Martial Arts: Exercise in Truth?

A phrase I regularly hear is ‘true to the art’, which I assume to mean being somehow correct or at least loyal to the spirit of a historical martial art. Art is a difficult concept to describe, especially in a martial sense, as it is an expression of something emotive; in other words it should provoke an emotional response. Martial …

HEMA Research: false truths and wishful thinking

The following is a transcript of my lecture on research, presented at WMAW 2017 Ostensibly, this lecture looks at the research aims of my PhD thesis, namely ‘Fencing Instruction and Practice in the Entourage of the Dauphin and Beyond; the Influence of the Bolognese Fencer, Girolamo Cavalcabo’. Indeed, I hope to engage you with what I, at least, find to be a …

Teaching HEMA

I suppose it’s natural that we want our passion to be seen as important, but I wont apologise for thinking there’s a part of HEMA that is consistently underplayed: teaching. Teaching, instructing or however you term it (and, yes, one can differentiate the terms) seems to be an end result rather than a goal. Don’t know what to do with …

Writing the Rules

I will start this off by saying what this is not It is not a discussion on the pros and cons of competitions, nor is it in favour of a particular rule-set. I am unbiased on that last point; I used to be very much in favour of one particular set, but then I found that the rules began to …

New to Alte Herren

Techniques and Interview with Jake Norwood A lot of things going on with Alte Herren these days. The first is a video reviewing four techniques from three fights at the 2015 Swordfish Open Longsword. We breakdown exactly what the fighters are doing, looking at their body mechanics and footwork, and what it is that makes them land their successful hit. …

Offline Step in Rapier

A short video lesson on stepping offline Moving offline means to step out of the path of the attacking enemy; in this case (for a right handed fencer), moving to the left. The enemy is assumed to be lunging or making a very committed attack. The step needs to be made lightly, so not with a heavy step, with the weight overly …

Interviews: New in Alte Herren

We have two new interviews in our vlog, Alte Herren, with Rob Runacres and Hans Jornlind as hosts. Ilkka The first of the interviews is with the Finnish martial artist Ilkka Hartikainen talking about his love of the Italian ‘Bolognese’ form of martial arts. The Bolognese was a style originating in the fifteenth century, reaching its peak in the early …

Alte Herren

Alte Herren, a new video blog starring the elder statesmen of HEMA, Rob Runacres and Hans Jörnlind. Alte Herren is for all things HEMA and blade based martial arts, with discussions, interviews and vlogs from all the events they got to. It’s a bit rough and ready, but we think you’ll enjoy it. The first video is a review of …

Swordfish 2015 Video Blog

This was my fourth year at Swordfish; my third as Tournament Manager. Over the last six months, I’ve been helping to organise this premier historical European martial art (HEMA) event: designing the schedule, drawing up the pools for the tournaments,  and coordinating referees and judging staff. Over the weekend, I ran the Swordfish tournaments (including a special invitational Sword and …

I Want to Get Good

When will I be good? Probably THE question we ask ourselves and our teachers. Some already know, or think they are good. Most of us stumble along hoping to be good, and irritate our friends for some form of affirmation. Most teachers in response to this question have a nasty counter of ‘well, what do you mean by good’. This …