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 … Continue reading
Category Archives: Articles
An often overlooked aspect of historical fencing is how to go about turning all the information contained in a fencing text into a structured means of teaching and learning. At first it seems as if this would be pretty obvious- … Continue reading
… Published in 1573, by George Dubois, Master-of-Arms. Examining the nature of the works by ancient masters of fencing always surprises me. They are often criticised as being baser than modern works which are the apogee of the art and that … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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, … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
Another excellent lecture by Jean Chandler, held at the IGX in Boston, USA 2013.
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 … Continue reading
During the Belle Epoque of France gladiators were held up as the very model of physical perfection due to their athletic ability, aesthetic form and stoicism in the face of duress so it is no surprise that they caught the … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
Wrestling, in any era, culture and geographic era, is an archaic aspect of man, as a game, during the growth, and also as a ritual and sport activity. At the same time it is a fundamental and essential part in … Continue reading
Armed civilian conflict was a reality of early modern life, both arranged duels and spontaneous violence. Many masters speak lucidly of deadly combat, or claim direct experience of it, which should not surprise given their violent trade. Nonetheless many young … Continue reading
The following are partnered drills for the cloak and rapier. It is vital that the attacker providing the techniques you are working against makes the techniques properly. If a thrust finishes too soon or is not committed, it is not … Continue reading
New video of Combat Glima, Norse combat techniques, by the great Glima Master Lars Magnar Enokssen.
At various points discussions have surfaced again and again, which question the chronology of the fencing styles and schools of late medieval and renaissance times. The question, who could have been the first fencing master and who “invented” a certain kind of … Continue reading
“Draw not your Sword but to serve the King, preserve your Honour, or defend your Life.” “Art of Fencing”, Monsieur L’Abbat, 1696 (Andrew Mahon, 1735)
The following are some suggestions for using the cloak with the rapier. Please note, the techniques will vary from those which can be used with a sidesword, so this should not be taken as a definitive form for all sword … Continue reading
Humans attempt to make sense of their environment results, quite often, in the systematization of knowledge into boxes commonly (and quite wrongly) made out to be independent, as is the case with the existence of sport specific coaches, physical conditioning … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
It is with great pleasure that I am able to present How we train – a guide for instructors in English. This is our primary study material for instructors on how to teach in our club, and I hope that people outside … Continue reading
What’s our problem? The main purpose of any fencing art is to keep the fencer safe from the hostile intentions of his opponent(s), i.e. defense. However, in all of these arts it is recognized that through defense alone, a fencer … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
I sought this article out of simple curiosity and was intrigued and surprised by the content. At face-value it seems a charming snapshot of Victorian society, the Facebook of its time. On reading, however, I was struck by the attitudes … Continue reading
I first learned staff in the late eighties, and although I was not that interested in the provenance, as I recall my master learned it in Scouts as a child. I never had any documentation for it, but it was … Continue reading
“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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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. … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
Before you engage in combat, mind this: the blade of your saber is nothing else – and cannot be anything else – but an extension of your own arm, and equally: your entire arm, from the armpit right to the … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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.
During the late 18th and early 19th century the definition of a proper sword varied from nation to nation. Initially, nations sought to choose the ‘best’ sword for their light and heavy cavalry units so that on the battlefield they … Continue reading
A few years ago I translated the first book of Mr. Nicolleto Giganti into Castilian. The book I used for the translation was printed in 1644 by Zetter in Frankfurt with the text translated into German and French. I must … Continue reading
The relative benefit and importance of competition in modern HEMA is a frequent subject of debate. Despite differences in context, it is arguable that historical perspectives might usefully inform present discussions. This article reviews some examples of competitive fencing, primarily … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
HEMA, it can be said, is only in its second generation by now, though some claim to be in the fourth already. This makes us a very young Art, and even younger than other modern martial arts, since we have … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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.
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 … Continue reading
This is a debate that has been heard by all of us one time or another, I believe: Should strength training be incorporated into HEMA, and how much of it should there be? The extreme usually goes towards having a … Continue reading
Very nicely produced video on footwork, from La Sala delle Armi.
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 … Continue reading
This is probably the best lecture on the world from which the fencing masters and their Art evolved that I have ever seen! Very impressive work, Jean!
When we hear how people describe the art of fencing in the Middle Ages, we often hear them say that it was all about fighting to the death, or at least to harm the opponent in a way that he … Continue reading
One of the great things about online HEMA research is that you often end up finding interesting material that you weren’t really looking for. I was recently doing research on test-cutting practices in British-ruled India, and by happen-stance came across … Continue reading
“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 … Continue reading
This is a very interesting exercise. The exercise is based on a boxing drill and can be expanded upon in different ways and looks worth exploring. Good and creative work!
I found these exercises interesting and will be adding some of this to what we already do in our training sessions
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, … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
“Knowledge is not power. Power alone is power. What knowledge does is provide the means to determine where to focus that power, for maximum effect.” - Carl von Clausewitz  The gears of war turn throughout the Ages as combat … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
In the world of historical fencing, and particularly the fascinating field of research, we sometimes face scholars who express less well-founded hypotheses on certain topics. The question of parrying with the flat instead of the edge, for example, is a … Continue reading
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.
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 reading
Throughout my years involved with martial arts I have seen, time and time again, instructors in the most varied arts who spar effectively but do not know how they do it. The reason I say this has to do with … Continue reading
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, … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
Quite recently, while exchanging all sorts of points of view with everyone’s good friend Roger Norling of GHFS, and upon stating that Jogo do Pau’s footwork does not entail any deliberate positioning of one’s feet, but simply managing one’s body … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
Image from the treatise C.93 by Paul Hektor Mair The “running through” is mentioned already in the pseudo-Hanko Döbringer (on folio 23), and is universally transposed throughout the so-called German martial literature. Durchlauffen, in fact, is a blanket term for a body … Continue reading
Image from Joachim Meyer’s treatise of 1560 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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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.
The Rules of Martial Arts There are rules in martial arts. The rules in modern martial arts are many and varied. These arts are often oriented towards sporting applications or may be practiced for fitness or spiritual development rather than … Continue reading
Just some brief reflections on images from Chronicon Helvetiae by Christoph Silberysen, dated to 1576, currently kept in the Aargauer Kantonsbibliothek in Aarau, Switzerland.
I thought it might interest some to see how a typical lesson plan for our Meÿer staff class in GHFS looks like.
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, … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
Knightly Arts: A true-hearted letter of warning of the sad state of current Christianity. Author: Roger Norling of Gothenburg Historical Fencing School How did one train soldiers and horses for war in the 17th century? These images give a small … Continue reading
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?
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?
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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, … Continue reading
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[...]
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[...]
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",[...]
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[...]
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 widths, it may have a[...]
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[...]
Another excellent lecture by Jean Chandler, held at the IGX in Boston, USA 2013.[...]
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 the 16th and 17th centuries. These documents contain a wealth of[...]