The importance of books 31: Ties Kool

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 Ties Kool, 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?

Do you mean reprints? or translations? or interpretations? I think they all have value, but, people need to realise that some modern books are just other people’s interpretations of something. That’s why I always prefer to have the original text, the translation, and then if necessary the interpretation.

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

For me it wasn’t so much a book, in my first years I’ve never even seen a book. Later I got more busy with books, the main ones for me were:

– David Lindholm and Peter Svard’s Sigmund Ringeck’s Knightly Art of the Longsword

Codex Wallerstein, by Grzegorz Zabinski and Bartlomiej Walczak

– and also an older reprint of Nicolaes Petter.

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?

I’d say its Forgeng’s reprint of Meyer because it’s a very clear book on its own, and Meyer’s work is easy to work with (at least most of it).

Codex Wallerstein that I mentioned earlier because it gives me exactly what I want, the old German text, modern German translation and English translation together with often clear pictures.

The Works of Siebenhaar by Reinier van Noort because it’s a nice little sabre book that we work with.

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

Not that I know of right now. I know there are plenty of texts still not available, but we already have a lot to work with. There are so many translations already available from different sources (mostly just available online though), that I think there is a lot for us now to work on; for example, suddenly having 30 extra longsword texts will give us a better idea of the links between the manuals for sure, but I think we don’t really understand all that we have at the moment.

Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers.

I have authored Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick and the award-winning AHA German Longsword Study Guide, and maintain a blog at where I post regularly.