Beer-based Sword Press

“You’re a mule, Brennan, fitted neither to a rustic life nor a professional one – a bloody anachronism – a social mule, public school educated, trained to appreciate Chartreuse in a world where you cannot afford beer, taught to use a rapier in a world where other bastards use guns.”

Plummer, D. Brian. ‘Lepus’. Coch-y-Bonddu Books, Powys UK. 2000  p. 10


A truly eclectic mix this week, with various WMA elements from various countries offered in a variety of forms.  And did I mention, there would be beer?

Apparently, there is a long and noble history of rapiers and beer being used together … or rather in sequence.  And it is not always the beer that goes first!


“The incident here may gain point from contemporary conflicts between English and Italian masters of fence and the reputation of the well-known Vincentio Saviolo.  There are parallels between Saviolo, as represented in George Silver’s ‘Paradoxes of Defence’ (1599) and Bobadilla (a character in this play); both arrogantly claim superiority to English fencing methods, both use the latest Italian technique, and both suffer public humiliation, Saviolo enduring a public dousing with beer.

Jonson, B.  ‘Every Man in His Humour’.  Manchester U Press, UK. 2000 p. 240



How Come Nice Things Never Happen at My House?!


EVENING HERALD (Plymouth, UK) 29 August 12  Well, well, well... 33 foot hole discovered under couple's living room floor

Colin and Vanessa Steer have what they believe to be a 33 foot deep medieval well under their sofa in the living room.  Five feet into the well, they find a sword!

Said Colin: "It looks like an old peasant's fighting weapon because it appears to be made up of bits of metal all knocked together."

Archaeological Note:  If you’ve never had the joy of discovering an old sword blade, battered hilt or unidentifiable armour parts in a dark, musty, forgotten crypt of dubious historical legacy, We invite you to visit the D’Artagnan Room at the Academie Duello.


A WMA/HEMA Coming Right Back at You!


CHICAGO TRIBUNE (Illinois) 31 August 12  Euro horseback archery championship combines skill, history

HETI VÁLASZ (Budapest, Hungary) 31 August 12  Lovasíjász Eb Verőcén

The European Open Championship of Horseback was conducted in Veroce over the weekend, with 60 competitors from 20 nations riding and shooting for honours.

If you were a western knight anytime from the 9th century on, chances were good that you were going to face in combat some form of Hungarian/Turkish horse archer in your crusading travels!

"This sport was invented here, both the historic roots and the modern comeback," Lajos Kassai, 52, said as he prepared for his run. "Hungarians are the best at it. They teach the world."

"I live in a farm. I have horses and I do archery anyway, so for me this was a natural progression," said Daniel Griffin, who flew in from South Africa for the championship in which contestants can enter the events with no prior selection process.  "It's a martial art ... to hit your target at a gallop. It's like riding your car and shooting at a target with a pistol."


Bad Lesson? … or Best After Party Ever!


FILM NEWS (London, UK) 02 September 12  Milla Jovovich shows off with swordfighting

Milla Jovovich can't resist showing off her swordfighting skills when she is drunk.

She said: "…within my circle of friends I'm a big ham, so I'll always break the sword out, have a couple of beers and start swinging it in a haphazard manner."

We’re sure that you all know where We’re about to go with this – swords, beer – and quite probably a BBQ fire – what could possibly go wrong?  Tis bad enough to wield a weapon while under the influence, but to do it without total control – and within an unprotected audience – well, one is just inviting trouble – if not serious bodily harm at least a lawsuit.

Please, if you drink, don’t derobement!

That said … Milla Jovovich – she’s still my hero.


‘Coles Notes’ to Russian WMA?


КОММЕРСАНТЪ (Moscow, Russia) 05 August 12 Головокружение от доспехов (Анна Васильева, Ольга Демченко)

Unless you’re fluent in Russian, this item might be a hard slog through your favourite on-line translation programme; but it will be time well worth the effort

Lev Horlev has been involved in Russian WMA/HEMA, SCA and stage combat events (and related politics) for about 20 years.  This item is an in-depth discussion with him about the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and personal challenges involved in ‘pushing historical fencing forward’ as a legitimate sport in modern Russia.

Inspired by BBC’s "Robin of Sherwood", a small community of blacksmiths and artisans started to ‘re-create’ historical costumes and weapons for the burgeoning Slavic medieval festival scene.  Soon after that modest beginning, ‘serious students’ in Tver started what we would recognise as HEMA/WMA studies - and by 1997 there were enough ‘historical fencing’ groups in Russia to merit forming the Federation of Fencing in 1997.

We get snapshots of life as a Russian WMA enthusiast:

- it takes three artisans a couple of months to smith a $3,050 suit of fighting armour (a ‘good sword’ can be forged for $90-210);

- monthly fencing lessons run $30-180, though a lot of ‘masters’ run their salles at a loss as a sacrifice to maintaining the ‘art’;

- Most Russian clubs cover training and equipment costs by hiring themselves out as historical demonstrators for museums, city celebrations, weddings, corporate events or – to what appears to be the ‘big score’ over there – children’s parties.  Russian fighters can also make $180 a day as ‘movie extras’ for the obligatory massed fight scenes!

- There appears to be some regional chauvinism alive within the Slavic WMA community; Moscow clubs are larger and richer, but the ‘regional groups’ consider themselves ‘truer to historical form’;

- Russia is a recent addition to European ‘stage fencing’ events;

- The Ochakovo brewery provides free beer to contestants and spectators at some WMA (and classical fencing) events (Ms Jovovich please note); and

- “Historical fencing’ is not recognised by Russian federal officials – partly because ‘official status’ comes with government money with which to pay the masters, sale staff and for practice space.  The government sports regulating authority also has concerns with the ‘safety factors’ involved in ‘historical fencing’ events, with one 2008 event resulting in ten hospitalisations – two of which were ‘serious’.




PORTSMOUTH HERALD (United Kingdom) 31 August 12  Man to swim to Isles of Shoals wearing armored wetsuit (Joey Cresta)

A local man will attempt to swim seven miles wearing an armored wetsuit and carrying a sword to protect himself from mako sharks.