Research

Frog DNA, Concentric Rings and Old-Fashioned Necromancy: Reconstructing Historical European Swordsmanship

(c) 2014, Gregory D. Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild Most of the modern WMA community is based, not on living tradition, but rather on reconstruction of martial arts long dead. While these arts survive in detailed written and pictorial form, they were recorded for contemporary, not modern audiences. This means that anyone who finds himself acting […]

The Origins of European Swordsmanship

A common feature of all historical European sword-fighting, as reflected in medieval and Renaissance combat treatises, is fencing with blade binds. In this refined fighting art, a crossing of swords informs a combatant on appropriate maneuvers, based on pressure feedback sensed through one’s blade. Actually, the concept of going where pressure takes you is, indeed, […]

In Search of the Rudis

In Search of the Rudis

This article was originally posted at http://www.puckandmary.com/blog_puck/2014/06/in-search-of-the-rudis/. It has been re-posted here, with permission from the author, Puck Curtis, with our thanks. ——— Like many of the stories of my life, this one should start with me being a fool.  It was WMAW and assembled there were a collection of instructors trained through Maestro William Gaugler’s […]

Stable, Striking and Mutable:  Fighting from the Guards of L’Arte dell’Armizare

Stable, Striking and Mutable: Fighting from the Guards of L’Arte dell’Armizare

“I am the sword and I am lethal against any weapon; lances, axes and dagger are worthless against me. I can become extended or withdrawn; when I get near the opponent I can enter into close play, perform disarms and abrazare. My art is to turn and to bind; I am expert in defense and […]

Memory and Performance: Visual and Rhetorical Strategies of Il Fior di Battaglia

Memory and Performance: Visual and Rhetorical Strategies of Il Fior di Battaglia

(First presented at the Renaissance Society of America’s Venice conference in 2010. Presented also as part of an academic session followed by an armoured combat demonstration, organized by Dr. Regina Pskai, at the American Association for Italian Studies conference at University of Oregon, 2013) This paper is part of a larger study on medieval and Renaissance martial arts manuscripts, […]

Wide and Close Play in Armizare, the Martial Tradition of Fiore dei Liberi   

Wide and Close Play in Armizare, the Martial Tradition of Fiore dei Liberi  

Gregory D. Mele, ©2014 [N.B: This article greatly expands and upon an earlier one “Understanding Wide and Close Play in the Martial Tradition of Fiore dei Liberi”, first presented in 2008 and later published with photo interpretations in In the Service of Mars, Proceedings from the Western Martial Arts Workshop (1999 – 2009), Vol. I. In addition to […]

English Longsword: The Harleian Manuscript

Most period two hand sword texts or fechtbücher of the 14th and 15th centuries were of German or Italian provenance so folios 82 – 85 of Harley ms 3542 provide a rare and welcome  glimpse into a medieval method of English two-hand sword combat. Contained within this work (ff.84v -85r ) is  a well-written verse that hitherto, due to its use of supposed cryptic […]