‘Modern’ Cutlass Sword Press

From time-to-time, a simple WMA-HEMA-related press item leads (this) one into the most pleasurable rabbit holes of never-ending research.  The’ fine art’ of cutlass fencing is alive and well, and classes can be attended just south of the Academie Duello.  And if you’re of the opinion that cutlass-work is a dead or boring art-form, try running the term through your favourite search engine.


Arggh me Capo’s …  Prepare for Boarding!  And a Sword Fight too!


PENINSULA DAILY NEWS (Port Angeles, Washington) 09 September 12  Port Townsend man teaches fine art of swashbuckling (Margaret McKenzie)

Nathan Barnett teaches “Renaissance-style cutlass-fighting” (as well as backsword and ‘sword and shield’) in the Port Townsend Recreation Center.

Of historical note; the renaissance cutlass has lasted as a ‘functional weapon’ into modern times – its use as a fighting blade was still being taught to non-commissioned sailors (meaning: not officers) up to the First World War !

‘Fight books’ and drill manuals were written from renaissance to modern times, and even when the weapon was not considered to be a serious weapon for ship-to-ship combat (large cannon having replaced the ‘hanging guard’), cutlass use was still the exercise of choice for keeping ship-bound ‘swabbies’ mentally and physically fit and agile.

Even in the most modern of times, the cutlass still manages to find pride-of-place in Canadian, naval-related ceremonies.


En garde!  Hear, Hear!


BRISBANE TIMES (Australia) 08 September 12  Swashbuckling days are at an end after officialdom blunts any future for de Groot’s sword (Jacqueline Maley)

A sword with an (slightly) infamous but so-Australian past won’t be allowed to be featured as an historical artefact within that country’s parliament.  Notwithstanding the fact that their Parliament House has a long tradition of select members carrying swords, the current Black Rod has determined that the appearance of Francis de Groot’s famous blade would be detrimental to the safety, security and dignity of that venerable institution.

And to meet the Canadian Content rules: We offer this  – swords are still carried within the Canadian Parliament – and their presence in no way appears to threaten the poise and dignity displayed daily by our elected officials.


An Ancient Art on Modern Means


TALK TV WORLD (New York, New York) 06 September 12  Nova’s Secrets Of The Viking Sword to Premiere 10 Oct

A NOVA/National Geographic co-production unravels the mystery of the Ulfberht sword in ‘Secrets Of The Viking Sword’ premiering October 10 (check local listings).

Considered by some to be one of the greatest swords ever made, the Ulfberht sword remains a fearsome weapon more than a millennium after it last saw battle between 800 to 1000 AD.  But how did master sword smiths of the Middle Ages come up with the sword’s complex blade recipe; so far, no one has been able to forge a metallurgically accurate Ulfberht. So where did the crucible steel come from?

And even if the secret was unlocked and Ulfberht-style blades were available … who would be interested in them?


The Sword from Olden Times – Now in a Modern and Appropriate Place.


COLUMBIA COUNTY NEWS-TIMES (Evans, Georgia) 09 September 12  Appling sword returning to Georgia (Valerie Rowell)

After a long and winding road, the Appling Sword has been returned to Georgia after more than a century.  $93K of the required $100K price tag was raised by private donations!

Appling, who is best remembered for his leadership in the Battle of Sandy Creek where he led his troops in a victory against the British .  This year is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The sword will be displayed in the Georgia capitol’s Hall of Valor.


New Fighters in an Old Place


SLOBODNA DALMACIJA (Split, Croatia) 27 July 12  Od srednjovjekovnog sajma do turnira u streličarstvu: počeli “Dani Petra Kružića, kapetana i kneza kliškoga 2012.” (M.Ilić)

The Croatian WMA/HEMA study group “Aureus Unicorn” helped in the staging of a massive historical 1532-era recreation event, and historical fencing tournament within the scenic and ever-so-historical Klis Fortress.  Though most of the 230 dressed-participant from 21 European groups were there to participate in the ‘demonstration event’; Marko Popovic’s group has been pursuing serious WMA studies over the past couple of years in an effort to bring back traditional fighting arts to the Adriatic.


For those of you that have the opportunity to travel to beautiful and historic Croatia; a visit to one of their larger (and multi-lingual) WMA/HEMA groups might prove enlightening.



SLOBODNA DALMACIJA (Split, Croatia) 18 August 12  The Dubrovnik ‘troubadour’ prevents vandals from stealing Orlando’s sword! (Ahmet Kalajdžić)

Apparently, the ‘vandal’ spirit is alive and well in Croatia too!