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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: Medieval Combat Association         Reply with quote

A new group is forming that is causing quite a stir in the SCA.
http://www.medievalcombatassociation.com/news.php
Personally I think its a bad idea since the fights will be for profit, and fights go to KO or submission, which in my opinion will lead to a "win by any means" mentality that will lead to alot of injuries. What do you HEMA guys think of it? Do you see this as a threat?
I'm not too worried though, 'cause if this sinks the SCA I will just focus purely on steel reenactment and HEMA.

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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Still no strikes below the knee and still swinging rattan? Doesn't do anything for me.
By their own admission, they're essentially following SCA standards for "ease of transition" of combatants, so I don't see this as anything particularly new and exciting other than some mild scenario revisions (set ring size, 90 second bout limit...).

I think that allowing individuals to "participate in a professional sport, [and] gauge themselves versus the competition" is great, but that already occurs within the context of each particular group or organization. Bringing the notion of "real world acclaim, trophies and even substantial prizes" into the mix is, for me, counterproductive, as the focus should remain on attainment of skill, not glory.
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2007 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Meulemans wrote:
I think that allowing individuals to "participate in a professional sport, [and] gauge themselves versus the competition" is great, but that already occurs within the context of each particular group or organization. Bringing the notion of "real world acclaim, trophies and even substantial prizes" into the mix is, for me, counterproductive, as the focus should remain on attainment of skill, not glory.

That is exactly the problem IMO. Making it about money, and emphasizing sport over history is not a good thing from my perspective, and is as you said, counterproductive.
I suppose in one way its good, as those who aren't interested in historical authenticity will have a home purely for them. And those such as myself, who while nowhere near perfect, do strive for authenticity won't have to be a part of it. Best case scenario IMHO, it will pull alot of the "sport fighters" away allowing the SCA to move toward more authenticity. Worst case scenario it will crosspollenate, and I'll have to limit myself to steel reenactment only. Either way isn't too bad too me, which is why I'm not too upset. Others however are very upset...

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Gary A. Chelette




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2007 5:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They said much the same thing in Full contact Karate. It will pull the fighters away and the art will go on.
I think they will find it will just moderate out and blend.

It will be an interesting way of finding out who is the best and what really works. Playing tag will not help them in this sport.
Better have good safety rules.

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Don't talk nonsense, man. I peed my kilt the first time I went into battle.
Oh, aye. Angus pees his kilt all the time!
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2007 6:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't believe I can comment on this civily, so I will say only that this is sounds less than feasible.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2007 8:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Either too close to real fighting and simultaneously potentially lethal or if safe somewhat artificial with lots of safety rules.

A fighting sport based on swords or other period weapons could have some potential but on it's own merits and with little to do with true period techniques. ( Or very diluted or modified period techniques ).

Now, I don't think we could bring back something that would be real Roman style gladiatorial combat with real " dead people " as the losers ? Well, maybe if done in a truly lawless part of the world ! ( And totally dysfunctional and corrupt failed countries do exist out there ). Sort of not something I would like to see happen. Evil

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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 8:09 am    Post subject: Re: Medieval Combat Association         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
A new group is forming that is causing quite a stir in the SCA.
http://www.medievalcombatassociation.com/news.php
Personally I think its a bad idea since the fights will be for profit, and fights go to KO or submission, which in my opinion will lead to a "win by any means" mentality that will lead to alot of injuries. What do you HEMA guys think of it? Do you see this as a threat?
I'm not too worried though, 'cause if this sinks the SCA I will just focus purely on steel reenactment and HEMA.


Ha! Saw this kind of stuff bandied about for years in the SCA. Never happened because no one will put up the money! Lots of potential players but without a playground sponsor to seed cash, promote it and manage the venues... pipe dreams. Fo'ggedd about it. Razz

The only thing this might do to the HEMA community is add another layer of goons to the crowd that thinks hitting hard was the only real medieval technique. For the past few years, HEMA has been about studying the available treatises to understand how some medieval or Rennaissance people fought in their particular time. Just like how many SCAdians and re-enactors worldwide study how medieval folks dressed or ate or worked. The community is only marginally interested in the competitive application of these studies. There seems to be more interest in seeing whether our interpretations actually work than in winning prizes and going to Disneyland at the end of the season.

Really different crowds with really, seriously divergent goals, as I see it. Sorry about the poor grammar, bit rushed this morning, gotta go do some work now... Wink
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Gary A. Chelette




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: Re: Medieval Combat Association         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:


Ha! Saw this kind of stuff bandied about for years in the SCA. Never happened because no one will put up the money! Lots of potential players but without a playground sponsor to seed cash, promote it and manage the venues... pipe dreams. Fo'ggedd about it. Razz



I sorta have to agree. I don't think it will ever get off the ground. Too many of us have to show up for work on Mondays.
And the money has to be good, I was PKA for 5 years and I quit. The money was not good enough to continue at my level and I need to pay bills on time.

Are you scared, Connor?
No, Cousin Dugal. I'm not!
Don't talk nonsense, man. I peed my kilt the first time I went into battle.
Oh, aye. Angus pees his kilt all the time!
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 9:20 am    Post subject: Re: Medieval Combat Association         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
The only thing this might do to the HEMA community is add another layer of goons to the crowd that thinks hitting hard was the only real medieval technique.

Express your opinion and make your points without the name-calling.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, viability aside, I must say that I'm not very impressed with the rules.

First of all, why make it like boxing? Boxing is, with respect, not very exiting.
Neither is it anything like real armoured fighting.
From my understanding of the rules, you will have two guys swinging at each other, with no justified breaks, for 90 seconds, whereuppon the judge declares as winner.
Not all that exiting.

I'm particularly disapointed in the no takedowns rule, since takedowns are the core of armoured fighting, and, on top of that, fun to watch.

When you have a judge, it would be a lot more entertaining to award points for good hits and takedowns, as well as successful active defense and counters, as they happened.
Put a cap on three hits per combo, always award three points for a sucsessfull takedown or "kill", and have the fighters square up again once someone has been "beaten"...

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It will either turn into non-stop wrestling (if that is allowed) or an endurance / rapid fire striking festival, or both.

I remember back in the old stick-fighting days, we used to do that. Fights between the tougher guys just went on endlessly, both fighters ended up covered in bruises. You can watch Dog Brothers escrima, which I think is cool, but to me it looks like 90% of the fights end up going to the ground quick and spend most of their time there. And they hardly use any protection. In full armor, if sword blows don't "kill" you, why even hold on to your sword, why not just grab the guy and throw him? I've also seen some fighting clubs kind of like this online that use boffers and that looks really ridiculous to me.

If they did it to one killing or maiming blow, that would be different, but beating each other over and over in the head with a 'sword' is kind of pointless.

Doing it more realisticaly (i.e. fight ends when one guy would have been killed) depends on whether you are pretending to be doing blossfechten (unarmored) or harnischefechten. If the guys are wearing harness and the rules say they are wearing harness, then it doesn't make much sense to strike each other in the head over and over. If they fight harnischfechten with half-sword thrusts and stuff I'd imagine it would be too dangerous.

Theoretically you could do armored combat as if they were unarmored, i.e. a hit to the head say is a killing blow, but the dififculty then is to judge the hits. It's very hard to stand outside of a sword fight and tell who got hit and who didn't, at least it's difficult for me. We film our sparring bouts partly so we can go back and see what happened. I don't think they are going to want to make instant replay a major part of this.

It's funny we were arguing about the potential or possiblly inevitable encroachment of 'sportification' on HEMA today on a HEMA forum I'm on. Most people seem dead against it, some others (mostly from olympic style sport-fencing backgrounds) seem to really like the idea.


Bottom line, HEMA in general is definately getting bigger every year, it's not quite exploding perhaps but it's growing by leaps and bounds. I would guess sword collecting, re-enactment and interest in Martial Arts involving weapons are on the increase across the board, but maybe y'all could clue me in on that. How is SCA membership these days? I think with all these people getting involved though, and the mass culture gradually, dimly becomming aware of HEMA and related subjects (through the popularity of movies like LOTR for example) there is a snowball effect and it's going to get really big. That means money, so somebody is going to figure out how to make some kind of sport out of this which is much more accessible to the general public. it will be interesting, and quite possibly depressing to see how it all plays out.

J

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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Bottom line, HEMA in general is definately getting bigger every year, it's not quite exploding perhaps but it's growing by leaps and bounds. I would guess sword collecting, re-enactment and interest in Martial Arts involving weapons are on the increase across the board, but maybe y'all could clue me in on that. How is SCA membership these days? I think with all these people getting involved though, and the mass culture gradually, dimly becomming aware of HEMA and related subjects (through the popularity of movies like LOTR for example) there is a snowball effect and it's going to get really big. That means money, so somebody is going to figure out how to make some kind of sport out of this which is much more accessible to the general public. it will be interesting, and quite possibly depressing to see how it all plays out.

J

Jean, from what I have heard, Steel reenactment is growing, but the SCA is staying stable. From what I understand SCA membership has stayed constant for the last several years, but is ultimately down about 30% from its all time high numbers. The average age is moving up however, as the SCA is having a hard time staying relevant to the hip-hop generation. Plus many members, demanding higher levels of authenticity than the SCA can provide, are branching out. Some to steel reenactment, some to HEMA.
The guy that is setting this thing up firmly believes that "sport" sword combat is inevitable. He says its going to happen, and he is trying to position his group into a good place to exploit it when it does. However, he thinks for it to appeal to an average modern audience, its going to have to divorce itself from its historical trappings, and find its place in a modern context. Think WWE with Nylon wasters...





...let's hope he's wrong

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Greg Coffman




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would like to see HEMA increasingly come into the public eye as well. I also would like to see a sport emerge but not as the main focus of HEMA. The sport could be driven by the exploration and research being done in the larger HEMA community. This particular try as a sport seems to be too restrictive to the SCA corner of HEMA, almost like a sub-group of SCA enthusiasts. For a sport to solidly emerge out of HEMA, it needs to have cooperation and support from the whole or at least a larger part of the community. This means that it would need to incorporate input from many different sources in its formulation.

But the HEMA community can't seem to get along with each other. On this particular issue most people, including the organization of which I am a member, don't want to see HEMA become a sport. I think that a sport would add diversity and benefit the community at large. But the different organizations and key individuals don't get along and don't "play nice" with each other as seen from time to time even on this forum. This is unfortunate as we have much to learn and benefit from conversation with each other.

I feel like this is church. All of these denominations are pointing fingers at each other and saying how each other are wrong while the real truth is that we are all kind of making it up as we go along. We try real hard to be well informed by manuals and historic artwork and other sources, but it comes down to personal interpretation.

So to wrap up and get back on topic...I think a sport would be great. I don't think this particular group is the way to do it. And most of all, I think diversity and dialogue is important to the overall furthering of HEMA. And myArmoury is a great forum that allows this to happen in a beneficial and appropriate manner.

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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can see this developing into a sport...but it won't be a profitable one for whoever organizes it for many years. Also for it develop into a HEMA-like sport it needs to differentiate itself from current Olympic and Sport fencing styles, yet be safe and entertaining to enough to matter. No easy task. This whole thing is a long way from being on ESPN!

Also the type of weapon used would make a difference. If you use say, rapiers, rather than longswords then you open up more possiblilities since the safety and audience comprehension are better. Our sword group uses flexible rapier blades, good safe helmets and torso protection and puts on a tournament every year in San Francisco's Golden Gate Renaissance faire that easily gets over a hundred patrons watching during the fights. Rapier fights tend to be more evident to an audience and easier to follow even more so than modern sport fencing since the speed isn't as fast.

Now from what I have seen in longsword tournaments it would appear to an unschooled audience that you just had two guys in armor bashing each other over the head with metal or wood swords. I study longsword and to me it can appear that way in the few longsword tournaments/fights I have seen when not participating. That's not what's happening as we all know, but that's what the audience sees.

Finally, I have seen one thing that gets the audience interest all the time and keeps them focused...steel weapons rather than wood. There is no substitute for the sound of steel on steel and seeing two fighters going at it with live steel (though not sharp). When fighting with wood they clap. When they see two fighters with live steel they shout and whoop.

So I would think the weapons used would be the key to the success of this enterprise.
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Michael Eging




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay... I was thinking about this and wondered - in the medieval and renaissance timeframe, if you scratched around you could have found a similar type of back alley mentality where some swordsmen engaged in this sort of combat for cash, boredom, honor, etc. Likely wherever an army moved or where bored troops may have been stationed. Or someone needed to make a buck. Not that I particularly like this version (for similar reasons as Eric M. noted).

Gladiators...

WTF?!

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2007 10:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Eging wrote:
Okay... I was thinking about this and wondered - in the medieval and renaissance timeframe, if you scratched around you could have found a similar type of back alley mentality where some swordsmen engaged in this sort of combat for cash, boredom, honor, etc. Likely wherever an army moved or where bored troops may have been stationed. Or someone needed to make a buck. Not that I particularly like this version (for similar reasons as Eric M. noted).


Certainly they did, although I doubt it can really be called back-alley mentality. Those (over?)competitive fighters generally engaged in open, public tournaments sanctioned by authorities, so if anything they were more comparable to today's professional sportsmen. And their techniques were probably a great deal more lethal than what this MCA organization proposes...
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 2:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote=\"Robin Smith\"][quote=\"Jean Henri Chandler\"]Bottom line, HEMA in general is definately getting bigger every year, it\'s not quite exploding perhaps but it\'s growing by leaps and bounds. I would guess sword collecting, re-enactment and interest in Martial Arts involving weapons are on the increase across the board, but maybe y\'all could clue me in on that. How is SCA membership these days? I think with all these people getting involved though, and the mass culture gradually, dimly becomming aware of HEMA and related subjects (through the popularity of movies like LOTR for example) there is a snowball effect and it\'s going to get really big. That means money, so somebody is going to figure out how to make some kind of sport out of this which is much more accessible to the general public. it will be interesting, and quite possibly depressing to see how it all plays out.

J[/quote]
Jean, from what I have heard, Steel reenactment is growing, but the SCA is staying stable. From what I understand SCA membership has stayed constant for the last several years, but is ultimately down about 30% from its all time high numbers. The average age is moving up however, as the SCA is having a hard time staying relevant to the hip-hop generation. Plus many members, demanding higher levels of authenticity than the SCA can provide, are branching out. Some to steel reenactment, some to HEMA.
The guy that is setting this thing up firmly believes that \"sport\" sword combat is inevitable. He says its going to happen, and he is trying to position his group into a good place to exploit it when it does. However, he thinks for it to appeal to an average modern audience, its going to have to divorce itself from its historical trappings, and find its place in a modern context. Think WWE with Nylon wasters...





...let\'s hope he\'s wrong[/quote]

I\'m in Italy and we only have steel reenactment with mostly staged duels.

In the gym real duels might occur.

So far my hard playing friends have had minor incidents (some broken ribs and fingers).

I would say that the interest of the public for our duels, even the most tackily staged ones, with screams and hops, is high.

We have as a staple an axe duel, it is staged but the opponents hit shields at full throttle and they don\'t even wear an helmet or any other protection.

This is the one that leaves the spectators breathless, but dismounted knights in armor are mesmerizing too.

So I guess that a well ruled steel championship could attract good crowds.

As of money and investments, they would come after a while, as it was for Football (in the british sense): this sport started out with non professionals in the last century, only after the war players became pros.

The italian football team that won the 1938 world cup was made up of workers and white collars that had been trained in their spare time.

Look at what football (soccer ..) is now.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote=\"Robin Smith\"][quote=\"Jean Henri Chandler\"]Bottom line, HEMA in general is definately getting bigger every year, it\'s not quite exploding perhaps but it\'s growing by leaps and bounds. I would guess sword collecting, re-enactment and interest in Martial Arts involving weapons are on the increase across the board, but maybe y\'all could clue me in on that. How is SCA membership these days? I think with all these people getting involved though, and the mass culture gradually, dimly becomming aware of HEMA and related subjects (through the popularity of movies like LOTR for example) there is a snowball effect and it\'s going to get really big. That means money, so somebody is going to figure out how to make some kind of sport out of this which is much more accessible to the general public. it will be interesting, and quite possibly depressing to see how it all plays out.

J[/quote]
Jean, from what I have heard, Steel reenactment is growing, but the SCA is staying stable. From what I understand SCA membership has stayed constant for the last several years, but is ultimately down about 30% from its all time high numbers. The average age is moving up however, as the SCA is having a hard time staying relevant to the hip-hop generation. Plus many members, demanding higher levels of authenticity than the SCA can provide, are branching out. Some to steel reenactment, some to HEMA.
The guy that is setting this thing up firmly believes that \"sport\" sword combat is inevitable. He says its going to happen, and he is trying to position his group into a good place to exploit it when it does. However, he thinks for it to appeal to an average modern audience, its going to have to divorce itself from its historical trappings, and find its place in a modern context. Think WWE with Nylon wasters...





...let\'s hope he\'s wrong[/quote]

I\'m in Italy and we only have steel reenactment with mostly staged duels.

In the gym real duels might occur.

So far my hard playing friends have had minor incidents (some broken ribs and fingers).

I would say that the interest of the public for our duels, even the most tackily staged ones, with screams and hops, is high.

We have as a staple an axe duel, it is staged but the opponents hit shields at full throttle and they don\'t even wear an helmet or any other protection.

This is the one that leaves the spectators breathless, but dismounted knights in armor are mesmerizing too.

So I guess that a well ruled steel championship could attract good crowds.

As of money and investments, they would come after a while, as it was for Football (in the british sense): this sport started out with non professionals in the last century, only after the war players became pros.

The italian football team that won the 1938 world cup was made up of workers and white collars that had been trained in their spare time.

Look at what football (soccer ..) is now.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote=\"Robin Smith\"][quote=\"Jean Henri Chandler\"]Bottom line, HEMA in general is definately getting bigger every year, it\'s not quite exploding perhaps but it\'s growing by leaps and bounds. I would guess sword collecting, re-enactment and interest in Martial Arts involving weapons are on the increase across the board, but maybe y\'all could clue me in on that. How is SCA membership these days? I think with all these people getting involved though, and the mass culture gradually, dimly becomming aware of HEMA and related subjects (through the popularity of movies like LOTR for example) there is a snowball effect and it\'s going to get really big. That means money, so somebody is going to figure out how to make some kind of sport out of this which is much more accessible to the general public. it will be interesting, and quite possibly depressing to see how it all plays out.

J[/quote]
Jean, from what I have heard, Steel reenactment is growing, but the SCA is staying stable. From what I understand SCA membership has stayed constant for the last several years, but is ultimately down about 30% from its all time high numbers. The average age is moving up however, as the SCA is having a hard time staying relevant to the hip-hop generation. Plus many members, demanding higher levels of authenticity than the SCA can provide, are branching out. Some to steel reenactment, some to HEMA.
The guy that is setting this thing up firmly believes that \"sport\" sword combat is inevitable. He says its going to happen, and he is trying to position his group into a good place to exploit it when it does. However, he thinks for it to appeal to an average modern audience, its going to have to divorce itself from its historical trappings, and find its place in a modern context. Think WWE with Nylon wasters...





...let\'s hope he\'s wrong[/quote]

I\'m in Italy and we only have steel reenactment with mostly staged duels.

In the gym real duels might occur.

So far my hard playing friends have had minor incidents (some broken ribs and fingers).

I would say that the interest of the public for our duels, even the most tackily staged ones, with screams and hops, is high.

We have as a staple an axe duel, it is staged but the opponents hit shields at full throttle and they don\'t even wear an helmet or any other protection.

This is the one that leaves the spectators breathless, but dismounted knights in armor are mesmerizing too.

So I guess that a well ruled steel championship could attract good crowds.

As of money and investments, they would come after a while, as it was for Football (in the british sense): this sport started out with non professionals in the last century, only after the war players became pros.

The italian football team that won the 1938 world cup was made up of workers and white collars that had been trained in their spare time.

Look at what football (soccer ..) is now.
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Anders Nilsson




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jun, 2007 3:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting diskussion.

When practising historicalfighting, you always has to ask yourself, why are you doing this. Is it to recreate something? is it to be used as a sport? Is it to be a show for the audience? Is it just for fun? etc etc.

Because, they canīt really exist togheter, then weīll get gladitorialfights to the death.
I do like this since I practise both HEMA and reenactment fighting.

Reenctmentfighting is when I fight in my historical kit with steel. Since I try to be as historical correct as possible with my kit I have to use rules. If I was to reecreate a peasant I might go to war with only my tunic and a pitchfork. To be able to participate in a reenactment fight as such the fighting canīt be to serious. I was fighting some Lithuanians a week ago at a Vikingmeet. There only rule was "No stab in eye" To be able to use that type of rule they where heavily armoured. They hade gambesons that was an inch thick. I dont think that the vikings used that kind of gambesons. Then itīs not reenactment, since the historical accurasy is gone, then itīs some guys playing with steelweapons. No harm in that since itīs still fun, but itīs not historical recreating.

HEMA is when I fight for real. I try to recreate a real an leathal martial art. To be able to do this I have to use modern proctection. I use wasters and weighted shinais as weapons and I use a hockey helmet with plexivisor to protcect my head and face.
Of course you can use armour with the HEMA system as well, and thatīs great fun. Then you have to use tecnics that was used to penetrate armour. And as an armoured fighter you can use you armour as a weapon, deflekt incoming attacks with the armour and counter etc.

As for competition I think that judged HEMA fights is the best choise. Otherwise we end up with "Martial Sports" like Taekwondo and such. By using judges that give points for hits, aggression and style for example you get really nice and fun fights. Iīm right now working on arranging a longsword tournament.
We will use 3 judges, 2 at the sides that count points, and one in the ring. We will use 2, 2 minute rounds, and at the end, the fighter with the most points wins.
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