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Previously in this blog we’ve mentioned how Historical manuals add depth to your style and performance.

But the European western martial arts community with scholars and practitioners is pretty cool on its own. For those of you in the Massachusetts area, we faithfully attend and sometimes present at the University of Massachusetts Renaissance Center-Annual conference of swordsmanship.

This event was started by Jeff Lord (fencing coach, Latin teacher, sword teacher, WMA practitioner.) We were fortunate enough to meet him when the Higgins Armory Museum was still around and he still comes out to our end  of the state to teach and kick our members into shape. His is not the only event of its type (will do a listing at the end of this blog) but I love it because we get to run into a lot of longtime friends, we meet new and interesting people and finally, we never come away without learning at least one item that will impact how we do what we do.

(Paraphrased)Sword work is like a parfait, or an onion-many layers, sweet or savory, it can’t really be taken in with one bite.  Almost everyone I’ve met has told me they were influenced by popular culture to pick up a sword and then do further investigation. For many it doesn’t go past a certain point but for those who want to dive in deeper, it’s been great to see an *explosion*  of introductory material. Some examples include Reclaiming the Blade Deadliest Warrior, Mythbusters and National Geographic’s  Medieval Fight Book  other documentaries. For the  less historical but still interesting, shows like Vikings and Game of Thrones. And of course, all those movies with Hobbits in them.

Which vaguely brings me back to the original point, that we attended the conference.
The guest speakers were:

English masters of defense  Walter Green

A tribute to Tactical Tutors and Training-Kendra Brown and Mark Millman

An Overview of Fencing Traditions in Early Modern EuropeMichael Chidester of wiktenauer

Martial arts, warfare and late medieval society: Debunking myths and searching for the reality of the world of the fencing masters– Jean Chandler

Putting the “H” in HEMA -a panel discussion of what, exactly, makes the study of European martial Arts historical Moderator Jeff Lord.  Panelists Jean Chandler,Michael Chidester, Walter Green and Jeff Tsay. And some other familiar faces popped in to join the panel who have presented in the past.

 

These folks came from vastly different backgrounds to all enjoy and share love of history and swords. Walter Green is a traditional fencer, Michael Chidester is the master of online resources, Mark and Kendra are both in the a Cambridge Historical Martial Arts study group (CHEMAS) and Mark does reenacting with several groups and taught at Higgins. Jean Chandler humbly submits himself as an independent scholar.

And what is this scattershot blog trying to tell you about your sword interests?

Regardless of origin of interest there is something for everyone.
One does not have to be a physical badass to appreciate or use swords
Everyone has something to bring to the table
Be willing to bring it that specialty to the table and share
When we share we are greater than the parts (Gestalt)

 

So you want to pursue scholarly sword interests here is where a number of friends present
(this list is not exhaustive):

Western Martial Arts Workshop
International Congress on Medieval Studies
Plymouth State Medieval and renaissance Forum

For a general list of sword conferences
http://www.swordforum.com/forums/

As always, just use this blog as a place to branch out and I am happy to answer specific questions or direct you to someone who can.

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