Standardised Sword Press

We were intrigued by a quote from a following article: “I am not a master; nobody certified me”.

How do we as a community ‘know’ that our various schools and ‘Fechtschules’ are in fact teaching an authentic form of HEMA/WMA?  And who ‘accredited’ the institution – if in fact accreditation as a HEMA/WMA study centre is needed.  How does one come by the title, professional standing and responsibility of ‘Master at Arms’ in a manner that does justice to our art?  And if some over-arching group in fact accredited any particular school or Master, by what professional authority do they have that right to do so?

We don’t know what the answer is, HEMA/WMA caught as it is now between being a sport and an academic pursuit.  But with the increase in salles continent-wide as more and more of our peers and betters ‘set up shop’ in new places, it might be useful to know how the fighter across from you came to their knowledge of swordplay … and the honour, techniques and safety concerns that come with live steel bouts.


Clang clang!  Who’s There?

TIMES-NEWS (Idaho) 01 September 13  Your Neighbor: The Man With the Sword and Dagger (Tetona Dunlap)

Community college credit for swordplay?  Sweet!

Ben Smith is teaching Swords & Swordplay: Martial Arts of Renaissance and Renaissance Martial Arts & Modern Self-Defense — for the College of Southern Idaho’s community education program.  Smith’s intent is to teach people about the history of European martial arts and to show them how they can defend themselves using these ancient fighting styles and weapons.

“There are no longer any masters of these arts. What I practice didn’t exist a year ago. It died out 400 years ago in Europe,” Smith said.

Through his research, Smith said, he has reconstructed a number of European martial arts such as European swordsmanship, knife defense, sword and buckler and English staff work.

Blade Control in an Uncontrolled Environment

WESER KURIER (Bremen, Germany) 01 September 13 Wie im Mittelalter (Jörg Volland)

Ralf Gutzeit and his one hundred students of the 10-year-old Fechtschule “Klopffechters Erben” take daggers and swords to each other in a controlled fashion in an effort to learn the intricacies of the German long sword and of the ‘Thibault system’.

Of note, according to Gutzeit, there are between 2-4,000 participants within the various HEMA/WMA schools within Germany, but there is no ‘professional’ governing body nor standard system of competition to guide training standards.

One Hit Wonder.

RHEINISCHE POST (Düsseldorf, Germany) 30 August 13  Mit Schwert und Degen kämpfen wie im Film (Hagen Thiele)

And in another part of the country (Wuppertal to be exact), Stefan Dieke runs the 60 students of the “Alte Kampfkunst” school through their long sword drills.  With the experience of 18 years of study and teaching for seven, Dieke’s is intent on correcting current popular impressions of how medieval sword fights happened.  “Almost everything is wrong.”

The ‘perfect fight’ he says, is one that ends with a single blow.


A 1844 training text, used by a martial arts school to teach members of the samurai class, has been deciphered, revealing the rules samurai were expected to follow and what it took to truly become a master swordsman.

“Do not diss other schools!”


OK, Various armies still honour students of merit with a ‘sword of honour’ … but what exactly does it take to earn one in modern times?