Showing posts from April, 2016

Kit review: Titan Exchange HEMA mask - Updated #4

"The forces generated by larger swords and the contact nature of the sport demand more than a fencing mask with HEMA written on. The Titan mask uses stainless steel mesh that is 20% stronger than a traditional FIE mask, the bib is bigger and uses the contour plus strap to keep your mask locked onto your head."

Recently I upgraded my old style Leon Paul mask for the new "Titan Range HEMA X-change mask", which I'll assume will just be called the Leon Paul "HEMA Mask" from now on.

I've updated this review following having the mask for a year.


I ordered this from the main Leon Paul site (rather than the Leon Paul Australia site, which doesn't seem to work for me). It was a breeze to order thanks to a well thought out online ordering system. Postage wasn't expensive and it arrived in New Zealand from the UK is less than a week. There were email updates as the order was processed and the courier tracking system worked nicely.


Many pro…

10 simple tips for improving HEMA sparring

Shamelessly inspired by this article:

1. Game

I agree that relaxation is important. Being tense means you're thinking about being tense and not smiting the other guy. One of the simplest ways I've found to do this is to play more. This means treating sword fighting more like a game than a serious life and death situation because the only thing in danger in our pretend sword poking is our egos. Here are a whole bunch of games to help induce a relaxed mindset.

2. Train fast and get faster

Not many sword fighting sources have ponderous complex actions but rather lots of simple actions done at the correct time and measure very, very fast. Want to be fast? Then recognise that what you are doing now is actually slow and do specific drills to improve your explosive speed. Just try this and see what I mean:

Throw a glove in the air and do as many cuts as you can before it falls. Go as fast as you can while maintaining good body mechanics. If you're loosing good mechanics than slow …

Kit mod: fencing mask padding

Recently I've got into thinking I should do something to my mask to beef it up against those forthright downright blows to the head that Silver is so fond of. It seems to be something that my fencing mask is entirely not built to protect me against, which makes sense, as it's constructed to deflect thin poking things from the front of my face not heavy iron bars from the tops and sides of my head.

If I look at my mask all the interior padding is around the front along the chin and forehead. What this means is that if I get smacked directly in the face then the mask is both held away from my face but also I'm somewhat padded. There is also padding around the sides up to my ear level but then above this and to the top has nothing. This means if I get hit here the mask isn't really protecting me as essentially the blow just mashes the mesh into my head and it's like it isn't there.

This is presumably the problem that all these mask overlays look to address.

I see…

Moving quickly

"you need the ability to move quickly. When I speak of moving quickly, I'm not talking about how fast you can run a mile. What we are talking about is how quickly can you hurl your entire body weight in a direction in one all out exertion? That is what will determine how fast you can close with an opponent, how fast you can remove yourself from combat, and how fast you can reposition yourself to open up strikes." - Santa Fe Personal Training

Kit mod: budget club sword rack

Not really a kit mod but it seems the most appropriate place to put it.

Every club needs sword racks right? Otherwise you're just tripping over swords all the time. However making them can be something you'd rather put off as it'll tax your basic carpentry skills. However it need not be so. Following from a chat on my club Facebook page I got to thinking how easy it would be to turn a couple of pallets I've got into racks.

So taking a couple of these small pallets it turned out to be the easiest thing in the word to cut a few panels off and then nail them to the bottom. Hey presto, sword racks.

They're not pretty or clever but do they hold swords off the ground? Yep. Mission accomplished. They're also relatively light and not something that you'd be scared about chucking in the back of an van or leaving in the rain at a show etc.

Incidentally if anyone is wondering reciprocating saws are the tool to use when taking pallets apart. I've made a whole pile o…

Kit mod: ventilators for Axel Pettersson Jacket

I'd like to claim total credit for this idea but I saw this idea first on Facebook and it's genius. Basically put brass eyelets into your gambeson to create little heat vents thus letting the heat out without compromising the defensive aspect.

I live in the North Island of New Zealand which, for those who don't know, has the same kind of weather as the warmer parts of Spain so most of the year it's just to dam hot to wrap myself up in a thickly layered woolen jacket. So anything I can do to improve things is a win.

Thinking about this eyelet vent idea that despite the speed of using brass or steel eyelets I discounted them from my reenactment experience: I know that rivets/eyelets in armour can actually be a pain, literally, as if you get struck on one they can be driven into your skin underneath. Also, they tarnish or rust pretty quickly with all that salty sweat coming out. So instead I resolved to sew eyelets in. This has a few benefits the first being that there'…

First fumble with translating...

So, following from my recent curiosity around the nitty gritty of the meanings in the text I'm studying I've endeavored recently to get off my backside and upskill myself a little bit.

To this end I've determined that I'll pick a short section of a treatise and have a go translating it. In my favour I have High School level German, conversational Swedish, Google translate and I've picked Mair to start with because much of it is translated already and I can hit CTRL-F to reference this if I get stuck.

It took a while to get my eye in, but it was surprisingly fluid once I'd got my head around it. Here's my translation of the first play from Mair's Poleaxe:

"A parrying in the Poleaxe against a Murder Blow
It happens thus in this play: when you come together, go stand with your right foot forward and hold your Poleaxe in both hands high above your head, the point extended against your opponent. He then stands with his left foot against you and strikes a …