The importance of books 36: Roberto Martinez-Loyo

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 Roberto Martinez-Loyo, 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, any and all texts that can help bring people into HEMA, or that can help newer people understand better is always a positive. Not everyone has the possibility of having a HEMA instructor/club in their area, so if these texts can get them hooked enough to try and make it to a HEMA event, that’s great

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

My first HEMA book was Talhoffer’s, but the one that got me more involved was Meyer’s Art of Combat, this one was a suggestion by Scott Brown and it has helped me to better understand other texts

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?

Meyer’s Art of Combat, Talhoffer’s Medieval Combat, Piermarco Terminiello’s translation of Giganti. These texts have really helped me better understand the concepts behind the art and have inspired me to become a cleaner, more technical fighter. They also inspire me to hopefully someday publish my own book on fighting with the Aztec maquahuitl.

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

None specifically, I just think the more books that come out, the more we can have people move to a more scholarly take on this art and not so tournament centric.

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.