History of HEMA?

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History of HEMA?

Postby Inthe Meantime » 11 May 2014 09:10

Michael Chidester posted this last Friday and as it is a question we often get asked by potential recruits and willing victims, and because I myself am interested in such things I wondered if any of you guys could do as Michael asks and add to the history of the movement from the European side. Please.

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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby swordflasher » 11 May 2014 15:56

I'd be interested too. I suppose we'd have to start with the Victorians. We might have to mention Germany in the 30'3 or 40's too? Also, I'm sure I've seen a video on youtube of English Hematists from the 50's, if anyone recalls that?

More recently, Terry Brown started studying English martial arts in 1980, I believe, and published the book of that name and founded the Company of Maisters in 1997. The Exiles have been around for more than 15 years.

When I started there was also Arma (Haca) and Aemma on the net, from across the pond..
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Thearos » 11 May 2014 16:26

Mention Sydney Anglo, perhaps ?

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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Phil C » 11 May 2014 17:44

First generation starts with Hutton, castle, Dubois etc though their intent was different as they were looking to "beef up" extant military skills by looking to the past, support Nationalistic politics (int eh case of Germans using Meyer, Italians using Fiore or French using Petter) or to add romance to stagefighting, not necessarily to recreate the treatises accurately in their original contexts. Tony Wolf describe this in "Ancient Swordplay".

For a potted history of my experience there's this, which stops at 2011 cos that's when I wrote it and that's when all the West Coast stuff started expanding rapidly about which I have little idea. it is also rather brief on the Aberdeen experience.

Scotland's HEMA history starts something like this (and even then it's debated as we were very young, and mostly drunk at the time...)
Pre1994-
Professor Bert Bracewell teaches throughout Scotland, he has a knowledge of historic styles of fencing (mainly singlesticking) that he imparts to Paul Macdonald, Milo Thurston and Guy Windsor over the years that he teaches them to fence while they are university students in Edinburgh. He still teaches the older styles of Olympic fencing over in Linlithgow today.
He also taught fencing to numerous drama and dance students through various Scottish universities which led to Guy, Paul &c doing several theatrical fencing courses out of interest and gaining contacts there.
Paul Macdonald, having moved to Edinburgh for university (?’92), establishes a Napier University fencing club and team, ending up as a champion (Full Blue) and teacher before retiring formally in 1995 at the Castlelaw Competition, Ireland. Guy Windsor studies and teaches Olympic fencing for the Edinburgh University team as a student. They meet during competitions and talk about how that type of fencing is no longer their interest.
Jeff Burn and Mike Loades are also in the Dumfries area teaching and training in skill-at-arms and jousting.

1994-
They set up the Dawn Duellists Society intending to study the older forms of swordplay. Since the first book they discover by looking at the library catalogues is Hutton’s book of that name, plus Mcbane’s treatise. DDS recruits others from their university fencing peers- Bob Brooks, Gareth Hunt, Katie Murray, Jo Calise and they fence each other using foils as rapiers, until they discover Denbigh rapiers. Then they do sword and buckler after Marozzo/Hutton.

96-
Tim Ruzicki, a student on exchange from the US, discovers them and practices a little. Paul and Gareth are making cash by doing historic swordplay demos for ghost tours, historic sites and even SNP broadcasts.
Andrea Lupo-Sinclair is on holiday in Edinburgh. He wanders into the swordmaker shop that Paul works in and they get chatting about fencing. It turns out Andrea is a professional fencing teacher with several salles in Italy (the fledgling FISAS). They stay in touch.
Tim has access to this new thing- the internet! Paul and Gareth discover the Martinez Academy and email them asking if they’d like to join forces with the DDS and Andrea. Martinez politely declines but they stay in touch.
Milo Thurston moves to Edinburgh for his studies. Practices with the DDS and Bert Bracewell.

97-
The DDS do a demo at the local RPG convention. I am doing security for the convention, meet them and wander along to a practice. By this time there is also Nic Harrison, Tim is back on another exchange briefly, and numerous other “new” people wander along from the RPG society. The DDS realise they will have to formalise their classes as they will have to teach people to fence from the beginning rather than just how to teach them the old ways. Guy tends to take on.
Paul and Gareth go to Italy to do historic swordplay demos for Andrea. Various DDS folk , through Bob’s contacts, start doing historic swordplay demos at Alnwick Fair, and throughout the UK.
Paul opens his armoury and goes fully independant.
Andrea visits the DDS AGM and teaches. Dussack unveiled that same weekendby Paul and Gareth.
DDS discover medieval re-enactment and do historic fencing demos and displays for the EMA and Plantagenet events across England, as well as entering various sword tournaments they hold. Consistently won by Bob Brooks, Paul Macdonald and Keiran Robb. Meet Chris Bruce- stay in touch.

98-
Milo discovers Hope, moves to Oxford, forms the LSD.
Mark Donnelly gets in touch and arranges the first ever Tontine event. Many of us trundle down to North Yorkshire and discover many other groups from the UK, most notably the SRS, who are doing what we do but we knew nothing about.
Having discovered others the first BFHS meeting at Warwick Castle to see if such an organisation is feasible. Plans are made.
Paul and Gareth travel to New York to do historic swordplay demos for the Martinez Academy.

99-
DDS moves indoors due to local problems with fencing in the streets (mainly ghost tours getting annoyed that we were drawing a bigger crowd) and a need for insurance.
DDS meet John Clements in the UK. Don't stay in touch.
Jared Kirby moves to Edinburgh to study with Paul and the DDS, having heard of him through Tim Ruzicki who formed the New DDS in Michigan upon his return there.
The international Paddy Crean Conference is held in Edinburgh. The Martinez’s come over to teach there and we finally get to meet them. Jared meets the Martinezs, moves to New York to study with them full-time. Becomes an Instructor under them. Paddy Crean also leads to connections with John Lennox who, with Jared, manages the Lansing event for ten years, that has now become Combatcon.
Nic Harrison moves to Skye- forms Highland Freebooters fencing group, members of which are still floating around there in limbo to this day.
Paul passes his exam and is declared a founder member of IMAF along with Andrea, Ramon and Jeanette. Also develops connections with the Manusardi salle, Lorenzo pops over to visit often to fence with us.
Steaphen Fick- having heard of the DDS via Lansing- comes over to visit for a year and study with the DDS. He returns to Santa Clara to set up his full time salle, returning every other year or so to train and catch-up with the DDS.
BFHS holds an annual meeting, with Paul as president.

’00-
Guy also goes self-employed and teaches fencing in Edinburgh to those of us that want private lessons
DDS do demos at Costumecon event, York- leads to further contacts in the theatrical field.

’01-
Guy leaves to set up a fulltime school in Finland.

’02-
Paul established Academy as well as teaching at DDS.
I attend Academy for three years.Chris Lockie trains with Chris Bruce as a skill-at-arms rider and jouster
03-
Paul, Gareth and I travel to FISAS AGM. Meet and work with James Loriega. Meet Ken Mondschein. Stay friends.
Paul established Backswording events at Highland Games through contacts with Wullie Baxter. Leads to involvement in a Glasgow Conference on Backhold and Gouren wrestling.
Chris Lockie becomes a pro-jouster at the Royal Armouries
Aberdeen Swordsmanship Group is founded in Aberdeen by Michael Cromarty with help by Paul.
(?)Tom Leoni teaches a workshop on rapier at the Academy- stay in touch
04-
DDS effectively teacherless as all the established instructors move on to full time elsewhere or have life-changes. Ian, Gareth and I take over as de facto Instructors.
Travel to WMAW- I meet and work with Pete Kautz and Anthony de Longhis. Stay in touch.
Highland Games events continue.
Re-enactment activities separate from DDS into a separate entity called CoDDS

05-
Ian and I officially deemed Instructors by DDS.
Celtic Exchange established- longsword tournament. Smalslword/backsword tournament (I win)
Phil wins Glorianna Cup

06-
(?)BFHS BGM in Aberdeen- last event the RN Master of Cudgels attends before his death
I move to Brighton to train with the SRS, and Durham to train with the SSS. Gain Instructorship with the SSS.
Gareth Hunt Becomes DDS President

07-
(?) DDS alumni George Davidson forms Glasgow Company of Duellists. George has to give up due to back injuries but Historical Fencing is established in Glasgow as a result.
(?) CoDDS becomes entirely separate entity, though with marked membership crossover, as CoSM.

09-
Black Boar Swordsmanship School formed by Ian to teach a group in Fife
Ian Macintyre becomes DDS President
Steve Huff teaches a workshop in Edinburgh. Stay in touch.
Stuart Peers founds Bon Accord Fencers in Aberdeenshire

10-
John Lennox teaches in Edinburgh. Stay in touch

11-
Black Boar takes opportunity of a room offer to form in North Edinburgh, Phil Crawley joins as Provost
Martin Page becomes DDS President
Andy Taylor Founds Storks Beak in Edinburgh

DDS Alumni
Paul Macdonald- Macdonald Academy
Guy Windsor- SESH, Finland
Jared Kirby- SUNY Purchase salle
Milo Thurston- Linacre School of Defence
Tim Ruzicki- Schola St George, Seattle
Steaphen Fick- Davenriche School of Defence
Nic Harrison- teaching in New Zealand
Phil Crawley- Black Boar School
Ian Macintyre- Black Boar School
Stuart Peers – Studying i.33 in Aberdeenshire
Matt Noel – Studying spear in Edinburgh/Fife
Greig Watson – in the process of setting up another professional school in Edinburgh
Andy Taylor – Storks Beak
Bob Brooks – Hotspur School
Mike Brownsell- Company of St Margaret
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Michael Chidester » 11 May 2014 18:05

I exclude Hutton et al because I'm not aware of any direct continuity between their activities and the wave that started in the 60s. If we're including everyone who tried to resurrect dead arts by interpreting old sources, then we'd have to start at least as far back as Paulus Hector Mair in the 1540s.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Phil C » 11 May 2014 23:54

It's tenuous but Hutton's Old Swordplay movement certainly fed into the French revival which resulted in La Caze and Dubois writing up their "rapier and dagger" method which then spread around what would now be deemed the "Classical" fencing scene up to the modern day. Certainly the rapier method I was taught was said to be of French origin and seems to match the "classical rapier" taught through lineage by Martinez and familiar to those who studied through the Gaugler lineage ( we even have film of Nadi practicing such in the salle). That's before you consider the common oral and anecdotal evidence that usually starys with "My master once told me that..."
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Dave B » 12 May 2014 12:38

Michael Chidester wrote:I exclude Hutton et al because I'm not aware of any direct continuity between their activities and the wave that started in the 60s.


It occurs to me that although there may be no 'living lineage' between the pre WW1 researchers and the revival of HEMA which starts in perhaps the 60's, it doesn't mean there is no relationship at all.

I've been having a bit of a random dig about of 20thC books which discuss fencing history, chiefly books on the modern sport or books on stage fencing. In the intervening years there seem to be plenty of books that refer, even if only in passing, to historical sources like Silver etc. I wonder if that would have been the case if it weren't for the likes of Hutton, Castle, Burton etc? Just idle speculation on my part but I think it's possible that with a little more study you might find a line of influence. It may be that whilst there was no-one much seriously studying old fencing treatises in the 1920's through 1950's, the published works of the early 20thC at least maintained an awareness of them in the minds of people interested in swords and fencing? For example it would be fascinating to know if Oakenshott read and was influenced by works of the Kernoozers.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Urtica Urens » 12 May 2014 12:57

Barbasetti's The Art of the Foil, the English translation of which first appeared in 1932 (copyright renewed in 1960), includes a "Short History of Fencing" at the end. It's a about a third of the book, so not that short.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Phil C » 12 May 2014 12:58

I'd be curious to see Prof. Angelo's history as he seems to be the last of that generation in many ways and may prove to be the British linchpin.

However the main difference between the current generation of HEMA is the teaching and practice as an end in and of itself, whereas previous generations have only generally had an academic interest as historians, over-riding primary motivation to make others aware of the arts of the past to support their particular agenda as soldiers, propagandists or to add novelty to their stagecraft or contemporary fencing exhibitions.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby admin » 12 May 2014 13:39

Prof. Sydney Anglo definitely played a very important part.

Burton? He didn't do anything for HEMA did he? If his second volume of The Book of the Sword had ever happened then he may have done, but the first was poorly received and it seems no serious effort was ever made towards the second.

The major pre-WW1 British exponents were Castle, then Hutton and Matthey together. Hutton and Matthey actually saw old fencing styles as better in some ways than 'current' (post-1880) ones (and both advised applying old swordplay to 'modern' military swordsmanship), whereas Castle seems to have seen them as lesser and only 'of interest'. I would also not underestimate the influence of the Pollocks either.
Cyril Matthey was very active in promoting early HEMA with Alfred Hutton - see his preface to the republishing of George Silver. It is clear that both he and Hutton were very pro-HEMA.

And I agree that because Castle, Hutton and Matthey all published, their works were referred to by later writers on the subject of sport fencing. By publishing, if not by direct lineage, there is a connection between the late-Victorian works and the idea of historical fencing written about in sport fencing books throughout the 20th century.

Other bibliographical writers such as Hergsell should also be mentioned, as they played a pivotal role in bringing the sources to attention.

In terms of the South of England, most of us trace our post-1990 beginnings to Terry Brown in some way or another. Milo may have trained with the DDS, but I also remember him training with Terry in around 1998. I started with Terry in 1997 and I think Rob Lovett of the Exiles joined around the same time or a little later. Milo went off and started Linacre, Rob and I went of and started the modern HEMA form of the Exiles. The School of the Sword and the Cut & Thrust School of Defence started up in Oxfordshire in around 1997 as well I think, growing from a few people doing English Civil War reenactment who wanted to do more historical swordplay. I started Schola Gladiatoria officially in 2001, but it had been running an informal class since 1999/2000. Then I think the STMF was probably next, with one member coming from reenactment and the other (Chris) from Aikido (Philippe). Down in Brighton the SRS started, I believe as an offshoot of SCA rapier, some time in the mid to late-1990s (not sure when?) and the 1595 Club seems to have branched off from that? Down in Folkestone David Rawlings had started running classes by around 2000/2001 - I first met Dave when he had just heard about HEMA and came to watch Rob and I (as Exiles) demonstrating at the Wallace Colleciton, in 1999 or 2000 (not sure which).
These were basically the groups in the South of England that I was aware of by 2000AD..
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Michael Chidester » 12 May 2014 13:47

Dave B wrote:It occurs to me that although there may be no 'living lineage' between the pre WW1 researchers and the revival of HEMA which starts in perhaps the 60's, it doesn't mean there is no relationship at all.

Well, everything is tied together in some way, so because the entire history of fencing is something that would take several lifetimes to chronicle properly, certain decisions have to be made. I think that the 19th century HEMA revival is a footnote to the contemporary movement, and really constitutes an entirely different research project. If we were writing books, that would be its own volume with an afterword discussing how even though that effort largely died out in the early 20th century, it laid some significant groundwork for future generations to build on in the latter part of that century. The history of contemporary HEMA would likewise mention Hutton and Castle in the preface but largely treat them as historical sources rather than participants after that point.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby knirirr » 12 May 2014 13:56

admin wrote:Milo may have trained with the DDS, but I also remember him training with Terry in around 1998.


That's right - after I came back to Oxford from Edinburgh I did some training with Terry whenever I was able, as well as looking into my own small-sword research (Terry is not a big fan of the small-sword ;-).

Phil C wrote:Professor Bert Bracewell teaches throughout Scotland, he has a knowledge of historic styles of fencing (mainly singlesticking) that he imparts to Paul Macdonald, Milo Thurston and Guy Windsor over the years that he teaches them to fence while they are university students in Edinburgh.


I was a student at Dundee rather than Edinburgh, and although I encountered Bert at events in Scotland he didn't do any teaching at Dundee that I recall (Paul Donaldson was the chap who taught me, and it was only fairy sabre). However, it wasn't far to drive to St. Andrews, and they still did a bit of singlestick fencing there. I did a bit of singlestick play at St. Andrews (c. 1992-3 IIRC) but didn't manage to get any individual lessons in it until I got training from Bert when I was working in Edinburgh in the late 90s; he used to offer lessons each week at the university sport fencing club and was willing to train me then.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby admin » 12 May 2014 14:10

It's very interesting to read other people's detailed accounts of that time - lots of details and connections that I did not know :)

I believe Gordon Hart, formerly of Schola, also did some amount of singlestick whilst at university somewhere in Scotland. I don't know who instigated that though.

Terry Brown was absolutely my first entry point into HEMA and I trained with him for around 18-24 months. Prior to that I had done foil fencing at school (well taught), sport sabre fencing at university (un-taught), a little reenactment training and some Asian martial arts (primarily kung fu). I had however started collecting real swords and I was trying to apply what I learned from sport fencing, kung fu and reenactment to the use of real swords.... then I discovered HEMA existed and my dreams came true!
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Phil C » 12 May 2014 14:55

admin wrote: Down in Brighton the SRS started, I believe as an offshoot of SCA rapier, some time in the mid to late-1990s (not sure when?) and the 1595 Club seems to have branched off from that?

Officially 1997 but the people involved were doing stuff together from at least 1994 in one way or another (starting out as SCA heavy fighters, moving to SCA rapier, then on to HEMA once they met Andrea in 1998);one of whom moved to France and studies spadroon play privately, Duncan gained a family and left and Andrew carries it on now with Lyell et al.

Chris C was an SRS student for a year or two but founded 1595 almost from the start, splitting into his own thing not too long after. Alister O'Loughlin, who was his 2ic at the time, went off to become a bigwig in the theatre, dance and free-running worlds but always says he intends to come back to it one day but integrates Saviolo into any performance that he can get away with it ( I saw his Hamlet and the final duel was mad eup from the basic plays of Saviolo).

Terry Brown's always been an enigma to me- met loads of folk who are his ex-students but never actually encountered him anywhere. He was due to teach at a BFHS gathering one year (one of the Osset events) but failed to appear and joined the BFHS as a founder group but then left with weeks of foundation.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby knirirr » 12 May 2014 16:18

admin wrote:I believe Gordon Hart, formerly of Schola, also did some amount of singlestick whilst at university somewhere in Scotland. I don't know who instigated that though.


I don't recall the precise circumstances either, but from what I remember he mentioned not having done much of it, having been mostly a sport fencer. I think I recall him mentioning receiving a singlestick chastisement from the professor (who was, unsurprisingly, very good at chastising much younger and faster opponents) in his back garden. Perhaps Gordon will turn up and fill in the details.

admin wrote:Prior to that I had done foil fencing at school (well taught), sport sabre fencing at university (un-taught), a little reenactment training and some Asian martial arts (primarily kung fu).


Similarly, I had done a little foil whilst at school but I don't really count it. Also some Judo, though I wasn't very good at it and only got as far as a yellow belt. HEMA is much more fun, of course.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Dave B » 13 May 2014 11:12

admin wrote:Burton? He didn't do anything for HEMA did he? If his second volume of The Book of the Sword had ever happened then he may have done, but the first was poorly received and it seems no serious effort was ever made towards the second.


You are right of course. His name slipped in there as someone who I associate with the Victorian interest in martial history, but 'book of the sword' really only discusses the history of swords, not of swordsmanship. I believe the expression is 'My Bad'.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby admin » 14 May 2014 10:57

Not at all - Burton was many things and it's not uncommon in modern HEMA to hear him listed as part of the HEMA movement when he was not. I've had to pick up Roger Norling/HROARR on this same issue. It irks me. ;)
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby Sean M » 14 May 2014 19:42

Michael Chidester wrote:I exclude Hutton et al because I'm not aware of any direct continuity between their activities and the wave that started in the 60s.

I have read an article by a SCA member circa 1970 which said that the author and his friends in California were looking for sources but could only find a book by one Jakob Sutor which "just covered a few weapons" (while you smile or wince, others can look him up here). I will always wonder what would have happened if the local branch of the University of California had a copy of the Novati PD or the Talhofer facsimile printed in the 19th century.
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby admin » 15 May 2014 10:17

Well British reenactors and stage fencers had copies of Talhoffer and I.33 for decades and managed to completely ignore their contents! :evil:
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Re: History of HEMA?

Postby MugginsToadwort » 16 May 2014 14:31

admin wrote:Well British reenactors and stage fencers had copies of Talhoffer and I.33 for decades and managed to completely ignore their contents! :evil:

Considering that Di Grassi, Saviolo and Silver were readily available to stage fencers in the mid-60s and 70s, it definitely comes down to how you approach the material.
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