These are the currently scheduled classes for AWMAC 2019. Please keep checking back as we add to our teaching schedule over the coming months.

Times for these classes can be found in the draft schedule for AWMAC 2019.

432 techniques in 2 hours

Instructor: Nelson McGuigan, Melbourne Messer Club
Weapons covered: Messer
Equipment requirements: Any one-handed sword.
Required Experience: Suitable for all levels of fencer

Leckuchner’s book, “Art of Messer-Fencing”, contains 432 pages of techniques, covering all manner of striking, disarming, throwing, joint-locking, restraining and disabling, both in lethal and non-lethal applications. Due to the unorganised nature of the text, it takes most beginners at least a year to grasp the majority of its content. After a year-long project to distill the text into simple systems, Nelson is now able to teach it in condensed form, in only 2 hours. He’s read the book so you don’t have to.

82% Fake, an introduction to Slavic sabre

Instructor: Kezia Baxter & Dan Collins, Stoccata School of Defence
Weapons covered: Shashka, Polish sabre, Hungarian sabre
Equipment requirements: Ideally please bring a curved single blade sword or single stick and mask. Minimal equipment available.
Required Experience: Suitable for all levels of fencer

Do you think conjecture is superior to knowledge, do you think sources are for cowards?

Presenting three Slavic sabre traditions with little to no historical documentation. Based on trial and error informed by the few sources we have available, we have created a semi-functioning system that can be taught quickly and have you swinging your sabre above your head toward the peasantry in no time.

Look ma, no hand protection! Shashka according to Sholokov.
I can’t believe it’s not Dussack, Polish Sabre according to Richard Marsden.
Stab them with the curvy bit, introducing Hungarian Sabre.

Attacking the Openings

Instructor: Mark Holgate, Adelaide Sword Academy
Weapons covered: Single sword and Longsword
Equipment requirements: Longsword / Feder or trainer, mask and gloves
Required Experience: Suitable for all levels of fencer

In the Liechtenaur lineage, we are often told to attack the openings, but many fencers struggle to attack anything but their high dominant side safely. How are we do and train it? This workshop will use the Meyer square as dynamic way, starting with the pattern itself and adding variations that suit our strategic and tactical purposes. We will also be looking at depth at some of the footwork patterns we need to enter against our opponents, strike and exit safely. And we wont stop moving and working against our opponent.

Bâton à deux bouts and Bastone, historical solo form exercises

Instructor: Graeme Anderson, Independent Researcher
Weapons covered: chin height to quarterstaff length staves
Equipment requirements: a broomstick or halfstaff / quarterstaff, ordinary protective equipment for dry drills optional, some sticks provided.
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

A selection of solo and dry training exercises used for the Bâton à deux bouts or Bastone staff, with similarities to the Montante and Spadone exercises.

Please note this class is being offered over two sessions.

Bolognese Polearms – an introduction

Instructor: Richard Cullinan, Stoccata Drummoyne & Rhodes
Weapons covered:  partisan, ronca, speido and javelin
Equipment requirements:  Mask, gloves (padded gloves recommended, pole / staff of around 2.4 – 2.7 m (some loaners will be available.)
Required Experience: Beginner students

The treatises of Antonio Manciolino (Opera Nova, 1531) and Achille Marozzo (Opera Nova, 1536) both provide detailed instruction on the use of polearms such as partisan, ronca, speido and javelin. These weapons are all taught using a common framework with small variations in their use due to the different polearm heads. This class will focus on the common actions for all polearms, with some brief exploration of how the differing polearm types may be used.

Clinch Fundamentals – From the Inside out

Instructor:  Toby Lunn, Big Tree Combat Club
Weapons covered:  Longsword
Equipment requirements:  Longsword , mask , light gloves
Required Experience: Beginner students

This class is designed to teach HEMA practitioners practical clinch skills from Western wrestling. The class covers basic control points and a general clinch breakdown , striking and takedown principles for longsword clinches (no actual takedowns in session) and finally how to safely obtain clinches and enter with a longsword.

This class is primarily wrestling training done at low intensity with no takedowns. For regular healthy adults this should not place undue stress on the body. However anyone with serious neck issues or uncomfortable with wrestling for any reason should consider if the session will be suitable for them.

Coaching for Performance

Instructor:  Linda Ramsbottom, Stoccata Drummoyne
Weapons covered:  Open to all weapons forms
Equipment requirements:  Equipment and weapons for the combat forms they wish to work on.
Required Experience: Intermediate to Advanced students

Need to plan your own development or perhaps help your students with their progress? This three part workshop will provide tools and skills necessary to evaluate performance, give effective feedback and develop coaching plans to enhance development of yourself and your students.

This workshop includes sparring for performance analysis.

English broadsword system of Zach Wylde – 1711

Instructor: Matthew Boyd, Stoccata Launceston & Longford
Weapons covered: English broadsword / backsword
Equipment requirements: Mask, gloves, broadsword or backsword, sabre with shell guard.
Required Experience: Beginner students

Zach Wylde published his treatise The English Master of Defence in 1711. He may be considered one of the last of the renaissance writers of the science of defence as he seeks to round the student out with a variety of weapons and skills, namely smallsword, broadsword, quarterstaff and wrestling.

The broadsword class will examine the stances, guards, drills and footwork of Wylde’s system then apply these to his concepts of true and false play.

English Quarterstaff system of Zach Wylde – 1711

Instructor: Matthew Boyd, Stoccata Launceston & Longford
Weapons covered: Quarterstaff
Equipment requirements: Mask, gloves, staff 6′-8′ with 7′ being standard
Required Experience: Beginner students

Zach Wylde published his treatise The English Master of Defence in 1711. He may be considered one of the last of the renaissance writers of the science of defence as he seeks to round the student out with a variety of weapons and skills, namely smallsword, broadsword, quarterstaff and wrestling.

The quarterstaff class builds on Wylde’s broadsword teaching (attendance at the broadsword class isn’t essential). Wylde states that the quarterstaff is a true British weapon and once understood you may laugh and bid defiance to any other weapon. This class looks at applying Wylde’s footwork, guards and techniques to both half-staff and quarterstaff defence.

Fencing the Five Words

Instructor: James Buchanan, Fechtschule Victoria
Weapons covered: Longsword primarily, but all weapons are welcome.
Equipment requirements: Weapon, Mask, Protective gloves.
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

Liechtenauer’s Five Words (Vor, Nach, Schweck, Sterck, Indes) are the foundation of his system and have applicability in every lesson. This workshop will explore a broader understanding of these words, particularly:

  • the conversation of Vor and Nach, and how we can communicate our intentions or read our opponents;
  • the distances of Schweck and Sterck and how long and short interact with weak and strong, Vor and Nach; and
  • the mindset required to be Indes, in the moment and acting immediately.

Hopefully this workshop will provide new ways to appreciate these Five Words, so we can apply them more broadly in our fencing.

Fix My Drills!

Instructor: Richard Cullinan, Stoccata Drummoyne
Weapons covered: All weapons
Equipment requirements: Preferred weapon combination, mask, gloves, fencing jacket
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

By special request from the female fencers of Stoccata! This is a Q&A workshop for fencers struggling with certain drills, or aspects of their preferred weapons combinations. Using some basic biomechanics principles, we’ll look at how we can adapt your drills for relative strength needs and body shape, so that you can get a lot more out of your fencing. This session is for those interested in the idea of changing drills and body motions for their shape. Be prepared to throw out a question about something that doesn’t work for you and then we’ll use the body mechanics stuff to try and correct it, or improve it! The core principle here is to understand “How do I change this to work with my body?”. Whilst this is primarily as a request from some of our women, the class is gender neutral to try and help everyone in the class.

Get Bendy with your Friendys

Instructor: Lauren Ings, Stoccata School of Defence
Weapons covered: Nil
Equipment requirements: Nil
Required Experience: Nil

Hey you! Wanna stretch so you hurt less?
Sounds like a good plan.
Come to Get Bendy with your Friendys!
We cater the stretches to the classes needs and requirements!.
Please make sure at the beginning of class to let Lauren know about any injuries, pain or restrictions in movements.
Warm up, cool down, and feel good!

Note: This class is for stretching, not conditioning, unless specifically requested.

Highland Broadsword and Targe

Instructor: Paul Wagner, Stoccata School of Defence
Weapons covered: Broadsword and Targe
Equipment requirements: Mask, A sword (ideally a broadsword, by any single-handed sword will do), and a targe (numerous spares are available if you don’t own one)
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

The targe was a small round wooden shield, used in conjunction with the Highland Broadsword by Gaelic warriors from the 16th to the 18th century. The techniques are recorded in a series of plays in Thomas Page’s Use of the Broad Sword, plus a little additional material in McBane and contemporary iconography. This was a military system, designed to be played under the pressure of battlefield conditions where the luxury of “keeping distance” and duelling was not available.

This class will introduce students to the basic plays of the targe, with particular reference to the conditions of use.

Irish Stick Fighting: The Fun of the Fair!

Instructor: Paul Wagner, Stoccata School of Defence
Weapons covered: Shillelagh
Equipment requirements: Fencing Mask, Padded Gloves / Gauntlets, If you want to provide your own stick, a straight 4 foot length of well-seasoned privet is ideal.
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

The Shillelagh or Bata was the traditional Irish walking stick that came to prominence during the 18th and 19th century. The Irish had a long history of using sticks and clubs as weapons, and are mentioned in ancient Irish tales (“each of the thrice fifty attendant of the hospitaller Da Derga held in his hand a great club of blackthorn with a band of iron”). The Shillelagh was the primary weapon in the “faction fights” that began in Ireland in the early 1700s. These fights often involved dozens, sometimes hundreds, and occasionally thousands of people on sides known as “factions.” Even though they accounted for over 40% of Ireland’s homicides between 1866 and 1892, Faction fighting was officially “nothing more than a crude and dangerous form of sport”; a death during a faction fight was considered accidental, and prosecutions were rare. The participants fought at their own risk, and one factioner charged with manslaughter defended himself thus;

You heard the doctor swearing that the deceased had a very thin skull. I put it to you in all fairness, me lord, that if he had a very thin skull, the fair of Cappawhite was no place for him to be!

Towards the end of the 19th century, as Irish nationalism once more gained in popularity. By the 1880’s the strange social phenomenon of faction fighting had ended, although one old Irishman is recorded as reminiscing;

The faction fighting days did one thing anyway, they weeded out those with soft heads

The basics of bataireacht (stick-fighting) are recorded in a few 19th century manuals, such as Allanson-Winn and Donald Walker, as well as some systems claiming a living lineage. This class will introduce participants to the fundamental blows and defences, and finish with an all-in Faction Fight.

Italian Rapier & Dagger

Instructor: Richard Cullinan, Stoccata Drummoyne
Weapons covered: rapier & dagger
Equipment requirements: rapier, dagger, mask, gloves, fencing jacket
Required Experience: Intermediate, students should ideally be familiar with Italian single rapier fencing, or a thrust orientated sword system.

The rapier and dagger has become synonymous with Italian fencing of the 17th Century. Masters such as Giganti, Capoferro, and Fabris all provided us with detailed instructions on how to use this weapon combination. In this class we’ll be concentrating on the use of the dagger to control our opponent’s sword, particularly focusing on the use of stesso tempo responses.

How to train the dagger – a biomechanical approach

Instructor: Stuart McDermid, Stoccata Baulkham Hills / Strathfield
Weapons covered: Dagger
Equipment requirements: Dagger – boffer daggers will be provided. It is recommended though that you make your own.
Required Experience: Anyone can play but you will need to be free of injuries that preclude joint locks and gentle falls.

Training the dagger can be difficult and frustrating. Fencing is (relatively) easily transmitted via text and pictures, but dagger play (much like wrestling) is best transmitted by touch. This workshop seeks to hack dagger training by mapping the way the body works to find the most efficient way to make techniques work. The workshop is suitable for people of all levels and will help everyone who likes to wrestle, play with daggers, or grapple at the sword.

Make Messer Actually Work

Instructor: Nelson McGuigan, Melbourne Messer Club
Weapons covered: Messer
Equipment requirements: Any one-handed sword.
Required Experience: Suitable for all levels of fencer

Leckuchner’s Messer is characterised by unusual and flashy techniques. Barrages of short edge cuts, complex bladework, and explosive throws are par for the course. However, most quickly find that even though they’ve learned the moves, they can’t pull them off against an uncooperative and skilled opponent. In this workshop, Nelson will outline the crucial parameters behind making advanced techniques work, and advise on how to train them until they’re automatic.

Now Witness the Power of this Fully Armed and Operational Buckler!

Instructor: Paul Wagner, Stoccata School of Defence
Weapons covered: Sword & Buckler
Equipment requirements: Mask, and swords
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

During the 16th century, the English Buckler underwent a rather dramatic change in design. John Stowe wrote “And whereas untill about the twelfe or thirteenth yeere of Queene Elizabeth, the auncient English fight, of Sworde, and Buckler, was only had in use, the Bucklers then beeing but a foote broad, with a pike of 4. or 5. Inches long, then they beganne to make them full half ell broad, with sharp pikes 10. or 12. Inches long, where with they ment eyther to breake the swordes of their enemies, it if hitte uppon the pike, or els sodainely to runne within them and stabbe, and thrust their Buckler with the pike, into the Face, arme, or Body of their adversay;…every haberdasher then sold Bucklers.”

This change in buckler size and shape was necessary to accommodate the basket-hilted backsword, but had a profound effect on the way the buckler was held and wielded. This class will explore the Elizabethan Sword and Buckler fight, from the days of classic “Swashbuckling” when “all the high streetes, were much annoyed and troubled with hourely frayes, of sword and buckler men, who tooke pleasure in that bragging fight; and although they made great shew of much furie, and fought often. Yet seldome any man hurt….”

One Small Step From Drills to Freeplay

Instructor: Gindi Wauchope, The School of Historical Fencing
Weapons covered: Single Sword, Two handed sword
Equipment requirements: Single Sword or Two handed sword, mask, gloves
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

We practice drills and fight our friends in free play but how often do pull off a by the book technique in sparring? This class will show a variety of strategies and exercises for making the transition from learning the mechanics of an action to it’s execution in free fencing.

Principles of Timing in fencing (Mixed weapons)

Instructor: Stephen Hand, Stoccata Hobart
Weapons covered: All
Equipment requirements: Nil
Required Experience: Nil

A lecture outlining how both English and Italian principles of timing derive from Aristotle’s Physics and what this means for actual fencing, regardless of country, period or system.

Provoke, Deceive and Succeed!

Instructor: Mark Holgate, Adelaide Sword Academy
Weapons covered: Single sword and Longsword
Equipment requirements: Single handed sword, Longsword, fencing mask, gloves
Required Experience: Basic competency with either longsword or single sword

What’s the best way to strike your opponent? Hit them where they are not expecting it! This workshop will teach you to provoke, deceive and mislead your opponent, and to protect yourself from being bamboozled. We will be exploring these techniques with both longswords and single handers.

P.S. Clowning may occur. 😉

Sabre Training

Instructor: Michal Sadowski, CWH Esillon
Weapons covered: Sabre
Equipment requirements: Sabre, mask, glove
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

Fighting techniques for a sabre, based upon Polish sabre methods described by Wojciech Zabłocki.

Smallsword and why you should study it.

Instructor: Stuart McDermid, Stoccata Baulkham Hills / Strathfield
Weapons covered: Smallsword
Equipment requirements: A limited number of foils will be available. If you have one, please bring it.
Required Experience: Intermediate students

Smallsword is a much-maligned area of study in HEMA due to it’s similarity to Modern Olympic Fencing. In this workshop, we will learn why the smallsword is a great weapon to work with, and what effect it will have on your overall game whilst we build some foundational skills.

Strette di Meza Spada – Grappling with swords

Instructor: Gindi Wauchope, The School of Historical Fencing
Weapons covered: Single Sword, Two handed sword
Equipment requirements: Single Sword, Two handed sword, mask, gloves
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

Crossing swords middle to middle is a dangerous and exciting place to play. This class will explore the strategies for success when death by thrust is on the line and nothing short of dumping your opponent to the earth will satisfy. The primary sources used are those of Achille Marozzo (Two handed sword), and Giovanni dall’Agocchie (single sword).

Time and distance and how they effect choice of action and even system in rapier fencing

Instructor: Stephen Hand, Stoccata Hobart
Weapons covered: Rapier
Equipment requirements: Rapier, mask, gloves, jacket, gorget
Required Experience: Intermediate to Advanced students

An understanding of distance and the timing that arises from it is critical to understanding what actions will work in any fencing. In rapier fencing, a poor understanding of time and distance can lead to fencing at a distance that makes many common actions problematic. It has even led to the development of a system optimised for use against fencers who don’t understand how to apply time and distance to fencing effectively. This class will examine the problems created for good rapier fencers by opponents with a poor understanding of time and distance and historical methods of dealing with them.

Traversing the gap between drilling and sparring with fundamentals

Instructor: Mady Kelly, MSS – Melbourne Fencing Society
Weapons covered: My experience is in longsword, however, this class it not weapon specific
Equipment requirements: helmet, gloves, training weapon (two handed or single handed sword), further gear is optional
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

Sparring is generally perceived as the end goal of drilling HEMA techniques. However, in my experience there is rarely transitional drills or exercises in place to help newer HEMA practitioners begin sparring and transferring technical skills into sparring. This is particularly a problem for many women, who may not have been socialised to deal with a combative environment. The workshop aims to provide a toolkit for those less experienced in sparring and coaches looking to help others into sparring by providing a number of exercises games that focus on some of the fundamentals of sparring and fencing in general.

I am particularly interested in promoting structures to help women further their involvement in HEMA, however, this class is open to all sexes.

Viking Age sword, spear and shield

Instructor: Peter Radvan, Stoccata School of Defence
Weapons covered: Large round shield, one handed spear and cross hilt sword.
Equipment requirements: Mask and gloves + light body kit; large round shield, spear, cross hilt sword. A number of shields and spears will be available for those without these items.
Required Experience: Beginner to Advanced students

An introductory workshop on large round shield with one-handed spear/short sword.

When Fiore met Yang Luchan

Instructor: Shay McAulay, School of Historical Defence Arts
Weapons covered: Unarmed, Dagger, and Longsword
Equipment requirements: A Rondel Dagger and Longsword (or training equivalents)
Required Experience: Intermediate to Advanced students

This will be a look into how the Fundamental’s of Tai Chi bio mechanics can be applied to Fiore’s longsword and the improvements in structure that this brings.

We will start by looking at the principles and how they apply and then applying them when we work through a number of Fiore’s plays, from both dagger and unarmed.