Clinics & Lectures

The first 2 days of the BSG are an opportunity for participants to put their combative skills to the test.  The day after such challenges is often the day participants start thinking about what they can learn and improve on, and the 3rd and final day is designed for that mindset.  Lecturers will start the day with some top-notch material to remind us what's new and what's cool in the world of HEMA; and in the afternoon instructors will provide instructional clinics to everyone looking for advice on how to improve for next year. 

NOTE ON THE CLINIC: to help make the Sunday afternoon clinic the most valuable experience for all, participants are encouraged to discuss and suggest clinic topics.  Please review the sample topics below for each instructor, and let us know (e.g. email, online reg notes, public forums, etc.) what you'd really like to see on Sunday.  We (both BSG management and the instructing staff) will take all this feedback into consideration, right up through the tournament on Saturday (yes, please engage the instructors during the event!).  We will announce the final clinic line-up at the Saturday Awards Banquet.  Remember, this is an opportunity for participants to directly influence the content of the clinic to suit their own needs -- the more that we see requests of a certain topic from a certain instructor, the more likely it is to happen. 

So, let the clinic requests begin! 



Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng

Adjunct Associate Professor of History-WPI

Paul S. Morgan Curator-Higgins Armory Museum
I.33: Bound and Rebound

Much has changed since I began work on I.33 nearly 20 years ago. The body of information and understanding in the general field of historical combat has grown exponentially; in relation to I.33, considerable additional work has been done on the German martial arts tradition that sheds light on its content. Above all, the unbinding of the manuscript this year for the purpose of photography has allowed us to settle the knotty problem of the manuscript’s physical composition. The organization of the pages does not correspond precisely to any of the models published so far, and it has at last confirmed that there is material missing from the manuscript. This presentation will include the first public announcement of where that material was, and what appears to have been in the missing sections.
Jean Chandler

Instructor/researcher for System D'armes, New Orleans (SDA NOLA)
Butchers, Bakers and Candlestick makers - who wielded the swords in sport and war in the time of the fencing masters? 

A brief examination of the context of warfare and fencing among the urban craft guilds of late-Medieval and early-Modern Europe. 

In the past fifteen years we have gained some insight into the provenance of the Fechtbücher and now know who wrote many of them, and in some cases for whom they were written.  However, as a community we still know very little about the world these people lived in.  In the past researchers have linked the manuals to the knightly classes, and to certain elements within the Church.  We also know of associations between the Kunst des Fechten and another estate: the urban society of the late medieval city.  A great deal of interesting data is now available regarding the social and political context of the towns within late medieval and early modern Europe, and their involvement in warfare.  There are clear links between the towns and the fencing guilds, who provided some of the few tournament rule sets that we know about at this time.  We know of connections between the fencing guilds, the craft guilds and the town militia, and we know that several Fechtbuch authors were members of the craft guilds.   The involvement of the guilds themselves in both civil strife within the town walls, and full scale warfare beyond them, is well documented by military historians.  This presentation will attempt to challenge our preconceptions by linking these various threads, and provide a glimpse into the true nature of the fencing practitioners of the medieval city.
Michael Chidester

Lead designer of the Wiktenauer

A Big-Picture Look at the Fechtbuch Tradition

The Historical European Martial Arts movement grew out of the study of treatises on armed and unarmed combat, generally referred to by their German term Fechtbücher. There are now 85 known German-language manuscripts on Medieval and early Modern martial arts, as well as over two dozen printed works, and more are being discovered every year. These treatises were written by dozens of masters and recopied by countless scribes and artists during a period of over three hundred years. As most practitioners focus on understanding and interpreting only a few treatises at a time, it is easy to forget how large and complex the Fechtbuch  tradition can be. In this lecture, I will present some useful distinctions and a broad overview of how all of the different strands of teaching in the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer relate to each other, as well as to the other less well-documented German traditions, and in this way perhaps shed some light on the big picture of the so-called German school of fencing.



 Clinic topics

Scott Brown
The founder of Schwert am Schwert, Scott has been training and teaching martial arts for over thirty years and holds certificates of rank in multiple disciplines.  Since the turn of the century he has exclusively focused his efforts on the Western martial arts systems with a specialized focus on the swordsmanship aspects of the Kunst des Fechtens or "Arts of Combat" of the Germanic cultures, amongst others.   He is best known for his sword and buckler expertise of the "Art of the Priest" from the Royal Armouries MS. I.33 and the longsword teachings of Johannes Liechtenauer's disciples.  He also enjoys dussack, singlestick, and a variety of sabre systems.

Bringing his diverse expertise to WMA / HEMA, Scott has developed specific performance-based curricula for both swordsmen-practitioners and instructors of these arts.  He continues to travel and teach all over the world and currently operates a WMA / HEMA school in the Orlando, Florida area in addition to continuing instruction at multiple Houston, Texas locations of Schwert am Schwert.

As the Director of the annual Fechtschule America event, Scott coordinates some of the world's largest modern tournaments and has helped develop numerous competitive rules for WMA / HEMA competitions around the world. 

Scott has won several international WMA / HEMA-specific tournaments including:

  • 2008 Swordfish's Joachim S. Nilsson  Memorial Longsword Tournament (Sweden)
  • 2010 FightCamp's Assault at Arms Backsword/Sabre/Singlestick TOurnamnt (U.K.)
  • 2010 Longpoint's Open International Longsword Tournament (U.S.A.)
  • 2012 1er Encuentro de Artes Marciales Europeas' Torneo de Sable de Canasta (Mexico)

Scott is a founding member of the Western Martial Arts Coalition (WMAC).

  • Customizing flow drills for specific skills
  • Fundamental cutting drills
  • Solo exercises for beginners and advanced
  • Blade sensitivity (Fühlen/Feeling) drill
  • Schranckhut/Crossed Guard drill
Jean Chandler
Jean Chandler has been a student of German longsword fencing for the past 12 years.  An instructor for System D'armes, New Orleans (SDA NOLA), which he co-founded with Lenny Zimmerman in 2003, Jean hosted the ARMA event 'Southern Knights in 2004.  He taught a Liechtenauer sword clinic for the Ordo Procinctus fight-club in 2009, and was a longsword instructor at Fechtschule America in 2011 and 2012.

Jean placed 5th in the Hammertertz Open International Longsword Tournament 2010, and 3rd place in the Fechtschule America Longsword tournament in 2012.  Jean has been researching and writing a book on the late Medieval Baltic since 2009.

Member: HEMAA
  • Mechanics: how techniques emerge from stepping and structure
  • Joachim Meyer's Four Archetypes, the source of Strategy
  • Decisions Points in Tempo, Measure and Pressure
  • Application of the Absetzen/Setting Off
Michael Edelson
Michael Edelson has been studying swordsmanship in various forms since 1990. Prior to German longsword, his primary area of interest was Japanese swordsmanship. Among the styles he studied were Toyama Ryu batto jutsu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, Engi Iaido and others. He also has an extensive background in unarmed Eastern martial arts and worked for several years as a professional instructor. Upon discovering Historical European Martial arts in the summer of 2005, Michael devoted his full attention to their pursuit, and soon after started the New York Historical Fencing Association, a HEMA Alliance Affiliate. Michael’s research focuses on movement dynamics, power generation and distilling the most basic fundamental principles and ideas from the manuscripts. He has instructed and given presentations at events across the country, such as Fechtschule America, Longpoint, Chivalric Weekend and Swordfest.
  • Body Mechanics and Structure
  • Fighting from Longpoint
  • High vom Tag/Roof guard vs. Low vom Tag/Roof guard: What, Why, and When
Jake Norwood
Jake Norwood trains, fights, or thinks about training and fighting when he’s not doing something more important. Jake was the winner of the first full Franco Belgian longsword tournament, held at Fechtschule America 2010, and has been a finalist in multiple venues, including longsword, dussack, cutting, and steel saber competitions at Fechtschule America and Swordfish. Jake runs the second largest HEMA competition in the U.S., Longpoint, and has judged at Swordfish and the Worldwide Open Championships.

Jake is captain of Maryland KDF Historical Fencing Club and the former president of the HEMA Alliance, an educational not-for-profit organization established to provide independent HEMA clubs and schools worldwide with the resources of an international cooperative. Previously, Jake was the Deputy Director of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and the chairman of the BYU Martial Arts Council. A combat veteran the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division, Jake now lives in Maryland, USA, with his wife, daughter, and a nine-pound dog. He tries not to think about the dog.

  • Zwerhau/Thwart Cut technique & application
  • Schnitt/Slice and Hende Trucken/Hand pressing applications
  • Opening with the Vier Versetzen/Four Master Cut Parries
  • Ansetzen/Planting, Absetzen/Setting Off, and entering with thrusting
Christian Trosclair
Christian Trosclair is a student of combat, dance, biomechanics and kinesthetics. He has spent over 20 years studying variously Bagua, Capoeira, Xingyi, Silat, Jook Lum, Aikido, and Systema, as well as the classical indian dance, Bharata Natyam, Flamenco and Yoga. He is an instructor for System D'Armes, New Orleans (SDA NOLA) and has taught at Fechtschule America and Longpoint. He has been a Liechtenauer practitioner for seven years and is an avid translator. It is his aim to aid others in discovering the fundamental movements and theories of medieval combatives.
  • Mechanics: how techniques emerge from stepping and structure
  • Joachim Meyer's Four Archetypes, the source of Strategy
  • Decisions Points in Tempo, Measure and Pressure
Jay Vail
Jason Vail is a long time martial artist.  He began his martial arts career in 1964 and has studied Asian systems for more than 40 years.  He holds black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Cuong Nhu (a hybrid system of Japanese and Vietnamese martial arts), and has trained in Judo and MMA.  He has studied European fighting methods since 2001 with an emphasis on the dagger and ringen.  He is the author of Medieval and Renaissance Dagger Combat, which is available from Paladin Press.
  • Wrestling fundamentals
  • Knife self-defense fundamentals
  • Wrestling with the sword
  • Interpreting period wrestling and dagger techniques (e.g. Codex Wallerstein)