By the Book Workshop

Facilitator: Brian C.

Class Length: 45-120 Minutes

Schedule: Every other Tuesday @ 8:00-about 9:00 PM (See Facebook Group or Discord below for details)
Google Calendar (web view) with schedule
iCal Link to add the schedule to your calendar

Facebook Discussion:

Discord: #hema-by-the-book on the Knights Hall Discord Server

Who is this for?

This class is open to all students with a basic understanding of medieval armored combat including bohurt, ACS, harnisfechten, and SCA heavy list or armored steel. Absolute newcomers are encouraged to attend the Knights Hall Striking class for a couple months before participating here.  Knights Hall students may attend as part of their regular (monthly, etc) membership. Outside students are asked to pay a $15 per session fee to help keep the Knights Hall open.

What is it?

“By the Book” is a peer led workshop exploring the techniques and plays (a series of moves, akin to a form or kata in Eastern martial arts, but with two combatants) of medieval and renaissance fight masters including Fiore, Mair, Mayer, Lichtenauer, and anonymous sources such as the I.33 manuscript.  As a peer led workshop, students are expected to take an active role in discussion as well as interpretation and trial-and-error process of learning: we are all students here.  Students should also have an elementary grasp of armored combat training including basics taught in the Knights Hall’s Striking Class or most HEMA or SCA basic fighting skills. 

What should a student expect from this class?

We will come together to explore and interpret historical fight manuals and seek to grasp a greater understanding of the movements, weapons uses, and fight dynamics these ancient masters taught. Since these masters have not passed their teachings in person, we will attempt to learn their meaning and apply them to our fighting skills, with an emphasis on modern armored fighting styles of bohurt (ACS), HEMA Harnisfechten, and SCA, as well as how they can be applied to real life self defense. 

What equipment is needed from the Student for this class?

At the moment, we are studying the basics of unarmored longsword. You will need clothing that you can move in and shoes used only on the mats or bare feet. You’ll probably want to bring a water bottle to keep hydrated. We hope to expand to include sparring in the future

  • Gi or other athletic clothing if you don’t have a gi.
  • Water bottle
  • Matt shoes or bare feet
  • Future additions will be announced in Discord and on Facebook as well as being listed here.

Note: Regular students are suggested to join the Facebook Group discussion for this class, where the upcoming weapons choice and what play and text we are working on will be announced each session. 

What is the goal of this class?

The goal for this class is to learn how to apply the teachings of these masters to combine your movement, your weapon, and those of your opponent in order to fight better.  We will study both blossfechten (unarmored) and harnischfechten (armored).

Class Format: 

(Roughly 45-120 minutes, depending on the complexity of the play we are working on.)

Warmups: We’re not doing anything heavy, but it is always good to warm up.

Text Review: The evening’s presenter will present one or more techniques or plays from an original fight manual, in modern English translation (if needed), followed by a clear, descriptive interpretation of what the presenter thinks the play is talking about. 

Slow, step by step walk through: Students pair up and move by move work through the interpretation with reference to the text/translation at each step.  This is where to talk about footwork, body dynamics, power generation, etc.  The students then reverse roles and do it again.  Discussion is encouraged. 

When appropriate we will add the following:

(Helmets and gloves if polearms: on.)

Beat by beat moves: As above, but we should have the interpretation working, so we take it step by step. Here we work more on measure and learning to flow. 

Flow through it.  Work on the dance. This should be ¼ to ½ speed.

Fight it out. Full speed with padded weapons. Switch partners. 

Repeat as much as we like or need.