Safety Centric Sword Press

It’s 28°C/83°C in your nations capital as We type … and somewhere nearby we have peers dressed in full armour, demonstrating what we do to an appreciative Canada Day audience.  Honking huge falchions and arming swords, heavy shields, hot and heavy helmets protecting eyes full of dripping sweat, slippery gauntlets dripping with the same … adrenalin, exertion and grappling on unsure footing.  Let’s be careful out there people.  (And we do this … every chance we get, why?)


Forward to the Past!

KEMPTVILLE ADVANCE (Ontario) 26 September 14  Living by the sword in heart of Rideau Valley (Jeff Mackey)

Well into their second year of ‘Fiore dei Liberi’–based HEMA/WMA study and of offering that that knowledge to the public through demonstrations, the Saint Lawrence Swordfighters Guild continues to spread the art form.

Guild Captain Matthew McKee declared that the group ‘focuses on practical execution’ … and not gentle contemplative, book-based study!

"We want to share the fact that Hollywood movies have it wrong."


With this Axe I thee dub You … Casualty #18!

SLOBODNA DALMACIJA (Zagreb, Croatia) 14 June 14  U trogirskim bitkama 50 ozlijeđenih, Dom zdravlja pun 'vitezova' (Lenka Gospodnetić)

Croatia axeDuring Croatia’s Torgir Castle hosting of the ‘Battle of the Nations’, some 50 of the 500 participants had to get medical attention of some sort (there were at least 20 fractures) – and that doesn't count the fighters that doubtless just ‘sucked it up’ to hobble home afterwards.

Two things come to mind here;

1.  Safety, safety, safety.  When We look at the armour depicted and the weapons used, tis no small wonder that the participant attrition is as high as 10 per cent or more.  There are combatants out there that appear not to be fully protected against the falchions and axes in use.  Where do We balance between ‘historical study and recreation’ and ‘armoured and armed MMA’?

2.  Reading this piece gives us great hope for the HEMA/WMA community as a homogenous group with common interests.  Notwithstanding the very real pressures between Ukraine and Russia, our peers from both country’s come together for common cause (even if that cause is to smack the crap out of each other) and … camaraderie.

All the above notwithstanding, there was a good time had by all.


Not Quitting my Day Job.

L’AVENIR (Bouge, Belgium) 11 June 14  Nova Villa : de véritables combats chevaleresques

In this short piece We’re introduced to the Belgian Federation of Medieval Fencing  … forty of whom got together in Nova Villa last month to practice their skills.

When speaking of some of the safety concerns involving any full contact martial art, President Yves Loli emphasized that this swordplay had to be controlled … that blows had to be somehow ‘pulled’; “the goal is to still be able to go to work on Monday …”


Those that Can –Do!  Those that Can – Teach!

MCDONOUGH COUNTY VOICE (Macomb, Illinois) 27 June 14  'Something a little fiendish' (Nick Draper)

Western Illinois University recently hosted its second successful stage combat workshop – but this had a slight deviation from the norm.  Experienced swordplay students from across the country joined together to better learn ‘how to teach what they know’ to novices. (How many times have you sat through a class with an instructor that was obviously experienced and knowledgeable … but they couldn’t get their teaching point across in an engaging manner?)

Associate Professor D.C. Wright and Dueling Arts International master teacher Gregory Hoffman combined their skills to lead students through a development program designed to help the latter get the best out of their own students by understanding what is required to portray an interesting and ‘authentic combat manoeuvre’ … and then to guide a novice into performing it while considering individual capabilities.

The disciplines of unarmed combat, broadsword, quarter-staff, rapier and dagger, single rapier and small sword, “has its own particular quirks which can make it difficult, with each presenting a different method of teaching”.


(Segue) And Teach Well!

REPUBLICAN-LEADER (Preston, Minnesota) 25 June 14  Lanesboro residents get a taste of 'stage combat' during special library program

And who do our newly qualified instructors from the article above teach?  Well, some of the candidates may be those that showed up for the stage combat workshop in their public library.

In this item, we get a very detailed description of what one instructor thinks is instrumental in presenting believable, dramatic and safe stage fights to a discerning audience.

“In order to effectively tell the story, victims must sell where they are hit and be very specific. Because the victim has the most control over the fighting sequence, he or she has the responsibility to make the sound of the intended impact.”


My Sword Can Beat-up Your Sword

RUSSIA BEYOND THE HEADLINES (Moscow, Russia) 23 June 14  The lost miracle of Russia’s medieval sword makers (Alexander Vershinin)

An interesting piece on Russian medieval sword smithing … and how it was the early slavs that produced blades at least comparable, if not actually superior to those made by their European or middle eastern peers.

Given the number of participants in modern HEMA/WMA activities in Russia, it would be no surprise to learn that the country has a burgeoning industry of those trying to recreate the weapons of their medieval past.



- “I dunno dear, what are ‘you’ thinking about”?

- Our shameless pandering to popular culture here.