If you ever wanted to witness a duel with real French small swords, say, or Italian sabers, the Lionheart Historical European Swordsmanship club will be holding a public training session outside the concert hall of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall tomorrow where all are welcome to watch. The club practices at least twice monthly.
Huang Chun-yi (黃郡儀), the club’s founder, grew up watching movies such as Lord of the Rings and Kingdom of Heaven and read books like Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. When she was older, she did some research about fencing and found a trove of historical fencing manuals online.
“I started my practice with a stick,” the 25-year-old tells the Taipei Times.
Photo: Dana Ter, Taipei Times
Huang joined her university’s fencing club before founding the Lionheart Historical European Swordsmanship club in 2014. While Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) has been practiced in Europe for decades, it’s just recently gained traction in Taiwan.
The difference between Olympic-style sports fencing and HEMA, Huang says, is that while the goal of the former is to score points, the latter seeks to recreate various styles of European sword fighting over the last few centuries with real steel weapons modeled closely after historical weapons. Competition and spectatorship is de-emphasized in HEMA, which is regarded by its practitioners as more of a hobby and for the purpose of preserving tradition through recreating duels and combat moves.
The club imports most of their swords from the Ars Dimicatoria (which is Latin for “Art of Fencing”), a HEMA school based in Prague. Michael Knazko, an instructor from the school, was in Taipei last month to train members of the club. Needless to say, the club tends to attract history buffs, and many members also have experience in Chinese martial arts, kendo or sports fencing.
Photo: Dana Ter, Taipei Times
We come to HEMA “wanting something closer to what the warriors of old have done,” says club member Kevin Yang (楊凱文).
He has a pdf file of the 14th-century Italian knight and fencing master Fiore dei Liberi’s fencing manual, Fior di Battaglia (“The Flower of Battle”), on his smartphone, which he tries to study regularly.
“We seek authenticity in HEMA,” Yang adds.
In addition to using weapons modeled after historical ones, HEMA practitioners worldwide also try to mimic the techniques and moves of ancient European swords masters as closely as possible.
Club member Jonathan Burke points out that this is what distinguishes HEMA from live action role-playing (LARP) or cosplay: “In HEMA, you’re not a fictional character, you’re recreating and perpetuating a historical tradition.”
He adds that safety is taken seriously in the club and that it’s ensured by various factors including several layers of protective clothing and a deliberate restraint of force.
What: Lionheart Historical European Swordsmanship (獅心歷史歐洲劍術) training session
When: Tomorrow from 9:30am to noon
Where: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂), 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路21-1號)
On the net:www.facebook.com/leohistoricaleuropeanswordsmanship
It can take ice cream maker Miky Wu (吳書瑀) months to create a new flavor. In addition to using only eco-friendly and organic ingredients, her brand 1982 de glacee also eschews artificial additives, replacing emulsifiers and stabilizers with Taiwanese rice and wood ear derivatives. Wu’s non-traditional methods and dedication to capturing the essence of the main ingredient can lead to hours and hours tinkering in her “research office” in Tainan, even referencing academic papers to get the science correct. Her efforts were recently recognized for the third year in a row by the prestigious A. A. Taste Awards run by the
June 29 to July 5 With women gathering rocks and men hurling them at thousands of rivaling neighbors, ritualistic stone battles were regular affairs for people living in Pingtung during the 1800s. Direct combat and use of weapons were prohibited to avoid serious injury, with the losers hosting the winners for dinner. These “guests” often acted rudely, and faced no repercussions for smashing windows or snatching their hosts’ possessions. These battles usually took place yearly, with a significant number happening every Dragon Boat Festival. The winners had rights to the losers’ banquet prepared for the festivities. Sometimes things would get out of
Certain historical statues have been disappearing in Thailand, but they are not effigies of colonialists or slave owners torn down by protesters. Instead, Thailand’s vanishing monuments celebrated leaders of the 1932 revolution that ended absolute monarchy in Thailand, who were once officially honored as national heroes and symbols of democracy. Reuters has identified at least six sites memorializing the People’s Party that led the revolution which have been removed or renamed in the past year. In most cases it is not known who took the statues down, although a military official said one was removed for new landscaping. Two army camps named after 1932
Jason Ward fell in love with birds at age 14 when he spotted a peregrine falcon outside the homeless shelter where he was staying with his family. The now 33-year-old Atlanta bird lover parlayed that passion into a YouTube series last year. One of the guests on his first episode of Birds of North America was Christian Cooper, a black bird watcher who was targeted in New York City’s Central Park by a white woman after he told her to leash her dog. A video capturing the encounter showed the woman, Amy Cooper (no relation), retaliate by calling the police