Getting the Point : The Building Blocks of Spear || Michael Panian

Michael Panian || Swordfighters Martial Arts and Self Defence || Vernon, BC, Canada

Weapons: Spears with rubber tips, quarterstaves

We will use a principles based approach to teach spear as we introduce several spear forms that you can use to hone your understanding.  The first spear form is loosely based on Meyer. The second form is adapted from an Asian form called Bassai. The spear is an excellent tool for studying timing and distance as well as leverage and biomechanics.  After studying the forms and the principles underneath them we will carry what we are learning into practice through sparring.

English Backsword : A Call to Arms - They’re Almost Here || Nathan Barnett

Nathan Barnett || Lonin || Port Townsend, WA, USA

Weapons: Backswords trainers (steel and plastic) supplemented with singlestick and cutlass trainers. Participants should bring gloves and fencing mask. Nice to also have but not required: gambeson or fencing jacket, vambrace (arm protection), cup (men), plastron (women), knee & elbow protection

In little more than an hour, the enemy will crest that hill.  You have until then to learn to fight with the one weapon you have available: a basket-hilted sword or cutlass. Practical self defense and fencing with sword-in-one-hand (AKA cut-and-thrust sword or broadsword) based upon the work of George Silver (16th C) with an eye to how the system was re-purposed in the 19th Century (Alfred Hutton). We’ll start off with the basics of how to keep your limbs attached and work our way into the offensive and defensive details of this dynamic fighting system. Watch for an opportunity to field test what you’ve learned at Sunday’s single stick tournament.

Lashkroba 2 : Now with Sticks and Daggers! || Mike Cherba

Mike Cherba || NW Armizare || Sherwood, OR USA

Weapons: Buckler, straight single handed sword with a short cross, dagger and or 2-3 foot long 1””-1.25”” diameter stick, mask, hand protection, and jacket

This workshop will dive into the basics of Georgian sword and buckler.  We’ll cover the guards and striking mechanic, with an emphasis on the difference between the hands together guards and the profiled guards. Next, we will add in a stick or dagger held in the buckler hand and explore how it changes sword and buckler play.  We’ll finish with a series of combination drills designed to highlight and emphasize the unique features of the Georgian system. Our goal is to give participants all the tools they need to go home and keep practicing this unique system of sword and buckler.  If time allows, we will also discuss/demonstrate the use of improvised bucklers in the Khevsur style.

Ringen am Schwert || Brittany Reeves

Brittany Reeves || Mordhau Historical Combat || Mesa, Arizona, USA

Weapons: longswords, masks, gloves

This class will focus on how and when to safely apply grappling in a swordfight. It is a beginner friendly look at Ringen am Schwert, therefore, students do not need any grappling experience to participate. However, this will include standing grapples and takedowns. We will analyze the biomechanics that make these techniques work for people of all sizes and how we can modify the techniques to be martially harmful or tournament/sparring friendly, depending on our needs. Swords and masks required.

Surviving Competitions || Rebecca Glass

Rebecca Glass || NYHFA || NY NY USA

Weapons: No weapons needed, whiteboard appreciated

This class, taken from my Being A She-Wolf class, is designed for newer fencers who may want to compete in the future but don’t yet feel comfortable to do so.

We will look at goal setting and coping strategies that can help you get through competition - as well as help you in your daily life as well. We’ll talk about how to build up fitness skills, reasons people avoid competition and how to cope with those, and, depending on the make up the crowd, may discuss some issues particular to women fencers as well

Cutting Clinic || Tristan Zukowski

Tristan Zukowski || New York Historical Fencing Association || New York, New York

The cutting class is meant to introduce longsword practitioners to the utility of test-cutting tatami for feedback on, and validation of, technique. Focus will be on body mechanics, particularly the generation of power and maintenance of edge alignment via hip rotation and subtleties of grip. Diagonal descending cuts (e.g. Oberhau) will be the primary focus, as the principles employed there can later be extrapolated to all other cuts. Those with more experience will also be given an opportunity to examine other cuts, and/or combinations of cuts.

Requirements: A blunt longsword (steel is preferred, but any waster is suitable); a sharp longsword (subject to approval by the instructor for safety concerns). A loaner sharp will be available.

The Violence Ladder : A Stress Testing Model for Realistic Training || Kaja Sadowski

Kaja Sadowski || Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly || Vancouver, BC, Canada

Weapons: dagger/knife

Martial arts are about preparing for violence. Whether we’re aiming to recreate the fighting arts of a historical period and people, defend against a real-world threat to our safety, or win a swordplay tournament, mastering our chosen arts requires being able to effectively deal with the stress that comes with facing an earnest opponent. We need to understand the effects of adrenaline, and to be able to perform even when we’re flooded with chemicals and emotions. The process of stress testing lets us engage with those effects in a safe environment, so that we know how to handle ourselves before we step into the tournament ring or face down a violent situation on the street. It’s an essential component of training that can be tricky to get right, and many students and instructors are wary of how to approach it because of the emotional and physical challenges involved.

This workshop presents a model for understanding and replicating the stress inherent in a range of fighting contexts, from friendly competition to life-or-death self defense. You’ll learn how different kinds of violence affect your mind and body, get a primer on the effects of adrenaline, and learn how to assess whether your current practice methods are a good fit for the context you’re ultimately training for. You’ll also learn how to build drills that provide the appropriate level of stress to test yourself (or your students) honestly.

This workshop will include a number of high-pressure drills that will give you a good idea of how your current mindset and physical skill are affected by substantial stress. Your safety will be a priority throughout the session, and we will be making limited use of weapons in order to minimize the risk to participants. Drill participation is strictly optional, and students will have an opportunity to check in with the instructor about past injuries, psychological triggers, and other safety concerns prior to the start of drilling.

Fighting with I.33 Sword and Buckler || Alex Hanning

Alex Hanning || Lonin || Seattle, WA, USA

Weapons: Arming sword (or messer etc) + Buckler

This class will focus on a number of crucial and underused aspects of the i.33 fight that will be trained against random fast feeds:

  • Krucke, and its advantages over Halbshield
  • Priest’s Special Longpoint
  • Durchtreten
  • So you want to be a “”common”” fighter. Useful tricks to turn up the difficulty of your feed when coaching i.33
  • Quirks of waiting, vs entering, the timing of gaining a bind. And from there, the biggest mistake that everyone doing i.33 makes!

The second class will start with a warm up practice of a couple of the Session 1’s paired exercises. We will examine entering into the bind based on asymmetric competitive games that bring out a number of the plays from the text (with occasional detours to describe alternate interpretations currently in circulation).  

Requirements: Arming sword, mask, gorget, groin, elbow and decent sword hand protection, moderate buckler hand protection.

Unarmed vs Dagger : Common HEMA Plays in Relation to Modern Functional Knife Attack Survival Skills || Jude Ledesma

Jude Ledesma || F3 Sword Academy - Fremont Freifechter || Fremont, CA, USA

Weapons: Daggers/Knives/Short Sticks/Pieces of Pool Noodle -- I can supply if necessary

Multiple instructors pressure tested numerous knife attack survival skills and interestingly enough, they have generally come to similar conclusions and framed a similar skillset. Also, interestingly enough, there is a great deal of overlap with plays and strategies in the sources. Modern skills in this workshop will draw upon, Jerry Wetzel’s Red Zone, Karl Tanswell’s STAB program, and Burton Richardson’s Battlefield Kali.

Indes is a Sharp Word || Jessica Finley

Jessica Finley || Ritterkunst Fechtschule || Canton, GA, USA

Weapons: Longswords, Masks, Gorget

“”Dass fulen lere / Inndes das wort schneidet sere””  Learn the feeling, the word Instantly slices sharply, says Master Liechtenauer.  With this enigmatic instruction, he introduces us to the intertwined ideas of Indes and Fuehlen, which are the key to understanding the art of fighting.  In this class we will be exploring some of the techniques specifically described as Indes: Duplieren and Mutieren, Durchwechseln and Durchlauffen. These actions happen during the opponent’s action, which makes them exceedingly useful, yet quite dangerous if used without understanding the opponent’s intention.  We will be focusing on how to feel this intention and use the between-time to successfully execute our attacks.

Women in HEMA : An International Perspective || Mariana Lopez Rodriguez

Mariana Lopez Rodriguez || Virginia  Academy of Fencing || Springfield, North Virginia, USA

Weapons: Brains, Lecture

The lecture will be given from an internationalist study perspective/frame work

The lecture will cover a talk on the challenges clubs face in their process to become inclusive and appealing to women, and the risks of “”one model  fits all””when trying to emulate successful experiments.

It will also cover the main issues women tend to face before, during, and after fencing created by socio-cultural factors.

Finishing with the experiment Esfinges has been, it’s approach to inclusion, and how to deal with the major disagreements that are held by the HEMA women community.

Colombian Machete Fencing || Da’Mon Stith

Da’Mon Stith || Guild of the Silent Sword || Austin Texas USA

Weapons: Machete (loaners available)

Gear: Mask, gorget, gloves, arm and leg protection

Esgrima con Machete is a unique system of personal defense created by the enslaved Africans on the west coast of Colombia based off their indigenous fighting arts with possible influences from Spanish fencing. The inhabitants of Cauca were so renowned during the colonial period for their prowess at arms, that many of them used in the brutal battles of independance in Latin America. The art of Esgrima or 'La Grima' for short may laid the seed for other machete fencing arts found in the Caribbean and South America. Although there is a recent resurgence of interest in the art, within the last five years we have lost two maestros of the old guard. Maestro Sandoval is the last of the old guard. Please join us and help to preserve this art from extinction. In this class we explore the traditional movements such as falsos, attack and defense patterns called cruzes, the unique strategy of malicia and the applications of those techniques through light sparring.

Spear as Medieval Foil || Alex Spreier

Alex Spreier || High Desert Armizare || Bend, OR, USA

Weapons: Spear

An exploration of basic and advanced fencing concepts using the spear as teaching tool. We will cover basic defenses of the lines of the body, feints, second intention actions, and other actions considered essential to the art of defense. Then we will extend these understandings into more complex actions.

Gear: Minimum of 3 weapon mask, heavy leather work gloves, and heavy jacket/gambeson. Weapons needed will be a spear (preferably with a soft or rubber head).

Speed Dating : A Coached Sparring Experiment || Andrew Somlyo and Jake Norwood

Andrew Somlyo || Lonin / Seattle Escrima |Seattle, WA

Jake Norwood || Capital Kunst des Fechten | Alexandria, VA

Weapons: Longsword

Gear: Full steel sparring kit

Get ready to work. This workshop starts off with short sparring rounds where you will get to face off with every one in the class. Then break into small groups and get hands on feedback and a chance to hone in on your technique. At the end we'll bring everyone back together and apply the coaching feedback in another round of short matches vs everyone.

Fiore’s Abrazare - All the Things You’re Not Allowed to do in a Ringen Competition || Patrick McCaffrey

Patrick McCaffrey || L’Arte Della Bellica || Kutztown, PA, USA

Weapons: Grappling

Fiore has an entire section on Grappling, but why don’t we see more of it being performed in competition? Mostly because he intends for it to be injurious! Here’s what Fiore has to say on the matter: “”I will begin with grappling, of which there are two types: grappling for fun, or grappling in earnest, by which I mean mortal combat, where you need to employ all the cunning, deceit and viciousness you can muster. My focus is on mortal combat, and on showing you step by step how to gain and defend against the most common holds when you are fighting for your life.””

For this workshop, we will look at the Pictures and the Text of the Abrazare section, and demonstrate how we interpret them to be used, how we can modify them to be safer for competition, and practice them to a safe completion.

Fabris’ Book 2 : Time And Relative Defense In Swordplay || Clinton Fernandes

Clinton Fernandes || Academie Duello || Vancouver, BC, Canada

Weapons: Rapier

Become a lord of time and space as we work through Salvator Fabris’ second book: fencing while continuously moving forward.

This workshop will train you how to move continuously forward, responding to every defence your opponent makes, being the oncoming storm that rains inevitable destruction upon them. Beyond the fundamentals of continual movement forward you’ll also get an opportunity to unlock the all-important movement through misura largissima (the opponent’s maximum striking distance) - crucial to mastering all forms of swordplay.

The book Lo Schermo by Salvator Fabris is a seminal work on Italian fencing that is divided into two major works. The first that outlines the foundation of Italian rapier including attack, defence, movement, posture, and an understanding of conventional timing. The second, the subject of this workshop, builds from this base to look at timing and opportunity in a completely different way.

The second book focuses on an approach to fencing that involves continual movement forward. We will explore Fabris’ 6 rules for this approach:

  • Move continuously forward.
  • Employ a posture that has only one opening.
  • Deceive your opponent by avoiding a fixed posture.
  • Force a choice from your opponent; have an answer for both of them.
  • Hide your point below your opponent’s.
  • Catch up to your own sword.

Combination Throws in Early German Wrestling || Stewart Sackett

Stewart Sackett || Drei Wunder western Martial Arts || Portland, Oregon, USA

Weapons: Wrestling

Combination Throws in Early German Wrestling: Techniques don’t work well in isolation. Too often novice fighters (with grappling or with weapons) try a single move & then stop to reset themselves before trying again. Drawing from Ott & the Codex Wallerstein, this class would teach sets of takedowns in combination that work from the neutral grips at the arms that are so often described in the early German texts & that serve as the starting grips for our Ringen competitions.

Lietchy & Liberi : Exploring Different Perspectives of the Bind || Kimberleigh Roseblade and Joseph Brassey

Kimberleigh Roseblade and Joseph Brassey || Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts & Grit-City HEMA || Toronto, Ontario, Canada & Tacoma, Washington, USA

Weapons: * Longsword * Fencing Mask * Gorget * Optional: your favorite Fiore smack-talk quote, or Liechtenauer insult

On a windy night, in the town of Innsbruck, in Western Austria, travelers seek shelter from the road in a cozy tavern with a roaring fireplace and the scent of sizzling meat.  An Italian named Fiore di Liberi saunters up to the bar and gets himself a jug of wine and settles down upon a seat. Shortly after, a German traveler named Johannes Liechtenauer comes up to the bar to order a beer.  As the German reaches for his stein, he accidentally knocks the Italian’s wine over. The German apologises profusely but the Italian just can’t stand to let the matter go. Disgusted, Fiore bites his thumb at the German, glaring.  Liechtenauer breathes deep and speaks: “do you wish to draw blades and settle this matter outside?”

The Italian smirks: “You, confused one, will be spread on the ground in sadness and disorder.  You don’t even wanna try.”

The German grins as he looks the Italian up and down.  “You cannot fight even half as well as you can boast. If our blades were to cross I would feel sorry for you as you would become ashamed with the War above…. And below.”

Fiore’s eyes turn to slits: “ With talk like that, I will make you kiss the ground with your mouth.”

Both swordsman stalk out into the cold winter air, drawing their longswords…..

----- END SCENE -----

In this workshop, participants will be working from different plays in the bind.  Depending on the distance, or the pressures within the meeting different plays become available to you.  Students will get to look at the different- and sometimes very similar- ways Fiore and Liechtenauer approach these different moments when fencing with the longsword.  

Will this end the age old debate of whose system is superior?  Nah! It will, however, showcase that at the end of the day, when looking at any fencing or martial system, you will constantly find similar truths regarding the way bodies and blades move- and the way leverage and control are used.  And it’s gonna be hella fun to see what happens when a KdF practitioner in Washington pairs up with a Fiorist from Eastern Canada!