“It’s everyone from everywhere in one place.”
–Bruno Ramos, Knight’s Blade HEMA
Fresh from flying home from VISS at the end of last month, the statement above really resonated with my experiences with the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium, and with my modest exposure to HEMA events internationally.
Peers from all over the world fly across continents in 21st century technology to 12th century venues to participate in a 14th century discipline.
I’m hard pressed to think of any other group that travels such distances to meet in large groups to recreate something accurately historical.
And pays for the privilege!
“A strange dysfunctional family”
ORLANDO SENTINEL (Florida). 08 March 2015. UCF sword club fights in heart of campus.
The twenty students of Knight’s Blade HEMA meet weekly on the grounds of the University of Central Florida to study and participate in German longsword fighting, to the mixed reaction of their peers passing by. A sorority girl once told Ross that swordfighting was on her bucket list.… (Ladies & Gentlemen, take the hint — this could be the most original ‘first date’ idea ever!)
The Business of Swordplay
GREENVILLE NEWS (South Carolina). 08 March 2015. Fountain Inn’s Sword Carolina tackles business side of the epic sword fight.
Sword Carolina will be hosting “Study in Steel,” its first longsword tournament, from April 18-19. It’s a coming of age for Aaron Shober’s HEMA school that has worked for half a decade teaching longsword to a diverse body of students, all attending swordplay lessons for different reasons.
“It appeals to a broad range of people,” Shober said. “It’s interesting the people you meet… [t]here’s really a momentum building and people searching for schools to join.”
“We practice a martial art, not a sport”
LA OPINION CORUNA (Spain). 01 March 2015. A Coruña es referente mundial en la escuela hispánica de espada del Siglo de Oro.
We have an interesting interview with Ton Puey about his 15-year effort within the Spanish School of the Golden Sword to bring back traditional swordplay to Galacia. He seems to be having enviable success, since there is now an established cadre of about 120 people in his province engaged in the serious study of various HEMA disciplines.
Kiwi Combat Classes
OTAGO DAILY TIMES (New Zealand). 22 March 2015. Sword enthusiasts fighting to be noticed.
HEMA practitioners in New Zealand are working at a different scale than we are “up here”… their latest symposium had 12 attendees from two groups. Small numbers notwithstanding, they imported some impressive talent to teach them the finer parts of the art.
AMBAA captain James Bennett believes HEMA and other medieval fighting will see a renaissance in New Zealand as it has in other countries. ”It’s starting to be seen as more legit”, he observes.
♪ I’m the King of the Castle ♫ …
LA STAMPA (Italy). 06 March 2015. Torneo di scherma storica tra le mura del castello di Viale.
The HEMA group “Contemezzocuore” conducted their first competition in Piedmont within the walls of historical Viale Castle — one just can’t compete with the Europeans for historical swordplay venues!
We’re All in this Together!
RÉSEAU DES SPORTS (Montréal, Québec). 21 February 2015. Un tournoi hivernal de combat médiéval à Montréal en fin de semaine.
The Quebec Federation of Medieval Combat held their fourth annual Winter Tournament in Montréal — 75 attendees from Québec, Ontario and the United States.
LIBERTAS (San Marino). 05 March 2015. San Marino. Primo stage 2015 di Spada Medievale.
The group Sala d’Arme Achille Marozzo San Marino hosted their friends from all over Italy during their first competition — San Marino and Italian friends met to compete in longsword, etc.
UPSALA NYA TIDNING (Sweden). 15 March 2015. Medeltida kamp i Fyrishov.
European HEMA enthusiasts gathered in Fyrishov to participate in the Fäktskola group’s annual weekend of sword-related workshops and competitions. Apparently, Sweden has “a few hundred” sword players. “There will be some bruises.”
VESTI (Almaty, Kazakhstan). 02 February 2015. В Караганде пройдут поединки по историческому средневековому бою.
In Karaganda, fighters from Kazakhstan, the Crimea and Siberia made the long trek to Karaganda to sort out this year’s bragging rights.
VOLGA NEWS (Samara, Russia). 14 March 2015. Тольятти примет Княжеский турнир по историческому фехтованию.
And those Russians who could not go that far east “will probably end up in Togliatti for the Princely historical fencing tournament.” Of note, there is a specific program for women’s combat using traditional duelling weapons of the 16th-17th centuries.
You Three Play Nice … and Share your Toys!
NÜRNBERG-ST. JOHANNIS (Germany). 06 March 2015. Drei elegante Schwertkünste zur Bewegung von Körper und Geist.
At a recent martial arts symposium in Nuremburg, three different swordplay disciplines were featured in a respectful and mutually supportive venue.
Quote of the Month: “In China, it was said: ‘… in order to be able to master the sword, you have to practice 10,000 days.'”
“When one has taken for a long time lessons at the salle, it is outside, on the beaten dirt or on the gravel of the road that one has to make the rehearsal for combat. … Prepare yourself, train at the salle. However, you will have abandoned success to mere chance if from time to time, as often as possible; you do not fence épée in the field, in all seasons, in the mist, under the sun, in the rain, in the wind, on hard or water-soaked ground, in your ordinary shoes.” pp. 24 
- Sir Terry Pratchett – Swordsman?
1. La Marche, Claude. The Dueling Sword. Paladin Press. Boulder Colorado, 2009.