German Longsword or Bolognese Sidesword.

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Bozza Bostik, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Southpaw's thread got me interested in the whole HEMA thing again. I'm looking at schools and wondering what the difference between German Longsword and Bolognese sidesword are. The school I am looking at actually do both and have separate classes for each art. (No point in posting links as there's little info in the Queen's :)).

    Longsword is two handed and sidesword one, right? But what about other differences? I'm sure there's a different approach or strategy or something.

    The group I am looking at seem to kit up and smack each other about a bit, which I am looking for. There is also a "rapier school" that is kinda well known, but they don't seem to ruck much. I think they mostly use Fiore dei Liberi’s Art of Arms as a source.
  2. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    [ame=""]Rapier vs longsword Mike & Nick AHF Sparring - YouTube[/ame]
    [ame=""]steel longsword vs rapier & dagger historical european martial arts - YouTube[/ame]
    While there are some differences between the early Bolognese side sword texts and the later Italian rapier texts there's a continuous link between them. Indeed Agrippa's work is based on Marozzo somewhat. From my admittedly limited understanding I'd say the Bolognese stuff shows that it's still from the age of shields (indeed Marozzo has a section on the use of the shield) whereas the Italian rapier school is post shield as shown in it's stance and favoured guards.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  3. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Indeed here's some sidesword and buckler [ame=""]Clint (3rd Rank) vs Devon (Instructor) Sidesword Slow Work - YouTube[/ame]
  4. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    I think you'll find the principles are similar, and the tail end of the heyday of German longsword is coeval with the Bolognese school. Try both and see which you enjoy more. The biggest difference from what I've seen is the footwork. The bolognese school has that signature fluid, circular Italian footwork which is so beautiful. The German school is more direct in that regard.

    Fiore has no rapier at all, so they're using something else for that. Fiore has sword in one and two hands, dagger, grappling, poleaxe, etc. It's very medieval in flavour (it's form 1410), very much like a koryu sogo bujutsu: very complete. You'll notice that the footwork from Fiore to later Italian masters is similar.

    German longsword is largely for judicial duelling, and there is no one manual that covers all the weapons. The most popular manuals are from the mid 1400's. Joachim Meyer's (1570) is the most complete, but doesn't have much for armoured combat. He does longsword, dussack (the sabre's granddaddy), sidesword, dagger/grappling and pole weapons. That being said, there are dozens of German manuals covering a couple of centuries, so you can find anything you're likely to be interested in.

    If you post the schools in question, I may know them by reputation, or have met some of their fighters at Longpoint or WMAW.

  5. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Thanks to you both.


    Thanks for the info. To be honest, I was just curious to know the differences between the German and Bolognese styles. If I do go to the group, the classes are on different nights so I can possibly do both and then decide which to stick with...Or maybe I'll do both.

    The other school, the Fiore one, I'm not so interested in as they don't seem to spar that heavy...and have a, let's say, slightly different attitude to training and martial arts (is that diplomatic enough? :p) to me.

    The EHMS lot compete (German / Bolognese), not sure about the Sword School. But here are the clubs. As I said, not much good for the German / Bolognese one as there's little English info.
  6. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    Ha! Those were the two schools I guessed.

    They are both really good. Can't go wrong with either one. I met Guy at WMAW 2011 and a good portion of the Espoo group at Longpoint 2013.

    The Espoo group are ferocious tournament fighters but still very orthodox German stylists, some of the best out there. Ilkka is respected by well, everyone in HEMA. While I didn't get to chat with him, I took a class from Kristian and Matias at Longpoint at it was very, VERY good. They are totally willing to share their knowledge and are very nice people.

    Guy's school is well-established. He's knowledgeable about what he does, and he's a good fighter. He tests all his Fiore interpretations with sharps at speed, so he has his stuff together. I took a class from him at WMAW 2011 which was also very good. Guy's rapier is from Capoferro, and his sword & buckler is from I.33.

    I would say the Espoo group would fit your ethic better, considering you want to gear up and have at it, which they certainly do. Like I said, both schools are known for being pretty darn good.

  7. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Ok! Thanks for the info. I am quite surprised that you know the schools.

    Guy's group is pretty big and they have schools in most towns here, as well as abroad. The advantage of training with Guy is that he is a fellow ex-pat and I think he teaches in English, so nothing will be lost in translation.

    But...I want violence and pain, my own is fine, so yeah, I think the Espoo group would work out better. Good to get a MAPer's recommendation! They are having a competition of some sorts ina few weeks and I might go and check it out.

    I'm not actually in the Helsinki / Espoo area, but we are hopefully moving there next summer. Guy has a school here (Turku) and there is another school that does the "German stuff" I believe, The Guild of Armoursmiths of Turku / WarusSeppain Kilta. But The Guild also have a forge and make weapons and armour and do reenactments and LARP. I have no time to learn a new hobby and have no interest in reenactment or LARPing. Apparently the teacher there is very good, but they're less focused on the fighting end of things.
  8. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    I've been really enjoying
    Ilka's YouTube channel and his blog at lately.
  9. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    I should be moving down to Helsinki in May / June time and if I try some HEMA, I'll go to his place.

    I just missed an event they organised, but there's another one coming up I might go to. It's a comp, so just going to watch and see what it's all about.

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