Snowy Sword Press: News for December 2016

“Italians especially Neapolitans loved dueling, and Italy clung to the duello more ferociously than any country besides France and Germany. In the ten years between 1879 and 1889, 2,759 duels were recorded there … In summer, the number of duels was five times greater than in winter, …” [1] Earlier this month, Devon Boorman wrote…

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Book Review: “The Art of Sword Combat” by Meyer

New for this year is Dr Jeffry L. Forgeng’s translation of the recently discovered Fechtbuch ‘The Art of Sword Combat’[1] by Joachim Meyer. This new offering is thought to pre-date Meyer’s famous work, ‘The Art of Combat’ (1570) by two years. Dr Forgeng is well qualified to handle an original, old work. He’s done research…

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Seated Quietly with Sword Press: News for September 2016

“… every night almost some one or other, who either heated with wine, or made choleric with the loss of his money, raises a quarrel, swords are drawn, … ”[1] The recently completed Para Olympics Wheelchair Fencing competition did bring to mind an item I once read about a fencing master demonstrating his abilities by…

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Post-Olympic Sword Press: News for August 2016

“But it must be remembered always that the early masters, professional or amateur, did not regard their art primarily as an exercise, but as a serious preparation for the difficulties their pupils were bound to meet with in after life.” — Aylward, J.D. The English Master at Arms, 1712 [1]. The Olympics are over, as are the…

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Serviceable Sword Press: News for June 2016

If one were to ask for a point of commonality between the mountains of the sub-arctic, the arid Highveld, the temperate lowlands of the Vistula, and the oceanic vista of the southern Meseta, HEMA would probably not be the first word that comes to mind. But thanks to the advantages of being a swordsperson in…

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Recoverable Sword Press: News for May 2016

How much is your sword, armour, or related kit worth to you? …financially? …emotionally? …professionally? Was it a gift? A prize you earned? Looted? Swords are by nature “desirable” — and not just by the HEMA community. As we can and have read in the “Snippets” section of past editions of Sword Press, swords are not…

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Professionally Responsible Sword Press: News for April 2016

Popular media is pushing people towards an interest in historical swordplay. But how do those same people find a school in which they can explore their new interest? Chances are, they’ve seen a demonstration of swordplay on television or at a local event — an event that is not necessarily dominated by swords or swordspersons.…

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Book Review: Swords and Hilt Weapons by Connolly, Coe, et al

Swords and Hilt Weapons is a beautifully illustrated, introductory compendium of 4000 years of sword and hilted-weapon development as it has evolved in both time and space. Developments from the Bronze Age through to modern times are briefly explored and concurrent areas of geographic or cultural “uniqueness” are featured. And while this book concentrates on European…

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Pigeonholed Sword Press: News for February 2016

Let’s see now; what is “proper” historical swordplay? There are many definitions: Swordplay as it is strictly interpreted from a specific fightbook. The swordplay (tempered with safety concerns) employed by the SCA in their efforts to accurately recreate an overall (family-friendly) “feel” of being in the Medieval or Renaissance period. Swordplay as a martial art-driven, “totally different” fitness program.…

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Book Review: The Duel in European History by Kiernan

“Every society has needed licensed channels for the overflow of destructive impulses. … Duelling reduced such feuds to symbolic proportions, confined them to individuals, and required only a limited number of victims”. [1] Duelling bad!  Very, very bad! In The Duel in European History, Marxist social-historian Kiernan offers us a wide variety of duelling stories and…

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Rediscovered Sword Press: News for January 2016

HEMA is not a “dead” art. Notwithstanding that most of it is based on fight books from medieval/renaissance times, our community is seeing a modern rebirth of the art with new schools being established, old techniques being rediscovered or reinterpreted (or even created), a revived interest in lost swords and their related history, and, maybe most…

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Book Review: The Knightly Art of Battle by Mondschein

  Sometimes — just sometimes — on a nice summer day, one likes to sit quietly on their own at a wee Bistro table with a view of the street, sipping at one’s coffee (black, thank you very much), and concentrate on looking at pretty things.  This book qualifies as that “pretty thing”. Ken Mondschein has edited…

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Fair Weather Sword Press: News from December 2015

“When one has taken for a long time lessons at the salle, it is outside, on the beaten dirt or on the gravel of the road that one has to make the rehearsal for combat. … Prepare yourself, train at the salle. However, you will have abandoned success to mere chance if from time to…

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Book Review: Illustrated Directory of Swords & Sabres by HJS Withers

An assortment of swords and rapiers in the far corner of the dining room… make a brave pretense at being legitimate collections…. — Byron, Joseph. Photographs of New York Interiors at the Turn of the Century. The Illustrated Directory of Swords & Sabres by Harvey J.S. Withers is anything but a pretense of a collection. …

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Art, Science or Sport Sword Press: News for November 2015

While not yet plethoric, HEMA in North America is benefiting from a richness in new and established salles and their scholastic approaches to traditional western swordplay.  The community is truly in a time of having “something for everyone”.  Consequently, we are — for the most part — leaving behind our niche status, moving instead into…

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Book Review: Masiello’s “Broadsword”, trans. by Col. Francis Vere Wright

  By 1901, with some of the lessons of the Boer War learned, regular instruction in swordsmanship had practically been abandoned in the British army.  So, when in 1914 the future Field Marshal Montgomery […] led a charge with sword in his right hand and revolver in his left and found himself confronted with a…

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Social Media Sword Press: News for October 2015

Pretty but Authentic Blades Doing Ugly but Authentic Things KOTAKU (New York, New York). 26 October 15. How People Actually Fought With Swords. Cédric Hauteville’s Kickstarter-supported HEMA documentary “Back to the Source” is now available on YouTube. “Actual blade combat was messy and nasty, caring less about looking pretty….” Choreography. It’s actually quite boring. EXAMINER.COM (Denver,…

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