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Swordplay is a three day gathering of schools of historical swordsmanship held each September in Brisbane, Australia and run by the Australian College of Arms (ACA). The idea behind the event is to bring together fencers from all corners of this wide brown land to meet, exchange ideas and cross blades is a friendly atmosphere. This year, we kidnapped Puck Curtis and refused to release him until he presented a workshop on one of his passions, La Verdadera Destreza, the Spanish rapier technique of the sixteenth and seventeen centuries.
The format seems to have roughly fallen out as a day […]
It’s September and that means Swordplay 11 is just around the corner. In fact, it’s on in less than a week. Yay!
Obviously, all historical fencers in Australia know about Swordplay but there’s bound to be a poor benighted few who haven’t heard of it. Swordplay is an annual event run by the Australian College of Arms which brings together schools of swordplay and historical fencing from all over the country in order to chat, compare notes and, of course, cross blades. It’s been going for a few years now and leaping from strength to strength. You won’t find three […]
A factor which goes completely unrecognised by most practitioners as we struggle to revive the lost fighting arts of Medieval and Renaissance Europe is the differenced between “sword fighting” and “fencing”. I’m going to try to explain the difference and show how knowing the difference shapes our practice. First, let’s define the terms.
Sword Fighting: battlefield or martial swordplay skills answering the question “what’s the fastest way to put the other guy on the ground and move forward to the next target?” The focus here is on efficiency and economy of action in an environment where skill-at-arms meant life […]
Swordplay 10 was brilliant fun. Historical fencing schools from all over the country turned up and we had at each other for three days straight with a variety of weapons. The highlights for me were the chance to bout with longswords with the guys from Glen Lachlann Estate College of Arms (GLECA) and a dusack bout with padded foam “boffer” weapons with Paul Wganer of the Stoccata School of Defence (Stoccata). The coffee van turning up each morning rates pretty highly as well.
Last weekend, I went to the SCA’s annual Fencing Fest, now in its seventh year, to see what they’re up to and to cross blades with as many people as my cold allowed. I ate their food, drank their coffee and managed something more than half a dozen bouts with various people. On top of all of this, I even managed a couple of realisations which may change the way I apporach this hobby. And there’s photos.
Swordplay 2009 was an inaugural event hosted by the Australian College of Arms. The ACA wanted to see if there was any interest in a small inter-school tournament for historical fencing groups in the Brisbane area and ended up drawing participants from all over the country and as far away as Hobart and Perth. Apparently, the gathering even garnered the interest of swordplay groups in New Zealand.
The biggest surprise for me last weekend was the realisation that the new improved SCA is probably the closest groups to the ACA out of all the historical fencing groups in the country. From what I saw of Fencing Fest IV, their premier fencing competition in Queensland, they have a concentration on rapier and dagger/buckler combat and regular sparring to improve one’s skills. The ACA were invited to attend as guests and although we were not allowed to participate in the competition (unless we became members) we managed to arrange a bunch of bouts on the side.
This is a […]