Historical European Martial Arts
I've been really getting into H.E.M.A these days. H.E.M.A is, of course, Historical European Martial Arts. Specifically, the combative systems of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, ranging from unarmed grappling to fencing with longswords. Of course, some of that stuff is fun, but pretty obsolete, like the longsword fencing. However, there is still a lot of practical self-defense knowledge in HEMA. The way one of the old masters would've defended themselves from an assailant with a dagger can be equally applied to defending yourself from a mugger with a knife in this day and age. And, of course, the grappling and striking is pretty timeless knowledge.
Anyways, I digress, just wondering if there's any other H.E.M artists on these forums? If so, what do you study, whom do you study with? Et cetera. This is really just a thread for general H.E.M.A discussion. I like to study longsword as well as rapier and dagger for fun, but for practical self-defense, I also study the grappling and knife/dagger techniques as well. I work with a small local club, yet unnamed, of myself and some other enthusiasts, there's only 9 of us, but we are growing.
Yes—odds are that people who browse the WMA forum are aware of that…
Originally Posted by EricD
Maybe, but not necessarily.
…There is still a lot of practical self-defense knowledge in HEMA. The way one of the old masters would've defended themselves from an assailant with a dagger can be equally applied to defending yourself from a mugger with a knife in this day and age.
The school where I practice teaches some knife work—mostly, I think, based on Fiore. The first time I saw some of the techniques practiced (involving levering the blade with your arm) I frankly thought that it was total and utter bullshit. I was wrong, but this was because I had failed to appreciate the context: The techniques were developed for the equipment and circumstances relevant at the time, where many combatants would be wearing armour or at least leather protection, and the daggers used might be e.g. rondels, which are very long compared to modern knives, but not very good for cutting. (Why bother maintaining a sharp edge if your opponent is wearing mail?) Thus, the techniques I first mistook for terrible ideas are in fact perfectly good techniques if you’re fighting someone using a very long knife and you aren’t worried about getting cut, just getting stabbed.
Of course, those techniques could prove disastrous against someone armed with a modern knife, which is short (thus harder to trap) and sharp (you’d better worry about getting cut).
That said, I am no expert on knifeplay either modern or mediæval, and it’s entirely possible that judicious practice, and live sparring, with the right techniques could leave you with something practical, but you should be aware of the context and limitations.
Again, I’d say you should be aware of the context (e.g. grappling an armed and armoured man might be different from wrestling an unarmed opponent in modern times), but so long as your training has aliveness, and you verify its effectiveness against competent grapplers from other systems, it’s all good.
And, of course, the grappling and striking is pretty timeless knowledge.
I practice at Academie Duello in Vancouver, BC, apparently the largest school of its kind in the world. (There are rather more than nine of us!) You can find my review here. Right now it’s mostly rapier (Capoferro) for me. If I advance to the next rank in the school’s internal system when I test on Saturday (more likely I’ll advance on the next exam in a few months), I’ll get to add a dagger to that rapier and start working sidesword and shield (Marozzo?).
…Just wondering if there's any other H.E.M artists on these forums? If so, what do you study, whom do you study with? Et cetera. This is really just a thread for general H.E.M.A discussion. I like to study longsword as well as rapier and dagger for fun, but for practical self-defense, I also study the grappling and knife/dagger techniques as well. I work with a small local club, yet unnamed, of myself and some other enthusiasts, there's only 9 of us, but we are growing.
Hi there, Im very interested in WMA, I did a 3hr lesson once in rondel dagger techniques and loved it. I think the techniques were quite practical for the tools used (as Petter said), not that I did any but some of the other guys were sparring and it was pretty fierce.
Unfortunately it was a little too far for me to travel regularly so have just been reading up on it. A couple of books I would recommend are 'Primoris' and 'sigmund ringecks knightly arts', lots of clear instructions for those who cant get to a regular club.
anyways, i look forward to reading more about wma on this forum.
When I was heavily into Renaissance-era HEMA (about 10 years ago now) we used to do a lot of armored rondel dagger sparring. Hella fun and also kind of macabre, especially when you get into ground fighting, because the whole aim is to immobilize the other guy (leverage pins, mostly) and then stick the dagger somewhere he isn't armored.
Rapier fencer here. Also first post, but this is as good a place as any to say hi, since it's most relevant to anything I'm practicing now.
Good to see someone else sticking to Capoferro. ;> The translations of his writing hurt my brain, but with a little trial and error it's not so hard to work out in practice. I've taken a particular liking to Salvatore Fabris: but the stance kills me after a few minutes so it's not something I've been able to work on solidly yet.
Petter questioned Marozzo in connection with sidesword and shield. That's correct from my understanding, George Silver would also be a good source for a backsword or sidesword and buckler.
Well, I do have the advantage of not needing to figure it out in practice, since I have instructors who’ve spent years doing the figuring out… I’ve read parts of the Gran Simulacro (mostly just the Art section so far); I found it pretty straightforward, but then it was familiar material from classes anyway!
Originally Posted by StygianChains
Of course, the translations vary in quality. I have a copy of Nick S. Thomas’s translation, and while it’s easy (the language is modern and straightforward), I don’t think it’s good (there are some obvious errors, making me wonder about non-obvious errors; my edition is full of typos; and the ‘updated’ language, I think, loses a lot of nuances). On the other hand, there’s a very good translation by Swanger and Wilson available in PDF format, free for personal use, here.
Well, it's clear SOMEONE has to represent the fine and noble English longsword tradition to the rest of you...
Joking aside, student of Liechtenauer and the English longsword manuscripts here.
The Art section, you're right, is pretty simple to gather. When it gets down to Use, and he starts dictating plays and responses is when it starts to hurt. If we had another Capoferro scholar locally, it wouldn't be so bad to learn by drill. I haven't picked up the Italian terminology, and I don't easily absorb things by reading alone.
Originally Posted by Petter
I've been training MARE/HEMA for a number of years now in ARMA, i've trained mostly Longsword, in addition to Kampfringen/grappling and dagger work, rapier, C&T (barely) some polearms (mainly staff). I recommend to Petter that he really train more grappling from the period (see Von Auerswald, Codex Wallerstein, etc.) because it works great and is highly practical, most of it is not for "grappling an armed and armoured man" as suggested but features a wide variety of leverage throws, arm breaks and locks, chokes, and all sorts of other timeless knowledge, which is in fact, truly timeless. Also, Fiore dagger defenses are great, a few of them do rely on leveraging the weapon itself (which can in fact be done on a modern short knife, it's just a little trickier) but most involve arm locking, and controlling or breaking the weapon bearing arm, in addition to throwing and a wide variety of nasty things. Good stuff.
I've been training with my fellows at the ARMA for a bit over a year now. I primarily focus on the spear, longsword, and dagger, though lately my personal training has been more focused on Kampfringen and cudgels (using homemade and store-bought sticks).
I would concur with Zwerchhau by saying that Ringen is much more adaptable to fighting in a "modern" world than you would expect and it is certainly worth being familiar with. As for daggers, I have mixed feelings about those. It is true that a modern knife is something of a different beast than a medieval dagger, and it seems to me that attempting to trap a smaller knife leaves with you with more sliced-up forearms, but the techniques work none-the-less. The dagger material is worth knowing at least so you get the idea of blocking and grabbing a knife, and so that you feel more comfortable stabbing people in general I reckon.
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