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Historical European Martial Art a crossroad between academic research, martial heritage re-creation and martial sport practices


Historical European martial arts (HEMA) have to be considered an important part of our common European cultural heritage. Studies within this field of research have the potential to enlighten the puzzle posed by past societies, for example in the field of history, history of science and technology, or fields related to material culture.

The military aspects of history are still to be considered among the most popular themes of modern times, generating huge public interest. In the last few decades, serious HEMA study groups have started appearing all over the world – focusing on re-creating a lost martial art. The terminology “Historical European Martial Arts” therefore also refers to modem-day practices of ancient martial arts. Many of these groups focus on a “hands-on” approach, thus bringing practical experience and observation to enlighten their interpretation of the source material. However, most of the time, they do not establish inquiries based on scientific research, nor do they follow methodologies that allow for a critical analysis of the findings or observations.

This paper will therefore propose and discuss, ideas on how to bridge the gap between enthusiasts and scholars; since their embodied knowledge, acquired by practice, is of tremendous value for scientific inquiries and scientific experimentation. It will also address HEMA practices in the context of modern day acceptance of experimental (or experiential) processes and their value for research purposes and restoration of an historical praxis. The goal is therefore to sketch relevant methodological and theoretical elements, suitable for a multidisciplinary approach, to HEMA, where the “H” for “historical” matters.

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Fighting with the Longsword: Modern-day HEMA Practices

Claus Frederik Sørensen, ‘Historical European Martial Art: A crossroad between academic research martial heritage re-creation and martial sport practice’, Acta Periodica Duellatorum 3/1 (2015), 5-35. Majar, János and Zoltán Várhelyi, ‘Thibault and Science I: Measure, Distance and Proportions in the Circle’, Acta Periodica Duellatorum 2/1 (2014), 67-104. Martens, Krist, ‘Towards a New Approach in HEMA-Tournaments: Let's Fence Naked!’ (31 January 2014, < > [queried 30 May 17

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The Future of Historical European Martial Arts Studies. A discussion

Cultural Studies , ed. by Kuan-Hsing Chen and David Morley (London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 261-74. Jaquet, Daniel, ‘The Researcher Status in Historical European MArtial Arts Communities of Practitioners’, in Martial Arts Studies in Germany - Defining and Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries , ed. by Martin Joh Meyer (Hamburg: Czwalina, 2016), pp. 39-50. Jaquet, Daniel, and Claus Frederik Sorenson, ‘Historical European Martial Art - a Crossroad between Academic Research, Martial Heritage Re-Creation and Martial Sport Practices.’, Acta Periodica Duellatorum , 3

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A fifteenth-century fencing tournament in Strasburg

, Hardouin de la Jaille, Anthoine de La Sale, etc. Paris: Barraud. QUATREBARBES T. (1859). Oeuvres choisies du roi René. Paris: Edme Picard. 150p. RÜHL, J. K. (1990). German Tournament Regulations of the 15th Century. In: Journal of Sport History, 17(2), pp.163-182. RÜHL, J. K. (2006). Hommes et femmes dans les tournois du Moyen Âge. CLIO, 23, pp.15-43. SCHMIED-KOWARZIK J., KUFAHL H. (1894). FECHTBÜCHLEIN. Leipzig: Philipp Reclam. 268p. SCHUBERT E. (1995). Fahrendes Volk im Mittelalter

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Limits of Understanding in the Study of Lost Martial Arts
Epistemological Reflections on the Mediality of Historical Records of Technique and the Status of Modern (Re-)Constructions

Music through Time and Space’, Early Music , 41.1 (2013), 83–85. Israel, Uwe, and Christian Jaser, eds, Agon und Distinktion: Soziale Räume des Zweikampfs zwischen Mittelalter und Neuzeit , Geschichte, Forschung und Wissenschaft, 47 (Berlin, Münster: LIT, 2016). Jaquet, Daniel, and Claus F. Sørensen, ‘Historical European Martial Art – A Crossroad between Academic Research, Martial Heritage Re-creation and Martial Sport Practices’, Acta Periodica Duellatorum , 1 (2015), 5–35. Jaquet, Daniel, and Nicolas Baptiste, eds, Expérimenter le maniement des

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The French staff material from Johann Georg Pasch

und auf den Hieb, Voltesirens auf den Pferd und auf den Tisch, deß Ringens, Tantzens, Osnabrück, Johann Georg Schwander, 1659. Exemplary consulted: Stuttgart, Federal Library, Sport.oct.357. <>, accessed 15 November 2015. Johann Georg Pasch, Kurtze jedoch Deutliche Beschreibung handlend von Fechten auß dem Stoss und Hieb, Halle, Melchior Ölschlegel, 1661. Exemplary consulted: Stuttgart, Federal Library, MC Sport.qt.52. Johann Georg Pasch, Kurtze Unterrichtung Belangend Die Pique, die

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Fighting in the Fightschools late XVth, early XVIth century

/2: 38: 38. Fecht- und Ringbücher. C.H. Beck. München: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathys, Fritz Karl (1954): Spiel und Sport im alten Basel. Basel: Cratander. Mehl, Jean-Michel (1990): Les Jeux au Royaume de France du XIIIe au début du XVIe siècle. Paris: Fayard. Mehl, Jean-Michel (2010): Des Jeux et des Hommes dans la société médiévale. Paris: H. Champion. Meier, Andreas (2010): « Talhoffers Fechterkollegen ». In: Schulze, André (Hrsg.) Der Königsegger Codex: die Fechthandschrift des Hauses

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Prologues, Poetry, Prose and Portrayals: The Purposes of Fifteenth Century Fight Books According to the Diplomatic Evidence

Fightschools late XVth, early XVth century’, in Acta Periodica Duellatorum , Vol.1 (2013), pp. 47-66. Jaquet, Daniel, and Sørensen, Claus, ‘Historical European Martial Art. A Crossroad between Academic Research, Martial Heritage Re-Creation and Martial Sport Practices’, in Acta Periodica Duellatorum Vol. 3, No.1 (2015), pp.5-35. Hester, James, ‘Real Men Read Poetry: Instructional Verse in Fourteenth Century Fight Manuals’, in Arms and Armour Vol.6 No.2 (2009), pp. 175-83. Mondschein, Ken, ‘The Italian Schools of Fencing: Art, Science, and Pedagogy’ in

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Visualizing the Fight Book Tradition: Collected Martial Knowledge in the Thun-Hohenstein Album

and War Conference, Lisbon, 22-24 June 2017 Krause, Katharina, Hans Holbein der Ältere. Kunstwissenschaftliche Studien (Munich: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2002) Krause, Stefan and Christoph Kaindel, “Das Große Kartenspiel des Meisters E.S.—Frühe gedruckte Fechtdarstellungen,” Waffen- und Kostümkunde 2013, 1 (2013), 1-18 Kusudo, Kazuhiko, “P.H. Mair (1515-1579): A Sports Chronicler in Germany,” in Sport and Culture in Early Modern Europe , ed. by John McClelland and Brian Merillees (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2009

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