During two days, the Swiss Blades will offer 15 workshops relating to various weapons, historical weapons, approches, and different skills level. The goal is to give a large choice to participants, so that everybody, beginner as well as advanced, can enjoy it. The schedule will also allow people taking part in the tournament to participate in at least two of the five workshops sessions. Furthermore, we will organise conferences on saturday evening (presentations to be added).Detailed schedule will follow.
Codex Wallerstein – Dagger – why and how does it work
In this workshop we will take a closer and more detailed look to some plays in the manual from the “Wallerstein collection” known as “Codex Wallerstein” or “Von Baumann Fechtbuch”. In this manual there are 14 plays with the rondell dagger. Some are lethal, some are not and some are quite (over)complicated in their movement patterns. We will try to figure out why this is and why they do work. Of course we won’t be able to deal with all 14 plays during this two hours, but we will have a nice melange of them. 🙂
Needed gear: Mask, STIFF rondell dagger – not too pointy please and for sure not this floppy rubber nonsens. If you like thin gloves – NO LA CROSSE or HOCKEY GLOVES!!!
Needed knowledge: you should know and understand the meaning of timing, distance and footwork in dagger fighting.
Study of the art of stick fighting by Joseph Swetnam
Swetnam published in 1617 a very interesting fencing treatise entitled The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defense. This is a handbook dealing with fencing with the rapier and dagger but also with the big stick called quarterstaff. Swetnam confesses, moreover, in his introduction that knowledge of the art of combat with these two weapons is essential and necessary for every man, the rapier when one rides and the stick when one walks. The goal of the workshop is to learn how to battle with both hands according to the advice and tactics developed by Swetnam, especially during symmetrical battle, stick against stick, but also in opposition stick against sword and dagger. This workshop is suitable for beginners in staff fighting.
Equipment: Sticks may be provided to participants, but in limited numbers. It is preferable to bring your own stick, about 2 m to 2.2 m long. To fully enjoy the workshop, it is desirable to have a mask, a short rapier type 16th, and a dagger.
Application of François Dancie’s Pour bien tirer de l’epée seule et de l’épée et poignard
This workshop is directly based on the manuscript of François Dancie found in the papers of a bourgeois of Bordeaux who died in 1617, 400 years ago. This manuscript constitutes a short practical treatise, without general considerations on the art of fencing or the definition of terms. I propose to work out a selection of the situations described, and after a first time used for their acquisition, to experiment them in technical assaults. The workshop is aimed at people already familiar with rapier.
Equipment: Rapier and dagger, mask and jacket.
Dussack according to Joachim Meyer (1570)
This workshop will explore some features of the system of Joachim Meyer regarding the dussack. This one-handed weapon was broadly used in the context of fencing schools (competitive practices), with no protection. The attendants will be introduced in the principles and the specificities of the system, then they will be invited to practice the lessons in free play.
Italian fencing as seen by the Spaniards at the end of the 17th century, and means to address it
Longsword – Reading the Opponent, Building the Attack
I wish to propose a longsword workshop dedicated to reading our opponents through their micro-movements. When we fight, we each have our individual way of moving with the sword. We can train ourselves to read the movement patterns – and hence the intentions – of our opponent by observing these micro-movements. Based on these observations over the course of a developing combat, we can build our attack to limit the opponent’s options to act and we can hence dominate the fight. I will concentrate on sources in the Liechtenauer Tradition, with its many strikes.
Footwork and Geometry in the I.33
The images in ms. I.33 do not show spatial depth, and the artist notoriously refuses to even distinguish left and right legs. It is nevertheless possible to reach conclusions about the intended footwork and fight geometry based on a close reading of the text combined with careful study of the pictures. At least from the point of view of the longsword fencer, the resulting system appears somewhat unintuitive (due to the lateral asymmetry of using sword and shield), but it is very well thought out by its author. I will present some of my interpretations of the techniques in the book with a focus on geometry, both in the approach (intrat) and the bind (fugit ad partes laterum; religat-calcat). The workshop is suitable for anyone with at least passing acquaintance with sword-and-buckler fencing, and especially recommended in combination with the two other workshops on I.33 offered this weekend.
Common Fencing and Priest Teachings in the I.33
I.33 develops an elaborate discussion about the Art of Fencing, dividing it in pieces, plays and technics. Two distinct ways of fencing are described in the manuscript that defines fighters as “generales” or “following the Priest’s Teachings”. We will investigate this dichotomy between these two ways of fighting: what is called “Common Fencing”? And, in this system, what are the Priest’s Teachings and their values? Finally, how can we go from a way of fighting to another? This workshop is suitable for people who have at least basic knowledge on I.33 and are comfortable with sword and buckler fencing.
Equipment: one handed sword, buckler, light gloves, fencing mask.
Winning the Bind
“Ligans ligati…” – “the one who binds and the one who is bound” – is a common phrase in Ms. I.33, making the bind one of the core principles in Sword and Buckler fencing. In this workshop we will concentrate on the body mechanics which are required to use the bind successfully in your fencing. We will begin with the basics, therefore no special experience in Sword and Buckler is needed for this workshop, suitable for beginners as well as experienced fencers.
Equipment: one handed sword, buckler, light gloves, fencing mask, throat protector is recommended
Heritage of August II, king of Poland and Saxony, a western influence on Late Polish fencing
Optional: Plastron or fencing jacket.
Crosscutting and greatswords, an extraordinary connection
Roses of Meyer
Description: On this workshop we will look at and practice the mechanics of some of the Roses
Intended audience: intermediate/advanced, beginners are also welcome, but not advised
Equipment: feder, gloves, mask, neck-protection is mandatory, jacket optional (but recommended – the plan is to do reaction-plays and/or guided free-fencing at the end of the workshop)
The Cutting Rapier
Anyone who has handled authentic historical Italian rapiers, shall be in no doubt that this is a weapon for both cut and thrust. Various masters from the early to late renaissance have described the cutting mechanics with the long blade, as well as the scenarios in which these techniques should be employed. We shall examine the optimal use of the sword to cover the exposed body, using multiple intention attack drills, while engaging individual or multiple opponents.
This class is intended for any skill level, although an understanding of the use of the rapier or sidesword would be advantageous. Primarily we shall examine the body and blade mechanics, and optimise movement and posture using analysis of solo and partner drills to improve speed, strength and efficiency.
12 Principal Elements: Hauptstücke in Theory and Use
Unarmored fencing (Blossfechten) in the medieval German fencing art of Johannes Liechtenauer is a highly developed Martial Art, with both theory and physical action to help the fighter internalize the rules of the engagement. His verse is structured into chapters which highlight five “Master Strikes” and twelve “Chief Techniques”. Rather than disconnected pieces, these Hauptstücke are in fact facets of the whole art and when their connections are better understood, light is shed on how to apply them physically in the fight. This is an intermediate level class and presumes a basic knowledge of German longsword techniques.
Equipment: Longsword or Feder, Fencing Mask, Gorget, Fencing Jacket, Protective Gloves. Forearm protection encouraged but not required.
A Solid Foundation: Ringen in Play and Earnest
Wrestling (Ringen) forms the foundation to all medieval fighting arts. From a young age, children of all classes participated in wrestling as a play activity, which became more earnest as they grew older. Even in adulthood, skill in wrestling was prized amongst fighting men. Most sources indicate that wrestling was practiced as a competitive sport, albeit a rough one, and great skill is developed when training in play. A few medieval sources, however, give hints as to how to use these skills in earnest. This class will explore a small number of techniques and how to set them up and use them in a variety of situations, including from the grip, from entry, and from a strike or kick. This is an all-levels class, and will offer training opportunities for beginning and advanced students.
Equipment: Wrestling jacket (fencing jacket can be used), Belt and/or non-stretch pants encouraged.