Monday, May 11, 2009


So, I've been thinking of doing something very controversial in HEMA. A little background on this; having done about 5 years of longsword work, I am starting to realize that being strict about studying "Italian longsword" is a mistake. My main studies are the longsword art of Fiore dei Liberi, with supplemental studies of Vadi. I believe that I have just started to truly understand the principles beneath this art and in doing so have realized that there is nothing wrong with borrowing a technique from the German arts, so long as it fits within the "Fiorean" framework. Let me say that again, so long as it fits within the "Fiorean" framework. After all, the man himself (Fiore) tells us in the prologues that he studied with many Italian and German masters and has included in this manuscript only those techniques he found especially useful. He is not claiming that his manuscript includes all the possible techniques for the longsword, just that the ones he is including are useful as teaching tools for the deeper principles. As a training partner and fellow researcher said "Once we start doing that, [I think] we are closer to what Fiore's students would have done." Now, I am not advocating blindly combining Italian and German longsword systems. They are two different systems that developed differently because of differing social and contextual influences. However, both systems use the same (or nearly so) weapon and there are only so many ways in which the human body can move a longsword around. The key is to have a solid grounding in one style, and then add aspects of the other style(s. Sorry I tend to forget about English longsword. My bad ) that appeal to you, so long as they fit within the principles of your style.

So all of that rambling is a lead up to this; I have decided that instead of writing, teaching and (maybe) publishing my interpretation of one style of pollaxe play, I will use one text as my primary framework while using as many supplemental manuscripts as possible in order to collate what I believe to be a useful method of "medieval pollaxe combat". My main reason for doing this is realizing that there are some things that are discussed in some manuscripts but not in others. So, the only potential issue is that my source manuscripts run the gamut from early 14th century to mid 16th century, but thankfully the axe as a weapon didn't change it's basic form during that time.

In closing, while what I'm doing may be controversial, I believe that I can logically explain my thought process and reasoning to anyone who politely asks. I always love a good discussion.