Popular Articles

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Since I started the blog on the 1st of March 2017, several of my articles have become quite popular, and have been read thousands of times. Sometimes I could have predicted that a given article might be popular; sometimes, the popularity for a given subject has come as quite a surprise.

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Here are the most popular articles on this site, in order, starting with the greatest number of reads:

What is a “Claymore”?

A question that appears regularly is “what is a claymore?” There is a persistent misunderstanding about what the term means, where it comes from, and to what kind kind of sword it refers.

Meyer’s four openings drill (aka Meyer’s square)

In 1570, Joachim Meyer gave a small diagram to describe an exercise for learning how to strike to the four openings during fencing.

Learning the position of Vom Tag

When I teach the position of Vom Tag to beginners, I do it very differently these days to what I used to teach even a year ago.

Improve your footwork – play games like children!

A problem for almost every practitioner of HEMA is that footwork is difficult and could always use improvement. But how can we improve our footwork?

Thoughts about the Schaitelhaw and fencing from Alber

The Schaitelhaw is one of the most difficult strikes in the Liechtenauer tradition; maybe fencing from Alber is the key to understanding this technique?

“End him rightly” – a translation error

There is a meme on the internet that really annoys me: “end him rightly”. It is an incorrect translation, and has been blown out of proportion as a meme.

Short Biography: Johann Justus Runkel (1751-1808)

Johann Justus Runkel was born in 1751 and died in 1808. He was one of the most important traders and importers of swords and sword blades in London during much of the Napoleonic Wars.

Trying to simulate a real fight

When people design rules for a HEMA tournament, a common idea is that the competition should simulate a real fight as closely as possible. Is this helpful?

Safe training swords part 2: measuring flexibility

Is there a good method for measuring flexibility of training swords? Should all swords in tournaments meet at least a minimum standard of safety?

“If you frighten easily…” and bravery in martial arts

Bravery is an integral part of fencing with the longsword, with Liechtenauer’s Zettel saying explicitly that “if you frighten easily, you will never learn to fight.” Although this may seem like fairly obvious advice, there are some deeper meanings that could perhaps be teased out of this statement.

Reconsidering the buffalo

The Liechtenauer glosses speak of the buffalo fencers, and how to defeat them, but we should not assume that the buffalo is a bad fencer.

Cleaning your fencing mask

Cleaning your fencing mask is an important thing to do from time to time, to stop it smelling bad, and to keep the insides healthier for when you wear it.

Buying gear on a tight budget

Buying gear on a budget is a common issue. Often, and most especially when starting out, I believe it is better to save up and buy better quality items.

The value of HEMA in the modern world

What is the value of HEMA in the modern world? Why is it worth spending so much time (and so much money) in the pursuit of this activity?

Fencing with mixed weapons

An idea that seems to be enduringly popular is to see what happens when fencing with mixed weapons; why don’t we see this more often?

What is the difference between a “350N” fencing mask and a “1600N” fencing mask?

What is the difference between a “350N” and a “1600N” fencing mask, and what do these ratings mean for our safety during training and practice?