This week I am going to discuss the concept of HEMA events being focused on either classes or tournaments but not mixing the two. I am sorry for the lack of recent crafting or history posts from me and promise to get a few done over the summer.
Before I begin I would like to remind our readers to check out Corsair’s Wares and also that if they are interested in attending the Loch Lomond Camp ran by the AHA then the closing date is only one week away (May 3rd) so jump on that for a week of falconry, HEMA, heritage crafting, battlefield training and the famous Meade Bar all for under £75. If this sounds awesome to you then please visit www.historical-academy.co.uk/camp for more information.
Some things about the Middle Ages you might never have thought about.
By Fabian Saxe.
We all know what the Middle Ages were like.
They were the times when knights where galloping at each other on horses, trying to kill each other with lances, swords, axes or whatever else they had to hand, weren’t they? They were the times when there was constant war across Europe and everyone fought everybody else, weren’t they? They were the Dark Ages, right?
We all know what the Middle Ages were like…do we?
Generally speaking, the short answer is quite obviously: No, we don’t. Most of what the public “knows” about the MA is still heavily influenced by views and opinions formed during the Renaissance, even today, and coloured in by Hollywood movies and romance novels. Only relatively recently, around the beginning of the 20th century, have scholars begun to review what we know about those times, and started to move away from the Renaissance point-of- view, but there is still quite a bit of misinformation being spread around in popular literature and media today.
This essay will try to help you re-check what you really know about the Middle Ages, by telling you a few things you might not yet have known.
How important exactly is cutting with German longsword? There have been arguments on both sides: that developing skills and practicing all strikes in such a way that they would cut is vital; or that cutting is completely unimportant. To my mind, cutting is no doubt a useful part of reconstructing a HEMA. If the old masters had not wanted to cut, why did they bother using swords? If all you want is to impart percussive damage then a mace would do the same job more effectively. In chapter 7 of Hope’s New Method of Fencing, he even says: “No blade can have too fine an edge, or too sharp a point. Because the finer the edge, and the sharper the point, the better it will cut and pearce, which, next to defending, are the only uses of a sword.” That’s what blades do, they cut things, and not being able to cut with it defeats the point of having it. Essays discussing the benefit of cutting are numerous, for example see Ben’s recent essay, http://www.encasedinsteel.co.uk/2013/03/22/benefits-of-test-cutting/, so I won’t spend any longer discussing reasons to cut.
As a relatively short person (5 feet 6 inches, or roughly 168 centimetres in height), I have heard all kinds of “advice” and platitudes in my decade and a half of involvement with martial arts. People have lots of very strange ideas about how short people should fight, and produce some very dangerous and ill-conceived advice!
This article will seek to address some of the myths and advice that I have heard given to short fencers, and will hopefully put to rest the silliest of the ideas!