Short Biography: Johann Justus Runkel (1751-1808)

Signature of J.J. Runkel. Image from the Swords Collection blog.

I am interested in working with antique swords, since studying the original items can tell us much about the construction and use of swords in history. I have a small (but growing!) collection of antique swords, and some of them bear a signature on the spines of the blades, indicating that a “J.J. Runkel” had something to do with the manufacture or sale of the swords. This was an avenue for research, and so I endeavoured to find out more about this person, so that I could understand the antique swords in my collection a little better. This article presents my findings as a short biography of this interesting character from history.

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The value of HEMA in the modern world

Keith Farrell and Jacopo Penso at TaurHEMAchia 2017. Photo by Andrea Boschetti, 2017.

What is the value of HEMA in the modern world? Why is it worth spending so much time (and so much money) in the pursuit of this activity? Why do we undertake such physical and mental exertion to do what we do? Why not just go to the pub directly and cut out the middle-man of training?

I believe that the answer to all of these questions is that the practice of HEMA is incredibly valuable to everyone who participates, and it helps us all become better people. That is why I spend so much time, effort, and money in the practice and teaching of HEMA, because I believe it enriches my life and the lives of those around me.

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Doing it right, or just doing it

Mark Wilkie and Keith Farrell fencing on the banks of Loch Lomond. Photo by Daria Izdebska, 2012.

This article was originally posted on Encased in Steel on the 1st of January 2016. It has been modified a little for reposting here.

One of the ideas that causes problems for a lot of people across the world is the idea that whatever you want to do has to be right, or perfect, before you begin.

People delay opening a business until the “perfect” moment, and then never quite manage to open up. People keep planning their novel, adding more and more detail to their world, but never quite end up writing the story. People decide that they don’t want to put themselves forward as an instructor of HEMA until they understand it properly – and so clubs never quite take off.

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Five solo practice drills: Scottish broadsword

Keith Farrell and Mark Wilkie fencing with sabres at Edgebana. Photo by Thomas Naylor, 2015.

This article was originally posted on Encased in Steel on 23rd September 2016. It has been modified a little for reposting here.

If you spend time working on your skills in between your regular weekly sessions, your skill will develop more swiftly, and you will find yourself better able to learn from your regular lessons.

Here are five solo practice drills that you can do at home to help improve your basic skills.

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Five solo practice drills: longsword

Keith Farrell cutting with a sharp longsword. Photo by Daria Izdebska, 2017.

This article was originally posted on Encased in Steel on 21st October 2016. It has been modified a little for reposting here.

If you spend time working on your skills in between your regular weekly sessions, your skill will develop more swiftly, and you will find yourself better able to learn from your regular lessons.

Here are some solo practice drills that you can do at home to help improve your basic skills.

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The importance of books 36: Roberto Martinez-Loyo

Image by Thomas Kelley, from unsplash.com

This is a series of interviews with well-known HEMA practitioners from around the world. The subject is the importance of books in the HEMA community. Personally, I think books are immensely important to the community (and in general!), but I am interested to find out more about how other people see the issue.

This week’s interview is with Roberto Martinez-Loyo, who is a well-known international instructor and competitor.

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