Workshops Swordfish 2019

Robert Childs: Rapier and Rapier & dagger

Fencing has nothing to do with the power in your arm. If you want strength, then apply leverage. If you want speed, then steal time. The hard and fast rules of physics and geometry are to a swordsman what the color pallet is to the painter. These tools are available to us all but it is how we each use these tools that gives expression to our art.

My school of fence in rapier combat centers around three essential pillars: footwork, balance and sword work. In this seminar I will show you the most common errors I have encountered in swordsmen over the last three decades in each of these pillars. Further, I will show you the techniques I use to increase the strength of my movements, raise the speed of my attack and defense, and steal time through the proper application of psychological warfare in the midst of the duel.

Jerzy Miklaszewski: Polish Sabre

Behind the blow — Cross-cut fencing stresso-tempo explained
According to many sources of the 17th and 18th century one of the most important features are cuts. Fencer is obliged to not only attack with them, but also defend and prepare other actions with a cutting motion. Being rooted deeply in the medieval sword mechanics, the Cross-cut fencing remains far from the parry-riposte systems preferred by later military sabre systems.

Jerzy Miklaszewski: French Espadon cut fencing

Secret of the cuts — When and why to cut form the wrist, elbow or from the shoulder
Each cut in Espadon is a style of its own. Having their own mechanics is chosen from the many styles of Europe to best perform its use. A very specific action features not only different target area, but different style and different tactical use.

Olle Kausland: Longsword thrusting

The thrust — From the basics to advanced use of the thrust

In longsword fencing, the thrust is the middle child of the Drei Wunder. We see it in the sources as well as in our modern day fencing scene that cuts get the lion´s share of the spotlight. But with its simpler and more straightforward nature, thrusts offer an excellent tool in our fencing tool box. It´s really just down to the training. 

The workshop will be focused on thrusting. Not mainly as a Vorschlag, but also as a primary tool deeper down in the exchange. Together we will cover wide ground, from basic mechanics to drills that will be as challenging as you and your partners will be able to handle. Ever a shameless scavenger, I will for this workshop provide basic tools that I find to improve thrust training significantly.

Elena Muzurina: Sabre

Modern methods for old traditions — Simple exercises to improve skill

These classes look at some modern methods of learning “old school” saber applying  simple and effective exercises, which will help to improve your skill and widen your scope as an instructor. Both classes will begin with warm up and footwork; in the end there will be some time for free sparring.  

Required gear: military/dueling saber (steel recommended), fencing mask, padded jacket, forearm protector (armed  hand), reinforced gloves, elbows and knee protectors, groin protector for men, chest protector for women. 

Marius Rafoshei: Put your friend down, gently

This is a workshop on safety in wrestling based around a conception of control and what goes into managing to throw someone.
Having myself had a severe shoulder injury and had a look around at the way wrestling is treated in Longsword tournaments (and other parts of HEMA) I have some ideas I want to share in order to minimise risk and maximise gains for throws based on a reading of the sources, plenty of experience, and a hefty dose of stealing from outside sources that deal with throws and takedowns.
If you find wrestling scary or foreign, or maybe you are terrified of the possibility of going to the ground then this is the class for you as I aim it at the very beginner.
More than merely teaching basic breakfalls, although we will have a go at them, I want to approach the subject matter from what you as the person who throw can do in order to help your partner come away safely.
The main part of the class will therefore be structured around drills putting into perspective what the two sides in a throw want to achieve. Zero experience is required. The workshop is around basics and aimed at people new to wrestling.

Required gear: None. Have some water and comfortable clothing. Highly recommended: Wrestling jacket / Gi-jacket / Even a hoodie that can be grabbed and manipulated.

Brittany Reeves and Kyle Griswold: Effective Coaching

This workshop will be geared towards instructors and club leaders familiar with sparring and tournaments. We will discuss common fighter psychologies, the roles and expectations of a coach in tournaments and sparring, and how to effectively provide for your fighter’s needs in the ring. (We will coach coaches to coach while coaching. Wait wut?) 

Brittany Reeves: Implementing Cutting into Your Practice

This class is designed to use cutting to inform our fighting by providing helpful feedback on our techniques, and to explore how cutting with sharps can impact our training and competitive performance. We will also discuss the limits and appropriate applications of cutting in one’s training, and how to interpret the feedback it gives us. We will also take time to discuss how one can introduce cutting to their solo practice or to their HEMA club while being sensitive to various limitations and restrictions. 

Kyle Griswold: Wrenching, Slicing, and Grappling

The focus of the class will be simple concepts and techniques for close measure fighting. Students will learn how to create openings and control their opponent in common fencing situations. The class will show how the concepts can be adapted to a variety of weapons, including modern tools such as batons.

Victor Harder Hesel: My Favourite Drills

The aim of this workshop is to provide you with the means to improve your sabre fencing on your own and at your own pace. Through a set of home-made drills, we’ll try to incorporate simple yet very effective techniques into your sparring and tournament fencing so that you’ll have a vast repository when the pressure is on. When the workshop is over, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a better flow.

Being virtually self-taught, my approach will be exclusively practical and based on my experiences from sparring, tournament fencing and teaching, i.e. not from any given sabre manual.

No prior sabre experience is required for this workshop but you’ll need full sparring gear and either a sabre or a single hand sword of roughly the same size.

Miro Lahtela: Fencing Distance with Thumb Grip (Longsword)

One of the main things that separates German longsword fencing from other disciplines is the use of a thumb grip. This class will explore how to use the unique angles and opportunities the thumb grip allows. You will learn how to close lines using sword placement, and how to go around your opponent’s defence with the different angles of attack granted by a thumb grip.

Required gear: masks, gorgets, gloves and longswords.
Nice-to-have gear: elbow pads and fencing jacket.

Francesco Lodà: The living tradition of Italian Military Sabre

The living tradition. Around the turn of the 20th Century a new pedagogy of sabre occurred in Italy, melting the “military” and “civilian” respective experiences in converging teaching/learning curricula. This tradition origins from the famed Giuseppe Radaelli, and through the lineage Pessina-Pessina-Di Paola-Gaugler, it’s pursued today by the M. John Sullins’ “Fencing Master Certificate Program” at Sonoma University (USA). Today in Italy this tradition is studied by M. Francesco Lodà and Accademia Romana d’Armi, under the AIMA – Sonoma FMCP international exchange program, with interaction of modern sport science.

The class. The class will develop exercises involving the following subjects: basics; which footwork? ; the body behavior (relax/stress conditions); different sabres, different practices; wrist/elbow/shoulder complex; managing distance; military preferences, by practice and testimony; tactics; from a life/death practice, to a HEMA modern sport.

Requirements: 1600 N. mask, military/dueling saber (steel recommended), fencing gloves, forearm and elbows protector (armed  hand), breast/groin protection. For sparring and intense practice, all the gear normally required.

Francesco Lodà: The living tradition of Italian Stick

The living tradition. The practice of stick fighting is widely spread across all Italy, both in space and time, from Sicily to the Alps, from the Ancient Era to the modern one. M. Francesco Lodà follows the teaching of M. Cosimo Bruno, at his times protégé and spiritual heir of Champion and Maestro Italo Manusardi, who is considered the “restorer” of Italian Cane tradition after the WWII.

The class. The class will develop exercises involving the following subjects: this is not a sabre! ; simple footwork ; simple attacks and parries; remember, this is not a sabre! ; complex attacks; techniques used in personal defense; complex footwork; did I mention this is not a sabre?

Requirements: mask, short stick (around 95 cm), fencing/reinforced gloves, breast/groin protection. For sparring and intense practice, padded protection, rigid plastron, elbow/knee protectors.