The European Historical Combat Guild

Investigating Europe's Historical combative methods and behaviours

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Website up and running again

So after much hassle with the site hosts, the Guild website is up and running again

The job of rebuilding th site from scratch has begun, but is a slow process. Also much of the old content was mislaid or disappeared.

We are also updating the content the last over haul of the Guild site was 10 years ago and much has changed since then.

Go to the Guild site

Saturday, 23 March 2019

If it could have happened, how would it have happened?

After John Waller's death many people obviously remembered things that he had said and done that had an impact on their livers and how they thought about things.

This one was from Guy Wilson, former Master of the Royal Armouries and Johns friend and colleague for many years.

As John and he worked together on many projects, the films, How a Man Schall be armyed, Masters of Defence and the building and setting up of the purpose built museum in Leeds and all that entailed.

Guy was remembering that in the quest to attempt to understand and to understand and bring history to life we needed to ask this question...

That it was an ongoing question, that one can not continue to question what we know and what we believe about the the answers we have.

Others may do that but evenn iof they don't we should questions it ourselves.

The renowned archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler, an influence on John in his youth from his appearances on television amounsgt others things,  said that any theory he had, if not challenged by others after some time, then he needed to challenge it himself.

We can not be too certain of what we know, with any subject, and especially when dealing with one separated from us in time or about which we may have little or small amounts of information.

More worrying than not knowing something is being too certain of what we think we know.

If it could have happened, how would it of happened.

A year

A year...
As near as. 
John Waller Guild Master died shortly after the last post here. 

So a number of other things have gotten in the way. However other things have happend as there is always the opertunity for new things... Until there isn't. 

So hopefully new things will be happening soon. 

Above all honour. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

Roman caestus found at Vindolanda

One for the pugilists.
Two leather caestus of twork different types found preserved at the auxiliary fort f Vindolanda...


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Happy Slapping 19th Century style

Not much new under the sun, happy slapping 18th Century fashion....
Sweating amongst the Mohocks

Friday, 26 June 2015

Ethics in HEMA/Swordsmanship

Guy Windsor asked some questions in his blog asking for replies you can find my streamed answers below.
You may want to add your own replies to guys blog HERE
1) When is it ok to stab someone in the face with a sword?
When they are trying to stab you or someone in need of protection or assistance, in the face with their sword or other life threatening object.
2) What is the one thing you find most useful about swordsmanship training outside the salle?
Not sure I can qualify it down to one thing. Also I have in effect been doing this my whole life and without sounding too grand, I make no distinction of in or out of places where one is specifically training.. to me it's all degrees. The Principle or Principles that would be the most important, and to me they are flip sides of the same coin would be Awareness/Intent
3) How important is history to you in your practise of swordsmanship?
History is important for everything in my opinion , you can not truly know where you are unless you know from whence you came., whether as an individual, a society/culture or as a species. Given that the practice of historical martial skills is the resurrection of dead arts, without striving to make sense of the historical context that created them means that one is dealing with.... a zombie for lack of a better metaphor
4) Can a duel settle a matter of honour?
First define honour! wink emoticon The define the ways it can be attacked or diminished and then the ways that it would be ok to defend or regain those notions of honour. Perhaps If one can define what it is then it may be possible to deal with in the infringement of ones personal honour by someone else who shares that view point with a physical contest. From my feelings of honour, and in the modern world we live in I find it hard to reconcile a notion of honour with a physical contest, of a duel, which is a Monkey Dance (see Rory Miller) with cultural trappings layered on in am attempt to make it more acceptable. In the Historical context I can understand the aspects that drove people to duel, as notions of self defence , or the defence of self then encompassed both he notion of defending ones physical self and well being and the self by which you identified yourself and held your position in society. To quote from El Cid, "Can a man (person) live without honour?" Perhaps and perhaps not but then the question is At what point can anyone other than yourself be held responsible for it or harming it. It is my thesis that when people talk about matters of honour it s not to do with personal honour but rather social reputation. One then also needs to consider the social aspect that produces the notion of reputation/honour
5) Can violence be beautiful?
Define Violence and define beauty, then define the context within which those aspects are taking place. The violence of nature, a storm, raging seas or rivers can have a beauty when viewed from the outside. The appreciation of the beauty can soon disappear once inside it or on the receiving end of it. But then we have to consider how one is accustomed to the nature fo the violence were discussing. I would put forward that aspects of the physicality of violent actions etc can have a beauty of efficiency and effect in the notion of how it neutralises the danger, threat or situation. But if we are discussing the violence in the sense of what it actually does to other living beings, and leaving then broken maimed or dead, and ourselves and our surrounding covered in the gore a bodily fluids.... if we find that beautiful.... well what does that make us
6) To what extent is the practice of swordsmanship the cultivation of virtue?
First define virtue or rather virtues. The practice of any skill, especially one that involves person risk will or should cultivate discipline and awareness, and a clarification of Intent amongst other things, if only in the field being studied. Whether that bleeds over and affects the individual outside of the field will depend on the individual.
7) Is the study of ethics necessary for martial artists?
The consideration of ethics is something we as humans should all do. As people developing the skills and mindsets for harming, crippling and killing people then it is of even more importance, for if we don't then we are just playing at it like fantasists playing make believe. There is the argument put forward that not all the arts we study were intended with such serious goals, but even then if we do not consider the actuality of the game that were are playing then we are just as bad.

William Cavendish transcription available

Thanks to Dave Rawlings of London Longsword Academy for transcribing and making available Cavendish's work for, I believe, the first time