• Fencing

    Preparing for the weekend

    I wish this week had more hours. On Friday me and some friends are road tripping to Germany to attend a harnischfechten symposium. Not only do I think the weekend will be awesome, but Im so happy to be going with the people I am, I think we will have a blast!

    Im trying to think of what I need to prepare and it isnt that much, only I need to clean the car, and that is a major thing… So I will probably have to miss one of the training this weeks. But, I will have a whole week of sword and armor, so I think its an okay trade off.

    Photo: Amanda Melchior

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  • Fencing

    Rossfechten Symposium 2018

    When me and my travel companion finally parked on the stable parking lot, she turned to me and said “How are we going to be able to re-tell this trip to people?”. And its so true, how can you explain all the people, horses, experiences, moments. It has just been such an amazing week, but maybe I should just start at the beginning.

    On Tuesday morning I met up with my good friend Sabina and loaded up Talhoffer and headed for Denmark. We had booked an overnight stable near the ferry and the stable owner was so nice, and we really felt welcome. Talhoffer settled in quickly and was eating his hay happily when we left for the airbnb where we were to stay the night. I was a bit worried for the loading the next day, as Talhoffer, well he hadnt been difficult loading the day before, but I felt he had been a bit hesitant. But I didnt need to worry, he just walked right in to the hay and it was just to close the door behind him, then the next worry was the ferry. Also something I had not needed to be worry about at all. Even though we got on last and stood just below the big siren that sounded when they closed the doors, Talhoffer hardly flicked his ears. After a two days long journey, where we got delayed on the German roads for about 3-4-hours, due to traffic, we finally could roll trough the gates to Arnes place in Germany.

    Thursday was a beautiful day and I started the day with a ride up to the castle above the town with some of the other riders, then me and Sabina walked to the next town and ate lunch and just enjoyed the surroundings. The rest of the day I just made sure the horse had settled in, and we settled in, and just regained energy from the last two days of travelling.

    Friday we were five people that drove up to Buckeburg where we met up with Diana Krischke who gave us a tour, which was so interesting. I got a whole new understanding about the spade bit, among other things, and it was just so nice to see all their wonderful horses, and they all seemed so happy and calm. We also got to see the show, with such nice riding. Happy horses, that got praise and cookies, performing all of the schools. High level riding, like it should be!

    During Thursday and Friday the grounds started to get filled with horses and people, and I really took every opportunity I could to fence. So when ever I got a free moment I was like “Dont anyone want to fence?”. And most often there where! Friday evening we did some Fiore, and then we kind of tired of that and I was like “Cant we look a little on the Liegnitzer half-swording?”. So I got my copy of the manuscript and we started to go trough the first play and its counters, and apparently this made me the expert on half-swording, so the rest of the weekend I dont know how many came to me and was like “Cant you teach me half-swording”. And I kept telling people that I never done this before, I only done this plays, but well, that didn’t seem to matter.

    Talhoffer did so good in the sessions. I mean the level on the riding in this group is trough the roof, so it is such a privileged to get to ride with all these amazing people. And Talhoffer is no way near ready in the body to perform in the same way, so I was mostly focusing on him being calm and getting the exercises. First session we just rode around the other horses, practicing turning around each other and just get the horses to get used to each other. Then in the afternoon we did some sparring, which was very low-level for us, and I cannot wait until we can play for real!

    After dining on wild boar it was Tango night! It was just much fun, first we had 2 hours with a teacher, just going through the basics, and then it was free dancing. I just love dancing, and in the end I ended up dancing with Nick, who I started to teach more moves, just so I could have some fun (like the sandwich so I could do swiwling games). In the end all the other left the dance floor and we were like ” we need a water break”, and then we were like Okay shall we get all the others on the dance floor? but when we returned, they turned the music off! And then I looked at the time and was like “Quarter past twelve??”… I had danced for a total of 4 hours straight…. Did I say I love dancing?

    Sunday went in the same theme, horses and swords. Our morning session was about lances and swords, and I thought that might be a bit much for Talhoffer, as he as reacted to long waving sticks before, but he did SO good! He did not react at all! And I felt really confident with the lance, almost more than with the sword. So I was really proud of him. It was interesting because we looked at a lance technic I raised question before on our facebook forum, which is really odd, as it shows a picture of a person with a sword grabbing the lance from the inside, as all of the other technics I ever found, you grab it from the outside.
    The sparring session during Sunday also went much better, where I concentrated alot more on good riding. It still is way below the others, but it felt better, and that is what matters. The last session was cavalry vs infantry, and that got a little too much for the golden pony, so after a little training session with just him, where the foot people only moved away from him, we cut it short.

    In the evening many had left for home, as most had a long way to journey, but we few who had stayed had such a fun evening, where we played games on the lawn, watching people do the wheel barrow and spinning around a sword and then running and I dont know what not, and it was just such a laugh.

    I met so many amazing people, and had such a good time! I think what I felt most happy about is that I really felt I leveled with people, I had something to contribute with, it was not just me soaking in knowledge from others, I could actually have discussion and contribute myself.
    A year ago when it was posted about the symposium and I saw the spots filling up in like an evening. I was, no I dont need to go, it would be fun, but I dont just want to travel down because everyone is doing it. If I am to go, it is because I have a place there. Then I was asked to be there, so I was like okay, and I am so happy I went. For now, I really felt I was not just a by-stander, I was a participant and contributor, which was really cool.

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  • Fencing

    Showcasing HEMA at Olympia day

    This weekend it is “Olympia day” at Liseberg here in Gothenburg, where alot of sports where shown on the grounds of the amusement park. My fencing club had a spot to show what we do, and also some time on the main stage where we showed some sparring of the different weapons we teach.

    I had such a good time. It was so much fun seeing the kids faces just light up when I put a steel sword in their hands. Fencing is really for all people, and the most interested person we had all day was a middle-age women, I just loved it. I really hope she shows up to training!

    The days number one question asked was:
    Is this a real sword?
    Is like- well yes it is a steel sword, and no its not sharp. But it is a real training sword…

    Second was this kind of conversation (that happened more than once…)

    -do you do sport fencing?
    No, we do historical fencing, so no sport fencing
    – So you dont have any sport fencing?
    No, as I said, we do historical fencing
    – But you only do that? No sport fencing?
    No, sport fencing, only historical
    -but why dont you have sport fencing?

    After a whole day, we went out for a well deserve after-fencing drink! Burger and coke, perfect way to end the day.

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  • Fencing

    Lichtenauer in context

    I have given this about intent and force some thought, and its about context. The norm in todays HEMA is a dueling situation, its how the manuscripts depict things, its how its easiest to train and its how competitions arranged.

    In that context, not using the space, going on strong, may not always be the obvious choice. But if you put Lichtenauer in another context, in a real battle, it makes much more sense. If you look at the Lichtenauers fechtbuch in the light of being in the ranks on a battle field, than it makes becomes much more clear that you shall strike as soon as you are within distance, and continuing going for openings, even if you miss the first strike. Cause there is no way but forward as you may have a 1000 men in your back pushing on. There is no backing up, and if you are starting to, you will be dead, there is no space. There is most likley no time either, you need to win ground, you need to be ahead of your opponent. And you will come into grappling distance, cause your opponent will not either have space to back up.

    I haven’t studied Meyers longsword that much yet, but it would be interesting to see how it differs. I think I heard that he goes straight to technics and doesnt really go in to the philosophy on the mindset on how to fence. Which also makes sense if its more of a duel fight, you dont need the same mindset as in a battlefield.

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  • Fencing

    Toughts on todays longsword training

    Today at longsword training we had sparring exercises. Im not to fond of the sparring sessions, dont get me wrong, I think sparring is great, but the thing is I really need to work on my technics in longsword. I know the theory and I know in my mind what I want to do, but I dont have it in my body, I need more practice, and then the sparring gets, well, floppy.

    Also in slow sparring I have a hard time doing it correctly, cause I just put up guards and dont really dare to do it properly. So I was slow-sparring with a guy and he was like “well your issue seems opposite to mine, you are not very offensive” and I was like, Im holding back, cause we are slow sparring. So then next exchange I put on some intent, and the poor boy was like “holy hell your fast”.

    And then I got into the usual argument about people thinking Im getting in too close, and grappling and I dont agree on backing up. I agree I should use my feet more, stepping side ways, but not about stepping back (unless in particular situations).

    I can see that some dont understand, cause at the moment I get alot of doubled, and reason is that Im lacking in technic and reaction. But I am of firm belief that if I train that I will be in advantaged, I just needing to learn to block and cut/thrust in same movement. Because when I know it, I can always adjust my tempo, speed, force ect As I am certain its easier to pull it down than if you always train abit defensive and backing, to wamp it up.



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