3rd International Historical European Martial Arts Gathering in Saint-Cergue – 20th, 21st and 22nd of January 2017


Gemeyn Fechten, common fencing shown by the Germanic sources (15th-16th Centuries) 

Centre du Vallon, Saint-Cergue

After the success of the two first international HEMA gatherings in Saint-Cergue (Hugo Wittenwiler in 2012, and Fiore vs. Lichtenauer in 2014), the 3rd international HEMA gathering in Saint-Cergue 2017 will celebrate “gemeyn fechten”, or common fencing, shown by German sources. The specificity of the event, beside its setting and charm (Swiss mountains during the winter), lies in the fact that it combines practice, researche and shared exchanges. The four guest instructors will give specific workshops over the course of the weekend, and will also discuss and explain the sources during two round-table discussions on Friday and Saturday night.

The chosen topic of this edition will allow the participants to look into an essential issue to the rediscovery of this martial art: the “common” level of practice of combat techniques. Indeed, the fencing masters who authored the widespread sources we use wrote down their “secret” techniques intended to give an edge over an opponent who had not received their teachings. Germanic sources of the period mostly trace back to the teachings of a first master, Johannes Lichtenauer, who is considered the author of a combat system characterised by five mastercuts which dominated the martial discourse during the period between 1389 and 1612. We will focus on a group of sources which does not follow this tradition and which has been studied within limited specialized circles, but which appears to be of great interest to grasp the more common practices. In opposition to the interpretation works based on the “Lichtenauer” system, the research and practice of a more simple fencing is therefore essential to the comprehension of the longsword discipline.

The selected instructors have been chosen by a committee lead by Dr. Daniel Jaquet. The presented panel thus represents an exceptional choice of instructors and researchers, setting the event in Saint-Cergue at the forefront of research and HEMA practice internationally.

Sources discussed at the event

Hugo Wittenwiller, 1462-1493. (München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cgm 558)

Martin Sieber, 1491 (Salzburg, Universitätsbibliothek, M.I.29).

Anonymous, 1500-1530 (Köln, Historisches Archiv, Best. 7020)

Andre Paurnfeindt, Ergrundung Ritterlicher kunst der Fechterey, Wien, Hieronymos Vetor, 1516.

The instructors

i1Jake Norwood has presented his approach to Kunst des Fechtens, or the Art of Fighting, at workshops and conferences across Germany, Sweden Canada, and the United States. He is the head instructor at Capital Kunst des Fechtens and founder of Maryland Kunst des Fechtens, both in the Washington, D.C. area. Jake is a current board member 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. He is the director of the Longpoint HEMA Tournament in Baltimore, featured in the New York Times. Jake Norwood is also an internationally-known competitor and instructor in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), with over a 20 medals from national and international full-contact competitions in Longsword, Military Saber, Dussack, and target cutting since 2010.

i2Keith Farrell is one of the senior instructors for the Academy of Historical Arts, based in Scotland. He teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events, and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. He has authored Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick and the AHA German Longsword Study Guide, and is one of the regular contributors to the Encased in Steel online blog. He has been a member of HEMAC since 2011, and was awarded a HEMA Scholar Award for Best Instructor for research published in 2013.

i3Olivier Dupuis started swordfighting in 1992 in a re-enactment group, and never stopped teaching other people doing that since 1994. In parallel, he discovered French stick fencing in 1996, became federal teacher in 2000 and obtained in 2004 a professional diploma, something equivalent to a fencing master grade. He discovered HEMA in 1999 but only began to study them seriously since 2001. He is also a member of HEMAC, the Historical European Martial Arts Coalition, and has transcribed a few manuscripts, mostly French but also German and made them publicly available. He also published several articles dedicated to the practise of fencing during the Medieval and Renaissance times in France and Germany and has been awarded with the HEMA Scholar award in 2015.

dieterDieter Bachmann (1973) has been training historical fencing since 2002. He has an education as a philologist and was attracted to the historical texts as well as to the showmanship of staged fights. He has been focussing mainly on the German manuals and has been training mostly longsword and sword-and-buckler. Although he will still greatly enjoy a well-staged over-the-top showfight, during the last few years put more emphasis on understanding the martial qualities of the old masters. He is teaching a small club in Wetzikon, Switzerland.


Friday 20th of January 2017
From 5 PM onwards: reception; round-table discussion 1

Saturday 21st of January 2017
From 9 AM onwards: Workshops 1 and 2; round-table discussion 2

Sunday 22nd of January 2017
From 9 AM onwards: Workshops 3 and 4


Beginning of the online registrations:  8th of November 2016

Closing date for registrations: 8th of January 2017

Registrations are limited to 60 participants. Sign up quickly!

This meeting is mainly intended for advanced or intermediate martial artists, but is also open to beginners

Required equipment: Sport clothes, indoor sport shoes which do not leave marks on the floor, mask and gloves, body protection (only for sparring)

Sword simulators: longsword or fechtschwert

Workshops will be given in English, German or French.