“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)
Category Archives: Articles
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
This is a really interesting clip with Portuguese Jogo do Pau master Luis Preto.
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
I and a few members of the GHFS have been focusing on the transitions between the longsword stances in Joachim Meÿer’s treatise of 1570.
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 federschwert, 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
May 20th, 2013
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[...]
May 17th, 2013
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 will eventually lose, because as his opponent continues throwing attacks, inevitably[...]
May 16th, 2013
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. Their greatness as humans carries over[...]
May 5th, 2013
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 it contained, and how they compare with those facing women[...]
April 30th, 2013
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[...]
April 26th, 2013
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 a simple system consistent with what I have subsequently seen[...]
April 19th, 2013
"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[...]
April 13th, 2013
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[...]