Tournament: Martial Training or Elaborate Game?

This week I am posting up my work on the Tournament Book of King René of Anjou. I set out to discover if the tournament by the time of King René (c. 1460) had retained any of its purpose as a training method or if it had become little more than sport. While working on this piece I had the privilege of working with the copy of the Tournament Book held by the Glasgow Museums. This was the first manuscript I ever got to work with in person and I loved it. I also found that even though my work was on the tournament itself and I was using the manuscript as a means to an end, King René, its author was a fascinating and brilliant man who had contact with everyone of importance in his period.

I hope this work is of interest to both historians and HEMA practitioners alike. I chose the subject based on conversations with the man who got me into HEMA, John Farthing, who now practises with ARMA and to whom I am always grateful for supporting my interest in that period and for later inviting me to tag along to ARMA South Florida which are now part of the Meyer Frei Fechter Guild.

I will be posting a section a day so as not to overwhelm anyone on the first read through. If you can not wait feel free to download the .pdf which also includes the images that go along with Tournament: Martial Training or Elaborate Game?

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Simulators and HEMA Training

Two weeks ago, Keith put up a post on how the environment in which you train affects how you fight:

I have decided to follow up on his post with a similar topic: how the weapon simulators with which you train affect how you fight, particularly in regard to longsword. The HEMA practitioner today has a wide variety of choice when it comes to what simulator they want to train with. They can train with wood, nylon, aluminum, or steel. They can use longer or shorter, heavier or lighter simulators. It is important however to bear in mind that all simulators have drawbacks to them, and there is no perfect simulator.

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Changing language, changing lives

The period 400-700 saw major events and fundamental changes in the political geography and the social and linguistic make-up of Britain. Which of these events and changes had the most important impact for the Celtic speaking peoples of Britain in the early middle ages, and why?

The period of 400-700 AD is defined by many historians as the Dark Ages and ‘starts with the withdrawal of the Roman armies from Britain in 476 AD.’ This is not to follow the traditional stereotype of a period of such extreme decline that Britain reverted virtually to prehistoric means of living. The term Dark Ages is simply intended to suggest that the relative scarcity of written documents make it had to shed light on the political and social make-up of the area under study.

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Environment and HEMA Training

The environment in which one trains has a huge bearing on HOW one trains. This is something that is often forgotten about, or simply not thought about in the first place! Yet one of the most important factors in one’s ability to train martial arts of any style is precisely that: the environment and training area.

A photograph of a group exercise about range and distance, taken at one of the practices at AHA 2nd Company in Dundee.

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