Category: Research

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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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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Society for Historical European Martial Arts Studies (SHEMAS) – announcement

The Society for Historical European Martial Arts Studies (SHEMAS) is an idea that turned into a project several years ago. It comes from a need that stems from both the academic and independent researchers’ communities involved into HEMA studies: visibility and recognition. As I have argued in this article, the scholars dedicated to dance studies in the 1970’s faced the same lack of visibility and of academic recognition. They stumbled upon the same kind of issues: studying bodily knowledge mainly through technical literature and representations. They involved or collaborated with expert practitioners in their research projects. They did two...

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Concerning the Reliability of the Waggle Test

Dynamic parameters define a rigid body’s reaction to external forces. While their importance for a sword’s behaviour is known since the 19th century, many data sets of original swords, replicas and training weapons include mass and the centre of mass, but lack a third parameter such as moment of inertia, radius of gyration, or corresponding centres of oscillation/percussion. A third parameter, however, is required to calculate a rigid object’s response.

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The Dutch Experiment – De Hollandsche Methode, Christiaan Siebenhaar, and fencing in the Netherlands in the 19th Century

In the mid-19th century, not that long after the Belgian war of independence, an experiment was taking place in fencing in the Netherlands. The main proponent of this experiment was Christiaan Siebenhaar (1824-1885), fencing master in the Dutch army.[1] In his own words, the purpose of his experiment was to “introduce the Dutch language in the Art of Fencing” so that “soon nobody is found in the Netherlands anymore who teaches this art in a foreign language”.[2] However, the real purpose of this experiment appears to have been more ambitious than that: to create a Dutch School of Fencing...

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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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Riddled in Ink – A Stylistic Comparison of Artwork in MS M.383 and the Novati Facsimile

Proposition This article proposes that Francesco Novati’s 1902 facsimile reproduction of Flos Duellatorum contains clear stylistic discrepancies that can both elucidate its connection to the original Pisani-Dossi manuscript, and identify connections between the Pisani-Dossi and other manuscripts of The Flower of Battle. These inconsistencies surface in the bottom two images of Novati Carta 13A, and in all four images of Novati Carta 13B.[1] This article seeks to illustrate that all six of these images not only differ stylistically from the rest of the artwork in the Novati facsimile, but indeed share strong stylistic similarities with the artwork of the...

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The Flower of Battle of Master Fiore Friulano de’i Liberi

Last week, in the same spirit of information freedom that inspired Wiktenauer’s creation, I released a free ebook version of The Recital of the Chivalric Art of Fencing of the Grand Master Johannes Liechtenauer, one of the two books produced as part of the 2015 Wiktenauer Fundraising Drive. Today, I give you the second: The Flower of Battle of Master Fiore Friulano de’i Liberi. As before, the translations have been updated with changes made by my translators since the book went to print, various typos and formatting errors have been corrected, and the images have been compressed to reduce...

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The Recital of the Chivalric Art of Fencing of the Grand Master Johannes Liechtenauer

Though long delayed, this book represents the most complete picture possible of the Liechtenauer tradition of foot combat as it was recorded in the mid 15th century. It’s the text I wanted for my students when I was leading a study group, and I’m happy to finally offer it in print. I hope it serves in some small way to advance the study of Johannes Liechtenauer’s art.

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King and Fool – The Vier Leger of Liechtenauer’s Tradition

King and Fool – The Vier Leger of Liechtenauer’s Tradition and their relationship with common medieval German archetypes. Exposition includes three things: The letter, the sense, and the inner meaning. (1) “Vier leger allain da von halt und fleuch dye gemain ochβ pflueg alber vom tag sey dir nicht unmär. (2)” “Four guards alone hold; and disdain the common. Ox, Plow, Fool, From the Roof should not be unknown to you. (3)” “Four lays hold to and flee these alike. Ox, plow, foolish, clear as day, let these not be unwelcome to you. (4)” I have pondered the translation of...

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The Last Duel, Part 2: Death by Sodomy

Part One of this article examined the famous judicial duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, which was held in Paris in 1386. As it turns out, the description of the event in Eric Jager’s book The Last Duel is rather different from the five surviving medieval accounts of the fight. Part Two will use the medieval sources to reconstruct what really happened in the combat, using HEMA knowledge to interpret the texts. Anatomy of a Duel The final showdown between Carrouges and Le Gris was preceded by lengthy ceremonies, which were themselves preceded by months of...

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What Really Happened at the Last Duel? Part1

According to the website Deadline Hollywood, Studio 8 has hired a screenwriter to turn Eric Jager’s book The Last Duel into a script for a Hollywood movie (Fleming, 2015). This tale, published as nonfiction, is an account of the judicial duel in 1386 between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris over the accusation that Le Gris raped Carrouges’ wife. For most critics and viewers, the film’s relevance to our own time will come from its story of a woman whose rape is hushed up until a man advocates for her. However, the Historical European Martial Arts community will...

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Florius de Arte Luctandi: Challenges and Discoveries in a Contemporary Latin Translation of Fiore dei Liberi

Florius de Arte Luctandi is formally designated Ms. Latin 11269 by the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. Based on the content and style of the illustrations, the style of the handwriting, and its probable relation to better-known texts, it was likely created between 1410 and 1430. Little of its history is known, although it was re-bound around 1635 and entered the Pontchartrain library in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century. Its acquisition by the Bibliothèque nationale de France was recorded on March 10, 1756.1 Florius alongside Fiore Perhaps the most certain thing about Florius is that its...

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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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“The Use of Weapons”, René François (1621)

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

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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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Adolphe Corthey: A French 19th Century HEMA Pioneer

In the introduction to “The Sword and the Centuries” (1901), Alfred Hutton mentions a curious incident. His fencing group in the London Rifle Brigade were invited to Belgium to put on a display of historical fencing. What can we discover about this Belgian event? What follows is an overview some literary detective work that reveals Adolphe Corthey, a man in every way Hutton’s equal and the powerhouse behind late nineteenth century HEMA in France.

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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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The Ringen of Joachim Meyer

This article shall group Joachim Meyer’s Ringen into collections of similar throws. Hopefully this will better aid the modern student in learning Meyer’s Ringen. All of the throws have been rewritten into a modern step-by-step method from Dr. Forgeng’s translation along with some interpretation of my own. In Joachim Meyer’s Ringen section we find an amalgamation of several different techniques. In the Ringen section Meyer gives us seventeen different techniques. These techniques appear to be more of a haphazard collection of throws, holds, and general advice. However, while they are scattered over the various plays, these throws can be...

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Hack & Slash in the Age of Reason: Italian Rapier Against Multiple Opponents

“Finding yourself assailed by enemies, and supposing there are many of them, the situation demands nothing less than attacks like those of a desperate man, that is to say you must enter liberally into the fray” Giuseppe Colombani (1711) The scarcity of advice for multiple opponent combat, within the rich literature of several hundred European fightbooks, has often been noted.1 Moreover period masters are often quick to admit that fighting more than one assailant can be particularly difficult and dangerous. The German master Michael Hundt in 1611,2 suggests carrying a bag of stones to throw at your opponents, or...

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The use of the saber in the army of Napoleon: Part IV – Wounds caused by the saber

  Continuing with his four part series on The use of the saber in the army of Napoleon, Dr. Bert Gevaert now presents the fourth part: Wounds caused by the saber Introduction Soldiers and officers in the army of Napoleon led a life full of risks and sometimes the list of injuries a soldier could receive in his career was absolutely impressive. Marshall Nicolas-Charles Oudinot (1767-1847) was injured about 25 times in his military career (Haythornthwaite, 2002a, p.47): 1793: ball in the head (Haguenau) 1794: leg broken by ball (Trèves) 1795: five saber cuts, one ball (Neckarau) 1796: four saber cuts,...

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The use of the saber in the army of Napoleon: Part III

  Continuing with his four part series on The use of the saber in the army of Napoleon, Dr. Bert Gevaert now presents the third part: Individual martial prowess on the battlefield Stories about individual swordsmen are the most fascinating ones and in this chapter I will briefly present some spectacular stories of individual sword or saber wielding bravery on the battlefield. The power of cavalry lied in a mass force of thousands of armed men, augmented by the speed and weight of their horses, which made them into a huge and heavy hammer to smash the enemy, as...

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The use of the saber in the army of Napoleon: Part II

Continuing with his series on The use of the saber in the army of Napoleon, Dr. Bert Gevaert now presents the second part: Antoine Fortuné de Brack: Avant-postes de cavalerie légère (1831) De Brack was a French officer who participated in several military campaigns of Napoleon and who obtained the Legion of Honor for his conduct in the battle of Wagram (5-6 July 1809). From 1807 till 1812 he was member of the 7th Hussars and from 1812 till 1815 he served in the 2nd Lancers of the Guard (the famous Red Lancers). After the defeat of Napoleon he went...

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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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The use of the saber in the army of Napoleon: Part I

“The sword is the weapon in which you should have most confidence, because it rarely fails you by breaking in your hands. Its blows are the more certain, accordingly as you direct them coolly; and hold it properly.” – Antoine Fortuné de Brack ([1831], 1876, p. 51) Though Napoleon (1769-1821) started his own military career as an artillery officer and achieved several victories by clever use of cannons, edged weapons still played an important role on the Napoleonic battlefield. Swords and sabers could dominate battles and this was certainly the case in the hands of experienced cavalrymen. The general...

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Chivalry East of the Elbe, Part I

Introduction: So what happened to the Second Estate? Most of my own HEMA-related historical research in the last ten years has been focused on the Free Cities and City States which are the origin of so many of the known fencing manuals. But that doesn’t mean one ought to ignore the obvious links of the Second Estate of the warrior aristocracy to the legacy of historical fencing. Knights were a real thing and were definitely involved in the development and practice of fencing in the medieval period. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons, knights are not easy to precisely define or understand as a phenomenon. Nor is...

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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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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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Meyerozzo: The influences of the Bolognese method in German Rappier

There are many reasons why I devote much of my time and my energies on what Joachim Meyer has exhibited in his treatises. But the main reason I decided to get closer to the Freifechter of Basel was the desire to learn his method of two-handed sword, and possibly the influence of the Bolognese school, which was my best reference point some years ago. But what was my desire really born from? The answer can be found in a very popular figure in historical fencing, at least here in Italy. Of course, I am referring to Jacopo Gelli. Over the years, with...

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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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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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Fechtordnung of the City of Solothurn

Below are three versions of the Fencing Ordinance of the Swiss town of Solothurn, first the original, then the English translation, then a German re-statement.  All translations are mine. At the time, Solothurn was a full member of the Swiss Confederacy and a very important supplier of mercenaries, especially to the French court. 239. Fechtordnung Ordnunge des fåchtens halb 23. Juli 1546 frytage vor Jacobj appostoli fechtschuel             Es ist vor Schultheß und Rat erschinen der ersam Hans Tågenscher der kürsiner unnd angezoygt, wie er willens ein fåchttschule zehalltten unnd mencklich umb sin gelltte in nachfolgender gestalltte zeleren: [1]           4sh...

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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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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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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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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 two or more of the following elements- a glossary of terms, a training programme (the “Stucke” or “devices”) and an advanced commentary. This progression is best shown in Meyer’s longsword and rapier sections, but the teaching programme is a core element of every section. In the teaching section (“second part”) of each weapon section, Meyer lays out a sequence of drills which I argue escalate in complexity, in which different techniques are introduced to the student in order. This series of articles will explore some of these ideas in more detail, and is written primarily for my own students, but will hopefully be of interest to many other practitioners. This particular article forms the basis for a class I gave at WWOC 2012. The attacking skill tree In a fight, attack and defence are the two sides of the fight. An attack must foil the attempted defence; the defence must foil the attempted attack. Some defensive techniques only work against certain attacks; some attacking stratagems are designed to defeat certain defensive techniques. However, many students have a limited repertoire of attacks, and often fail to sequence them particularly...

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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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