I recently came across a fascinating Web site called “HEMA Misfits (I don’t do longsword)“. It’s by Maxime Chouinard, a Canadian who styles himself a “Historical Martial Arts Researcher”. He says of himself:
I created this blog as a source of materials and articles on Historical Martial Arts that do not get as much attention as they should. After visiting many forums, groups and blogs, I found that subjects pertaining to arts outside the Medieval and Renaissance quickly got drowned in the overwhelming discussions on longsword, creating a sort of vicious circle where certain arts get more and more popular because information about them is easily available. I also found myself explaining over and over to people at HEMA events that I was not practicing longsword, which inspired the name for this blog. Although the Kunst Des fechtens and related arts are quite interesting -and that I encourage anyone to try them – there are many others which deserve to be better known.
. . .
HMA: Historical Martial arts are combat arts, games and sports recreated from documentation, experimentation or handed down through tradition and which have a deep historical relevance. I use HMA instead of HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) as I do not only write on the arts of the old continent.
To give you an idea of what he covers, three articles that I’ve recently read with great interest include:
- Duffing rascals: What is La canne? (It’s the French discipline of cane fighting.)
- “Six Inches of Steel”: Bowie Knife Instruction by Louis Juan Ohnimus. (From an 1890 article published in San Francisco.)
- Very Perilous: A sword wounds compendium by the surgeon Ravaton. (A treatise dating back to 1768 on the treatment of sword wounds, by a French military surgeon.)
There are many more articles of interest. I think I’ll be reading through the archives for at least months to come, if not years.
The Web site is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in any type of blade fighting, as techniques from one type often carry over to another. It’s also fascinating as an historical treatise on blade (and other) wounds, their effects, and their treatment. Finally, for writers, it’s a cornucopia of historically accurate information on how people in various ages defended themselves or attacked their enemies. (That’s how I came across it, by doing a search for information about historical treatment of wounds, in connection with a book I’m writing.)
Altogether a very useful and informative resource, and highly recommended.
Thanks for this. I'm pretty familiar with HEMA but this is one I missed.
On the Tube of Yew, there are some really interesting videos on variant martial arts, such as Zulu stick and shield fighting and Haitian machete fencing. Skallagrim recently did a compilation video. The elderly machete master was a wonder to behold.
Reading the "Very Perilous" and ye gods does that give the willies. I mean, just ooouuuuuch. The paintings he included on there add just that much more to the ancient mayhem as well.
Great find, lots more reading to do.
There's a video on Youstoubes that analyzes the best sword fights, and includes information from "The Duelists" movie. And the analyzers talk about how actually bad sword wounds were.
In combination with no practical antibiotics and varying degrees of competent medical care, well, there's a reason to wear decent armor and avoid people with daggers.
I once had, or at least read, a paperpack book by Don Pentecost called "Put ‘Em Down. Take ‘Em Out!"
Where it is now I don't know, but Archive.Org has a copy:
I remember Neal Stephenson and Mark Tepper's Mongoliad series was supposed to be very authentic in the depiction of Medieval hand to hand combat weapons and techniques. Their website which had many good links is alas gone dark.
Check out Matt Easton and Tod Cutler
A number of years ago: Hank Reinhardt's Book Of Knives (Baen Books); EveryBody's Knife Bible (Pathfinder Books); The Complete Book Of Knife Fighting (William L. Cassidy, Paladin Press; Cold Steel, John Styers, Paladin Press.