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New Bellum Nobile Event in Dusseldorf This August! (In English & In Deutsch)

by Meg Floyd

I recently got to speak with Clemens Mayer, occasionally known as Redbeard, to discuss a new event his club Bellum Nobile is holding this year in Dusseldorf, Germany. Prefer to read in German? Skip to the bottom for the article in Deutsch.

(And if you’re still on the fence, this event happens the weekend before the World Wide Open in Hannover, so it’d be easy enough to fly into Dusseldorf, then head up to Hannover for another week of HEMA goodness.)

HN: First off, can you give me a little bit of information about your background in HEMA and any other martial arts, as well as your club? 
MAYER: I joined Bellum Nobile (founded in 2007) and started practitioning HEMA in 2008. We mainly focus on longsword in the Liechtenauer-tradition, but some people do other weapons (rapier and dagger, sabre) sometimes. Personally I do (since 2012) some boxing as a supplementary martial art and for conditioning. In 2012 I took over as the instructor of our club.
HN: What clubs are involved in hosting Bellum Nobile‘s event this year? Just you?
MAYER: Yes, it’s just a bunch of people from our club. One day I asked my boxing instructor if one could rent the hall for a sports event, he said yes, and then we developed the whole idea of hosting an event.
HN: What goals are you hoping to achieve for Bellum Nobile‘s event this year? Is there anything new and special you have prepared for attendees? 
MAYER: We are aiming for a medium-sized event (maximum of 50 attendees) with a familiar atmosphere. We do not want a large event where people barely know each other, but rather have everyone talk to each other at least once during the whole weekend. Oh, and we will have a large BBQ on Saturday evening!
HN: Do you have any special workshops or instructors this year? 
MAYER: The answer to that question depends on the definition of “special.” Right now we have instructors from three different countries (Germany, Netherlands and the UK) with at least one workshop you will not see everyday (it’s about striking in medieval fighting).
HN: What goal, if any, would you say Bellum Nobile’s event this year has? 
MAYER: Since this is our first event, we just hope things work out and everyone has some fun. In addition, since we are a kinda small event, we also want to give instructors who do not regularly hold workshops at larger events to gather some experience in holding them.
HN: What kind of experience have Bellum Nobile staff prepared for attendees this year? What tournaments will you be hosting, and under what rule sets?
MAYER: We discussed the need for a tournament intensively. In the end we settled for a modified franco-belgian tournament, mainly because a “normal” tournament with pools and elimination phase takes up too much time. For the modified rules: we got rid of the chalked blades, reallowed thrusts and set the valid target zone to head only (head as in “where your mask covers you”).
HN: Is there anything unique or special about Bellum Nobile compared to other HEMA events? 
MAYER: In regards to organization or schedule of other events? Probably not. The only special thing is the region where our event will happen, because there seem to be no larger multi-day HEMA events near our city.
HN: Is there anything else you’d like to add? 
MAYER: Watch our tournament video and then sign up for our event. See you there.
IN DEUTSCH: 

HN: Zuallererst, kannst du mir ein bisschen über dich und deine HEMA-Historie erzählen, und auch über die deines Clubs?

MAYER: Ich selbst habe 2008 angefangen dort zu trainieren, der Club (ein echter Verein ist es ja nicht) existiert schon seit 2007.  Wir trainieren hauptsächlich aus Quellen der frühen Liechtenauer-Tradition (p.v.D., Ringeck, …), aber einige von uns trainieren nebenbei noch andere Waffen (Rapier und Dolch, Säbel). Ich selbst habe 2012 noch mit Boxen angefangen, primär wegen des Konditionstrainings. Seit 2012 leite ich nun auch das Training im langen Schwert.

HN: Welche Vereine helfen mit bei der Ausrichtung eures Events? Nur ihr?

MAYER: Ja, nur eine handvoll Leute von unserem Club. Ursprünglich war das Event nur so eine “jemand müsste mal”-Sache, aber nachdem wir die Halle von meinem Boxverein nutzen dürfen fing die Sache dann an Formen anzunehmen.

HN: Was für Ziele verfolgt ihr mit dem Event? Gibt es irgendetwas herausragendes oder neues für die Teilnehmer?

MAYER: Wir wollen ein mittelgroßes Event mit maximal 50 Teilnehmern und familiärer Atmosphäre. Große Events sind auch schön, aber wir wollen, dass zum Ende hin jeder mal mit jedem gesprochen hat uns man sich irgendwie kennt. Oh, und wir grillen Samstag abends!

HN: Gibt es spezielle/ausgefallene Workshops oder Instructors dieses Jahr?

MAYER: Das hängt wohl stark von der Definition von “speziell” ab 🙂 Bisher haben wir Instructors aus drei verschiedenen Ländern (Deutschland, Niederlande, UK) und mindestens einen ungewöhnlicheren Workshop.

HN: Welches Ziel, falls existent, verfolgt ihr mit dem Event dieses Jahr?

MAYER: Wir hoffen zuallererst, dass alles reibungslos über die Bühne geht und alle ein bisschen Spaß haben. Zusätzlich wollen wir, da wir neu und ein kleines Event sind, auch Instructors, die sonst nicht auf größeren Events als solche anzutreffen sind, die Chance geben Workshops zu halten.

HN: Wird es ein Turnier geben? Wenn ja, mit welchem Regelwerk?

MAYER: Wir haben im Vorfeld lange darüber diskutiert, ob wir ein Turnier wollen und brauchen. Letztlich haben wir uns dann für eine modifizierte Variante der “franco-belgian”-Regeln entschieden, hauptsächlich weil ein “normales” Turnier mit Gruppenphase sehr viel Zeit in Anspruch nimmt. Zum Regelwerk: wir haben die eingekreiteden Flächen entfernt, als Trefferzone den Kopf festgesetzt (Kopf = “was die Fechtmaske bedeckt”) und Stiche erlaubt (im Vergleich zum Originalregelwerk).

HN: Gibt es etwas, was euer Event einzigartig macht?

MAYER: Im Bezug auf Organisation oder Ablauf? Wahrscheinlich nicht. Einzig die geographische Lage ist vielleicht herausstechend, weil Mehrtagesevents gerade in Westdeutschland scheinbar selten sind…

HN: Gibt es noch etwas, was du abschließend sagen möchtest?

MAYER: Ich würde mich freuen, möglichst viele bekannte wie auch unbekannte Gesichter in Düsseldorf begrüßen zu dürfen 🙂


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Dierk Hagedorn and Bartlomiej Walczak’s Translation of ‘New Haven Gladiatoria’ Finished

by Meg Floyd

The translation of the once-lost Gladiatoria manual found in New Haven, CT has been completed by researchers Dierk Hagedorn and Bart Walczak. The new translation is bilingual (English and German), 390 pages long, and will be available from Free Lance Academy Press.

In his own words on Facebook, Hagedorn announced, “Dear friends of the Historical Martial Arts, I am more than happy that finally, after more than five years, the project I worked on together with Bart Walczak has finally reached a happy ending: Yesterday I received the first copies of the Gladiatoria book we put so much effort into. It is an edition about the Gladiatoria manuscript from New Haven, Connecticut, that once was believebd to be irretrievably lost in WW II. Luckily, it has resurfaced, and now it’s here for everybody to own. Our book has become a vast volume, 390 pages, with articles by Bart, Daniel Jaquet and yours truly; with forewords by Hans-Peter Hils and Sydney Anglo. The volume is entirely bilingual, both English and German. Apart from the articles, the main part is of course about the manuscript itself, with full colour reproductions and an exact transcription plus translations into English and German. Don’t hesitate to visit my publisher’s website at https://www.vs-books.de/shop/details.php?id=933185&kategorie=135&main_kat=1&start=0&nr

Quite soon, the good people at Freelance Academy Press will distribute this volume too.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am still excited to hold this very heavy book in my hands; and I sincerely do hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do. I believe five years of work have resulted in a very fine volume I am sure you will hold dear.

Nu merck das stuck.”


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J. Christoph Amberger’s “Secret History of the Sword” now available online, for free

by Meg Floyd

J. Christoph Amberger, author of The Secret History of the Sword, recently put a PDF of his book up for free on his website, which you can download here.

In his own words:

After 15 years, I might as well…

The Secret History of the Sword is now available free from this site, on .pdf

It’s been quite a while since I wrote The Secret History of the Sword. Some of the segments and chapters included are about 20 years old and originally appeared in myHammerterz Forum newsletter, which I edited and published from 1994 to 2000. This edition was published in late 1998/early 1999 by the now-defunct Multi-Media Books, the book publishing branch of Curtis Wong’s publishing-and-paintball empire he founded on Inside Kung Fu magazine.

Like every writer, I’d probably a lot of things differently in this book. Fix the typos that now jump out. Add an index. It also by now is dated in some of the more detailed aspects of Central European historical swordplay. Dozens of friends from the HEMA movement—too many to name individually—have turned the ideal of a hands-on revival of ancient sword arts into a reality, with highly competitive events happening internationally every few weeks.

So take it for what is was at the time.

The book has been out of print for a while, with a few dozen copies left in the inventory of the company that bought Multi-Media.

This file I found floating on the Interweb—and since it’s been years since I received my last royalties check, I thought I’d make it available free right here.


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Friday Video Round Up: Fiore Techniques from Regia Turris and S&B from Dimicator

by Meg Floyd

Lots to do in the HEMA world today, including getting Krieges-Schule 2014 off the ground for next weekend, so for today we’re bringing you some videos that’ve been going around the HEMAnet lately.

First off, a video in Fiore techniques from Regia Turris in Italy:

“Some our interpretations of Fiore dei Liberi’s techniques (from Ms. Ludwig XV 13 · J. Paul Getty Museum) in particular about “Zogho stretto”. Regia Turris – Historical Fencing School – Pordenone, Italy. Thanks to: Nicola, Alberto, Valerio (fencers) and Regia Turris’ staff.”

 

And secondly, from Roland Warzecha at Dimicator, a video on advanced freeplay with sword and buckler:

On the video, Dimicator had some extra comments they posted:

“The recent video of our sparring with sword & buckler is now also available on Youtube.
A few explanations might be useful: Like any form of freeplay, this is training which means it is a combat simulation. By its very nature, combat training lacks an important aspect of a true fight and that is facing an opponent who is determined to harm you. Because a high risk of injury is unacceptable in practice, you always have to compromise your original martial art, which was designed to end an encounter by eventually killing your adversary. Safety precautions in training often consist of protective gear and blunt weapons. As long as you are aware which compromise you accept and which aspect you are currently training, you will benefit from your practice.


In the fight simulation mode you see in the video, we use minimal/no protective gear. So the emphasis is on control and avoidance of being hit. When we started out with this kind of sparring, we were going much slower. You can only train this way if there is at least a basic technical skill and according control and – most important – a mutual agreement not to break speed. 


Personally I believe that this form of freeplay is actually the only way to create the correct mind set and train precision. And swordplay is all about precision. There are other freeplay modes which focus on different aspects, like determination and swiftness. They are also important but my focus as an instructor will always be with precision and calmness. This is also the only way you can safely incorporate sharp blades into your fencing practice, which you can see with the last two passes in this clip. (Needless to say this is for very advanced practitioners only!)


Some people have pointed out that this looks somewhat soft and that we could move faster. Yes, we could move faster, but we also train economy of movement and if you stop watching bodies and instead look at the speed of blades and points, you will note that the weapons move a lot faster than the body movements suggest at first glance. 


As for softness: My old master Axel Wagener, who is one of the toughest fighters I have ever met and who I owe to forever, recently came over for some sparring and was surprised by the efficiency of our fencing. That made me very proud.”


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New HEMA umbrella organization forming in Germany

by Meg Floyd

Recent news has popped up on social media of the formation of a new umbrella organization for German historical fencers. Read the original website in German here or below:

Historische Fechter organisieren sich …… auch in Deutschland.

Am 14. Dezember trafen sich Vertreter der größten deutschen Vereine für historisches Fechten, um die Grundlage für einen gemeinsamen Dachverband zu schaffen. Die vertretenen Vereine Ochs, Hammaborg, Zornhau, Bloßfechter zu Chemnitz und Schwertfechten Nordhessen rufen alle Vereine, Gruppen, Verbände und Privatpersonen mit Interesse an historischen europäischen Kampfkünsten auf, der Interessengemeinschaft beizutreten. Gemeinsame Basis für die Interessenvertretung ist die Definition die ähnlich auch durch die Historic European Martial Arts Coalition (HEMAC) vertreten wird. Danach wird historisches Fechten wie folgt definiert: Historisches Fechten beschäftigt sich mit der möglichst quellennahen Rekonstruktion von europäischen Kampfkünsten, deren Tradition unterbrochen war und für die es eine wissenschaftlich vertretbare Quellenlage gibt. Dazu zählen Künste, deren Quellen vor 1918 veröffentlicht wurden.

Die vertretenen Vereine bieten auf dieser Grundlage zahlreiche Kampfsportarten vom Fechten mit dem langen Schwert, Bidenhänder, Schwert und Buckler, Kampf- und Kriegsringen, Militärsäbel-Fechten, Kampf mit Stangenwaffen und vielem mehr.

Der neue Verband wird den Namen „Deutscher Dachverband Historische Fechten, DDHF“ tragen. Nötig ist der Dachverband aus Sicht der Vereine geworden, um die Interessen der wachsenden Zahl historischer Fechter zu vertreten. Dies beginnt bei der Anerkennung der verschiedenen Kampfsportarten und endet nicht zuletzt bei den waffenrechtlichen Interessen der Fechter, die zwar bislang durch das Waffenrecht nicht eingeschränkt sind, aber insbesondere bei öffentlichen Veranstaltungen immer wieder durch unterschiedliche Auslegungen örtlicher Behörden und Amtspersonen verunsichert werden. Die feierliche Gründungsveranstaltung des Verbandes soll im Sommer diesen Jahres stattfinden – WM-Intern wird berichten.

 

For non-German readers, please see this translation provided by Friederike Von Dem Bussche-Hünnefeld:

Historical Fencers finally unite in Germany as well.

On Dezember 14th delegates of the biggest German HEMA clubs met to establish a basis for a German umbrella organization. The representing clubs Ochs, Hammaborg, Zornhau, Bloßfechter zu Chemnitz and Schwertfechten Nordhessen call together all clubs, groups, associations and individuals with interests in the Historical European Martial Arts to join the founding community. The definition provided by the Historic European Martial Arts Coalition (HEMAC) is the common base for this community. According to them Historical Fencing is defined as follows: “Historical Fencing is devoted to the reconstruction of European martial arts as true to the sources as possible. The traditions of these arts have been discontinued but scientifically-usable sources exist. Martial arts will be considered if their sources were published before 1918.”

The representing clubs offer numerous martial arts based on this definition like fencing with the long sword, the large two-handed sword, sword and buckler, combat grappling, military sabre, staff fighting and many more.

The new umbrella organization will be called “Deutscher Dachverband Historisches Fechten, DDHF”. From the clubs’ point of view the organization is necessary to represent the growing number of Historical Fencers. Aspects to consider are the public recognition of the different martial arts or the questions of fencers related to weapons law. Historical Fencers are not yet limited by German weapons law but problems occur frequently with local departments or officials when interpreting these laws. The ceremonial founding event is scheduled for summer this year – WM-Intern will keep you up to date.