Two reviews of HEMAC Glasgow 2014

On the 14th through to the 17th of February, the AHA hosted HEMAC Glasgow 2014. This year the event focussed on the Scottish martial traditions, such as broadsword, sword and targe, smallsword, and so on, as well as offering opportunities for museum visits and a whisky tasting. The event seems to have been a success, and here we present two reviews of the event, from Tim Gallagher, and Lutz Heilmann, the AHA’s friendly new intern.

Review from Lutz:

Last weekend I attended the HEMAC Glasgow 2014 and I really enjoyed my time participating and watching the different courses at the event. Although I am short on experiences with historical arts it was a fascinating event and I want to share my experiences with you.

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“Attribute Fencing” and Why This is a Problem

Mark Wilkie and Keith Farrell sparring at the AHA Loch Lomond 2012 training camp.

This article will attempt to define and explore the concept of “attribute fencing” and why relying on this style of fencing can develop problems both for your own long term development as a fencer and for the development of training partners. The points raised in this article will be equally applicable for practitioners of other martial arts.

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Alcohol and Swords

Hanging out at the Loch Lomond 2013 camping event.


This week I am going to discuss a rather sensitive issue but one that I feel is important, alcohol and HEMA. The AHA has long had fairly strict rules regarding the mixing of these two subjects but I have noticed situations where people imbibe alcohol in the evening, go to bed late and then get up early for classes without considering the implications of doing so. I am also very aware that although the majority seem to know their limits there are those who do not, or who mistakenly believe that alcohol does not affect their performance or even more mistakenly believe it improves their performance. Please understand I am not in any way suggesting dry events with this article I am just hoping to get people talking about where the line is in respect to this subject.

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Qualities of a cutting sword

Today’s post has been written by Ben Hawkins. Hawkins has had great success in cutting tournaments, having placed 2nd at the Iron Gate Exhibition (2013), Boston Sword Gathering (2012), and Longpoint (2012), and is going to teach a cutting class at the AHA’s upcoming HEMAC Glasgow (2014).

A sword is a weapon. It is a weapon that wounds using either the thrust or cut. When learning how to use a sword as a weapon, it is important to learn what qualities of the blade allow it to perform in these tasks. Today, I will focus on what qualities of the sword allow it to cut. I have divided the six qualities I will talk about into two groups. The primary qualities, those attributes that make a sword cut regardless of other factors, and secondary qualities, those attributes that are much more tailored to the specific circumstance of the blade’s use.

The three primary qualities of a good cutting sword are edge sharpness, blade stiffness and blade thickness. A blade that can achieve these three qualities will be able to cut.

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