Siblings in the Sun: Longsword Fencing, Cultural Fraternity and Individual Virtue

Instructor(s): James Reilly

Disciplines: Longsword

This intensive will be a deep dive into the athletic longsword of German fencing master Joachim Meyer. Students will explore its use from fechtschulen (martial challenge and tournament) to philosophy, as a tool for virtue and self betterment. We will practice fencing skills across a variety of contexts including battlefield, self-defense, and tournament. We’ll connect with the underlying principles embedded within the art, particularly those of movement, balance, stability, stillness, perception, connection, adjustment, command and even deception. Finally, we’ll put those concepts into practice through participation in fechtschulen and study how that particular context informs the way we embody those principles.

Day 1: Wage: On Day 1 we’ll explore posture, base, and maintenance of proper weight distribution as well as placement of center of mass, both statically and with movement, alone and with a training partner, with and without oppositional pressure, and with and without longswords. We will also introduce the concepts of Fuhlen and the five wards.

Day 2: Elegant and Elaborate: We will explore the use of Kdf Principles in the context of the both the early parts of tradition, where the thrust was favored over all else, and the later part of the tradition, where the game of fencing had been substantially altered to completely admonish the use of the thrust. Special care will be taken to understanding when it’s safe to work in the vor.

Day 3: The Fechtschule: We will create a self-contained game of fencing with a limited moveset. All actions will have responses that win against those actions and responses that lose. Success in the game will be determined by the ability to perceive and respond with the correct action and, to a lesser degree, the technical performance. The goal will be to have performance bouts done by enthusiastic students before the end of the intensive.

Equipment Requirements: longsword, fencing mask, gorget.