The importance of books 35: Mishaël Lopes Cardozo

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 Mishaël Lopes Cardozo, 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?

I think they are valuable. In the first place for marketing purposes. The more books on HEMA are out there the better. Second for the beginning student buying a contemporary book on HEMA is a less difficult threshold than starting with scrolling on internet and downloading a manuscript.

For the advanced student of the art, it’s interesting to see another perspective on HEMA material than your own.

But I also believe that spending more time on books than hours in the gym is not the way for a contemporary HEMA practitioner.

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

Like for many of HEMA guys from the first generation, it was John Clements that started the path. I was investigating if something had survived from our martial heritage and ended up on the HACA site. John’s book on the longsword was my first book and gave rise to a new chapter in my life.

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?

After reading a lot I still think that Peter von Danzig from Dierk Hagedorn, is excellent for the experienced HEMA practitioner.

And Meyer’s Art of Combat from Jeffrey Forgeng.

Secrets of German Medieval Swordmanship from Tobler is good for a beginning student to get a feel for the German fencing.

Anyone publishing Fiore I could also recommend as I believe the tricks and techniques used work very well with the fencing principles of the German tradition.

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

Yes, but what I would like to see myself, is the thing I’m working on right now. But I keep this for now under wraps.

Anything at this point that gets publicity is welcome. Theater, movies, demonstration, news articles and books, they are the  key to the survival of this new martial renaissance.

But for personal development, nothing will get you further than a good blade and a good instructor. And spending hours in the gym. 🙂

Keith Farrell

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.