Medieval Fight Demonstrations

I’ve often wondered as to what public audiences at ‘medieval faires’ want to see from a HEMA group. Much of what I see in Perth, is in my opinion, crap. After trying out different things, watching public responses to other displays, and talking to other HEMA groups about their experiences, I believe I’m getting a clear picture as to what to do. I used to think high intensity sparring would be the best, but that’s not the case. In sparring, things often happen too fast for the public to see, and without someone acting injured, it can be hard for the public to judge who won. The public also like metal weapons and armour, over tools such as shinai or boffers.

Here are some videos of ‘medieval faire’ HEMA displays that I like.

This display from Blossfechter, has done an excellent job of putting historical techniques into a humourous, educational, choreographed display. The techniques are slow and clean enough for the audience to see, but still possess an acceptable level of intensity. They are well dressed in period attire, and have their own club banner on display.

This Messer display, from those crazy fencers from Dreynschlag, have also done an excellent job. Again, they have crisp historical techniques, are well presented and have added humour (as Dreynschlag always does).

In conclusion, I believe a good HEMA display at a ‘medieval faire’ should have

– Dramatisation.

– Steel weapons and armour.

– Clean, crisp and historical techniques.

– Humour.

– Accurate costumes or snazy modern outfits. No quasi-medieval clothes.

– Be slow enough for the public to follow, but martial enough to maintain the interest of experienced martial artists.

– Be well rehearsed and choreographed, with some freeplay towards the end.

– Be educational, possibly via a speaker explaining the action.

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~ by Magnus on 10 January, 2008.

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