A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Cat’s Nine Lives Halloween Tournament

The above image I took from HROAR’s article labeled: Hack & Slash in the Age of Reason: Italian Rapier Against Multiple Opponents by Piermarco Tierminiello. This is how it can feel once you decide to start running an event!

This blog post is born from an idea I’ve been mulling over for a while after I had a conversation with Cat Souliere who is the Sports Director of the Cornhusker State Games which is a HEMA tournament I recently had the pleasure of competing at.

I’m going to jump right into the tournament format and then after all the fun I will give advice to people who might decide to run something like what I describe and some of the logistics involved. Plus, I will go into a little bit of the reasoning for why I made various choices in designing this tournament. If you’ve run a tournament before please leave a comment to share your greater knowledge if you see something that I’ve missed.

The Cat is Alive and Dead Tournament

Every fighter starts off with nine lives for the tournament. These lives are lost by taking a headshot, getting disarmed, or having an open double during the event.

The basic structure of the tournament is to have small easily handled pools or duels. We will assume 16 fighters below. We will also want to reward more than just winning the most bouts as that is something secondary to the purposes of this type of tournament.

When running a small event or tournament with mostly new fighters you need to have a different perspective than when running an elite event for the best fighters in a region.

Each bout in this tournament is to 5 touches with each hit counting as a touch and a disarm counting as a touch with the sword taken or falling to the floor counting as a disarm. The bout lasts for 3 minutes and can have ties. If the time expires without a winner scoring five touches than both fighters lose a life and continue on to the next bout.

Depending on the venue you will have to decide how many bouts you can run at one time and if you are running more than one pool at a time you need more than one Director and Judge.

Headshots are not worth extra points during the bout but need to be tracked both for who gave the headshot and who took the headshot for later.

Light contact or an obvious showing of intent from a pommel to the mask is worth a headshot and counts as a touch.

One tempo after blows and closed doubles count towards the 5 touches and towards tallying headshots so be careful about sniping a hand and allowing a headshot.

Open doubles count towards touches and also count against your Nine Lives. Should your opponent score a headshot on an open double against you than you would lose two lives.

Depending on the weapon used there may be hand parries, sword grasping or checking, arm checking, or light grappling with the off hand or disarms. Your venue will also impact this choice.

The logistics team need to keep track of the duration of each bout.

Judging and Directing a bout is meant to follow a minimalist structure given the size of the tournament and the unlikelihood that you as a Director of the event have a deep pool of quality judges. I recommend reading Martin Fabian’s article 2 is more than 4.

As a consequence and since I liked the way the Five Rings tournament worked in KC a single Director and an assistant Judge is what I’d recommend with the both needing to rove to follow the fighters. The Director has the final decision and is advised by the Judge who can see the other side of the fighters. This makes it fast and counters the tendency of distributed responsibility when there are more bystanders. You WILL get errors but as long as everyone understands reality and that we’re having fun it should go smoothly barring colossal egos as commented on by this quote by Vadi below.

“If the tongue could cut with reasons,

And strike as does the sword,

The dead would be infinite.” -Vadi

The first round is Curiosity killed the Cat with 4 fighters in each pool (assuming 16 total). This introduction pool has random seeding and is designed to filter the fighters to fighting more evenly matched opponents in the next pool.

Performance in this round is based on the number of wins with ties decided by the number of lives left and after that number of lives taken and if that isn’t enough then the difference between touches scored by and scores against.

The second round is the Tiger on the Hill. With 16 fighters each fighter will fight people who fought in a different pool prior and had the same ranking. So the winners of each pool in the first round fight against each other and the second place fighters of each pool fight against the other second place fighters and so on.

This works very well with 16 fighters and pools of 4 but can easily work with pools of 5 and 25 fighters or pools of 3 and 9 fighters for a club event. The general idea can be applied to imperfect numbers of fighters with some maneuvering. The more or fewer bouts the more the chance of losing all nine lives will change.

At this point, any fighters who have lost all Nine lives are dead…or are they? Thus, begins the …But Satisfaction brought them back as Zombies round of duels.

“Sometimes you will find yourself

Being like a spent light,

Do not doubt that you will soon return.” -Vadi

At this time the fighters who survived with at least one life left get a chance to rest and take a break while also giving the Director time to tabulate any necessary data which is a lot easier if using Sean Franklin’s Hema Scorecard.

In the zombie round, you fight until you lose a bout or someone scores a headshot on you. Fighters are paired based on when they lost their ninth life with the earliest zombies fighting each other first so if you lost your ninth life in your last bout you would have a better chance of winning this round than someone who open doubled headshots five times in their first bout in the first round.

Once the Zombies have slaughtered each other leaving one special Cat in Limbo then the Virtuous Duels begin.

Virtuous Duels

Silver’s Prudent Duel takes the two fighters with a life left who had the least amount of Open Doubles during the pool rounds and allows them to duel for the Lynx in Boots Award with a small gift card to a shoe store.
Giganti’s Audacious Duel takes the two fighters with a life left who had the most kills during the pool rounds with the winner gaining the Lion with a Heart Award.
Ironhead’s Brave Duel takes the fighter who performed third in the pools and still had a life left and the Zombie Cat in Limbo and allows the winner to achieve the Last Elephant Standing Fortitude award.
Fiore’s Celerity Duel takes the two fighters who still have lives left whose bouts took the least amount of total time and allows the winner to gain the Tiger with an Arrow Award. Technically a fighter who lost a lot of quick duels without losing lives could qualify.

The Golden Crown Duel takes the two highest performers in the pools who still have a life left (using the same parameters of the seeding round) and allows them to battle for supremacy with the winner gaining a BK Crown if you have a low budget and a sense of humor.
Vadi’s Noble Duel is between two fighters who still have a life left who didn’t compete in any of the duels who are nominated by the Director/s and/or the other competitors via a method that works for the event. These fighters exhibited the noblest character and/or helped make the event fun for everyone. The winner wins a Sir X plushie with a maille outfit (Cat Souliere makes maille plushies including the Sir Inky she made for my boy and if you continue to the end of the blog you can see their picture).
Saviolo’s Survivors is a possible pool or duel added just in case that is between any fighter who still had a life left and thus didn’t fight in the zombie round but also didn’t qualify for one of the above duels.

As the Director you can decide that a fighter can be in only one duel or can be in as many duels as they qualify for but make that decision before the event.

Keep in mind that how the Director declares Open Doubles vs Closed Doubles or After blows can really change how this tournament goes. How prevalent Open Doubles are could mean that there aren’t very many survivors or that there are few zombies and thus your ability to adapt and use the Saviolo’s Survivors option above can make a big difference.

You might have to change these duels to the highest performer’s alive or not depending on if everyone or most everyone lost all nine lives or the total number of competitors if it is different than 16. Those are things to consider as possible pitfalls. Hopefully, people would try and be very careful given the rule-set encourages that but that may or may not be the case and best to have plans set up before the unusual happens.

Conclusion

A lot of us in the HEMA community love a good excuse to travel and fence with friends in nearby cities or in larger cities against other clubs in the area. This allows us to discover new people with different styles in order to broaden your experience and understanding and also to have fun.

Keep in mind as well as a small local tournament like this can be paired really easily with a seminar or speaker to draw in people who might not be inclined to compete. One of the great benefits of this is maybe those people drawn in for a speaker could be judges or help with logistics. This can be a lifesaver.

However, for a lot of people who are new to HEMA they can feel uncomfortable in competitive environment let alone traveling a long distance with all the issues involved with that. Also, I’ve noticed that some people can be very very serious which can be off-putting to people new to the art or to people with a different point of view or wants.

If we as a community can encourage small local tournaments that draw in people in a few hour range of a tournament then we can ease newer fighters out of their clubs and into the greater community while also having a lower risk to embarrassment or fear of the new or novel. Countering insular attitudes is one of the best benefits of competition against outsiders.

Now that we’re getting close to Halloween I’ve decided to post a modified version of a tournament structure I had worked up a few months ago to be “Halloween-centric” and honor my friend Cat listed above since we are now at the start of October and the idea sounded awesome.

As part of the design I wanted to add a bit of European history and philosophy to the Historical European Martial Arts event by celebrating the virtues and ideas of Fiore de’i Liberi and Philippo di Vadi with awards influenced by my very limited readings of them.

Check out Matt Galas’s IGX Historical Rulesets in HEMA seminar for ideas to run with when making your tournament. I particularly like the idea of getting credit for two hits within a tempo as that makes the fencing more interesting to watch and more martially valid. I did a krumpow in a bout to an opponent’s forearm and a false edge flick to the mask once and there was argument about how to score…with this in play then that doesn’t matter and both touches would score.

Or even take Matt’s advice and run a replica of an old tournament. King of the Hill could be a lot of fun using the nine lives idea especially since open doubles don’t hurt the king which would encourage the challengers to be very careful!

When considering rule-sets for historical fencing it is very important to keep in mind Goodhart’s Law:

goodhart's law

How you decide to measure a fighter’s performance with a rule-set can distort what you’re actually looking to achieve during or in a tournament or competition. Is your goal to find the best competitive fencer in the area and give them extra attention? Or is the goal to have fun and meet new fencers so you can learn from them? What unintended consequences might we create by designing an event in a certain way?

I really like Goodhart’s Law because it also applies to your fencing as a sort of double entendre warning as well.

As a newcomer who started with German longsword and then later Italian rapier sources, I’m just now starting to read earlier Italian and connecting that new knowledge to my older historical research on the Court of Urbino, Sir John Hawkwood, and the Norman-Sicilian-Arab culture.

The four virtues of celerity, boldness, strength, and foresight apply regardless of the art practiced and shouldn’t be forgotten in order to only celebrate winning by beating more people than someone else within the competition rule-set.

At this point, every fighter would have had at least six bouts in the pool rounds and likely at least one more bout either in the Zombie duels or in the Virtuous Duels so they should feel like they got their time and money worth.

After your event hopefully, you’ve shown how people from other clubs could run their own small event for you to come and compete at. As more people get regional practice at tournaments we will see more diversity showing up at the big events or even going international which is to the benefit of the greater HEMA community which like most communities is best served by expanding from the ground up.

This also allows local clubs to snag loners into visiting at least occasionally as a fighter might live a few hours away and not be able to meet often however they might be able to make special events and thus join the regional community. Or even a fighter who is in the SCA, Larp, or into Lightsabers who might for the first time be exposed to HEMA and get hooked with a fun event.

As I mentioned earlier I greatly recommend anyone setting up a new tournament to contact Sean Franklin at HEMA Scorecard for assistance in handling the logistics and record keeping as that tool relieves a huge burden on event organizers.

Depending on your area and how many people might come to fight you might plan on anywhere from 8 to 20 fighters using my basic structure with little difficulty. For more or less you can easily adapt it or use it just between club mates as just a local event.

When making a tournament there are a lot of things to consider such as how you decide to handle judging to what equipment is required and how the event is scored.

One of the most important is to decide what weapons are allowed. Longsword is the biggest in most communities so that is usually the obvious choice for a first-time event maker though you might get a passionate response if you pick a less popular weapon from aficionados of that weapon.

If you’re going to have an event you should plan on arranging extra weapons for people who don’t have their own steel or synthetics. This can be expensive and a big step for a new club.

An option rarely considered is to have a mixed weapon competition and if the community is small and not well developed a Director can pick up a range of synthetic trainers at inexpensive prices for people to try out at Purpleheart Armoury.

If you’re looking to buy equipment for you or your club then check out my blogs listed at the end of the article dealing with buying gear and tournaments.

You can also decide to have more than one event with different weapons. This may be the biggest decision as the more events at the tournament the more complexity in running it but the more events the more likely you will get someone who is interested to come.

Next, you have to find a good place to fight and if outside keep in mind the weather as a factor and have a backup plan for the event if the primary place fails. In October for Halloween if the weather is mild that can help with overheating while wearing gear.

Equipment requirements are pretty easy to set up because you can borrow from one of many tournament pages. I do recommend shin protection which hasn’t been a requirement for Combatcon in the past several years even for their Longsword event which just makes my shins hurt thinking about that.

(Shin and forearm protection are not essential but recommended.) – Combatcon Longsword Tournament Rules for 2018.

Forearm protection should be considered depending on the protection level of your jacket and the weapons used. Remember longsword is the biggest weapon used in HEMA today but it also has the highest requirements for safety.

I have a Gajardoni Challenge Jacket which is very protective and took a few mostly painless bruises doing longsword without my arm protection at the KC Five Rings tournament but for the Cornhusker State Games, I used my arm protection knowing that there would be fighters hitting with more force there and I believe that event required forearm protection.

Gorget requirements are another thing to consider. Some tournaments require a solid metal or plastic/Kydex part to the front of the gorget. Some do not. My jacket has a built-in gorget without rigid or solid parts which would qualify for some tournaments but not others so I have a lightweight “roughneck” gorget from Destroyer Modz to satisfy the rigid/solid requirement.

Another idea besides inexpensive synthetic trainers is to have a singlestick tournament. This has a very low barrier to entry from the weapon to the gear required. Buy a bunch of cheap fencing masks and gloves with some elbow and knee protection and you’re set. People can do singlestick with just a sweater on if you’ve got the head, throat, elbows, and knees covered.

If you look below you’ll see links for general info on how most tournaments handle equipment, where to buy your gear, and what is preferred or allowed.

You also have to decide whether you have any grappling or parrying of the blade with your hand or blade grasping. Only have takedowns if you’re fighting in a gym with padded floors and be really cautious about even that especially if your fighters are primarily people new to competing or new to HEMA.

Hope you enjoyed this post and if you would like to read more of my thoughts please check out these other posts on HEMA I’ve written below.

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises and Solo Drills for Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Cat’s Nine Lives Halloween Tournament

Here is Sir Inky (made by Cat Souliere) with my son at the Bellevue Berry Farm Renfaire.

20180505_154055_HDR

And this is me throwing my sword at my horde of critics and running. This plate is from the same article mentioned at the top of the article.

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A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

The first page of the Codex Wallerstein shows the typical arms of 15th-century individual combat, including the longsword, rondel dagger, messer, sword-and-buckler, halberd, spear, and staff.

I thought it would be useful to update the Original Post I made last year with some of the knowledge and links that I’ve learned since then. One year into learning about HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) and I’m looking forward to much more up ahead.

My goal with this and other posts is to make it easier for someone who is like me and wants to find more information but is just getting started. It can be really difficult to try and navigate and understand what you don’t know to look for and what not to look for when trying to learn about martial arts. I’ve seen a lot of people doing like myself over the past year try and help newcomers get past the steep learning curve of getting started in a very new (but old) endeavor and this is good news for HEMA in general.

I recommend reading a very new post by Richard Marsden over at Tyrant Industries called Starting out in HEMA.

After that for a list of resources put together by the HEMAA or HEMA Alliance head over to New to HEMA.

If you prefer an audio source then have a listen to different perspectives on What is HEMA?

Depending on your trust with the accuracy of encyclopedias you may or may not have already read the Wikipedia post on Historical European Martial Arts but just in case feel free to give it a quick read. The featured image for this post is Public Domain from there.

Now that you’ve read a bit about HEMA I would recommend that you find out if and where the nearest clubs or gatherings you can learn and practice at. This Club Finding Tool provided by HEMAA is an incredible tool and a vast improvement over previous iterations.

Now before you go to a club you might check out a few videos or read some in-depth material so you are a little more confident and competent when you arrive. As far as equipment goes I greatly recommend that you wait to buy anything until after you’ve been to practice and had a chance to talk face to face with a few experienced fencers and the instructor. Even if you’re far away if you can try and make a trip out to a club or start correspondence with an experienced HEMA practitioner.

A quick video by Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatora on getting into HEMA when you’re not near a club:

There is an amazing variety of information to learn about HEMA and about the history and culture that frames these martial arts so I’ve included a helpful and very simple link to The Feynman Technique (How to master a subject) to help with the process.

A really valuable take on the stages of ignorance when attempting to master a skill was recently posted on Duello.tv’s blog that applies very well to me during the process of getting acquainted with HEMA.

To put the sport versus the reality of fighting with deadly weapons in contrast I recommend reading this Blogpost on the reality of Duelling with Swords.

It is important with an athletic activity to have an eye on your safety and the safety of others you interact with. The HEMAA Alliance has a Safety Policy covering a wide range of conditions and requirements for tournaments and other activities. Take a look so you are prepared before you have a problem. On a parallel note covering safety, it is part of your responsibility to take care of your opponent and not cause injury. I highly recommend reading Shanee Nishry’s article here.

As for myself with HEMA I currently study Early German Longsword primarily which even though we have protective gear is oriented toward unarmored or Blossfechten combat. Life, unfortunately, interferes far too much since my boy started kindergarten and our schedules are all out of whack so I have not been getting whacked with swords as much as I’d prefer. Luckily I can do some solo practicing at home and a lot of reading when insomnia strikes.

Here are some of my previous posts which cover a few key things that it can be helpful to know about HEMA that were a little hard to glean at first. If you want to watch some clips of tournament fighters duking it out at locations all across the world check out the tournaments post below my long-winded intro. To see what I own personally including books check out the first link below. When you’re ready to buy your own gear check out my Websites guide below for merchants and general info on gear to get.

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises and Solo Drills for Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Cat’s Nine Lives Halloween Tournament

A Documentary on HEMA called Back to the Source gives a good introduction to the impetus behind HEMA and its origins:

Online HEMA Manuals and Treatises

It can be very hard to know how to interpret the manuals so I’ve linked to this post at the Hema forums by Richard Marsden which I think helped illuminate to me at least part of the process.

As an update to this post, I also recommend reading How to begin working with a HEMA source on Keith Farrel’s blog.

Wiktenauer This for many HEMA practitioners is the foremost resource for learning through reading and research. Every year they keep adding prodigious amounts of information on historical European martial arts available for everyone to peruse. This is probably your most important website to check out.

English Martial Arts Treatise Database (middleages.hu)

The Flower of Battle of Master Fiore Friulano de’i Liberi One of the foundational treatises in pdf form by a Who’s Who of HEMA’s scholars produced by the website Wiktenauer.

Pocket Armizare (Android App) This application is a free portable reference for the early 15th-century fencing manual ‘The Flower of Battle’ as created by fencing master Fiore de’i Liberi.

The Recital of the Chivalric Art of Fencing of the Grand Master Johannes Liechtenauer

One of the foundational treatises in pdf form by a Who’s Who of HEMA’s scholars produced by the website Wikteneaur.

Brief Instructions upon my Paradox of Defense by George Silver A popular pair of pdf’s by an English master Paradoxes of Defense by George Silver.

Joachim Meyer Resource created by Shanee Nishry A wonderful site for learning Meyer.

Great Representation of the Art and Use of Fencing by Ridolofo Capo Ferro (English Translation) An important resource for studying Italian “rapier” from one of the great masters of the art.

Books by Sir William Hope (Hosted by Linacre School of Defense) and other Masters including Fewtrell, Godfrey, Hale, Liancour, Machrie, Mendoza, Page and Miller

Resources provided by the Academy of Historical Fencing on Roworth and Angelo with workbooks on Messer, Longsword, and Sabre

Sources Hosted by Schola Gladiatoria including Waite, Hutton, Fiore, and Angelo.

Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences

Provisional Regulations for Saber Exercise US Army 1907

Highland Broadsword Posters from 1799

New Work by Antonio Manciolino of the Bolognese translated by W. Jherek Swanger and hosted by HROARR

Marozzo’s Arte dell’ Armi (Copyright William E Wilson)

ColdSteel by Alfred Hutton pdf

Old Sword Play by Alfred Hutton pdf

Resources to study smallsword at the Smallsword Project

History,  interpretations, and tools for studying the manuals:

Training theory of longsword fencing (HEMAC)

The Liechtenauer Playbook (an attempt at modernization with Lessons)

A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE TERMINOLOGY AND TAXONOMY OF STICK WEAPONS IN HISTORICAL EUROPEAN MARTIAL ARTS

 

Facebook Pages and other Forums:

HEMA Forums

Schola Forums (Fencing and Martial Treatises Page)

Sword Forum

SBG Sword Forum

Western Martial Arts on Reddit

The Armour Archive (very useful for Armored/Harness Fighters and smiths)

Bladesmith’s Forum

Esfinges Facebook Page (First International Female Network)

Esfinges Forum for Women Facebook Page

Capital KDF Facebook Page

Rapierists Facebook Page

HEMA Alliance Facebook Page

HEMA International Discussion Facebook Page

XVI century European Armour Facebook Page

HEMA Professional Retail Facebook Page

USA HEMA Marketplace Facebook Page

Sword & Buckler Swordsmanship Facebook Page

Fighters Against Racism Forum Facebook Page

HEMA Council Facebook Page

HEMA Armor/Harness Fencers Facebook Page

HEMA Marketplace Facebook Page

HEMA Hacks Facebook Page

 

Schools, Clubs, and HEMA Organizations:

I recommend checking out these sites below as many of them host blogs, advice, and Hema related resources like pdf translations of manuals that can be hard to find.

HEMA Alliance

HROARR is an independent, neutral meeting ground and resource site dedicated to the Historical European Martial Arts community.

HEMAC (European Martial Artists and Researchers)

Nova Scrimia (Research Group on Italian Martial Arts)

xKDF (KUNST DES FECHTENS NETWORK)

Sala d’Arme Achille Marozzo (Largest HEMA organization in Italy)

M.E.M.A.G. The Medieval Martial Arts Guild

Chivalric Fighting Arts Association (International Organization)

ARMA

AEMMA

Swiss HEMA

Sword Carolina (Train Online)

Virginia Academy of Fencing

Academie Duello

Lonin (Modum milites habemus)

Maryland KDF

Phoenix Society of Historical Swordsmanship

Linacre School of Defense

New York Historical Fencing Association

London Longsword

Stoccata School of Defense

Krieg School of Fencing

Chicago Swordplay Guild

Martinez Academy of Arms

Sword to Sword

Blood and Iron Martial Arts

Triangle Sword Guild

Iron Gate Swordfighting

Academy of Historical Fencing at Swordfight.uk

School for Historical Fencing Arts (17th Century Dutch rapier)

The Renaissance Sword Club (UK)

Spanish Swordsmanship Society of St. Louis

The Bratislavský šermiarsky spolok (a civic association)

Dimicator Roland Warzecha’s School

Auckland Sword and Shield

The Academy of European Swordsmanship (Canada)

Hotspur School of Defense

AHFI

Omaha Kunst Des Fechtens

Musketeer Fencing Club (Omaha)

 

Blogs and Specialized Sites:

The Oakeshott Institute

Swording Blog (Check out all the different framing of the Absetzen by some of the luminaries of HEMA)

HEMA Ratings (A site which rates tournament fighters worldwide)

HEMA Scorecard by HEMAA and Sean Franklin

Sword Buyer’s Guide

The Coblog

The HEMA Scholar Awards

Antrim Bata Irish stick fighting

The World’s Largest Resource for Early English Pugilism at Pugilism.org

Graunwolf Blog:

Shanee Nishry’s Blog

Bolognese Swordsmanship

HEMA News (All Swords All the Time)

The World’s Largest Sword Museum

Guy Windsor’s Blog

The Fencing Hindquarters (Tumblr Blog)

I don’t do long sword

The HEMA-Tome Tumbler Blog with Micro Translations of Fencing Treatises

Historical Fighting Guide Tumblr Blog

FINDING SWETNAM:

Swetnam: 17th Century English Fencing

My Armoury a Resource site on modern replicas

A Meyer’s Enthusiast Historical Fencing Blog

Hemaphilia Tumblr Blog

Guy Windsor Blog

Bartitsu: a 19th Century Art of Self Defense

Ritterkunst Blog

Keith Farrell Blog

Victorian Sword Tumblr Blog

Martial Arts New York

Journal of Western Martial Art

The Hemaists Blog

Measure and Weigh (Reviews and Opinions on HEMA)

Afterblow: Hema Competition News

Out of This Century blogs (everything from clothing to essays on roman gladiator style arena fights in San Francisco)

Nova Fechtbuch (Collection of HEMA videos and Blogs)

Ensis Sub Caelo (Weapon Physics)

Meyer Free Scholar Syllabus Wiki

Renaissance Fence (linked to an interpretation of Antonio Manciolino’s Opera Nova of 1531)

Lochac Fencing (An SCA website that has a tremendous amount of links to manuals)

Bruchius (Reinier van Noort)

A Fencer’s Ramblings

The Teachings of Marozzo and Camillo Agrippa’s ‘Trattato Di Scienzia d’Armes’

HEMA Study

Swords of the White Rose

Aidan Blake’s HEMA Blog

Jamie Maciver Blog on Phillipo Vadi

Just a girl and her sword

Hans Talhoffer ~ A Historical Martial Arts blog by Jens P. Kleinau

Sword STEM (Sean Franklin’s Science Applied to Swords Blog)

 

Miscellaneous Extra Content:

Since not everything has to be scholarly or serious below are two of my favorite choreographed videos. I am currently working on a post for video resources that I will hopefully complete in the next few weeks.

I adore the visceral action in this longsword battle which includes grappling and unarmed attacks that most movies and tv shows minimize by Adorea Olomouc:

Akademia Szermierzy Youtube Channel has several exemplary choreographed videos on Fiore:

One of many useful Seminars by Jake Norwood from xKDF:

Sword Anatomy from one of the German perspectives:

sa

Below is Meyer’s Square used in the later German Tradition as a practice tool for basic cuts.

meyersquare_small

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

I am a newbie to HEMA so I’m no expert but sometimes experts can forget to mention basic things they no longer are even conscious of which is the point of my blog. Hopefully, my posts will help a newcomer to Historical European Martial Arts navigate starting up this awesome activity.

This post is dealing with my equipment that I own or that I am waiting for delivery with an addendum for maybe buys in the future. I will also include some exercise gear and my books.

I would like to thank the reviews people like Matt Easton at Schola Gladiatora, David Rawlings at London Longsword, the gentleman at Hema Reviews, Skallagrim, Aidan Blake, the review teams at Blood and Iron, the guys at R/Hema who made the gear list, and the fine folks at Measure and Weigh. I have replaced a few bits of gear that weren’t working out for items they reviewed with a high opinion particularly the Measure and Weigh reviews. You guys really make it a lot easier for all of us when you share your insights with us beginners so we can avoid at least some of the pitfalls of starting Hema. If people don’t say thank you often enough I’ll just say thank you for a second time just in case.

Don’t forget to clean and care for your gear. Sometimes that means a visit to a competent dry cleaner or a bit of Febreze or clear gear or hand washing in lukewarm water with mild detergent. Odor Gladiator is a good addon for your gear bag.

Speaking of gear bags I find that I get good mileage out of a cheap snowboarding bag. If I was traveling on a plane I would probably get a hard “Sportube” as I’ve heard they are great.

Don’t leave your gear in direct sunlight or damp area for too long. Baby wipes are great for plastic bits. Proper care of steel is important to avoid rust. Always ask your smith for the best care for your blade if you can as they should know best practices and tricks for longer life and aesthetics.

My previous articles on Hema:

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises and Solo Drills for Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Cat’s Nine Lives Halloween Tournament

My boy is wearing my mask in the featured image.

The most precious piece of gear to have for HEMA are books! So, that is what I’m going to start off with. For freely available pdf’s and links to books on the net check up my One Year Anniversary Post above for links to hundreds of articles, books, and other resources for the budding Hema student.

Books:

Cutting with the Medieval Sword: Theory and Application: by Michael Edelson Amazon

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A very valuable resource for anyone wanting to learn how to cut properly with the correct biomechanics with a sword. I’m not done reading it yet and I’m only about a quarter into it and have already learned quite a lot. It is hard to resist the temptation to bounce around and all the pretty sword pictures by Albion are distracting. Get it.

<Edit> From my Amazon review after completing the book: A very valuable resource for anyone wanting to learn how to cut properly with the correct biomechanics with a sword. When reading It is hard to resist the temptation to bounce around and gaze upon all the pretty sword pictures. One thing that I really like is the clear and concise advice and insights that bleed over into your fencing regardless of tradition or school. I bought it so I could be better at cutting but I think I am a better martial artist after reading this book. Get it. </Edit>

Treatise on the Subject of Fencing: Marco Docciolini’s 1601 Fencing Treatise: by Marco Docciolini (Author),‎ Piermarco Terminiello (Translator),‎ Steven Reich (Translator) Amazon

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Only about halfway through but I am enjoying reading it. It reminds me of Liechtenauer in that it is very straightforward and focuses on being simple without flourishes or fanciness. Very matter of fact. It would be nice if the book had a longer foreward that went a bit more into history on the period and maybe an index with some insight from the authors on how the treatise could be used in a modern HEMA context. I did find this on HROARR which was interesting to read about dual sword use. I will probably look for videos to help me understand the author better.

<Edit> I did finish the book and it was enjoyable though I might not recommend it as the first book for a beginner with a rapier as the lack of pictures and the lack of resources online to find extra info or to answer questions makes it problematic compared to a treatise by a more well-known author. Alfieri would be my first read, then Giganti, and then Docciolini would be a better reading order I think.</Edit>

La Scherma: The Art of Fencing, Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri: by Piermarco Terminiello (Author),‎ Phil Marshall (Author),‎ Caroline Stewart (Author) Amazon

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Very clear and easy to understand treatise. Loved it and the overall layout. Definitely a good value if you’re new to rapier and want to get some good fundamentals. Alfieri focuses on a single rapier for most of the book and then gives some good advice on expanding that with a parrying dagger and some really interesting plays with a cloak.

 

Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies: A Nineteenth-Century Treatise on Boxing, Kicking, Grappling, and Fencing with the Cane and Quarterstaff: by Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery (Author),‎ Ben Miller (Editor)  Amazon

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I love the history and story of the first half of the book. Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery seems like such an interesting individual and his students include some surprisingly famous individuals. If a competent tv team took him or Jaguerina on as a tv show that would be amazing. The second half is the Colonel’s actual treatise which is worth reading from my limited understanding of the material. I would’ve liked an addendum with a modern practitioner’s point of view and perspective on using the techniques, learning them, teaching them, and applying the lessons of the book in a modern Hema context and perspective.

Nicoletto Giganti’s The School of the Sword: A New Translation: by Nicoletto Giganti (Author),‎ Yvonne Rogers (Illustrator),‎ Aaron Taylor Miedema (Translator),‎ Tara Lynn England (Translator),‎ Kim Reynolds (Translator)  Amazon

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Seems well made but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy the book as much as reading Alfieri and if Docciolini had pictures I would rate it much higher. It is nice that it has so many plays shown and good artwork so you can see what is going on clearly and it is a good solid book to build on your skill.

 

 

 

The ‘Lost’ Second Book of Nicoletto Giganti(1608): A Rapier Fencing Treatise by Piermarco Tierminielo (Translator) and Joshua Pendragon (Translator) Amazon

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Clear and concise instructions on how to fence well in the Italian style. Covers more weapons and off-hand defensives than his first book such as rotellas, targas, and cloaks. I particularly like the extensive footnotes at the end of the book.

 

GEAR:

Gajardoni Ancient Air Mask

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This mask is very protective and comfortable. It has a cool gimmick that does militate a hit to the upper head a small amount by pumping air into little bladders built into the padding like those old basketball shoes in the 80s. The main benefit is in helping the fit better match your head and mold a little bit better to your head in my opinion versus actually protecting you in a significant fashion. The ridge the splits the face bilaterally does a great job at dispersing the kinetic energy from certain types of hewing hits and helps make a full on thrust to the center of the face skitter off either to the left or right rather than sending the energy full on pushing the head and neck back.

I have a giant head so they were nice enough to provide a double sided velcro strip to act as an extender to the back straps to fit both my huge head and the included back of neck protection.

You can buy it here: Ancient Air Mask

Gajardoni Challenge Jacket

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The jacket is extremely protective and comes with a ton of modular padding you can choose to use or not for even more protection. The jacket has a built-in gorget (not sufficient for tournaments but a good supplement and it can be replaced with rigid material that probably would be tournament ready), shoulder pads, and elbow pads. Mine is tailored which is very worth it unless you’re very close to an actual size. I personally don’t use most of the padding but as I have a lot of padding built in it isn’t necessary. Very breathable compared to other jackets and it is surprisingly heavy to people who aren’t used to Hema jackets. Construction is excellent. My only nitpick is that there was a small error on the sewing of the pin side of the zipper pulling the pin closer to the fabric. This makes it surprisingly harder to hook to the zipper when your hands are behind your back to get the zipper started. Other than that the behind the back zipper works fine and the collar is great.

Since a commenter had a question about why there is no plastron I should mention again that it comes with basically enough modular padding/armor that can be velcroed directly to the jacket that there is no need for a plastron because it basically is a plastron. However, so far just the bare minimum padding is very substantial so I haven’t really used the modular padding. You can cut the padding as well to shape it into what you really want like if you have a lower left rib you are worried about you could cut out a section and stick it onto the velcro of the jacket and have a little extra protection in that spot.

You can buy it here: Challenge Jacket

Destroyer Modz Gorget

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Speaking of built-in gorget in the challenge jacket here is my main gorget (\ ˈgȯr-jət \). This is a very lightweight and simple gorget mainly to be tournament ready or for low gear sparring without the jacket or for singlestick. Many of the different gorget designs can be quite large and substantial which can require modifications for guards when your arms are above your shoulders otherwise they can be restrictive. Since the Challenge Jacket already is very substantial in its protection I chose simple and to be honest relatively inexpensive. One problem I can see is if you have a very large neck the fit is tenuous and I think they would be well served to have a large size. Purpleheart was amazingly fast to deliver this to my door. I expected I’d be lucky to get it in a month or two but it was less than a week. If you’re a Hema Alliance member don’t forget to add your promo code when ordering for a discount.

You can buy it here: Purpleheart Armory Destroyer Modz Gorget.

Gajardoni Custom 800 Newton Breeches

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These breeches offer a lot of extra protection most of which I took out like I did with the Jacket. These are custom sized because of my stature but I would recommend bespoke gear in general as the extra cost is worth it even if you aren’t a giant. I supplemented the suspenders that come built-in with Holdup Suspenders as I am a giant and the suspenders are insufficient for the weight of the pants. They are no doubt just fine for your typical Hema enthusiast. The back pocket works well for a wallet or if you’re an Apple Pay/Android Pay type you can carry your phone instead so you don’t have to worry about people “lifting” it while you’re at a tournament. The material is incredibly well made and substantial without the extra modular padding. Some of the padding has a very soft velvet feel which is nice if you need the extra padding because of a wallowing buffel at a tournament.

You can buy them here: Gajardoni Breeches.

K-P Knee Pro Ultra Flex III Knee Pads

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This knee protection works great and is readily available for quick delivery or at many brick and mortar stores. It should fit just about anyone. It covers the side of the knee and is light. It is probably close to indestructible and protects amazingly well. It may be the cheapest, best, and accessible piece of gear in the Hema arsenal.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

Harrow Probot Shin Guard

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These shin guards work so well with the knee pro that it is magic. They are so much better than my previous set of shin guards. They have soft ends at the bottom to help defend the top of your ankle and not be painful. Once you pull up your socks they stay where they need to be and help anchor your knee protection which should fit and rest at the top of the shins. They don’t need straps or a wrap around which made me wary at first. One negative is that they don’t provide any protection to the back of your calf but they do great on the side of the calf as even with a giant like myself it wraps around pretty far. After use, it should kind of mold to your leg a bit which is nice.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

Compression Socks

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There is very little price difference between getting good compression socks and just normal fencing socks so I recommend compression socks. They also tend to be better constructed and better able to keep shin guards in place. I find they help me last longer on my feet and are great when you have to sit for a long time like a plane trip or road trip to the tournament. They also are supposed to help with a lower recovery time after the event or practice and are good for diabetics. You can buy them pretty much everywhere though I am sure there are quality differences depending on the place.

You can buy one of the types I use here: Amazon.

Forearm and Elbow Protection

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These are solid protections that I received from Gajardoni mainly because it was easy and convenient to just add it to the cart with the rest of the gear but there are plenty of different designs available. These are nice because they fit well over the jacket or without the jacket and my forearms are very large. The built-in elbow protection to the Challenge jacket actually works well to anchor the elbow part of this protector making it very safe from harm. Or since the elbow piece is separate you can undo the velcro and go without the elbow pad. The other good thing is that there are no gaps like a lot of designs running up the inside of the arm. So, good for longsword and good for low gear practice or singlestick.

You can buy it here: Gajardoni Forearm and elbow.

Koning Gloves

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These gloves are very well constructed with a very soft inner leather glove so you can get a good grip and feeling through the glove to your weapon. On the outer part of the glove, the leather is harder and more durable seeming as that is where you’re going to get hit. It has a band around the wrist for extra protection without restricting wrist movement. Sandwiched between layers are rigid plates to protect the hand and in particular the fingers from direct hits by blunt steel blades. These plates can be maneuvered around while you use the gloves and get it prepped for you so the glove gets more tailored to your particular hand as you use it. When you first get the glove it can be hard to even fit your fingers in it but as you stretch it and get it used to your specific hand it becomes quite comfortable. It is very much like getting a baseball glove ready for the season.

It took me about a month of just working the gloves while watching Netflix or Youtube videos on HEMA to get the gloves comfortable.

These gloves are primarily for longsword but unlike most longsword gloves can be used with different weapons making them a good backup for even some rapiers or sideswords should something go wrong with your lite gloves. The wait time from Sweden is substantial though it is improving and now you have the option if you’re in America to get them quickly from Purpleheart Armoury.

You can buy them internationally from here: St Mark.

Kombat Gloves

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These are very well protecting lightweight gloves good for historical fencing with lighter weapons like sabres, rapiers, singlestick, or daggers. One thing to keep in mind that the extra knuckle protection can with some designs of rapiers make it a bit cramped if your hand is large and space is small. I also have very large forearms so with my jacket it can be difficult for the forearm velcro to fit around but that shouldn’t be a problem for most people. With the Challenge jacket having built-in elbow protection you can use these and not worry about forearm and elbow protection. If wearing without the jacket you can take the elbow part of the forearm protectors I showed above and use them in conjunction with the gloves if you want and if you have the little leather jutting out the end outside of the elbow cup.

You can buy it here: Gajardoni.

Type III Pentti Synthetic Longsword

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Quick delivery as a surprise Christmas present for me. Well constructed and capable of taking a lot of punishment it is a great practice tool at home. If I had a real pell I wouldn’t worry about harming the pell or the weapon like I would with a steel weapon. But, it works well enough on my makeshift pole in my backyard and at practice with other synthetics. Don’t forget to use your Hema Alliance membership promo code when ordering.

You can buy it here: Purpleheart Armoury.

Purpleheart SingleStick

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This singlestick is very well made with a leather basket and for a little extra over the standard rattan, I chose the hickory model with the oval shape. It has a nice shape for grip to help with edge alignment so you don’t get in bad habits and has a taper making it feel more alive and responsive in the hand.

I ended up picking up rattan sticks from Purpleheart as the ruleset for the Cornhusker State Games required rattan. Customer service was fantastic and shipped them out in time for me to use them at the tournament.

Pick up some gaffer tape if the sticks don’t fit the top and bottom perfectly and you’ll appreciate the improvement.

You can buy it here: Purpleheart Armoury

Cold Steel Synthetic Buckler

 

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Solid and practically indestructible this buckler is inexpensive and does the job whether using a synthetic or steel blade.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

Cold Steel Rondel Rubber Training Dagger

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Good and simple practice dagger that has good flex so you can safely stab your friends. Inexpensive and with easy accessibility it is a good addition to your loadout.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

Sisu Mouth Guard

 

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Good to have if you’re going to be doing some boxing, bartitsu, ringen, glima, or just common fencing grappling or wrestling. Don’t want to get your teeth knocked out on accident if you can help it.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

NuttyBuddy Cup and Compression Shorts

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Gotta protect your “nutty” and this combo of shorts and cup works very well. It must take a ridiculous amount of force to break this.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

 

 

Alera Wire Garment Rack

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It is nice to have something to hang up your gear to dry it out and just keep it organized. This holds my Purpleheart longsword and singlestick on the left side there very well so it is also a sword rack to add to the convenience. I got it for $55 at Costco.

Mares Mesh Bag

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As an upgrade to my snowboard bag, I picked up the mesh bag based on the review at Measure and Weigh. It is really convenient for everything not requiring longsword. Singlesticks fit in fine with no problem. A really nice perk is when you’re trying to find stuff it is easy since the mesh is see-thru. I am a giant so my gear is heavier and larger than most people and I had no problem storing my jacket inside out and all my protective gear so the vast majority of people should have no problems. I bought mine at Amazon.

Exercise Gear:

I get a lot of mileage with my NSD spinner which is fun to do and I think helps build up finer muscle control for strammazone type cuts as you’re making very tight circular motions to get it to spin. If you check out my previous post on exercises you’ll see a link to the one I have.

From Iron Mind I have a Captain’s of Crush Trainer and #1 grippers, a Blue Iron Egg, and the elastic bands. The Trainer is good for reps a couple of times a day for building your grip strength which is important for sword work and for things like the bench press. If you want to push your grip strength get an additional gripper of higher tension like the #1 or go with the #.5 if you have difficulty with the Trainer and use that to step up the difficulty. The Iron Egg I squeeze while reading a book or watching a video and same with the elastic bands which are fun for building your forearm and fingers and can help with an injury.

The Gripmasters I use at work though I have destroyed them pretty badly. I have the 9 pound and the 11 pound and if you do the pinch grip it will give you a good workout for your fingers. Great for building your bass playing skills especially the pinkie and of course your grip for Hema.

The Theraband blue is good for if you get tennis elbow and for your grip do a pickup grip on the tips of the band and twist and that will get your whole forearm and fingers working.

Resistance bands are good for increasing your leg strength and are really interesting to use when practicing careful short lunges, voids, and traverses while you have them at your ankles.

Battle ropes are fun and I get double use out of my makeshift pole/pell.

I have a Valeo medicine ball which is good for working out your core and I like to lay down and throw it up with my right arm like I am punching out or making an oberhau. Exercising the lazy way while listening to a podcast or youtube video drone on is a-ok with me.

Balance pads and agility ladders are good to help get your feet moving and your balance better which is a huge part of any martial art and will help you get better at dancing too!

 

Wishlist/Waitlist:

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For my steel longsword, I am looking at the smith Logan Black of Black Horse Blades. He now has three Hema training blades the Arbeitsferd, the Eisen Pferd, and the Grosse Pferd. I like the Eisen Pferd design the most which is the blade above. I have communicated with Logan on Facebook and he has been extraordinarily pleasant and if money had allowed I would already have his work in my home just for their customer service soft skills. His site is Black Horse Blades.

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For my steel rapier and dagger, I am on the waitlist for a Danelli Armouries until Christmas of 2018. So many beautiful works of art on the site you can get distracted very easily if you’re a sword enthusiast. The rapier above is one of his most beautiful though way out of my price range. His website: Danelli Armouries.

Over at Castille Armory, there are a lot of good looking blades. The link is to an inexpensive clamshell rapier with a lot of good reviews. For Hema, I recommend from my research that you get the F3 blade and a lobed tip. Length of the blade is, of course, a contentious issue and depends somewhat on the master or tradition you’re studying though in general the taller you are the longer the blade. Keep in mind that some tournaments have length maximums and most of the lengths on bladesmith sites for rapiers include the ricasso. The bronzed work looks great in my opinion too. Over at Blood and Iron, they recently did a review of a custom blade Sam made that the lead instructor gushed over. They have some amazing sabres that are tempting.

For sword and buckler, I am looking at just a basic arming sword by VB available at Purpleheart.

For sabre not from Castille I am thinking about just snagging a cheap Hanwei Hutton from Amazon because I get bonuses from work each month in Amazon gyft cards so that would make it easy to get and the Hanwei’s are okay.

If I get more into the lighter weapons I will probably eventually get a Diamond Jacket from Gajardoni as it is just amazing looking and better suited for lower impact weapons.

 

 

 

 

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises and Solo Drills for Historical European Martial Arts

I made this article since enjoying and developing yourself with HEMA involves more than reading treatises or swinging swords during practice. One of the ways to get more out of HEMA is to get your body into shape. It is simple math that the more you can do during practice than the more chance you have of getting better at fencing. In this article, I won’t go into widely available gym basics but instead, I will go into a few suggestions that are a bit unusual with the primary goal to be to increase grip and arm strength especially if you can do it while being a bit lazy.

I’ve included some suggestions from a facebook post I made that I thought were great and will start off with a video on how to practice effectively before getting started with solo fencing drills.

 

Solo HEMA Drills and Exercises:

Clear and easy to follow instructions. They do a great job on the following channel with fantastic production quality.

If this doesn’t get your newbie muscles burning quickly you’re either in great shape or doing it wrong!

This drill gives you something extra to do by forcing you to change directions while swinging your sword. Footwork is my greatest weakness I think so try this or variations of this out.

Sean Franklin does a good job of explaining cutting drills.

Matt Easton has quite a few different solo drills on his site. I like this one and the ones he made when his right hand was injured.

This flow exercise has some direction changes and good practice for attacks from the Italian Longsword perspective.

Matt Galas is so smooth in his transitions it is a beautiful thing to watch even if you know nothing about historical fencing or HEMA.

This is really good for singlestick and highland broadsword.

Sidesword exercises in the Bolognese/Dardi tradition can also translate well with the early period rapier.

 

Novel Gear Exercises:

Continuing with Ilkka I really enjoy exercising with my medicine ball. I will hold it with one hand facing up with just the fingertips while watching tv and moving my arm around which I think helps with finger and thus grip strength.

Medicine Balls can build up your explosive “punch-like” force you need for martial arts. There are many types and weights to choose from. The link above goes to my medicine ball which is a middling size and weight and great value for the price.

 

NSD Power AutoStart Spinner is the “Featured image” for this post because it is super cool. There are more expensive versions and cheaper ones than the one I linked to but this is the best bang for your buck. This is an exercising tool utilized heavily by golfers who want to build dense and dextrous forearm muscles just like we do. It is fun and easy to use. It is also used by people to help with carpal tunnel and tendonitis. There are many different brands and versions. Below is a “Powerball” model review from a hockey player but the basic concepts apply.

Kettlebells are can be very useful. Be careful getting started and don’t buy a cheap one unless you’re ready for a heavy metal ball to go flying in a random direction should a handle break. Get one that is all one piece without any welding or anything that might hide any welding marks. If you can get started with an instructor at least one time before you do anything crazy or weird with this as you can injure yourself if your form stinks. I don’t have one myself but messed around with one back in high school.

The Gripmaster Hand Exerciser is useful for building an individual finger, hand, and wrist strength and is another thing you can do maybe at work or while reading. There are many different variations and brands to choose from. Most have a set level of resistance but a few have a resistance that is variable which is useful if you are using this to recover from a hand injury and building back up your strength. The video below is for guitar and bass players that I used many years ago when I played both. He has some suggestions on different exercises.

Agility Ladders are really useful for building up your lower legs and helping you become more cognizant of your footwork. Some allow you to move the bars to different lengths and hook up extra ladders or miscellaneous items to make a little obstacle course. This can help when you are trying to do solo drills and need to force yourself to think outside of the linear box common to kendo and modern olympic fencing. Taking advantage of traversing and sidesteps are an important part of your martial art toolset.

Resistance bars are great for recovery and are designed to help with tennis elbow which can plague a swordsman as well. The brand I linked to rates the resistance by color so be careful picking one that is appropriate for you. They also are very good at improving grip strength. There are a lot of different exercises out there that use these flexbars for different issues so be sure to look up different exercises or invent your own just don’t break your wrist.

Battle Ropes are a lot of fun and help out with building both your arms but also your core and is a very inexpensive way to get a full body workout. It will wear you out as muscles you rarely use flare up and make sure you’re paying attention. Start with a few basics and build your way up. I recommend starting at 1.5 inch and 40 feet if you’re not in fantastic shape which is what I have.

Balance Pads are very good for improving your balance and building your lower leg strength and tone. They will help your footwork and if you’re anything like me you probably need the help.

Gravity Fitness Stretch Strap is good for helping increase your flexibility and range of motion. If you’re going to be practicing lunges a lot this might be useful for you.

Resistance bands are great for practicing lunges and footwork as well as increasing leg and hip strength while you’re sitting at your desk if you have them on your feet. I use them at work every day on my feet and I move my ankle around so I can build up my foot strength as well as my it band and glutes. You can also use them with your arms. I will grab one end with a solid grip and with a grip like I’m in quarte with a rapier or holding a sabre in terce and stretch the band out. If you move your stretching hand out and twist it while you push out you can go to prime and back which exercises your forearms quickly along with your grip.

Forearm Exerciser is great for building strength while binge-watching your favorite show.

Captains of Crush Grippers are expensive for grippers but are well made and will push your hand strength probably more than anything else if you use two or three models. I have a Trainer which is easy to close for high reps, a #1, and a #1.5 which takes some work to close. Give yourself breaks with this as you can push yourself too far very easily and stop immediately for at least three or four days the moment you feel any pain.

Broccoli bands or the Iron Mind bands or something similar are great for working your finger extensors and to prevent hand injuries.

I like to use my buckler and rotate it back and forth and it is something you can do while watching a movie on your couch without worrying about breaking anything like this gentleman does in the below video with the stick.

Suggestions from Facebook:

Shanee Nishry’s website showcases her exercise regime of about 30 minutes a day of Meÿer Square / Cutting Diagram Longsword drills. Check it out.

Susan Kirk mentioned that Indian Clubs can really help with both strengthening arms and shoulders as well as helping flexibility of wrists, elbows, and shoulders. It is great for both balancing out muscles on the left and right sides as well as improving coordination.

Indian Clubs at Purpleheart Armoury.

Incline Steel Club is on sale and it is nice for doing exercises when inside though I find I use my kettlebells far more.

And it isn’t HEMA but this set of exercises based on Bruce Lee’s Ab workout are good for building your core which is very important when hitting with control and intention.

In Conclusion:

This Sword Carolina video below is actually what got me started on the idea for making this blog post. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe got some ideas on keeping in shape from it.

 

My other essays:

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises and Solo Drills for Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Cat’s Nine Lives Halloween Tournament

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournament Ready and Training Ready Standards

 

(Edit) It seems that this topic is unpopular. I approached this topic as someone familiar with patents, copyright, and creating standards.

From that pov I see issues like Combatcon’s equipment recommendations allowing modified lacrosse gloves, no shin protection, and with the only stated requirement of a mask being behind the head protection. I have read a lot of equipment rules for tournaments and they are often vague and ambiguous. Also, looking at equipment on retailer websites there is a dearth of info. Most clubs seem to be very insular using the same stuff they’ve been using from the start rather than a mix of goods. Part of this is a reluctance to lay down good money on something they aren’t sure of or confident in.

I would suggest an approach to making these standards as something like this:

I would test protective gear with a broken feder that has splintered leaving a sharp edge or for standardization sake three or four different thrusting and cutting sharps using a machine with a test dummy with the protective gear in question. This machine would hit the gear with an ever increasing amount of force let’s say start at 100N and go up a 100N each time noting the point when damage begins and the point when the protection is penetrated.

Then I would go through all the different major makers of the gear in question. I would then compare them and plot out the standard deviations and compare that quantized information to qualitative information from actual HEMA experts.

I would then try and measure the typical amount of force used by a trainee during practice using the typical weapons in HEMA and compare that to the piercing point/breaking point/cutting point of the gear. I would then get a set of average strikes from a dozen random tournament contestants. Then I would get the hardest hitters and try and guestimate the maximum force a HEMA defender is likely to ever get hit with and correlate that with the different tested gear.

By combining the quantitative analysis of how the gear handles piercing, blunt, and slashing hits from sharp weapons and maybe even a mace or staff along with broken weapons with expert qualitative advice you can get a rough idea of training quality, tournament ready, and tournament approved gear.

That way you can also rate gear for Longsword, Staff, rapier, arming sword etc. A Longsword training level jacket might be tough enough to be tournament ready for a saber for example.

Once you have those standards than the makers of the gear can then go back and beef up their gear or drop it down a bit to provide a cheaper but still quality product. If a jacket maker could make a safe but minimal product for entry level at a low price point without sacrificing too much quality than they make money and more new people get into HEMA.

Then once the enthusiast gets some practice and wants to go compete they can make the choice of getting gear that is very good and ready for tournament level play or they can go to the max and get gear that is overkill and very high quality meeting the highest standards in the industry because there will now be standards.

(/edit)

So, as a novice I’ve been reading a lot about HEMA and coming from an outside viewpoint it is a bit confusing and a lot of things are ambiguous with a lot of regional variation. This naturally emerges from a bottom up structure run by a number of very individualistic people who can bonk you on the head with steel if they disagree with you!
If my ideas have already been beaten around to death I apologize. I’m sure the elders of the tribe keep seeing the newbies saying the same thing over and over.

Anyway, it occurred to me that a way to both help the merchants who sell and the people who make gear for the HEMA enthusiast and to help people make informed decisions when buying gear it seems obvious to me that there should be set/s of standards for different types of activities for training and tournaments.

When I buy a video game I see a set of minimum requirements and recommended requirements which give me a rough idea what kind of PC I need to have to run the game. They usually err on the side of caution for minimum requirements and overkill for the recommended.

Rather than having a deeply piecemeal and haphazard approach to each tournament having different gear accepted and having the fear that your gear which was good enough for a tournament in Chicago but not accepted in Denver it seems to me that there are many organizations in HEMA and more importantly many Tournament Leagues.

Imagine if you will a swordmaker able to put on his website “Midwest Historical Fencing League Tournament Ready Feder” and\or “HEMA Alliance Tournament Ready Sidesword.”

Another approach is for the manufacturer’s to get together to make a standard. This placates those who prefer to avoid any appearance of an overarching “federation”.

If the dozen or so makers of masks for example made a tournament ready and a tournament recommended standard for HEMA and all followed it than the buyer would know better what they are getting versus relying on Cen 1 and 2 which help but aren’t perfect with most of the other gear lacking even that nebulous quantifiable standard.

Imagine a poor quality gorget NOT being able to have any official HEMA stamp of approval so some new person doesn’t buy it trying to save money and get hurt badly.

The customer (us) could be confident that the gear they are buying is not only good for their league but it is also tested and approved by their HEMA organization. This would make makers of quality equipment have an easier time selling gear as doubt would be removed. Your only choice now is to ask around your club and look up the occasional youtube review, blog,  or the handful of reviews at Measure and Weigh.

Also, having standards would make it easier for new makers to enter the market. If a feder needs to be between x length and y length, use m through g quality metal, have x flex, and weigh between c and g weight to be tournament approved than having clear standards would improve the quality of our gear and help the manufacturers know what they need to provide to hit any HEMA requirements.

You could have let’s say the red dragon gloves be “Longsword Training Ready for Prairies Historical Fencing League” which tells the buyer that the gloves are okay for practicing or training but in the long run they will need to get better gear or just skip them to gear that is approved.

A pair of fencing gloves could be “Rapier and Saber Training Ready for HEMAA” and a jacket could be the same letting the buyer know that the jacket isn’t approved or ready for Longsword Training so they don’t hurt themselves through ignorance and are educated about what works for one type of HEMA practice or tournament.

You could even have “Ready” and “Approved” as tiers of quality as well. So, a new Regenyei Feder could be “HEMA Ireland Tournament Approved” while a low end feder that is still solid but not great could get “HEMA Ireland Tournament Ready” while a truly mediocre feder but not a bad or dangerous one could get “HEMA Ireland Training Ready” tag. Take the guesswork out of buying the goods. Take the guesswork for the poor people who have to look through all this gear and be the jerk that tells someone that they can’t participate or even worse feel sorry for them and let them participate in an event in which they get hurt!

Take the guesswork out of buying the goods. Take the guesswork for the poor people working or volunteering at HEMA tournaments who have to look through all this gear and be the jerk that tells someone that they can’t participate or even worse feel sorry for them and let them participate in an event in which they end up hurt!

A way this could really benefit is in gear that we appropriate from other sports like arm or shin protection. If we could go to Adidas and say “your shin protection is great so we would like you to market it as a soccer AND HEMA shinguard.” That way if they did that a soccer player could come across a shin guard and sees the HEMA logo and wonders “What’s that?” and looks us up. If they do that and see it is approved to take sword strikes that puts a lot of confidence that it will take a set of cleats. This would increase attention to HEMA and make it easier to find quality gear.

And by having each league and each member of the HEMA Alliance make decisions on gear approval it might help move regional products into the global market while protecting each leagues autonomy. Say you’re a jacket manufacturer with great quality and fair price but you’re in X country and you want to get some exposure you could send a jacket to each league you’re interested in for them to test it out. If you have a good product not only are you going to get your jacket listed by that league or group as approved you could have them review the gear and word of mouth means a lot. If an instructor says “this jacket is amazing” how many students who respect them might think about picking up that jacket that wouldn’t otherwise look for a foreign made and formerly unknown product?

Say you’re a jacket manufacturer with great quality and fair price but you’re in X country and you want to get some exposure you could send a jacket to a couple of leagues you’re interested in for them to test it out. If you have a good product not only are you going to get your jacket listed by that league or group as approved you could have them review the gear online and word of mouth is a very powerful tool. If an instructor says “this jacket is amazing” how many students who respect them might think about picking up that jacket that wouldn’t otherwise look for a foreign made and formerly unknown product? We get better gear and more choices in that gear and the merchant sells more. Win-win in my book.

It also might be useful to have a model or version number on gear. Say a 800N Jacket type Y v2 2015 by X. That way if there happens to be a bad version or model than the league and the manufacturer can alert its customers about it and there can be a caveat and it is clear what type of jacket is being discussed for those manufacturers who make more than one type of the same product.

By having a version history and easy tracking of how that product has performed we can take a more scientific approach to safety and quality control. I know that the Konig Gloves have gone through different permutations so it would be nice if for example a tag said version 4 2016 just in case there was a safety issue with one version anyone who had the glove could just take a look and see if they needed to worry.

Check out my other blog posts in this series with more to come:

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

Websites that sell equipment are listed below by continent and by the nation. If you’re a merchant, maker, or smith please make a comment below so I can add you to the list and if you have a specialty I would be happy to notate it next to your site.

My original post A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts kept on growing so I decided to break it up into smaller more focused posts such as this one. In the year since I started, I’ve updated things further with a One Year Anniversary Update Post.

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments has some advice for buying equipment appropriate for tournament bouts along with the actual requirements that each of the tournaments has for sword and equipment quality. As always your best bet is to ask questions either to instructors or clubmates or on the WMA Reddit or HEMA Forums for the suitability of a given retailer or manufacturer.

This blog post is now listed here and at the Reddit Online HEMA Resources (r/HEMA) page which has an excellent collection of links for the HEMA and WMA enthusiast.

Aidan Blake’s Google Docs is a primary resource to use when looking at buying gear: HEMA Protective Gear Research and HEMA Training Weapon Research.

For sabres, this Collection of Saber Measurements may help you out in deciding what kind of sabre you want to get and what options you might have available depending on the style of sabre you want to practice and compete with.

For sideswords, I found this on the Giovanni Dall’Agocchie Facebook group page: Sidesword Trainers.

When buying your gear you’re going to want to look at whether you’re getting it for self-practice, training with mates at various levels of intensity, the type of weapon you’re training with, and/or if you’re planning to eventually go to a tournament with that weapon.

The approved protective gear you will need for longsword will need to have sterner protections than that of other blossfechten weapon types such as rapier or sabre then singlestick with unarmed Ringen, glima, or pugilism needing the least.

For a look at my gear and books check out: A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist.

Typical tournaments look at having a 3 weapon mask with back of the head protection, a heavy jacket or gambeson for longsword or lighter one for other weapons, heavy gloves for longsword like Spes Clamshells, Koning, Sparring Gloves, and Neyman to name a few or for lighter weapons the Red Dragons are popular or various padded leather gloves, some sort of hard or padded elbow protection, hard knee protection, groin for men, plastron for women, and a gorget or throat protector. I would highly recommend shin and forearm protection regardless of weapon but some tournaments don’t require them.

Commonly for practice steel longswords/feders, you will see approval based on the maker such as Regenyei, Danelli, Castille Armoury, Darkwood Armory, Ensifer, Chlebowski, Albion, Arms and Armor, SGT Blades, Black Horse, and Pavel Moc.

For steel rapier and sabre Danelli is highly regarded and in America, Darkwood Armory and Castille Armoury are probably most popular of the high-end market with Del Tin and Arms And Armor. Hanwei has a approval as an okay entry level but as of writing this the longsword/feders are not considered safe for tournament level intensity.

Synthetics tend to be dominated by Purpleheart Armoury in America and Black Fencer in Europe for the higher end and the Red Dragon/Hema Shop Rawlings in the UK as bargain weapons. For singlestick in the states, most people get Purplehearts leather baskets or make their own SCA style.

I honestly don’t know much about harness fighting though if you want to learn more I highly recommend checking out Pursuing the Knightly Arts Youtube Channel or the Knyght Errant Youtube Channel.

This site is an Amazon affiliate site that can help you find HEMA Gear on Amazon and I believe in the future other sites and in your country if possible HEMA4U.

A popular website for buying sharp swords and various re-enactor gear that ships all over the world is Kult of Athena.

Europe:

UK and Ireland:

Danelli Armouries (Beautiful swords with long wait list)

Leon Paul

The HEMA Shop

The Knight Shop

Corsairs Wares

Paul Binns Swords

James G Elmslie Custom Replicas

Feestspada Armoury

Tod’s Stuff

Old Shillelagh

Hematees (Hema shirts) Facebook Page
Germany:

Trainingsschwerter

Allstar International

Sword Experts

VB Sword Shop

Die Seelenschmie (Swords)
Poland:

Sparring Gloves Sparring Gloves Facebook

SPES Historical Fencing Gear

Neyman Fencing

Comfort Fencing

Silk Fencing (Synthetics)

PBT Polska

Szymonchlebowski (Swords)

Ensifer (Swords)

Art of Swordmaking by Maciej Koupciuch

Mateusz Sulowski Swords

Bloss for Hemaists

Aureuss Swords
Czech:

Mac Arms (Swords)

Swords (C.K. Kowarna)

Elgur (Swords)

Kovex Ars

Lutel Armoury

Armory Marek

Fabri Armorum
Switzerland:

Fechtwaffen Shop (Pretty much everything is here)
Spain:

Black Fencer

The Time Seller

Grant Esgrima

Arcensis

Costumbres Medievales
Hungary:

PBT Historical Fencing

Regenyei (Swords!)

Viktor Berbekucz (Swords)
Austria:

Swordbag
France:

Black Armoury (Full selection of feders and gear)

Faits d’Armes

Le Colporteur de l’histoire (Jackets, masks, rawlings, and regenyei’s)

South Fencing

Sport 7

Gael Fabre (Swordsmith)
Italy:

Gajardoni (Lajalo) (Air Masks and fine quality jackets and breeches. Ships internationally) Disclosure: I am a customer.

Negrini

Del Tin (Tin Ancient Weapon)

Thokk WeaponMaster Gauntlets (indiegogo)
Sweden:

Saint Mark (Koning Gloves)
Denmark:

Gladius
Finland:

Miekkailutarvike
Netherlands:

Zwaard En Volk

Pro Gauntlet (HEMA Gauntlet in Alpha Stage of Production)
Russia:

Hema Fencing

FoxTail Equipment

Kvetun (large selection of hema weapons and protective gear) In the USA contact kvetun.sales.usa@gmail.com for USD prices.
Slovenia:

Krsticic Swords

North America:

Canada:

Darksword Armory

Dark Age Creations

SGT Blades
USA:

HEMA Supplies (We currently import Regenyei Armoury swords and Sparring Gloves.)

Arms n Armor

Albion Swords

Southcoastswords (Blackfencer Synthetics in USA)

SPES Historical Fencing Gear (USA)

Leon Paul (USA)

Absolute Force

Baltimore Knife and Sword

Wild Geese Fencing (Steel Swords)

Horsebows (Archery and Masks)

Blade Fencing Equipment (fencingnewyork.com)

Freelance Academy Press (Books!)

Woodenswords: Purpleheart Armoury (Pentii Synthetics and Ensifer Feders)

South Coast Swords

Wasson Artistry Fine Armor

That Guy’s (Beautiful looking Gorgets)

Destroyer Modz (Gorget and Mask Mods)

Winter Tree Crafts (Gorget)

Valiant Armoury

Black Horse Blades

Castille Armory

Alchem (Swords Wholesaler)

Benjamin Arms (Swords)

Zen Warrior Armory (SCA and Fencing)

Arms & Armor (Swords)

Swordsman’s Shop (smallsword)

Rockwell Classical Fencing (Foil, Saber, and Epee)

Triplette Competition Arms (Sports Fencing)

Hanwei (Swords)

Darkwood Armory

Piranha Gear (Fencing Gloves and Gorget)

CAS Iberia

New Stirling Arms (Wooden Wasters)

Little Raven (Wooden Wasters)

Sword Equip (HEMA Gear and swords by Szymon Chlebowski)

Therion Arms (Export and Import Globally Weapons and Armor)

Armstreet (a multinational garb and armor seller)

Revival (Medieval Garb and HEMA Gear)

Windrose Armoury

Age of Craft

Armour And Castings

Cold Steel

Swords of Might HEMA Gear

Asia:

China:

Wukusi

Australia:

Medieval Fight Club

WMA Shop

Leon Paul Australia

Eureka HEMA Supplies

Manning Imperial

Miscellaneous:

HEMA Leather Crafts on Facebook (gorget, baldrics, and belts)

HEMA Professional Market on Facebook

USA HEMA Marketplace on Facebook

HEMA Marketplace on Facebook

Peter Johnsson on Facebook (Swordsmith) Personal website is down.

Cavalier Attitude (The Rapier Bag)

High Hill Pants (Fancy hema fencing pants)

Wild Armoury (Armor)

Lukas Maestlegoer Swordmaker

FEESTSPADA (custom made swords and daggers)

Other Blog posts by me:

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises and Solo Drills for Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Cat’s Nine Lives Halloween Tournament

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

This is a work in progress built from my original A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts post that I decided to spin off into its own page as the Guide is far larger now than I had initially intended and has become a little unwieldy like a Montante in the hands of a five-year-old.

As a novice, I have decided to try my best to make these guides to help people learn more about HEMA who don’t have the time or inclination to search and research for hours on the web and to try and distill what I’ve read into something easy to understand. Often things get lost in translation when dealing with topics outside of your understanding and experience. The experts know everything basic so will often use shorthand or gloss over things that you as the newbie have no clue about leading to misunderstandings and frustration.

If you would like me to add your Tournament just add a comment below.

If you’re going to run a tournament or help out a great new tool added in July 2018 a few years after I wrote this article was made by Sean Franklin allowing easy access to your performance data as a fencer so you can see how you did during an event. I still don’t know even most of the people I’ve fenced with and what the scores were because when you’re bouncing between an assault and then judging and then filming or lunch it really does become a blur. Check it out here: HEMA Scorecard.

Another great website to check out if you’re interested in tournament rules is Swiss HEMA’s Rules Survey.

Some tournaments require tips on your blades of leather and tape or blunts. The Arnold Classic uses white tape in order to help judges see thrusts against the ubiquitous black jackets and gear.

Given that tournaments often require or appreciate help during the events it can be really useful to take the time to understand how to judge and familiarize yourself with the tournament rules so you can perform better as you’ll optimize your fencing strategies to the tournament environment. If you’re creating a tournament it can be useful to decide how you’re going to set up your judges and how much power you’ll be giving them. Martin Fabian wrote an interesting article about how less can be more here: 2 IS MORE THAN 4 – ON THE STATE OF JUDGING IN HEMA COMPETITIONS.

Tournaments are a chance to test your mettle against opponents from outside your club. This is very important in order to avoid and detect weaknesses that might have developed unnoticed by the fellow fencers you practice with and to become exposed to different styles and ways of fencing.

A new site called HEMA Ratings has setup rankings and scores for over a thousand fighters from all over the world with different weapons including Longsword, rapier, sabre, singlestick, sword and buckler, and sidesword. So, after you compete at your first acceptable tournament you can watch your score and rank change as you become a better fighter and get more experience fighting new people.

Afterblow (HEMA Competition News) is starting in 2017 and will have a whole slew of useful information about Tournaments which will be something to look forward to next year.

This HEMA Alliance Events Page just soft-launched which is wonderful.

It is also worth knowing that there are Leagues of HEMA which can make going to multiple tournaments in a region have a new dimension of complexity.

Historical Fencing Event Notification Page on Facebook is another resource.

Tournaments are different in that the rules are more formal than bouts at your club or with friends and each one will have different equipment requirements depending on the type of bout from Longsword to Ringen. This is important to keep in mind as swords and gear preferred or allowed at one tournament may be forbidden at another. So make sure you consider this when you are making your expensive choices on gear. These requirements may also hint at the quality or lack of quality of different equipment.

They may also have different rules in adjudicating a bout so it would be wise before a tournament to have some practice bouts using those rules in the weeks proceeding a tournament. This applies even if you are not planning to go as it is good to be flexible in your fighting. Different rules may encourage different optimized behavior by a fencer. If the tournament penalizes heavily double hits than you will want to prepare for that while sports fencing often encourages unhealthy defensive habits because of the rules of engagement.

An article worth reading If You Practice HEMA, You Should Be Competing in Tournaments.

General takeaways applicable to many tournaments for equipment needed for Longsword are a Fencing Mask with back of the head protection, Gorget, Padded Fencing Jacket, Heavy HEMA Gloves, Arm and Elbow Protection, Knee and Shin Protection, shoes, and a cup for men. Some require a plastron and padded breaches as well.

In Europe, many tournaments provide the weapons to be used while in the Americas that is rarer except for events that are outside of the most common weapons like longsword and rapier. Providing tournament weapons can be a great way for a smith to advertise their feders or blades.

There also must be no bare skin shown when Fencing with weapons and some state overtly that if they can see skin if you raise your arms then that is unacceptable. I would recommend skipping the basic mask and go to CEN 2 at the very start as there really isn’t that much of a price difference and it makes a big deal for durability and longevity. Vasaslaget explicitly states CEN 2 or 1600N at least as a requirement to compete and forbids hockey gear.

Feders from Ensifer, Regenyei, Danelli Armouries, Comfort Fencing, Darkwood, Chlebowski, Pavel Moc, SGT Blades, Mac Arms, and Castille are usually accepted. For some other manufacturers only certain models are allowed but in general feders with rolled, ‘nail like’, or widened tips with well-rounded cross guards are accepted. I would also recommend models with rounded pommels because some have wickedly dangerous styles.

Few tournaments allow Hanwei or Red Dragon Feders. Many don’t allow Darksword Armory as well.

Check out A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment to see where and what websites you can look at to buy your gear.

Very importantly make sure you have safe and appropriate luggage/bags to carry your goods for your method of travel. Don’t skimp on a cheap and poorly made bag if flying or taking a bus and it can be useful to think of how to secure your gear if it is going to be out of your sight.

If you enjoy watching bouts in older tournaments check out HEMA LiveStream Series on Facebook. It hasn’t been updated in a while but is worth checking out.

Please click on the following links for more of my guides on HEMA:

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises and Solo Drills for Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Cat’s Nine Lives Halloween Tournament

 

Tournaments:

Europe:

Swordfish

Swordfish in Gothenburg Sweden

Swordfish Equipment Requirements

Swordfish 2016 Livestream and a fantastic match illustrating a less commented type of bout with unarmed combat using Ringen below.

Fight Camp

Fight Camp in Coventry England

Fight Camp Rules and Gear Requirements

Helsinki Longsword

Helsinki Longsword in Helsinki Finland

Helsinki Open Longsword Equipment Requirements

Astolat Open

Astolat Open in Godalming England

Astolat Equipment Requirements

Vasaslaget

Vasaslaget in Uppsala Sweden

Longsword Rules Vasaslaget 2016

Dreynevent

Dreynevent in Vienna Austria

Martail Arts Historical Italian (XVII was 2016)

National HEMA Tournament in Faenza Italy

North America:

Longpoint

Long Point in Baltimore Maryland

Longpoint Rules (Page 4 Gear)

Longpoint Youtube Subscription Page

Longpoint South in Orlando Florida

CombatCon

CombatCon in Las Vegas Nevada

CombatCon Rules

Iron Gate

Iron Gate Exhibition in Danvers Massachusetts

Iron Gate Equipment Requirements

Capitol Clash

Capitol Clash in Washington D.C

Capitol Clash Longsword Requirements

HEMA-Cornhusker State Games

HEMA-Cornhusker State Games in Bellevue Nebraska

Rules for 2018 Cornhusker State Games at Starpaw

Icebreaker 2017

Icebreaker 2017 in Fort Snelling Minnesota

Icebreaker Equipment Requirements

The Deed of Arms Event

Armored and Unarmored HEMA Event

Australia:

World Broadsword Championship

World Broadsword Championship in Sydney Australia

World Broadsword Championship Rules

Swordplay Australia

Swordplay Australia in Brisbane Australia

Swordplay Australia Approved Gear