Forteza Historical Swordwork Guild is an association of like-minded scholars and scholar-atheletes designed to provide mutual aid in our study and to promote of our common interest in historical European swordplay and close quarter combat of the 14th and 15th centuries. We combine scholarship and research into the teachings of the historical masters-at-arms with the practical knowledge gained through solo drills, partnered exercises, test-cutting with sharp weapons, wrestling, and fencing with specially-designed, blunt weapons.

We do not train in for modern sport or for theatrical display, but to understand the art as it would have been used in real combat. Despite that goal, Forteza HSG practices with an absolute emphasis on safety, control, competence, and skill at arms.

WESTERN MARTIAL ARTS (WMA) AND HISTORICAL EUROPEAN MARTIAL ARTS (HEMA)

The tradition of European armed and unarmed martial arts is documented back to the early 14th century. While some of these arts have survived to this day, many were discarded over the centuries as new weapons and methods of combat rose to take their place. Western Martial Arts (WMA) refers to the overall family of martial arts that arose from European traditions, while Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and its more focussed sibling, Historical European Swordsmanship (HES), refers to those branches of the WMA family that focus on strictly European traditions, usually recreating those with a broken heritage of the transmission.

From as early as c.1300 generations of European masters-at-arms recorded their methods in pictures and words. These treatises instruct students in unarmed combat, dagger fighting, swordplay, the use of polearms, and mounted combat. Currently dozens of these texts are undergoing translation and interpretation by a growing world-wide community of enthusiasts, martial artists, and scholars. The Forteza Historical Swordwork Guild is proud to be part of the re-discovery and reconstruction of an effective and battle-tested Western Martial Arts tradition.

You can find out a more about the martial art we study, armizare, under Fiore dei Liberi, author of our sources.

HOW WE OPERATE

While Forteza Historical Swordwork Guild is an invitation-only guild, but members do instruct in the art. We are always looking for more like-minded folk to join us in our research and training.

If you are interested in training or learning more about European swordsmanship, please contact our principal instructor either through this webpage or through his Facebook page.

 

PRINCIPAL INSTRUCTOR:

Bob Charrette

charrette portraitSince the 1970s he has been an ardent medievalist with special interests in material culture and military history. He is a co-founder of a leading 14th century living history group (La Belle Compagnie) and has served as the company’s principal martial interpreter for over two decades.

Bob has been seeking to understand medieval European fighting arts since 1973 and over the years has accumulated a good deal of experience in full-speed, armored combat with batons. Unfortunately, due to unavailability of the early treatises and even fewer translations, much of that early experience was trial-and-error experimentation. He was first introduced to Fiore in the mid-1980s and immediately recognized that the key to the historical arts lay in the lock, waiting to be turned. He still pays close attention to the original sources.

He has attended many seminars, classes, and the occassional private session with leading instructors including Bob Charron, Sean Hayes, Steven Hick, Rob Lovett, Greg Mele, Christian Tobler, and Guy Windsor. He has taught at leading WMA and Hema events such as the Western Martial Arts Workshop and Longmont. He has also lectured on armizare and historical armor at martial arts venues such as the Vancouver International Sword Symposium and academic conferences such as Western Michigan University’s Medieval Congress.

Bob founded the Forteza Historical Swordwork Guild to formalize his studies and expand the community of like-minded students. He currently serves as Principal Instructor. He is a lifetime member of the HEMA Alliance and a founding member of the Companions of the Seven Swords, a group of armored combat enthusiasts who promote armored historical combat.

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