Snowy Sword Press: News for December 2016

“Italians especially Neapolitans loved dueling, and Italy clung to the duello more ferociously than any country besides France and Germany. In the ten years between 1879 and 1889, 2,759 duels were recorded there … In summer, the number of duels was five times greater than in winter, ...” [1]

The modern Chinese Army practicing swordplay … in the snow [Daily Mail (London, UK) 28 February 2015, by ChinaFotoPress]
The modern Chinese Army practicing swordplay … in the snow [Daily Mail (London, UK) 28 February 2015, by ChinaFotoPress]
Earlier this month, Devon Boorman wrote on ‘Swordplay On Your Break …’ , and we would like to offer yet another modest option to consider, one with a specific seasonal variation.
It is way too often that we practice our art in the climate-controlled and frequently floor-swept venue of a modern salle. I would encourage you to get out into a local snowbank, or into the driving rain — to see if the real-life effects of weather and natural terrain affect your approach to swordplay. Are your foot movements more often but less linear as you seek more secure footing to move the rain from your face and the sun from your eyes? Or do your feet move less since you can’t see what is under the hip deep snow or you distrust moving atop the sleet-encrusted grass?
There are probably excellent reasons why people in the past dueled less in winter than summer, but it did happen. Try it.
(I’ll apologise now for the extra time needed for you to clean and dry snow-soaked blades and armour after the experiment).
For those of you that train with Company of the White Wolf up in the Yukon, training in the snow is probably known as ‘Wednesday night sparring’ … please ignore the comment above.

HEMA Homework

wes-liberi-ensisTHE INKWELL (Armstrong State University, Savannah, Georgia) 01 December 16 Historic European Martial Arts comes to Armstrong
The ten members of the fledgling Armstrong Historic Fencing Club have an interesting and ambitious program set out for themselves — trying to practice wordplay in five disciplines and participate in learning about the wrestling style known as ‘Ringen’. And if their practical curriculum isn’t enough, they’re hoping to add some academic research to their program as well.
The quote of the month goes to club president Zachary Springer: “I’d make the comparison that Olympic fencing is to two hand touch football, whereas long sword fencing is like rugby.”

Lost Opportunity?

wes-steel-thorns2STUFF (New Zealand) 19 December 16 New Plymouth woman is the best in the world with a poleaxe
The Kiwi, ten-year swordplay veteran Sophie Stockbridge of Steel Thorns defeated her opponent during the Japan Armoured Battle League competition to win honours in one of her chosen fields of combat.
It's a short article, but Sophie makes the point that “the struggle is getting women into the sport”. And after reading that, we went to the Japan Armoured Battle League Facebook page to look up just what other women were there and there appears to be a dearth of examples of both Sophie`s victorious efforts, much less that of any other women present.

Forging New Sword(players)

SCHWARZWÄLDER-BOTE (Oberndorf, Germany) 21 December 16 Hauen und Stechen für echte
Marc Ritter of Schwertkunst in Nagold is working with ten peers to practice longsword and wrestling, and this item concentrates on how they bring ‘tyros’ into the art. During initial training Ritter is very aware that ‘frustration’ can be a factor in first timers trying to determine if they want to stay with the practice, so he works hard on working with personal motivation, individual attitude and mutual respect.

Civic Pride done Right

wes-toledoEL DIGITAL CASTILLA LA MANCH (Toledo, Spain) 18 December 16 Exhibición de esgrima histórica este domingo gratis y al aire libre en Toledo
The Sala de Armas Don Diego Duque de Estrada de Toledo joined resources and expertise with the City of Toledo’s cultural association and the civic fathers to put on the ‘second’ Exhibition of Historic Fencing in Toledo. The second.
The host ‘sala’ is dedicated to the revival, study and interpretation of 14th-17th-century fight books and to encouraging the good citizens of Toledo to honour their civic history of and contribution to European swordplay.
Not a bad raison d'être.


THE SUN (London, UK) 05 December 16 Dame Of Thrones Meet the real-life Brienne of Tarth who developed her sword fighting skills to match the badass female character
It’s bad enough that our community is facing challenges trying to harmonise HEMA terminology, without good intentioned amateurs ‘helping’!
That said, the fore-mentioned ‘swordstress,' Samantha Catto-Mott, is again making press (and British press at that) with her activities in swordplay events down under.
Some of the longer-serving members of the Academie Duello may remember the time Samantha spent in the home salle learning our interpretations of the art and in return sharing her experiences of swordplay during her travels.

Marks of Quality

Passau blade smith 'wolf marks' [from]
Passau blade smith 'wolf marks'
ELBLĄSKA GAZETA INTERNETOWA (Poland) 11 December 16 Miecz z wilkiem
This is a short discussion of trademarks and symbols as were found on 13-15th-century swords — specifically those featuring the ‘wolf etching’ attributed to both Passau and Solingen. To demonstrate just how complicated and specialized medieval sword forging was, the Polish authors here describe one sword featured in the ‘Elblag Reconditus’ exhibition that was recovered in Serbia and has indications of being ‘assembled’ by no less than four craftsmen including blade forgers from Germany and hilt makers from Hungary.


  • Please Save Us - An imaginative initiative to use our art to expose Slovak EMT professionals to unique medical challenges in a non-traditional-in-modern-times situation.
  • wes-rus-comic-comRenewed Demand for Swords – in Turkey. (Sound familiar?)
  • We need things to touch, and thereby understand
  • Championship of Russian historical fencing
  • New Year Parties; Swords; Champagne … Let’s be Careful out there People!


Work Cited

1. Cohen, Richard. By the Sword: Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai Warriors, Swashbucklers and Olympic Champions. New York NY: Modern Library, 2008. P.177