Scholar Victoria is a Melbourne based non-profit community organisation working to promote historical fencing as a martial art and modern sport, and we welcome everyone to take part, no matter their previous experience, level of fitness, or background.
We focus on the Longsword as it was used in the 15th and 16th century German sources, introducing a variety of weapons and styles to suit the interests of the individual.
15th Century Longsword Fencing
The 15th century was the heyday of the Longsword, seeing its use across most of Europe. Our 15th Century syllabus is drawn from writings in the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer and is presented in parallel contrast with our 16th century fencing classes. While the source material for these systems do include sections on fighting in harness (armour), known as Harnisfechten, and descriptions of using the longsword while mounted (Rossfechten), typically we teach only the Blossfechten (unarmoured) techniques.
Liechtenauer himself seems to have been a fencing master of the late 14th/early 15th century, however we have no direct writings or historical records of his existence. The entire body of his fencing system has been passed on to us through other writers from the 15th century. This system was recorded as a series of verses known as the Zettel, and various authors reproduced these verses, adding their own explanation of the techniques described therein.
Our own syllabus uses these commentaries (often called “glosses”), in particular we lean heavily on the following authors:
With supporting material from:
Specifically the recitals and commentaries from these authors are used in teaching the Longsword.
16th Century Fencing
Our 16th century syllabus is drawn primarily from the works of Joachim Meÿer (ca. 1537 – 1571), a 16th century fencer from Germany, and arguably the last major figure in the tradition of the German Swordsmanship attributed to Jonannes Liechtenauer. Meÿer wrote several influential fencing texts which culminated in his extensive 1570 work, printed just before his death.
His works represents an important transition in writing style from early German texts to a more elaborate renaissance style of writing. They also show a transition between popular weapon types of the time, and the influence of other European fencing styles (such as the Italians) on German martial arts.
In addition to the longsword (the classical weapon of the Liechtenauer tradition) Meÿer’s syllabus also covers use of the dussack (a short sabre like weapon common to the era) as well as the sidesword (an elegant single handed sword), the dagger, staff, and more military polearms such as the halberd and pike.
19th Century Sabre
Our fencing syllabus is rounded out with sabre fencing systems from the 19th century.
Sabre fencing is fun and effective way to quickly learn a the principles of fencing which can then be applied to any other weapon.
It has fewer protective equipment requirements than fencing with a Longsword, and yet still allows fencers to achieve high levels of technical excellence and compete in international level events.
Our sabre syllabus draws on the text of John Musgrave Waite, “Lessons in Sabre, Singlestick, Sabre and Bayonet, and Sword Feats; or, How to use a cut and thrust Sword” as well as the writings of Alfred Hutton, particularly his book “The Swordsman” from the late 19th Century.
Daniel has more than 20 years of experience in martial arts, ranging from boxing, judo, & wushu through to black belt level in koryu jujitsu, iaijutsu, and kenjutsu.
He has been actively practicing HEMA since 2010, though began reading treatises in the German tradition in the mid 2000s.
Daniel has competed at the international level, and has been instructing HEMA for the last three years. In 2017 and 2018 Daniel was ranked in the top 20 longsword fencers worldwide and was one of the top 50 sabre fencers. In 2019 he was ranked 12th worldwide in longsword, and was Victoria’s top longsword fencer in ranked events for the third year in a row.
His areas of interest include longsword, sidesword, and sabre, and his approach to teaching is heavily focused on self-directed learning and uncovering the underlying principles which make techniques effective.