So, why did You take up HEMA/WMA?
A Pointed Introduction.
HA’ARETZ (Tel Aviv, Israel) 31 January 14 Herzl, swords and the Nazi salute: The curious history of Jewish fencers (Shay Fogelman)
“Jews were forbidden most duelling groups, and formed their own. And reached a degree of expertise to establish a reputation as ‘ferocious’ duelists. Duelling was also seen as a social equalizer – denied university or army duels – young Jews could be ‘accepted into polite society’ by fighting duels with their nominal betters.”
McAleer, Kevin. Duelling: The Cult of Honor in Fin-de-Siècle Germany. Princeton U Press, NJ. 1994 p.155
Some groups take to HEMA/WMA because it is a return to traditional values … be they Spanish, Italian, German, French or English.
But apparently some pan-national groups, such as European Jews, came to their interest in sword play by another route – sword duels were used as a way to be introduced and accepted in societies that otherwise would have little to do with them.
The article discusses Israel’s current interest in fencing as resulting from the late 19th C when central European Jews used their aggressive swordplay skills as a way to amass ‘social capital’ for themselves … and achieve social equality, if not actual respectability in one style of social interaction.
“Some ‘honorable people,’ including anti-Semites, were willing to fence Jews in duels”, author and Olympic fencer Yehuda Carmi writes.” The gentile had to make a choice. He could accept, which would mean recognizing has rival as having equal status, or he could refuse, opening himself up to disgrace”.
New Competition in the Old Country.
TERNI IN RETE (Terni, Italy) 23 January 14 A narni scalo e’ di scena la scherma medievale (Adriano Lorenzoni )
Two Italian salles, Sala d’Arme Achille Marozzo and le Lame di Albornoz put their not inconsiderable energy and expertise together to host Umbria’s first ‘Hema Italia’ swordplay competition this past January. The article itself is a very brief description of HEMA as taught in Italy – but does not tell us much about the actual competition. Darn!
The Good Fight Young.
NEUE WESTFÄLISCHE (Bielefeld, Germany) 16 February 14 Säbelrasseln und wilde Fechtszenen (Thorsten Wegener)
Ten students aged 10-14 were selected to attend a ‘stage-fighting’ course in Beverungen, and all apparent did their instructor Werner Schwager proud. After some eleven hours of instruction, the student coaches produced sword-play vignettes featuring classical Zorro, Casanova and Musketeer themes … up included some modern culture with James Bond and Star Wars offerings.
The students were taught story and character building, stage use and ‘realistic’ combat … and had to demonstrate their understanding of strict safety rules and procedures. (All this stage work was done with no masks nor padding)
“Your stage fencing partner is not your adversary, but is another actor!”
“Stage fencing is not only great fun, but it promotes concentration and fitness, precise movements and the responsibility for your partner”.
Replica Blade, but Real Pride
HSK AKTUELL (Bestwig-Heringhausen, Germany) 13 February 14 Marsberg: Das Schwert Karls des Großen zurück in Obermarsberg
A replica of Emperor Charlemagne’s sword “Joyeuse” has pride of place in a Marsberger History and Folk Society display.
The blade was used for the first time as a ceremonial item back in 1271, and has been involved with the crowning of royalty – including the Emperor Napoleon, until at least 1824. Today, the original rests in the Louvre, Paris; but this town in Germany has their own “Joyeuse” on display as effort to bring public attention to the part that the state/province of Saxony played in Charlemagne’s history.
– Lured in by a well-written title … and author’s name!
– A nice piece from last year that We missed somehow – Bludgeoned, hacked and poleaxed!
Yes, the UK team prepares for Battle of Nations!