Well over the summer I spent a few months in Europe, with most of my time spent in Germany. Unfortunately my studies (reason for trip) took up most of my time, but I did get some fencing in.

I managed to visit the Zornhau group in Frankfurt. A really great bunch of people who thankfully spoke English better than I speak German. They seem to be doing really well numbers wise, with their beginners class filling a whole gym. Had a spar with a couple of them (using Shinai) and found I was able to slot right into their level of intensity. Very similar to how hard we go over here in the west. Also their interpretations seemed very similar to ours. This was heartening for me as it means we are probably doing something right over here (or the same wrong things as everyone else )

I also attended the Dreyn-Event in Vienna. This is an international historical fencing conference held over 3 days by Dreynschlag and had over 70 people attending from groups in Germany, Austria, Britain, Italy, Switzerland and Australia(me!). It was an awesome event and the Dreynschlag people are great and have the best silly hats evuh! It was a really good atmosphere.

Some observations people may be interested in.

Most groups had really nice group clothing, from T-shirts to jackets. Good designs and cuts, some with different colours for instructors. On the clothing note, besides gambesons and silly hats, I don’t recall seeing period style clothing worn. It was mostly tracksuits/combat pants and t-shirts. This is something that I liked as I am not into dressing up much.

Modified shinai seemed to the be sparring tool of choice, especially for cross group communication. The majority I saw had a cross guard and were weighted via a lead ring. I did however, see a fair amount of steel bouting (much of it done with longsword ‘foils’ similar to these). The Italian group used wooden dowels as their sword simulators (for more Renaissance cut and thrust type stuff, Marozzo etc).

Two rooms were hired out, one for the presentations and one for people to spar/discuss in. Most sparring I saw and took part in was quite spirited. Punching, grappling, kicking etc. was often employed. Also I fought my first ‘Fiorean’ in the form of Matt Easton from Schola Gladiatoria. I really noticed the difference between the two systems when I fought him.

There was an impromptu tournament held which used these rules.

Pics can be see here, here,here and here.

I also got to visit a whole heap of museums and saw lots of swords and armour. I will post some online soon.

~ by Magnus on 9 April, 2007.

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