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Resources for the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) student, with a particular focus on the ars gladiatoris of Paulus Hector Mair.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Clothing grabs in Von Auerswald

The question of whether there are clothing grabs in Ringen (and if so, whether they are limited to the belt and crotch areas) has come up several times on this blog and various forums.

In an effort to settle the issue once and for all, I have cataloged select illustrations from the Ringer Kunst, written circa 1537 by the German wrestling master Fabien von Auerswald, that unmistakably depict wrestlers gripping each other by the fabric of their doublets at the sleeves (both upper and lower), collars, shoulders and chests, as well as by their belts. This is by no means an exhaustive list; to remove any doubt, I have only chosen images that show fingers gripping scrunched fabric.

It is also worth noting that Von Auerswald's work influenced Mair's own Ringen chapter (a side-by-side comparison is available on the Wiktenauer), a fact that reinforces my long-held position that clothing grabs are integral to his system (but difficult to make out in Breu's color illustrations).

Friday, July 20, 2012

ARMA Deputy Director resigns!

Unsurprisingly, there has been another massive upheaval within ARMA's ranks. John Clements' most recent protege, Aaron Pynenberg, resigned last week for all-too-familiar reasons. My sources tell me that a number of senior ARMA members (including those few who had stayed after the 2009 schism) left with him.

On Tuesday, Aaron bravely made a public apology to those of us who left in 2009 (and were subsequently defamed and demonized by Clements). He writes:

After serving in ARMA for many years, I turned in my resignation a week ago or so. I was ARMA's Provost and Deputy Director since taking over for Jake Norwood. When he and some of you left I acted like a total ass, and instead of taking a breather and actually listening to what many of you said, I dismissed it as many of the things I was being told it was.

Now- I know better and after witnessing it with my own eyes and ears and brain, learned the sad truth of it all. Why on Earth someone thinks and acts that way is beyond even my extensive working expirence. I had no idea it could be that way.

So, to the ex-members of ARMA who left when Jake did, I humbly apologize for supporting the wrong side. It's obvious to me now that I was eye deep in something that was hateful and full of spite. I wish I had the fortitude to have understood it at the time, but as you all know I was too self-absorbed.

Apology accepted, and welcome to the greater HEMA community!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grabbing the opponent's clothing in Mair's Ringen

I have long argued that certain Ringen techniques require you to grip your opponent's clothing.

Roger Norling of Gothenburg Historical Fencing School agrees, and has compiled a series of images from the Ringen chapter of Mair's Vienna manuscript that clearly show belt, sleeve and crotch(!) grabs.

Check it out here.

This is proof-positive that the Ringen community should be training in a BJJ gi or similarly simple, durable, function-over-form grappling jacket, regardless of whether it looks "too Asian."

[Edit: To clarify, we should be training in gi/kurtka unless and until a ringen jacket appears on the market that is equally durable, comparably priced (under US$100), easily adjusted to fit different body types, and appropriate for competition in events that have an open "gi" category. I have yet to see a product that meets those specifications].