The importance of books 19: Kristine Konsmo

Kristine Konsmo. Image by Bec Campbell, from Facebook.

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 Kristine Konsmo, who is a well-known international instructor and competitor.

1) Do you feel that modern publications are valuable for the HEMA community? Whether yes or no, can you explain your answer briefly?

Yes, it lowers barriers to reading and taking initiative on one’s own. From there it’s less intimidating to look at the original manuscripts.

2) Was there a book that inspired you to become involved in HEMA, or that inspired you to study HEMA more seriously than before?

No book in particular, no. But David Rawlings’ DVD, Obsesseo, was a big motivator for me to study I.33 more seriously. I was like, “Hm, I wonder if I agree with him? I should look at the manuscript myself.” And, of course, I didn’t agree with all his interpretations, but I did on quite a few, and that just made me want to look deeper.

3) Can you list between three and five books that you feel are invaluable to your study of HEMA, and say something briefly about why each book is so important to you?

No, there are, in my opinion, no good modern books on I.33.

4) Are there any kinds of publications you would like to see become available to the community?

I’d like to see modern publications on things like footwork and general fencing strategy. Also, books on how to train, diet, etc. would be valuable for the community at large and transcend weapon divides.



Keith Farrell is one of the senior instructors for the Academy of Historical Arts. 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.