Read brief descriptions of the classes offered at the 2012 Fechtschule America here! We are still adding descriptions and working on the final schedule so be sure to check in often to see the latest updates.
DR. JEFFREY L. FORGENG-
Lecture #1- Pedro Monte
Pedro Monte and the Training of the Late Medieval Man-at-Arms
Recently rediscovered works by various medieval authors are beginning to offer us an unprecedented glimpse into the techniques and training that prepared medieval combatants for warfare. Among these sources, perhaps the most promising are the writings of the Spanish-born knight Pedro Monte, whose works offer extensive detail about the physical training, equipment, tactical knowledge, and psychological understanding that might be expected of the knightly class of late medieval Europe. This presentation will introduce the life and works of Pedro Monte, and explore the kinds of physical and intellectual education that Monte prescribes for warriors of his class to prepare them both as combatants and as military leaders.
Lecture #2- I.33
Introduction to Langes Messer
This introductory workshop will cover the key topics of:
- Cutting from various guards
- The "Pogen" as it relates to the Langes Messer
- Easy disarms
- Grappling with the Langes Messer (time permitting)
Advanced Langes Messer
This "advanced" class is aimed at those with more experience fencing with the Langes Messer and will include such topics as:
- The "Hidden Cuts"
- Wrestling with the Langes Messer
- The funny “stücke”
- The Storchenschnabel und Lähmhau
- Combination techniques
In this longsword class we will learn about proper footwork and a lot of leg exercises to improve our vorschlag. Then we learn about the body mechanics for the vorschlag and how to use it to do proper technical work from the bind.
Basic Movement and Drills of the Longsword
Here we learn about using our body and our swords by doing a series of exercises and paired drills. This is a class constructed to challenge the beginner as well as the experienced fighter.
The Palaestra Svecana or the Nobel art of fencing.
This class is a introduction to the Swedish rapier manual "Palaestra Svecana" which was written by the Swedish court fencing master Didrik Von Porat in 1693. The class has its focus on basic rapier drills and exercises and also learning about a few techniques from the manual.
The context for Meyers longsword fencing has been debated extensively. He writes primarily (but not solely) for a schulfechten environment that is not immediately translated into modern practice, yet his work is of such a magnitude and offers freedom for the individual practitioner in a way that allows us to make good use of his teachings for various contexts such as modern day sparring and competing with safety gear and rulesets that differ from Meyers time, even if we are not primarily interested in recreating Meyers specific system and context.
In this class we will explore some of Meyer's general fencing principles and apply them in practice using different drills. We will use longswords, though the class will also build on Meyers eclectic approach to fencing and make use of his whole book, applying principles from the dussack and rapier setion to the longsword.
Equipment: Longsword, masks, gloves. Full kit is encouraged but not required.
Sparring and applying historical techniques under pressure against an uncooperative opponent is, together with research and drilling, a pillar of the revival of historical European martial arts.
In itself, it is also widely regarded as the most fun aspect of fencing, and is often treated as the real fight or the reward at the end of class where the students can have some fun. This is of course true, but sparring can and should be much more. Directed sparring with clear focus and goals can help the fencer immensely in propelling his understanding of fencing and his ability to apply it. Sparring is also not only the opportunity of the people directly involved sword in hand, it is also great training for the onlookers to enhance their understanding of fencing by acting as coaches and judges, learning how to see and understand fencing actions, formulate fencing sequences in clear terms, how to spot patterns and how to correct them, and to develop the cooperation between the fencer and the coach.
In this class we will use several variations of sparring in order to learn how the get the most out of our sparring time, and also how to gain something even when we are on the sideline, not letting any class time to to waste!
Equipment: Full sparring kit, longswords is encouraged but any weapon type works as long as it can be used against a sparring partner.
Things single-handlers teach us about Longsword mechanics...and other observations
This class uses The biomechanical constraints of fencing with a single-handed cutting sword such as an arming sword or messer to improve base skills and intermediate techniques for Liechtenauer-tradition Longsword fencers. It also explores some tactical implications of entering the fight (zufechten) and using variations on well-known cuts to get specific, situationally relevant results. Participants should have a basic understanding of Liechtenauer-based Longsword or messer fencing, sparring equipment, and a long and short sword simulator. Class size and duration is flexible, based on event needs.
This dynamic workshop for unarmored longsword focuses on learning and teaching Grandmaster Johannes Liechtenauer's chief techniques, or Hauptstucke, through asymmetric games focusing on sparring and practical application. No previous experience with the longsword is required, but expect to sweat and get beat on!
Intermediate Rondel Dagger Workshop
In this workshop we will examine the use of the rondel in the following situations:
-Rondel vs. Rondel. Fighting against an opponent who is similarly armed- tactics and strategies to prevail. The focus is on using the entire body as a weapon, not only the hand with the rondel.
-Unarmed vs. Rondel. Disarming an opponent who is armed with a rondel- tactics and strategies to disarm and/or escape. The focus is on techniques to avoid the rondel when the opponent is striking and seizing the opportunity to either escape or disarm as the situation demands.
We will have a very breif review of basic rondel techniques as a warmup. Some previous experience the rondel is recommended. Those who have used the weapon before understand that it is far more than just an "icepick."
Equipment: Fencing mask, groin/breast protection, hand protection, rondel dagger. Lower leg and arm protection are suggested but not mandatory.
Unlocking the Aussere Mynn/Outer "Taking"
- An technical interpretation of the Aussere Mynn that includes data from as many historical sources as we know of at this time (e.g. Ringeck, Danzig, Lew, Wallerstein (including all associated Nuremberg references), Kal, Goliath, Medel, and Mair).
- A excellent example of a practical winding! We will focus on strategies for how to set up to execute this very effective outer winding that can be very challenging to defend against.
- Bonus: deeper insight into other Wallerstein techniques that make use of the same set-up required for Aussere Mynn.
- And of course, the extremely valuable 1-2-2-1 flow drill, as well as a deeper understanding of its technical value.
Ringen am Schwert
This class will introduce students to the basic concepts and techniques of Liechtenauer's Ringen am Schwert (wrestling at the sword) and how to apply them safely in a modern (tournament) setting. Starting with simple breakfalls (assuming there are mats), the class will progress to principles specific to wrestling with sword in hand. We will cover several plays from Danzig and Ringeck, including durchlaufen (running through),. No previous experience is necessary. Please remove all jewelry and watches before class. A sword simulator is required.
Basic Lessons on the Scottish Basket Hilted Broadsword
Using Henry Angelo’s lessons as primary source, this class will look at the basics of Scottish basket-hilted swordplay. Participants will practice the basic attacks, guards, and defenses while also looking at how footwork and measure are addressed by this source.
Equipment: Basket-hilted broadsword or similar (Sabre, Single Stick, or stick), mask, and gloves.
Tactics from Joachim Meyer
A hands-on presentation of the tactical elements of Meyer's Art of COmbat. In Meyer's 1570 manual he describes a framework for the tactical application of cuts - Provoker, Taker, and Hitter. He also describes more on the Zufechten and Abzug thean any other author in the German tradition. The class finishes with a discussion of Meyer;s types of fencers and how to defeat each style. Students should be familiar with the core elements of the Liechtenauer tradition.
Equipment: Complete fencing (sparring) kit and longsword simulator required.
Drills from Hutton
Defending well and then executing a follow-up attack is a difficult skill to train well. Alfred Hutton's Cold Steel presents interesting methods of drilling two key components: parry-riposte and feints. This class covers Hutton's drills and how to apply them to any weapon.
The Deadly Combat of Gentlemen!
In this class, Bob will demonstrate the smallsword to be exactly what it was: a specialized tool for fighting another man equally armed in a pre-arranged affair. Bob will work primarily from the book of Domenico Angelo but will also touch on the works of Danet and Labat; the former as a contemporary of Angelo and the latter as an "ancestor." Bob will touch on the basic stance and the artificiality thereof as well as the concept of parry/riposte in two tempi. He will also show how the advance/retreat virtually replaced the pass when using this weapon (though there were still some instances wherein the pass was used). Bob will concentrate the most time in this lesson the Angelo disarms. This is about as close to grappling as this weapon would tend to go. In this class, Bob will include a brief lecture/discussion on the actual nature of the smallsword fight and dispel some of the myths such as lumping it in with the 19th century dueling with the epee du combat, the nature of the challenge given and taken and any of that linear evolution nonsense preached by Egerton Castle.
The Masters of Fiore’s Longsword
This class will cover the First and Second Masters of both largo and stretto. Participants will be instructed in the entry into each of the masters as described in the Getty manuscript. This course will be focused in on the correct structure of and usage of each of these masters. Time permitting, the first play of stretto will be covered.
Italian Rapier and its Advantages over Spanish Rapier
It is historically misguided to speculate that Capo Ferro would have "assumed" that the opponent would fight in a similar manner. What these masters give us are rules of an art. These rules, rather than being hard and fast, are flexible ones that can be applied to any situation. Suppose, for example, that Capo Ferro teaches you to look at what you see and break it down into the raw elements of tempo, measure, strong, weak, openings and closed lines. These are the fundamental elements of the art.
In this class you will get to explore some of the raw elements of the Italian Rapier and together students will be able to discover for themselves some of the possibilities Capo Ferro possesses over Spanish Rapier.
Fiore's Short Spear
One of the least studied sections from the manuals of Fiore dei Liberi and Fillipo Vadi is that of the Short Spear. This class will introduce the student to the essentials of the short spear and describe its link within the Fiore corpus to Longsword fundamentals such as Breaking Thrust, guard transitions, Cutting-the-Cross and more. Students will even improve their comprehension of Longsword technique with the Spear’s clear and concise demonstrations of the fundamentals of foot work, time and measure. This class is also a critical introduction for understanding the Carolingian roots of the Short Spear as a Cut & Thrust weapon, techniques that will inform the Chiavarine, Partisan, and/or Flügellanz/Knebelpieße.
Required Equipment: Six foot staff (a 6’ rubber tipped and butted spear* is recommended), facemask, gorget, gloves, elbow protection. Torso protection optional.
From the Salle to the Field: What HEMA Practitioners Can Learn from
Everyone seems to have an opinion about classical fencing these days but to those with an open mind and a willingness to learn, they can—undoubtedly—function as an effective tool for further understanding and skill with the historical weapons. This class will briefly introduce the three classical weapons—foil, epee, and sabre—and then explore how their study can enhance our use of historical weapons including rapier and longsword. We will drill with a variety of weapons in a natural progression from classical to historical and students will see for themselves how the study of one
naturally melds into a greater understanding of movement in the other. This class will also briefly touch on other benefits of using classical as a tool for teaching historical, such as increased comfort level and ease of transition for women into historical fencing and increased control for our more reckless fencers. This is a drill-based
Required equipment: Mask, jacket, gloves, rapier, longsword (or
trainer), and an open mind.
Classical weapons will be provided, some rapiers and longswords available.
Fiore Fast and Furious – Dagger and Abrazare
Pressure points and joint manipulation in Kampfringen
Mounted Combat- A Continuation of the System (Lecture)
Mounted combat is often overlooked when studying historical fighting systems because it seems discrete or unfamiliar to the non-equestrian. However, a great deal of knowledge about the various fighting systems studied by Western martial artists can be gained by closely examining the mounted sections of the medieval fighting manuscripts.