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Leon Paul Titan Pro Jacket: Becoming a Tank

by Peter Smallridge

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These professional looking shots are by LP. Amateur looking ones are by me. Semi-professional are from bystanders at tournaments.

Review Methodology

I was given this jacket in exchange for writing a series of HEMA-related articles for Leon Paul. The Titan Pro is their latest HEMA jacket. It’s 800N tested, and it looks like the mutant lovechild of a bomb disposal suit and a sports fencing coach’s jacket.

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How does it feel in use?

 Construction

Form

This jacket has a back zip, and a cuissard (“diaper strap”) to minimize the risks of a thrust getting inside the jacket. The collar is not just a turned-over blade catcher but has an insert running inside, protecting the Adam’s apple and acting as something of an in-built gorget. The upper fastening, where a velcro patch secures the collar over the top of the zipper, is highly secure. No fear of the zip slipping down.h360-2.jpg

 Base Material

I’m no expert on fabrics, but this is a heavy jacket. My first thought on picking it up was “I wonder if this could stop bullets.”

Inserts

Without the inserts, it feels like a heavier coach’s jacket. The distinctive feature, though, is 10 removable HDF (that’s blue foam to you) inserts around the torso, collar and upper arms. They’re held in internal pockets, and sit securely when you move – no shifting or opening of velcro.

It does not have in built elbow or forearm protectors, but does have a loop to help attach external elbow guards.h360-3.jpg

I rapidly decided that since I had a throat guard that covered the traps and collar bone, I’d remove the collar and shoulder pieces. The rest go in or out depending on the contact level I’m fencing at.

Performance

Putting the Jacket On

It took me a stupidly long time to get used to a back zip. I can put it on myself, courtesy of the zip strap, but it feels awkward and can be a test of mobility and coordination during a long tournament or hard training session. However, it’s comfortable once on. This jacket was custom fit, and it feels it. The only limitation on mobility was raising both arms vertically while the shoulder pieces were in*, and bending the torso forwards against the front panel insert. That’s it – and neither of these is common in fencing.

Fencing in this Ferrari Armoured Fighting Vehicle

The downside of the thickness is heat and sweat. The fabric doesn’t absorb sweat anything near as well as my old SPES AP jacket, and I feel distinctly hotter and damper when fencing in it.

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Testing shoulder mobility in the St Petersberg FechtTerra tournament

On the other hand, mortal weapons cannot hurt me now. I’ve had sideswords bent to right angles on the thrust to my belly and NOT NOTICED. I’ve had Russian Battle of the Nations-trained fighters club me with SPES solid dussacks and picked myself off the floor without bruises.

On the other hand, I discovered that the seams on the arms, where the insert pouches are on the outside rather than inside of the jacket (to avoid having to invert the sleeves to access them) catch blades. No harm done, since there’s still a full layer underneath the top pocket one, but the stitching tore on a thrust to the bicep that spun me around.

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Sizing

 Custom-sized, it was perfect. I haven’t needed to use the adjustment straps.

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Price

As mentioned, this was payment for some writing I did for LP. The RRP is £280 inc. tax, less than the SPES Hussar and equal to the Garjadoni 800N jacket. Subject to the whims of exchange rates, of course…

 Conclusion

If you’re in need of a really solid jacket, this is the one for you. If your group doesn’t fence hard, it may well be overkill.

*Editor’s note: If you’re tall like the reviewer. If you’re short like the editor, perhaps buyers beware. **

**Author’s note: It’s custom fit. It’s not really a tall/short thing, just the inevitable fabric bunching above shoulders (even with this good cut of seam) plus semi-rigid insert. Removing the inserts made handstands much more comfortable.


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Review of the New Leon Paul HEMA Mask

by Peter Smallridge

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Leon Paul have a new HEMA mask in prototype production, and we tested it. Not scientifically, because we lack the qualifications, the patience, or the equipment. But with our own skulls inside, in the fires of the European federschwert tournament scene. In the best tradition of Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo journalism, we took a bunch of drugs with a Samoan attorney threw ourselves into the task wholeheartedly. Three hard fought tournaments, three consecutive weekends, three countries. How did it fare? Is the world of HEMA forever changed? Or is it just another mask, with “HEMA” written on the side?

For any readers living shipwrecked on the rocky shores of Tierra del Fuego, the London-based Leon Paul are a big name in (Olympic) fencing. They’re the preferred suppliers of USFA, Fédération Française d’Escrime (FFE), Australian Fencing Federation, British Fencing and Real Federacion Espanola de Esgrima, and more to the point they equipped James Bond. They’ve recently branched out into actively marketing HEMA gear, rather than merely deigning to let HEMAists purchase their sport fencing ranges. This has included all-new “Titan” jackets and other kit, developed in co-operation with the leading HEMA-specific supplier of such things, SPES. The masks on offer, though, have not been HEMA-customized, being their existing X-Change Coaching Mask (in black, of course).

Now, that’s changing. Except for the defunct That Guy’s masks, no-one has ever made a mask specifically for modern HEMA before, as far as we know. Jacek Bujko, of Leon Paul Poland, has produced a mask based off the existing X-Change masks, but with:

  • Mesh wire 10% thicker
  • Unpainted on the outside
  • Steel rims both front and back
  • New prototype HEMA bib (thicker, longer)
  • Contour Plus strap (absolutely no chance of tearing the mask off the head in combat)

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HEMA Events In 2015

by Meg Floyd 

Below is as accurate and complete a list of HEMA events this year I could cobble together, between Facebook and posts floating around on Tumblr. It is by no means necessarily comprehensive of ALL events happening in the world this year. If you do not see your event listed here, please email me so I can add it! 

January

Kron LA HEMA Block Party – California

Helsinki Longsword Open – Finland
Encuentro de Artes Marciales Europeas – Mexico

February

Dreynevent – Vienna, Austria

March

SWASH – Leeds UK
Purpleheart Open – Texas
Historical Mixed Martial Arts Torneo del NordOvest – Italy
Bunny Bash – Belgium
Brass Frog – Connecticut
Shortpoint 2015 – Baltimore
Florentia 2015 – Italy

Vancouver Int’l Swordplay Symposium

Int’l Saber Symposium – Germany 

Vasaslaget – Sweden

Meyerstag – Slovenia

April

International Meeting FISAS – Italy
Bratislava Fecht – Slovakia
Copenhagen Open Longsword – Denmark
Study In Steel – South Carolina

Nord Fecht – Poland

American Smallsword Symposium – Maryland

May

HEMAC – Dijon, France
Krieges-Schule – Colorado & Florida (Postponed until 2016) 
Feder SKUNKS – Poland
Örebro Open – Sweden
Meyer Convivium – Italy
Ladies’ Weekend – Austria

Fechtschule New York – New York

June

Paris HEMA Open
Schwertkampfturnier ‘Sword of Vienna’ – Austria
London HEMA Open (postponed until 2016) – UK
CombatCon – Las Vegas

July

Barcelona Historical Fencing Meeting – Spain
Longpoint – Maryland
Donnerschlag – Germany
Edgebana 2015 – Scotland

August

FightCamp UK
Pacific Northwest HEMA Gathering – Seattle
Torre de Hércules – Spain
Bergen Open (cancelled) – Norway
World Wide Open Longsword and Rapier Championships – Hannover, Germany
Bellum Nobile – Düsseldorf, Germany
Rossfechten Symposium – Switzerland
Fechtwoche auf Burg Reichenstein 2015 – Austria
Fechtschule Frisbee – New Hampshire

September

International Lowlands HEMA Gathering – Netherlands
Western Martial Arts Workshop – Chicago
Sword Island – Spain
Fechtfest (cancelled) – Germany
Taurhemachia – Italy
Trainerlehrgang Langes Schwert 2015 – Austria

HEMA Celje

October

SoCal Swordfight – California (Maybe? Not positive on this one.)
Encuentro Internacional AEEA – Spain
Historical European Fighting & Fencing Arts Coalition – Netherlands
Iron Gate Exhibition – Boston

W3 Warsaw – Poland

Smallsword Symposium – UK 

November

Swordfish – Gothenburg, Sweden
Feder SMDF – Poland
Malta Historical Fencing Association International Meeting

December

NA

Further resources:

HEMA Events Map International

Sources: http://mindhost.tumblr.com/post/95176785497/hema-international-event-calendar

* My personal FB events page.

Edits: I’ve added a few more, W3 Warsaw in Poland, Vasaslaget in Sweden, VISS, ISS, American Smallsword Symposium, and Smallsword Symposium. I’ve also added Feile na Gaiscigh in Ireland.


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Leon Paul London HEMA Open Rules and Equipment Regulations Are Up!

by Meg Floyd

I’ve been excitedly following the development of a new HEMA Open being held in the U.K. by the name of the London HEMA Open. They’re doing a lot of new things for their first year, including a new set of rules and judging, and have been sponsored by Leon Paul. It promises to be an excellent event that anyone able to should attend. (HN’s own Keith Cotter-Reilly is planning on attending, so hopefully we’ll have some on the ground coverage for you).

To that end, I encourage you to check out their rule set and the new equipment regulations which have just been posted. For ongoing updates, please subscribe to their Facebook page here. 


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The Nordic Historical Fencing League (NHFL) Kicks Off at the Helsinki Longsword Open!

by Meg Floyd

The NHFL kicked off its second year with the Helsinki Longsword Open this weekend. Competition promises to be fierce. Below are pictured the top three from the mixed and women’s longsword divisions.

Photo by Markus Koivisto.

Photo by Markus Koivisto.

The results are here:

Women’s division
1st Eliisa Keskinen, EHMS, Finland
2nd Margit Reiersen, Bergen HEMA, Norway
3rd Julia Yli-Hukka, GHFS, Sweden
4th Michaela D’Orlando, WSG, England

Mixed division
1st Carl Ryrberg, Örebro HEMA, Sweden
2nd Ties Kool, AMEK, Netherlands
3rd Thomas Nyzell, UHFS, Sweden
4th Kristian Ruokonen, EHMS, Finland