Fifteen years ago we would have been hard pressed to read about swordplay in any newspaper – and the only reference to the art on television would have been clips of sword fighting (of a sort) from that year's 'sword and sandals' blockbuster.
Nowadays, swordplay events, educational initiatives and salle training are ‘normal’ fare for North American press.
There seems to be a modest but growing interest in having swordplay featured on television. Locally, National Geographic and Discovery Channel specials on swords are proving popular, highlights from the international ‘Battle of the Nations’ are routine fare on our major networks, and in Russia, their version of ‘cable' may be featuring routine programming on full-contact medieval-style competitions.
It will be interesting to look back in a half decade to see if increased mixed martial art (MMA)-style coverage of full-contact, full-armoured, medieval combat has resulted in increased participation in Western Martial Arts (WMA) … and if that participation has resulted in more long-term students of historical swordplay technique and history. Another concern is whether the sport will change as a result of this attention. Will we still recognize WMA five years from now?
MYMMANEWS (Wind Gap, Pennsylvania). 18 February 2015. M-1 Global launched M-1 Medieval Pro Full Contact Jousting.
A name to remember? Five-time world and 10-time Russian historical fencing champion Sergey Ukolov strikes again!
ACL – coming to salle near you – with all of their armoured friends!
SOUTH JERSEY TIMES (Woodbury, New Jersey). 16 February 2015. Knight and day: Armored Combat League warriors transform Gloucester County Dream Park into medieval battlefield.
30 fighters of the Armored Combat League (ACL) recently gathered for friendly competition and to attempt to get the full attention of their fighting peers.
DAILY MAIL (London, UK). 16 February 2015. Knight club: The mace-wielding fighters who really go medieval on their opponents while wearing full suits of armor and brandishing real weapons. (Claire Carter).
“It is as rough as human beings can be with one another without one of them dying.”
ANZAC Attitude with Axes
WAIKATO TIMES (Hamilton, New Zealand). 20 February 2015. NZ and Australia to cross swords in trans-Tasman Historic Medieval Battle.
“There will also be a cluster of short pro fights … kind of like mixed martial arts but with weapons."
Old World Coverage of Old School Swordplay
DER WESTEN (Essen, Germany). 09 February 2015. Moderner Sport mitaltemSchwert (Alice von der Laden).
Matthias Johannes Bauer, President of the German ‘VerbandsfürmoderneSchwertkunst’ is trying to keep his Association’s 500 members moving forward in the study and practice of traditional WMA.
New World Coverage of Old School Swordplay
WASHINGTON POST (DC). 15 February 2015. Have at thee! Special Forces veteran revives medieval combat skills.
The European Martial Arts Academy is “not trying to historically re-create Talhoffer” as much as it is they’re “trying to show the historical importance of taking what was dead for 500 years and bringing it back to life.”
After class, Joseph received a 10-pack of lessons as a gift from his fiancée. (She ‘does’ love me!)
Are You Smarter Than a German Long Sword Wielder?
CENTRAL FLORIDA FUTURE (Orlando, Florida). 12 February 2015. Knight's Blade practices art of sword fighting at UCF.
To participate with Knight's Blade, you must be a full-time student … with at least a 3.0 GPA.
Green Swordplay - Re-Use, Recycle, Re-engage!
… Find an old sword …
LIPPISCHE LANDES-ZEITUNG (Lippe, Germany). 18 February 2015. KalletalerfindeturaltesSchwert.
… or build yourself one …
THE HERALD (UK). 24 February 2015. Swordmaker to forge new cutting edge relationship with apprentice.
Master of Arms Paul MacDonald of MacDonald Armouries has taken on an apprentice to ensure the retention of the skill of sword-smithing in Scotland. He had 1,200 applications from 30 different countries.
… now, rebuild it …
CNET (New York, New York). 17 February 2015. 3D printing produces a perfect replica of a sixth-century sword.
“The instruction that the museum gave Anderssen (who has no experience in black smithing) was that the sword should look and feel exactly like the original would have done when it was new.”
Now we have no experience in 3D printing, nor blacksmithing, but we would think that a knowledge of the weights of the metals used for the hilt and blade would be critical to re-creating a printed sword with the ‘feel and balance’ of the original?