Selectively Quotable Sword Press: News for January 2017

When we read ‘press’, (yes, the ‘real news’ press), we must remember that any item offered by a newspaper is often restricted by column length … the journalist is only allowed so much space to present their story.

And sometimes, these restrictions result in a quotation being taken out of context; misplaced in context; or – people being human – the quote being mis-heard or even slightly mis-spoken during the pressure or excitement of the interview.

During reading of today’s lead item, I was ‘gob smacked’ to learn that there were only five ‘Masters of Fence’ … in the world! Now to be fair; the item does not specifically indicate that Mr Blair is specifically speaking of HEMA ‘Masters’, but the small number of HEMA practitioners that I passed the item to certainly believe that it could be read that way.

A quick reference to a the Historical European Martial Arts and Sports Community revealed that Canada alone has at least a dozen groups, the USA over a hundred, and Europe another hundred on top of that – and some of the organizations listed there have legacies, traditions and reputations every bit as impressive as Mr Blairs’ group. But apparently, if I understand the press article correctly, very few of them have ‘Masters’ guiding their programs or involved in their activities.

I’ve already written on my concerns about who qualifies as a Master in our art, but this item brings to fore a different challenge.

When speaking to press about issues of HEMA ‘sword play authenticity’; qualifications; and your groups interpretation of the art; please keep in mind that HEMA is a sometimes conflicted community … and that one statement to your home-town newspaper does not make your personal belief about the art ‘absolutely true’. Give your interviewing journalist all the tools they need to create an item accurate to yourself, your home salle and your art.
Be supportive of your group and your accomplishments; you should be proud of them – its why you train with them. But try, please try, not to make statements on behalf of the entire HEMA community.

Wes MartinezDemands of your Master

THE LUMBERJACK (Humboldt State U, California) 19 January 17 Q&A with fencing master Antone Blair
Master Blair explains in brief how he came to fencing, and the subsequent challenges he undertook to be assessed as a HEMA ‘Master’ within the respected Martinez Academy of Arms. The long and demanding practical, physical and intellectual challenges.

HEMA Swordplay Accident

AACHENER-ZEITUNG (Germany) 30 December 16 Sportunfall: Schwert steckt in Oberarm
Our German peers had an in-salle casualty when one of their number was stuck in the arm with a sword. The blade was in far enough that the attending fire brigade had to cut the blade from the wound before the casualty could be safely transported to care.
The closest group to the site is ‘Fechtgruppe Brückschlag’ but I cannot confirm that they were involved. Getting the backstory on this would be good for the community, if only so that we can learn from what is thankfully, a rare accident within our community.

Wes Perm BladeWe’re All in this Together!

PERM NEWS (Perm, Russia) 04 January 17 Пермяки могут освоить искусство фехтования
If you are between 12 and 50, have gym wear and are interested in swordplay, you have a four options to consider in selecting a group to train with in Perm (Russias’ 13th most populous city at about a million). Closest to our interest is the HEMA group Клинок (Blade), though it is unclear what discipline they specialize in. .

The United Russia Competition … well, the united right hand side of the country anyway

НОВОСТИ ХАБАРОВСКА (Khabarovsk , Russia) 12 Janury 17 Турнир по историческому фехтованию в Хабаровске прошел при поддержке «Единой России»
The Historical Fencing Tournament "United Russia - Triumph of January 2017" brought together fighters from five eastern Russian teams to dispute regional swordplay honours in a variety of disciplines. This was another of those unique to Europe-events where historical swordplay competitions and symposiums are supported by local governments. Vitaly Gryzlov, the ‘All-Russia’ swordplay champion also made an appearance to advise and motivate the local enthusiasts.

That is So NOT a Dreztrazza Circle

YODDA (Krasnoyarsk, Russia) 26 December 16 Центр исторического фехтования открылся в Красноярске
Another historical fencing group opened in Russia last month. “Ратный двор” are now open in a specialized hall and ready to ‘lay on’ to the local citizens. They have a mix of class types and disciplines offered, including a ‘couples class’ during which you can demonstrate seldom explored feelings for your significant other.

Wes PhoenixHEMA in Service

KTVQ (Billings, Montana) 17 January 17 Ancient swordfighting techniques used to battle human trafficking
And if you ever wondered if you could actually do anything good for society with a knowledge of sword play; the Phoenix Society of Historical Swordsmanship has an answer …


  • I’ll be back in a moment Honey – just running to the corner for a carton of milk
  • Scaramouche – And what brought ‘you’ to swordplay?
  • He did NOT influence who won your last competition.  No, really.  Nor would he condone it.   And what’s in it for him anyway?
  • Wes Red RavensSweatrag! How many of our groups have ‘the sweat rag’?

Please note, the opinions expressed in my blog items are my own and do not reflect the view of the Academie Duello.