Aside from our Ukrainian peers pounding on each other, today’s offering concentrates of some of those unique individuals that enjoy their study of swords and sword history in a way totally different from the blow-by-blow techniques used by HEMA/WMA practitioners. We are lucky in this modern day to have a few skilled craftsmen that have the interest, resources, creativity and ability to forge near perfect replicas of past weapons … and to give some of those same weapons a bit of that ‘personalized touch’ that we as duelist, wanna-be’s so cherish to set ourselves apart from the common rapier-armed peers. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with some of the very good, ‘massed-produced’ weapons that some switched-on forges are turning out – the price point enables a lot of ‘beginners’ to enter the art without a significant financial commitment.
But its’ comforting to know that we have a multitude of artisans all over the world that, given time … can create that one perfect, historically-correct, fight-ready sword that truly speaks to Us.
The Start of the Play-Offs
ДАНКОР (Sumy, Ukraine) 31 October 13 Покорение «Золотого льва»
In the run-up to the ‘national’ Tamerlane Cup competition later this month, 20 fighters from various locales in the Ukraine competed in the 5th annual ‘Golden Gate’ tournament … brought to you by those very active swordplay students of the fight group “Rosychi” .
I Want to Play too!
ГЛАВНЫЕ НОВОСТИ УЛЬЯНОВСКА (Ulyanovsk, Russia) 15 October 13 Где в Ульяновске научиться быть настоящим воином?
Ulyanovsk, Russia, population 600,000 (the same as Vancouver-proper actually), has no less than nine historical or recreation groups that are studying traditional medieval or renaissance ‘historical fencing! (Comment: At least there should be no lack of opponents during any groups’ Friday Open Open Floor!)
Slavic, Mongolian and Cossack martial techniques are taught … but there’s no indication as to what historical written reference is used to ensure any standard of authenticity.
THE REPUBLIC (Columbus, Indiana) 02 November 13 For authentic fight scenes, Folger turns to Maryland swordmakers (Jessica Goldstein, The Washington Post)
Swordmaker Kerry Stagmer of Baltimore Knife and Sword has a limited customer base and seems to prefer it that way. He sells about 1,000 blades a year (whole sale) to 75 renaissance festivals, theaters, Disney, a video game manufacturer and others.
Stage director Casey Kaleba has given Stagmer a special challenge; to design blades that would exude danger on stage.
“I feel like a lot of fights look fake,” he said. “Because people are so worried about safety, they look safe.”
For the “Romeo and Juliet” play the two have designed a case of rapiers for the two-handed fighting that will be used by the actors.
“Actors really like Kerry’s weapons,” Kaleba says. “The balance is really nice. It’s really human. You get it in your hand and it sort of guides you in a really nice way.”
The Long Way to create a Long Sword
SÜDWESTRUNDFUNK (Stuttgart, Germany) 07 October 13 Eisen, Stahl und Feuer – Archäometallurgen lüften Geheimnis eines Damastschwerts (Christoph König)
Blacksmith Frank Trommer is trying hard to rediscover the medieval (6th C) art of creating ‘Damascus steel blades’ – and he’s attempting it by creating historically correct ‘Ingersheimer spathe’. But it takes two weeks alone just to weld and hammer the bars of different-type steel together before he can even consider working the result into a blade shape!
Wave Hello, Wave Good Bye!
SUN-STAR (Manila,Philippines) 02 November 13 Alchemy of fire and metal: The blade-making of Southeast Asian roots (Maria Rosalie Zerrudo)
And while Mr Stagmer concentrates on the modern requirements for impressive swords, and Herr Trommers tries to rediscover ancient skills; the ‘panday’ blacksmiths of the Philippines still work with traditional materials, techniques … and cultural attitudes, to turn out historically authentic ‘kris’ blades. The ‘kris’ has been a sword and dagger type known to be in use at least in Indonesia since about 1360 and are in no way related to our HEMA/WMA studies … but they’re still impressive pieces of kit!
And worthy of your attention is the fact that unlike most western medieval and renaissance weapons, the traditional ‘kris’ was forged with the intent that it could be worn by men or women!
Also of note, like the unique rapiers produced by German, Spanish and Italian artisans; one can identify the island or tribe that produced some of the more ornate ‘kris’ by examining their distinctive guard, blade design or furniture.
Bring Your Sword to School Day!
VOCM (St John’s, Newfoundland) 01 November 13 A Glimpse into the Viking Age
Dr. Shannon Lewis-Simpson, Professor of Norse Archaeology, wanted to immerse her students in some of the subtleties of living life as a Viking surviving on the shores of Newfoundland.
And what better way to do that then to invite the local Sea-Wolves Viking-Age Re-enactors onto campus to demonstrate medieval technology… and use of Viking weaponry …. on participating students!
1276 – A Head of Liechtenauer
ECHO (Darmstadt, Germany) 28 October 13 Mit einem Streich fliegt der Kopf weg (Silke Schmidt)
We can study the medieval ‘fechtbuchs of the Germans’ Liechtenauer, Talhoffer, Lecküchner, et al. But don’t You find it curious that We read nothing of blade design, use and technique by those such as the ‘Nord’ family of Michelstädter? Granted any book by them may be a bit scarce on the description the ‘passing step’ or any ‘guards’ popular at the time. However, it may be of modest utility in describing the best way to achieve the best cutting power in your strike.
The Russian Olympic Committee is apparently studying Swetnam’s ‘Schole of Defence’.
“If thy rapier fall from thy hand, take thy dagger by the point, and offer to throw it.”
Aylward, J. D. The English Master of Arms From the Twelfth to the Twentieth Century. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London UK 1956 p. 82
And in case modern stage swords, German Long Swords and Indonesian ‘kris’ don’t attract your modern, gamer-culture interest; maybe We can offer you something of a more modern cut in a 41 long?