Category Archives: fencing

Now Mandatory: Leading Renaissance Combat Practitioner Launches New Line of HEMA Sparring Gear

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HEMA BOMB SHELL!

One of the foremost researcher-practitioners of Renaissance Martial Arts is supplementing his line of instructional workshops with a new line of combative gear.

It’s MANDATORY as of April 15, 2014—the result of a coup staged by HEMA bigwigs!

We have the inside story!

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Big Bang Theory, 1566: The Nerd with the Golden Nose

tycho braheMaybe Cousin Manderup was “in his spot”. Maybe it was Fermat’s Next-to-Last Theorem proving that 2 + 2 = 5 ? Fact is that a squabble among freshman nerds at the theology professor’s house ended in an ugly injury that made one of the geeks almost as famous for his rhinoplasty as for his scientific discoveries… Continue reading

Silence of the Sticks: Why wooden weapons fell out of favor in 19th-century Germany

stick fightingThe Irish beat each other with shilelaghs, the English drew blood with singlesticks and quarterstaves, the French wielded canne and baton. The Portuguese still play at jogo de pao and the Italians had the bastone. The Germans, however, showed no interest in wooden weapons, at least after the Fechtschul traditions of dussack and assorted staff weapons (most of which with a blade of one kind or another) had disappeared. How come? Continue reading

Legends of the Sword: Satan fights a Mensur

The German novelist and poet Wilhelm Hauff (1802—1827) is more famous for his fairy tales than for his novels. Unreasonably so, because his Memoiren des Satan alone are better written and more enjoyable than all the semi-competent writage they throw at German literature students in college these days.

Hauff studied philosophy and theology at Tübingen. In 1826, he wrote Mitteilungen aus den Memoiren des Satan (Memoirs of Beelzebub), in which he works in some of the fencing activities of his brother, a member of the Tübinger Burschenschaft.

For the connoisseur of Gedecktes Hiebfechten, this is a rare monument of armament and strategy of the early Mensur… Continue reading

Sword Skills: Disarming and Throwing the Opponent, according to Roux

He may’ve been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Jena students’ thrust duel with the elongated “wälsche Banditendolch“—the “Frog” bandit dagger, as his colleague from the philosophical faculty, Dr. Scheidler, called the disgraceful French dueling sword.

But F.A.W.L. Roux continued to teach Kreußlerian thrust fencing with the “Rappier” way into the second half of the 19th century—both as a healthy exercise and part of the German Turnkunst, and as a practical martial art for military men.

Included in his repertoire were some disarms and throws that few of his colleagues ever bothered mentioning in print… Continue reading

Secret History of the Sword: Dead Poets Society—Rencontre in Hog Lane, 1589

Despite their distinct dislike for things Catholic and South European, Elizabethans were suckers for Italian fencing techniques and concepts of honor and dueling.

Some of the most prominent figures of the cultural elite of the period engaged in Italian-style swordplay. Among them was the poet Christopher Marlowe, whom we’re catching on an Indian summer afternoon on the outskirts of London, sword in hand, and ready to engage in moderate mayhem… Continue reading

Weapons: The Ziegenhainer Walking Stick

ImageApart from a few late imports, wooden staves or sticks disappear from the printed instructional record of 18th- and 19th-century German martial arts literature.

There’s only one example of a wooden weapon being used in a more or less organized combative context in the early 19th century:

The Ziegenhainer walking stick. 

And even this leaves something to be desired… Continue reading

Fechtschule America honors Hammerterz Forum: Our crass attempt to cash in on th’ memories

Eighteen years after the first Hammerterz Forum and 12 years after the last issue, Fechtschule America 2012 named three tournaments after this long-forgotten HEMA publication.

And as it happens, we made a spectacular discovery somewhere deep in the vaults of the Amberger Collection.

Coincidence? Continue reading

Weapons: The Subtlety of the Modern Sports Sabers

Collectors of modern sports weapons face a bit of a dilemma. It’s almost impossible to tell a piece of recent scrap metal found in the back of the club armory from a weapon with at least budding historical value.

Luckily, some old fencing equipment catalogs provide a clue at dating and contextual placement. Like the 1938 catalog of Vince Fencing Equipment, Inc., which provides some clues to early sports sabers… Continue reading

Books of the Sword: Talhoffer’s Königsegger Codex

For some reason, we missed the publication of this great resource two years ago.

Which doesn’t diminish the quality and relevance of this first-ever publication of Talhoffer’s Königsegger Codex at all… Continue reading