from the dark nooks of the foreboding internet to dusty tomes found in libraries. The quest has yielded around 60 longswords dated from the 13th to the...
The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 3

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...
The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 2

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...

Unfolding the cape

Neither a real weapon, nor a simple cloth: the cape in Italian martial arts. The cape is an item of clothing, subject to the rules of fashion and climate, and cannot be described appropriately by measures and rules, therefore it may have various shapes, lengths and...
The Onion: Basics of European Longsword: Part 1

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...

French fencing guilds

French fencing guilds of Paris, Lille, and Amiens in the 16th and 17th century Translated by Pierre Pichon Edited by Jean Chandler, SDA NOLA, New Orleans & Roger Norling, GHFS/MFFG Finally we have here English translations of French fencing guild documents from...

What is a fencer?

I know I am not the only one who feels fencing is more than training, research, techniques, sparring, and competitions. Being a fencer means something—but what, exactly? Some of the best people I know are fencers, and their personalities are a part of their fencing....

Flower of Battle

Here is an excellent lecture on Fiore Furlano de Liberi, Ludwig von Eyb and more, by Michael Chidester, held at Fechtschule America 2013. Well worth watching, no matter if you focus more on the “Italian” or “German” aspects of the fighting...

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...

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...

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...
Didrik von Porat

Didrik von Porat

For some time now I have searched and collected information about the Swedish fencing  Master Didrik von Porat. This is what I have found out. According to his Letter of Nobility, which he got when he was knighted, Didrik von Porat was tutored during his youth. In...
Chronicon Helvetiae

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...