Referee Training in HEMA

Ben in AHA Senior Referee attire

Referee Training


So this week it is my turn to post and a few of us authors have agreed to stick with the theme of HEMA tournaments for our upcoming posts. So with that theme in mind I am going to discuss the area of the tournament that I am most involved in these days and that is refereeing, or more specifically the training of referees and why I believe it is important.

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Keith Farrell’s workshop in Toulouse – some reviews

This week’s article is a set of reviews from members of L’Ost du Griffon Noir, a HEMA club that practices in Toulouse in the south of France. At the end of January, they invited Keith Farrell from the Academy of Historical Arts to run a weekend workshop about Liechtenauer’s longsword. The overarching principles of the workshop were the “five words” of Liechtenauer’s art:

“the five words: Before [Vor], After [Nach], Weak [Weich], Strong [Hart] and Instantly [Indes]. On these words are built the whole art of Liechtenauer, and they are the foundation and core of all fencing on foot or on horseback, with armour or without.”

William Bouillez and some of the other members of L’Ost du Griffon Noir have been kind enough to write some short reviews about the workshop from their points of view.

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“Aggressive” vs “Assertive” for Martial Arts

Apologies for the late update. There was supposed to be a guest article this week, but it didn’t arrive in time, and I have been at the Dreynevent in Vienna over the weekend. I hope this article will be an interesting and valuable substitute, and that the guest article will follow in the very near future!

Should a combatant be “aggressive” or “assertive” when fighting? Is an instructor helping his (or her) students by telling them to be more aggressive when sparring, or is this advice flawed? Is there a difference between fighting aggressively and fighting assertively?

I believe that combatants should always strive to fight assertively, and the word “aggressive” should only ever be given negative connotations – it should never be encouraged or taught!

In almost a decade and a half of karate practice, and several years of practicing historical European martial arts, I have heard the word “aggressive” used in a positive fashion very often – far too often. I know many people who have been encouraged by an instructor to be more aggressive in their fighting, and indeed I know people who ask for help with becoming more aggressive when fighting. In my opinion, this whole point of view is flawed at a very basic level, and I would like to explain in this article why I believe martial artists need to make a fundamental shift in their point of view with regards to “aggressiveness” and “assertiveness”.

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Equality or Preferential Treatment – Women-only Tournaments in HEMA

This week’s article has been written by Daria Izdebska and it discusses a topic of great interest to the HEMA community: the topic of women-only tournaments, and the thoughts of a woman about the issue. If you would like to make a comment about any of the ideas in this article, please feel free to leave a comment in the comments box below!

Daria Izdebska sparring at the AHA Vanguard 2012 event.

There has been a lot of discussion in the last few months about women-only tournaments, both on the Esfinges forum, and elsewhere. On Wednesday, the rumours about the cancellation of a women-only tournament at Fechtschule America caused a stir in the community and started yet another round of fiery arguments.

I will not comment on the situation at Fechtschule America, as I was not involved in the process and feel I do not have enough information to form an unbiased opinion about it, nor any grounds to argue. I do, however, have a strong opinion on the subject of women-only tournaments and this may be the best time to express it publicly. The most recent debate has made me realise that my opinions may run slightly contrary to the more vocal majority and I’ve heard many ask the question: why would other women not want a woman-only tournament? This is why I want to let that other side of the argument be heard – from a woman’s lips (or rather, keyboard) – at the risk of ruffling some feathers.

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