The importance of books 19: Kristine Konsmo

Image by Thomas Kelley, from

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.