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Thread: Dijon 2007 Report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Dijon 2007 Report

    Greetings, All!

    Last week HEMAC celebrated its 6th Annual Gathering in Dijon, France. Thanks to the hard work of Fabrice Cognot and his group, the event was was a resounding success.

    The range of offerings was quite broad this year, ranging across the spectrum from medieval styles (I.33, German longsword, German wrestling, Italian & German dagger) and rapier schools (Spanish Destreza, Thibault), to later material such as English, Irish, and Belgian stick fighting, and German & English smallsword. The opportunity for comparison was particularly impressive, with 4 different instructors teaching workshops on I.33, and another 6 instructors teaching classes on German longsword.

    The event opened on a high note, with an excellent lecture by Peter Johnsson on the manufacture of swords. We all sat spellbound while Peter spoke, and marveled at his detailed technical drawings of swords. I've only heard good things about Peter over the years; now I know why!

    For the best mix of showmanship and martial skill, nobody can beat the over-the-top demonstrations put on by Harry, Oli, and the Boys from Vienna, better known as Dreynschlag. This year was no different. They let us know in advance that they were going to put on a demonstration of scythe and sickle techniques from Paulus Hector Mair. What they didn't tell us was that they were going to treat us to a hilarious duel with scythes between Paulus Hector Mair and the Grim Reaper himself! The audience was howling with laughter by the end, and the Dreynschlag boys earned themselves a deafening round of applause. Despite all the fun, Harry and Enzi put on an excellent demonstration, showing all the scythe techniques depicted in Mair's manual. The only problem: The show was so good that it's hard to imagine how they're going to top it next year.

    Another high point was the grueling stress training conducted by James Marwood of Schola Gladiatoria. James led a group of us through a brutal two-hour session designed to pump up our adrenaline levels in simulation of combat stress. This class resulted in the most surreal moment of the event, when we were politely informed that a relaxation class was taking place right next door, and that all the shouting & profanity of our combat stress class was disturbing the neighbors!

    Another novelty this year was a transcription workshop, designed to introduce a new generation of HEMA researchers to the basic skills associated with transcribing manuscripts. Several instructors took part, but the palm goes to Andi Meier of Ochs, whose detailed presentation was truly textbook material.

    Continuing HEMAC's focus on instructor training, Alex Kiermeyer of Ochs led a workshop on how to give individual lessons, using the sport fencing methodology to teach German longsword techniques. It was a really good class; the more I see this method applied, the more convinced I am that it is the right way ahead for training intermediate & advanced students. In the same vein, one of our American guests (Scott Brown) gave an interesting and informative lecture on the stages of learning. I could tell that his lecture was a success when I heard one of the attendees using Scott's jargon during a workshop the next day!

    Speaking of Americans, HEMAC was delighted to have two American instructors present this year. Jeff Tsay from Boston taught an excellent workshop that combined both the Krumphau bladework and the Double Triangle footwork from Joachim Meyer's manual of 1570. In addition to his lecture on the stages of learning, Scott Brown from St. Louis taught a workshop on skill progression drills using I.33's Langort position which was well-received. I really liked what I saw from both Jeff & Scott, and hope they will be joining us again in the future.

    Finally, the event ended with a series of public demonstrations given in the courtyard of the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. These included presentations by six different groups, ranging from combat in full armor to rapier techniques. The museum allowed us to display original pieces, which were then followed by demos using replica weapons. As you can imagine, the event drew a sizeable crowd of spectators.

    Unfortunately, my description above gives only a superficial impression of the event, and I've skipped over much that went on for the sake of brevity. Suffice it to say it was an excellent event, as much for the spirit of cameraderie as for the martial spirit on display.

    Regards,
    Matt Galas
    Mons, Belgium

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Suburban Chicago area
    Posts
    3,595
    Aargh!!!

    How does that St. Crispin's Day speech go about those who weren't there holding their manhood's cheap?

    I so wanted to be there this year...sigh. This didn't really change that feeling.

    Well - next year.

    Greg
    Greg Mele
    Chicago Swordplay Guild

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    "If the tongue could cut
    as the sword can do,
    the dead would be infinite."

    Filippo Vadi, "Arte Dimicandi Gladiatoria" (c.1482 - 87)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    near Bonn, Germany
    Posts
    1,698
    You're not alone Greg,

    I keep saying 'next year' for a couple of years now,

    But divorces and the stuff that comes along with them are a bad thing, especially money-wise.

    But I've not given up hope...someday, I WILL be there.

    Cheers,
    Jörg
    Member of Ochs

    "It is a bad teacher that does not allow his student to become better than himself" (Sixten Ivarsson)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    LSD, Oxford, United Kingdom
    Posts
    115
    I also thoroughly enjoyed HEMAC Dijon last weekend, even though I had to miss the first couple of days.

    The mix of classes was very good; I was pleased to see scholarly presentations mixed in with the practical classes, and glad to see so many novel topics being covered.

    I am also impressed that classes on 'how to teach' were presented, as we can all benefit from seeing good practice in action, but it is important that those who teach well pass on their secrets to the rest of us!

    The presentation at the museum was also something that I think should be pursued - outreach to the public is very very important if the art is to grow in popularity.

    The socialising was excellent as always, as were the food and drink.

    Well done Fabrice and Co, see you next year.
    Jonathan Miller
    Complete and Utter Ninny
    Linacre School of Defence
    Oxford
    UK

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Dijon, Capitol of the Dukes of Burgundy (the True Dukes)...and now, alas, in France...
    Posts
    916
    A big thanks to you all
    HEMAC Member
    De Taille et d'Estoc director
    the Lion of Dijon

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrice Cognot View Post
    A big thanks to you all
    yes it was very good

    ps Mat how is the wrist....
    One Ringeck to bring them all and in darkness bind them,
    In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.

    http://www.ringeck.org

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    732
    Hi, Phillipe!

    It was the elbow, from those one-handed cuts! It's much better, thanks. Which reminds me, I forgot to mention the two longsword tournaments that took place at Dijon. Colin Richards won the first; unfortunately, I didn't catch the name of the winner of the other tournament.

    Regards,
    Matt Galas
    Mons, Belgium

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrice Cognot View Post
    A big thanks to you all
    Chances are I will be there next year as I'll be living in England soon and can get a ride easily.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    Northumberland, Anglo-Scots Border
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    Is anyone posting up video of the tournaments?

    Honourably,

    Bob
    Bob Brooks
    Marshal of the School,
    Hotspur School of Defence

    "There are four D's which I never refuse: A Dinner, a Duel, a Drink and a fair Dame!"
    - Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890)

    "I worship the Prince of Peace ... not the Prince of Pre-emptive War.
    - Former US President Jimmy Carter

    "May I ask one more question?" said one of my friends. "I have often heard it said that if you don't know much about fencing the best thing to do is, as soon as you come on guard, to make a sudden rush at the other man before he has time to collect himself."
    "Well," I replied, "if you wish to make sure of being incurably spitted, that is the most infallible way to set about it."

    - Baron Cesar de Bazancourt, Secrets of the Sword, The Tenth Evening XII.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Manchester UK. covered in sawdust
    Posts
    693
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Brooks View Post
    Is anyone posting up video of the tournaments?

    Honourably,

    Bob
    Eventually, as and when I get my head round my editing software
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Histor...75879815764007
    www.historicarts.co.uk

    If the student does not understand, it is the teacher who has failed

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