KDF Leeds
The Royal Armouries, West Yorkshire

Seminar 1.33: The heart of the art of combat


Seminar Timetable and Workshop Details


Seminar timetable is being finalised - details here soon...
Seminar Workshop Overviews

Workshop : Principles of fighting with a Viking Age round shield and a single-handed axe

Instructor : Rolf F. Warming

Description :
This workshop will focus on the basic principles of fighting with a Viking Age round shield and a single-handed axe. While both historical and archaeological sources indicate that the round shield was intended to be used actively, relatively little is known about the use of the single-handed axe. Building upon the concept of active shield use, this workshop will explore how the devastating force of the axe could have been used effectively with the round shield. One key principle we will be working with in this regard is the use of momentum in weaponry and bodily movement.

Suitable for :
This workshop will be held twice over the weekend : Once for a Beginners to Intermediate level and once for an Intermediate to Advanced level

Equipment required :
Round Shield & Axe - Weapons can be borrowed for this session, but these are limited. Do bring your own axe and/or round shield if you have any!


Workshop : Understanding the first play

Instructor : Herbert Schmidt

Description :
The first play of the I.33 is not only explained in the most detail, it also addresses the core of the system. Understanding the first play is the key to unlock the rest of the manuscript. In this workshop we will go through the first play step by step and have a deeper look not only at what is done and how – but mainly why. We will also have a look at different interpretations and compare them to what is in the manuscript, thus getting a deeper appreciation.

Suitable for :
This workshop will be held twice over the weekend : Once for a Beginners to Intermediate level and once for an Intermediate to Advanced level

Equipment required :
Sword and Buckler (mask optional)


Workshop : Appropinqua et recipe plagam!

Instructor : Cornelius Berthold

Description :
In fencing, it is certainly not enough to chain single techniques one after the other. What happens in the process of executing a given technique can be even more important. Whether or not a fighter can react to his opponent’s action very much depends on how he structures his body motions, both in spatial and temporal terms. In this workshop, we will apply this “micro perspective” to two very simple movements: taking a step forward and hitting the opponent in the head, as it can be seen in MS I.33, fol. 11v. We will see how an apparently banal technique can turn out to be quite challenging even if only few options are added to the situation. The aim of this workshop is not (only) to humble, but to make the participants aware of details that they might not have looked at in their training as of yet.

Suitable for :
Beginners and Intermediate Level

Equipment required :
Sword and Buckler


Workshop : Liga in dextris et in sinistris!

Instructor : Cornelius Berthold

Description :
There are four kinds of binds relevant to a buckler fencer, says the author of MS I.33’s text, e. g. when describing longpoint (fol. 17v): left and right, each of which can be a superior or inferior bind. From the illustrations alone it appears as if left and right binds are dealt with using decisively different weapon positions, unlike in German longsword/messer or Italian rapier, for instance. We will discuss the possible explanations in this workshop, taking into consideration the geometry of weapons and bodies. Gaining an understanding of how the space between two fighters has to be structured in order to succeed, we will see which religationes need to be executed in order to strike safely. It will also expand on a rather daring hypothesis on how to read the illustrations of MS I.33.

Suitable for :
Beginners and Intermediate Level

Equipment required :
Sword and Buckler


Workshop : Same same but different: Fighting with sword & buckler as or against a left-handed person

Instructor : Ingo Petrid

Description :
MS. I.33 solely contains techniques for a fight between right-handed fencers. These techniques also apply for a fight between left-handed fencers; they simply have to be mirrored. But fighting a left-handed fencer as a right-hander or vice versa is not addressed in MS I.33. In this workshop, we will see how the principles of MS I.33 can be applied to a fight between different-handed opponents: which elements stay the same and which have to be adapted to the changed geometry. This of course applies for fighting a left-handed fencer as a right-hander as well as fighting a right-handed fencer as a left-hander.

Suitable for :
Intermediate and Advanced Level

Equipment required :
Sword and Buckler


Workshop : Fiore's sword in one hand: tactics and techniques

Instructor : Luke Ireland

Description :
The four known copies of Fiore dei Liberi's the Flower of Battle are among the oldest surviving fightbooks in the world. The major sections of which cover unarmed grappling, dagger, sword in both one and two hands, as well as sword, pollaxe and spear in armour before finishing with mounted combat. In this workshop we shall be focussing on Fiore's sword in one hand section. Analysing the tactics and techniques to see how they fit within both Fiore's system and the wider context of Medieval fencing.

Suitable for :
This workshop will be held twice over the weekend : Once for a Beginners to Intermediate level and once for an Intermediate to Advanced level

Equipment required :
Longsword or arming sword, mask, gloves, jacket


Workshop : Spear and shield

Instructor : Lars Lind

Description :
Spear and shield was the most common weaponry combination for hundreds of years, but relatively little time and energy has been put into understanding how they were used. This session concentrates on the use of Viking Age round shields and spears in single combat though techniques used in formation will also be considered.

Suitable for :
Beginners and Intermediates

Equipment required :
A stave and round shield - Weapons can be borrowed for this session, but these are limited. Do bring your own stave and/or round shield if you have any!


Workshop : The earliest interpretation of I.33: Günterode's framea

Instructor : Antti Ijäs

Description :
Heinrich von Günterode is perhaps the earliest person to read I.33 in order to learn the secrets of ancient fencing. Writing in Latin in 1579, nine years after the publication of Joachim Meyer's Gründliche Beschreibung, Günterode criticises his German predecessor for not quite having grasped the true fundamentals of fencing, which Günterode claims to have discovered in I.33. Günterode's manuscript book includes illustrations and technical material not included in the heavily abridged printed book. In this workshop, we will cover some basic and intermediate techniques with the side-sword including the three options from the bind based on Günterode's manuscript book from 1579.

Suitable for :
Beginners and Intermediates

Equipment required :
A one-handed cut-and-thrust sword


Workshop : Talhofer´s free stances with the Buckler and with the Messer.

Instructor : Konrad Kessler

Description :
Hans Talhofer´s manuscripts depict a use of the buckler different from the techniques of that of Ms I.33. Talhofer fencing from the two free stances with the buckler and with the messer defer especially in the positioning of the buckler to protect the sword hand. Talhofer´s use of the buckler turns the small hand shield from a protective equipment into an adequate side weapon that is used tactically and offensive. This workshop will explore the difference in the positioning of the buckler in the two free stances and discuss the advantages and disadvantages, as well as develop some of the techniques from Talhofer´s manuscripts.

Suitable for :
Beginners and Intermediates

Equipment required :
Messer or single-handed sword and a Buckler