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Kunst des Fechtens Network


"You should learn that there is nothing about the sword that has been invented for without reason and that a fencer should make use of the point, of both edges, the hilt and the pommel. Each of these has its own special methods in the art of fencing."  

                                                   --Anonymous, Codex Döbringer c1389

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Kunst des Fechtens Network


"You should learn that there is nothing about the sword that has been invented for without reason and that a fencer should make use of the point, of both edges, the hilt and the pommel. Each of these has its own special methods in the art of fencing."  

                                                   --Anonymous, Codex Döbringer c1389

Credit: Gesellschaft Lichtenawers - Not associated with xKDF

A Martial Art

 

The xKDF Network is a federation of clubs and schools practicing the reconstructed martial arts of medieval Germany. Based on extant source material, our focus is on historical techniques found in fighting treatises and books. Created across hundreds of years, these fechtbucher (fight-books) specifically present systems of combat that demonstrate an efficient and deadly form of fencing. Kunst des Fechtens, the Art of Fighting, is used to refer to the martial arts that developed in the medieval Germanic regions. Each member club or school has opted in to a joint vision of what early Germanic martial arts may have looked like, the type of training required to achieve proficiency, and what the future community of KDF practitioners should look like..

 

Members of our clubs and schools currently primarily learn the art of the longsword based on the teachings of Johannes Liechtenauer from selected sources, but may also delve into sword and buckler, spear and polearms, messer, dagger and wrestling, or more esoteric weapons. A training session may include strength training and conditioning, fencing fundamentals and mechanics, technical interpretation drills, sparring games, cutting practice, and coached free fencing. Our clubs and schools also organize visits to other regional groups, and make an effort to remain involved in the overall Historical European Martial Arts community.

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Source Material


"He has [written this] on account of frivolous fight masters who mistake the art as trivial, so that such masters will not make his art common or open with people who do not hold the art in respect as is its due."

                                                      --Anonymous - Codex Danzig, c1452

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Source Material


"He has [written this] on account of frivolous fight masters who mistake the art as trivial, so that such masters will not make his art common or open with people who do not hold the art in respect as is its due."

                                                      --Anonymous - Codex Danzig, c1452

Misconceptions

The fighting in Medieval Europe was not a collection of brutes swinging heavy, sharp clubs. It was elegant; it was geometric; it was agile. The European longsword weighs in under 4 lbs, with a balanced feel and a use for every element. Fighting integrates distance management, leverage, timing, oppositional strength and weakness, and speed.

A significant portion of the work within Historical European Martial Arts revolves around the scholarly activities of translating, interpreting, and testing the source material.

Realities

Written across centuries and preserved by private collectors or public institutions, hundreds of works on fencing from the 14th to the 18th century have survived. They were produced by fencing masters, members of fencing brotherhoods, and compilers of combat arts in multiple cultures and languages. The name Johannes Liechtenauer is cited often as one of the key masters upon which later Germanic generations built.

Liechtenuaer passed down a zettel, a mnemonic verse, to his students. Within this verse was described seventeen chief techniques that all followers of his tradition should learn. His zettel covers guards, strikes, mechanical concepts, and fencing theory. The followers of Liechtenauer wrote explanations of each verse, including descriptions of actions meant to demonstrate the concept. This is what we work from.

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Community


"Now since everyone thinks differently from everyone else, so he behaves differently in combat; and so I have thought it best to consider the cuts in every way, both how one shall deliver them and how one shall send away those that are delivered against him, so that everyone, be he strong, weak, quick or slow, will have something useful to learn from this."
-- Joachim Meÿer, 1570

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Community


"Now since everyone thinks differently from everyone else, so he behaves differently in combat; and so I have thought it best to consider the cuts in every way, both how one shall deliver them and how one shall send away those that are delivered against him, so that everyone, be he strong, weak, quick or slow, will have something useful to learn from this."
-- Joachim Meÿer, 1570

Culture

The international Historical European Martial Arts movement shares a unique, open culture which stands in contrast to many martial arts communities. Because most HEMA clubs world-wide began with no master or teacher to follow, the community shares a sometimes chaotic affection for egalitarianism and a disdain for pompous elitism. Schools or teachers preaching a “one true way” are quickly marginalized, replaced with a healthy combination of “put up or shut up” and “let me show you how to get there.” The xKDF Network clubs and schools hold firmly to the community’s commitment to brotherhood, respect, and approachability. Fighters who know more and can do more are responsible to help bring others up, not lord their prowess over them. A common refrain amongst HEMAists worldwide is that this culture of brotherhood and camaraderie is what makes HEMA great.

Contribution

The members of the xKDF network are highly involved in the overall Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) community. Our members helped create the largest international HEMA service organization in North America, organize the most prominent competitive event in the western hemisphere & other events across the country, founded and manage the largest online source of medieval fencing material, encouraged and participated in the creation of the first set of mass produced HEMA protective equipment in the US, were instrumental in the proliferation of sharp cutting practice becoming a norm for respect, and regularly place in competition.

Longpoint


Longpoint Website ↣

In 2010, Maryland KDF hosted the Mid-Atlantic HEMA Gathering with 30 attendees in a community center. Now renamed Longpoint, 2015 saw over 220 attendees across a four day weekend at a resort. Featuring both a cutting edge competitive rule set and international seminar instructors, the event continues to grow.

Wiktenauer


Wiktenauer Website ↣

Wiktenauer's mission is to collect all of the primary and secondary source literature that makes up the text of historical European martial arts research and to organize and present it in a scholarly but accessible format.  It is named for Johannes Liechtenauer, grand master of the oldest known longsword fencing style; his tradition was also the best-documented of the early Modern era, the subject of many dozens of manuscripts and books over a period of more than three centuries.

HEMA Alliance

HEMAA Website ↣

The Alliance is dedicated to excellence as well as freedom and variety in the pursuit of Historical European Martial Arts. As a service organization, the HEMAA offers instructor certification, provides insurance, and supports events across the continent.

 
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