In April 2023, a small contingent from Medieval Combat Group made the trip to York for one of our absolute favourite HEMA events – The Art That Adorns You hosted by York School of Defence.
We’re enormously proud that our Free Scholar, Kelly, taught her very first event workshop at the event. In her workshop on messer fencing, she tackled the subject of putting some historical context into the non-lethal locks and controls we see in the messer sources. Teaching a variety of these controls, she layer in detail on the duties and obligations of citizens in 15th century towns (for the areas our messer texts come from) to help deal with any ‘trouble’, ending in an excellent training/sparring game of drunken troublemaker vs good citizen. Not only did Kelly do a superb job of teaching her first ever workshop, but she also picked up the Best Instructor award for the event!
Our head instructor Matthew also taught a workshop at the event, focussing on the longsword. his workshop covered the various windings of the longsword and the ‘three wounders’ – the cut, the thrust, and the slice. In keeping with the spirit of the event (which was also an award Matt picked up!), the workshop culminated with an emphasis on the slice, with a slightly different form of cutting stand set up so that participants could end with a neatly sliced piece of cake!
Ross diverged from his usual messer focus and taught a workshop on the 15th century sword and buckler system of Andre Lignitzer, with an emphasis on the shared underlying principles it has with other 15th century ‘Liechtenauer tradition’ fencing teachings for longsword and messer.
Whilst we were there we also took part in the low protection mixed weapon steel tournament; this is a lovely unusual set-up and lots of fun to fence in, particularly the asymmetrical matches like messer vs longsword!
Outside of the workshops we taught ourselves, there was a wonderful set of workshops and talks from instructors from a wide tange of clubs, not least an excellent workshop on Catch wrestling with Ella Banken of the host club York School of Defence, an amazing lecture and discussion/tea party from Dr. Lauren Stokeld on translation and interpretation of the historical sources and how drastically this can effect what we do when we’re training; and a lovely meander through historical messers with excellent swordsmith James Elmslie.
All of this was wrapped up in an event packed full of lovely friendly martial artists, with some great socialising in the events, and we honestly can’t wait for the next one!