Schedule & Presentations


Pain & Gain in Fiore’s Abrazare – Kimberleigh Roseblade

Fiore always said that there are two types of Abrazare: that which we do with our friends for sport and for fun, and that which we do in true violence when our lives are on the line. When dealing with the second kind of Abrazare, Fiore sure does have some nasty ways to gain the upper hand when you come to the grapple- from groin kicks to eye gauges. In this workshop students will look at the Plays of Abrazare that specifically deal with using pain compliances to gain an advantage over your opponent. We will also look at other ways pain can be used to create an extra tempo, or to create the grease that allows other plays in Abrazare to be executed with ease. Students will get to use these pain compliances to flow into the other plays of Abrazare, specifically the plays that allow you to end the fight by taking your opponent to the ground.

This workshop requires either having previously taken FIORE’S FURIOUS FIVE, or intermediate knowledge of Fiore’s Abrazare plays

Crushing Your Enemies With the Three Principles of Salvator Fabris – Myles Cupp

Do you want to know how to destroy your opponents by following three simple rules? Whether it’s longsword, rapier, or whatever? Fabris and his students (in particular the Vienna Anonymous manuscript) describe many detailed concepts and techniques but these can be boiled down to three essential ideas:
1) Counterposture
2) The Sword is Strongest On the Side to Which It Points
3) Put Your Hilt Where Your Point Was

And that’s it – now you can destroy your enemies. Do you want to know more? Then come to the class.

No previous experience required. Masks, jacket, gloves, and a sword of any type are necessary – ideal if it is rapier.

Class Length Required: Basic principles can be demonstrated in 30 minutes – if students want time to practice then can be as long as you want.

Sieging with Walpurgis: Applying Longsword Guards in a Fight – Anthony Buonomo

MS I.33 is often overlooked source of historical concepts, the most basic of which is distinguishing between static safe positions (wards) and aggressive attack positions (sieges). This class will look at the traditional (German) longsword guards and look at them not only as defensive options, but how you can begin attacks using these static positions to close lines and force a specific engagement.

Coming to Grips: Exploring distance management to get up close and personal – Harold Vance III

We’ll work on making the space to enter into Ringen au Schwerdt techniques from Meyer’s 1570 Art of Combat and Bauman Fechtbuch (the Codex formerly known as Wallerstein). Participants should come prepared with their full HEMA kit.

Thibault: Murderous Nonchalance – Collin Vredenburg

In late 16th Century Europe a new meta in all things noble and good has arrived. After the publication of Castiglione’s “The Book of the Courtier” in 1528, the word Sprezzatura took hold in every royal and noble court across Europe, insisting that one who is noble and good at a task will be able to do it as if it were a mere triviality. By the time Thibault’s “Academy” was produced 100 years later, this art of not trying too hard had even come to fencing and informs both Thibault’s style of fencing and writing. Fitting with the Theme of IGX 2023, This class will teach the basics of Thibault’s style through the context of the now fully grown culture of Sprezzatura. It will cover the basics of Footwork and handwork, of defeating an enemy with minimal effort, and continue into actions of disarming or embarrassing an opponent, all without breaking a sweat.
Some Experience with Rapier is helpful, but not necessary.
Equipment Requirements: Mask, Jacket, Light Gloves, a one-handed sword of some kind (Some loaners can be provided but not many). Hard arm protection is recommended but not required.

One Strike to Rule Them All – Mike O’Brien

This class will cover Marozzo’s favorite attack with the sword and the buckler; thrusting the outside line. Here we will discuss what is the outside line, how to get there, and the multitude of second intentions, combos, and mix ups that he gives us for wounding our opponent through the use of the outside line attack. This is primarily focused on the use of the buckler, but is applicable to any style of shield.
Experience : Anyone
Equipment : Standard sparring kit, any type of 1 handed sword, any size shield (I will have a few available to borrow)

Struggle Snuggles: Unterhalten Pinning from Martin Huntsfeld – Chris Valli

In Ringen and dagger training, we often stop at the throw, but what can we do beyond that? This class will look at the groundwork and pinning techniques and counters (as well as some dirty tricks!) as described by Martin Huntsfeld. No prior wrestling and dagger experience necessary, but helpful. Mask and gloves highly recommended along with a dagger with sheath/belt. Some extras will be available

Falling flat and bouncing back: Striking with the flat in Meyer’s fencing – Philippe Mandeville

Exploring the strikes of the flat in Meyer’s works and their role in regards to the uses of a longsword in

Non-lethal longsword fencing according to Joachim Meyer

This class is an exploration of various nonlethal techniques in longsword fencing according to Joachim Meyer’s Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (1570).

The focus will be on strikes with the flat and various techniques that aim to injure or inflict a bleeding wound rather than to incapacitate your opponent. The plays presented are chosen to give an overview of techniques that are typical of Joachim Meyer’s longsword and as such are a good introduction to the system. As such the class is open to all fencers who are interested to start their journey in 16th century German fencing, or for more advanced practitioners who want a different perspective on Meyer’s longsword. Mask with back of the head protection is required, and heavy gloves are recommended (rigid medium gloves accepted).

Through this, we will explore the context of the practice of longsword fencing in late 16th century German society – Why strikes with the flat are accepted as part of the system, why thrusts are forbidden, the expectations of owning and carrying a weapon and more will be discussed in this class.

Conditioning for HEMA: how to build a framework for improving our physicality and fencing and what we can learn from historical and modern dance and exercise – Christian Buettner

There are no gear, skill, physical pre-requisites for this class. All are welcome.

The purpose of this class is to provide a framework to the question of ‘What should I do to improve my conditioning for fencing?’. Many students enter HEMA as a first real physical activity and need help understanding how to improve their general physical abilities. Others come in with 20 years of martial arts experience and body fluency and need help understanding how to improve what is needed specifically for HEMA. Both of these situations can be difficult for instructors to deal with. I will be providing a framework that would allow someone to set up a conditioning regimen for someone at any level of physical ability. I will be using 19th century exercise manuals as a guide to what historically was focused on to answer these questions and I will be using my experience as a dancer/dance instructor to show the benefits of seemingly unrelated cross-training and how that can be used to answer very specific movement questions for fencing.

While I have no requirements and can do this as a half lecture, half physical participation class if less conventional exercise equipment was available for people to try (Indian clubs, maces, weighted sticks, for example) that would be beneficial. I have these but the amount is limited.

This would be best done on level ground without too tall grass.

Dagger Drills for Functional Skills – Ian Davis

Description: This class will demonstrate and involve participation in competitive drills, technical and open sparring, pressure testing, and environmental considerations around the effective deployment of the dagger in a context of vertical grappling in self-defense and historical contexts of warfare. Specialized equipment will be demonstrated and used in these drills, so no need to bring anything. Some familiarity with Fiore’s dagger and wrestling is desirable, but not needed.

Train Your Superpowers: Hack Your Mental State to Improve Your Practice – Kiana Shurkin

There is a moment in your practice where your mind empties and your body just seems to know how to move, when you cease to overthink and simply become a living expression of your art.  Many cultures have terms for this experience- mushin, duende, being “in the zone”- but many of us strive for this state.

Whether in sparring, drilling, or competition, there are many times when a change of state can serve us.  Sometimes, we become too adrenalized and need to calm down; other times, it may take too long to ramp up.  Yet, it is often challenging to achieve and regulate specific states at will.  This workshop explores techniques that can be used to identify and intentionally change your state, then goes a step further with tools that empower you to create a personalized quick dial for the ones that best serve you.

All skill levels welcome.  Bring full kit to be able to participate in all exercises.

Starting at the Beginning: Dance frame and how it can inform our fencing – Christian Buettner

This class is about starting from the very basics of how do we stand and move and how do our biomechanical choices inform and define our fencing. This will be taught from the perspective of basic frame and movement in dancing and will then be applied to fencing. No dance or fencing experience is required.

While this is universally applicable across styles and weapons, including unarmed, it will be easiest of everyone has a longsword, and since we will engage with partners masks and gloves will help too.

Game Design Workshop: How To Actually Use CLA In The Real World – Sean Franklin

When someone learns about Constraints Lead Approaches their first reaction is usually “oh, that’s really cool”. And then a little bit later “ok, but how do I actually do this in practice?”. This will be a workshop focusing on developing your skills in game design to help make your sparring training much more effective. Full sparring gear is highly encouraged so you can make it a fully interactive experience. (Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of CLA, you’ll walk away from this with a pretty good idea of what it’s all about.)

Ballet For Swordfighters – Anna Beard

(no equipment or pre-requisite)

The connection between ballet and sword fighting is strong considering that even in Renaissance dance manuals, we are instructed on how to dance with a sword at our hip. That relationship only deepens as swordplay moved into more minute motions of the body. While taking a ballet class to improve sword training is a wonderful concept, the idea of stepping into a ballet class as a novice can be, to say the least, intimidating. This class is here to help! Ballet for Swordfighters is the brainchild of Anna Beard who is an avid ballet technique nerd, teaching methods nerd, history nerd and also sword nerd. Let’s just say she’s a nerd. What she wants to share in this unique class is an approach to movement that’s tailored to the needs of the swordfighter. Students will be guided through basic ballet technique (no experience necessary) as well as smatterings of modern dance to bring a higher awareness to weight shifting, body connectivity, and footwork to enhance their sword training. Come with an open mind and leave with an increased French verb vocabulary along with some spiffy new techniques that are sure to impress your friends. And maybe even your enemies.

Swagger and Skulduggery: Dirty Tricks in Sabre – Ian Crowe

If anyone is being honest, proper military sabre is not a complex weapon. You have an inside parry, and outside parry, a head parry, the matching attacks… and not much else. After all, it’s intended to be taught to large groups of men quickly. You don’t need a private thinking he’s Errol Flynn. But you’re not a private, at least most likely, and while you aren’t Errol Flynn you know what you’re doing. This class is aimed at making you better.

Using a sparring-game based set of lessons, this class aims to teach concepts that won’t show up in most infantry manuals. Distance traps, time changes, devious feints, and more. All the ways you can mess up your foes on the 19thC battlefield you so often find yourself on.

Requirements: Sabre or Sabre-Like-Object
Gear: Minimum is Shin guard, lead arm, gorget and mask but more lets you up the intensity

Two Heads are Better Than One: Introduction to Pascha’s Jaegerstock (Double-headed Spear) – Justin Aucoin

Want to hold off 30 swordfighters with just a stick? Mid-17th Century fencing master Johann Georg Pascha claims you can do just that with the jaegerstock, a double-ended spear sometimes referred to as a hunting staff or the French’s baton a deux bouts. This workshop will cover the general techniques presented by Pascha (including thrusts, strikes, and overhead blows), as well as some specific “lessons” he presents in his book to keep a swarm of enemies at bay.

Fencers should bring a wooden staff approx. 6-7′ in length (they don’t need to have spear heads). Limited loaner staffs/spears will be available. This is a non-contact class primarily focused on solo drills presented by Pascha, but we may do some very slow and controlled demo group work, so bring a mask, padded gloves and single-handed sword just in case.

[[Note to IGX Staff: I would need a lot of room for this; assuming we’re at the same location and using the same areas, I don’t think it’d be an issue, but folks will be taking big hews and swings.]]

Drill bits: Choosing the right tool for the job – Mariana Lopez

In this workshop, we will explore fencing pedagogy and how to properly build fencing games and drills that will, in fact, translate into good fencing. From understanding how learning works to how to differentiate the various stages of drilling, students should leave the class able to create structures that allow skills build in isolation to be easily performed in stress scenarios such as free fencing and tournaments.
By the end of the class, students will have built a game that goes through all of these stages and with a full understanding of how to build up a single game into different levels of skill.

Full gear

Tolkien About Fiore: Some Thoughts on Fiore’s Characters – Joe North

Fiore presents his martial system in a very distinctive way: rather than telling us everything in his own voice, he puts many of his most important pieces of advice in the mouths of fictional characters: “Masters’, ‘Students,’ ‘Remedy Masters,’ and so on. What gives? Why might he have done this, and what does it achieve? What can we learn about Fiore’s system, about the cultural context in which he developed it, and maybe even about late 14th/early 15th century martial arts in general by thinking carefully about the way he presents his system?

I should admit right up front that I don’t have any especially brilliant answers to offer here, but I think the questions are worth asking, To ask them properly, I’d’ like to compare Fiore’s way of using characters to a few other texts with which people might be familiar: first Tolkien (just for fun), and then some charismatic late14th/early 15th century texts, chiefly various versions of the ‘Danse Macabre’ (Dance of Death).

Don’t Use Your Glove As A Pledge: Legal Dueling According to Achille Marozzo – Kara Hurvitz

The fifth book of Marozzo’s Opera Nova contains a great deal of discussion regarding the laws and mores of dueling in Bologna at the time of writing. This provides considerable context for the culture of arms in which Marozzo was living and working.

Despite the rich cultural context provided by this section, no full translation of it into English has been made available in translated works of the Opera Nova. As both a fencer and a lawyer with a strong interest in history, I am currently working on a long-term translation of this section of the fifth book.

This lecture will be designed to provide partial translation, as well as additional information and historical notes, regarding the Libro Quinto and legal dueling according to Achille Marozzo, Noted Man of Few (Million) Words.

The Evolution of Swordsmithing: Iron Age through Today – Alex Silverman

A lecture on the history of the craft and manufacture of swords starting with the late bronze and early iron ages all the way through to the modern resurgence of the craft. Topics covered will include pivotal developments in smithing techniques, technology, and metallurgy, cultural and geographic differences and similarities in Swordsmithing and design through the ages, how blade geometry and design influences the deployment of technique and how that technique influences future blade design and confronting myths about swords and Swordsmithing perpetuated and at times created by pop-culture such as Hollywood, Table Top RPG’s, and the Medieval fantasy genre as a whole.
All are welcome to join, regardless of level or experience, and should be expected to bring with them an inquisitive mind and a fascination with history.

As an aside, I could also give a demonstration with a mobile forge and anvil, but I would have to know in advance and have a guarantee for sufficient outdoor space.

The Speaking Window: Ethics, communication, consent and culture in martial arts – John “Pax” Crum

A lecture and discussion about ethics, communication, consent and culture of modern swordsmanship and martial arts. It covers inclusion, language, coaching and includes multiple contexts, from combatives/self-defense to competition and martial arts as exercise or self-cultvation. It also provides talk on the nature of combative sports in the law, and alternate disciplines for students whose goals may not align with a club.

Saga Storytime with SigrikR – Ian Crowe

If the sagas had been written in a language more widely spoken, they’d be likely heralded as spectacular works of medieval literature. Or so a handful of very annoyed saga professors would tell you. The reality is, however, since they were the “pop culture” of the time, they serve as a window into the cultural attitudes of Early Medieval Iceland. Which was violent. Very violent. And quite frankly, absurd. Every wanted to hear about someone skiing down a hill on a spear? Throwing a tooth (saved from a previous fight) so hard it knocks out an eye? Making cheesy, marvel-style quips at the worst times? The Sagas have it all.

This lecture aims to take the best scenes from the Icelandic Sagas and show that no, Hollywood absolutely does not have the monopoly on stupid action scenes. Where possible, we might even find that the same story played out in real life as in the sagas. And all of it will wrap back to showing that Medieval Icelanders weren’t really all that different than us.

Requirements: Chair, weather-appropriate clothing, suitable beverage

Polearm Party – Kyle Toelle

In this class we will be covering the basics of polearms use, across multiple types of weapons and applications. Students will learn and practice basic guards, attacks, defenses, and counters. This class utilizes perspectives/techniques from several German masters. Students can have little to no experience with polearms to sign up. This is intended for basic-intermediate levels. Students must have mask, gloves, and forearm protection. Recommended equipment, jacket, gorget, shin guards. Contact Level: Light-Moderate. Students can expect low impact falls during class (knowing how to break fall strongly suggested).