Arts & Sciences Officer

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Guide to Historic Combat

Deputy MoAS for Historic Combat Studies:

Master Wistric Oftun (Owen Townes), email

Beginning your research into the field of historical combat has never been easier. At this time there is a ton of information freely available on the web. Numerous books and other resources are also available for purchase; so you should have plenty of resources to get started.

Please note that this guide is a work in progress. If you have any comments, suggestions, corrections, or additions please contact Master Wistric.

Thanks to Mistress Elysabeth Underhill (mka Larissa Gordon), who compiled the original version of this guide.

Recommended resources to begin with:

Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts (AEMMA)
This historical European martial arts school possesses a significant online library which includes period manuals, a listing of secondary book sources, and a few articles. A small fee is needed to access most of the materials, except for a few specific manuals.
Bjorn's Sword Site (Sweden)
A wealth of essays on sword-related topics.
Journal of Western Martial Art (JWMA)
An online peer-reviewed journal for the study of western martial arts. A great resource with information on all aspects of Medieval and Renaissance historic combat.
The Knighthood, Tournaments & Chivalry Resource Library
A fine resource for articles and links on precisely what it says.

Martial Arts Academies:

(These European Martial Arts Academies are not affiliated with the SCA)

UNITED STATES:

ARMA (various study groups)

Chicago Swordplay Guild (Chicago)

Gallowglass Academy (Illinois)

Martinez Academy of Arms (New York City)

Massachusetts Historical Swordsmanship

Mid-Atlantic Society for Historical Swordsmanship (Maryland & Virginia)

Northwest Fencing Academy (Oregon)

Rocky Mountain Swordplay Guild (Denver & area )

Tattershall School of Defence (Arizona, California, Texas, Washington)

CANADA & EUROPE:

AEMMA (Toronto)

European Historical Combat Guild (several chapters throughout England and Western Europe)

The Exiles (England)

Linacre School of Defense (England)

MacDonald Academy of Arms (Scotland)

Schola Gladitoria (England)

School of European Swordsmanship (Finland)

Sussex Sword Academy (England)

Stoccatta School of Defense (Australia)

Organizations:

Association for Historical Fencing
This association puts out a newsletter which includes articles, a few of which might be of interest to an SCA audience. Past issues are available to the public.
Historical European Martial Arts Coalition
Several articles and a few period manual translations.
Oakeshott Institute
Focuses on the study of ancient arms and armour.
Sword Forum International
This organization exists to promote the study of swords and swordsmanship from all cultures and time periods. There are a few useful articles and some links to images, but the most valuable resource on this website is the online forum.

Websites:

The Arador Armor Library
Dedicated to providing information about armor and armor construction. Includes articles, links to images, reviews, and more.
Armour Archive
Devoted to teaching people how to make armor. Includes many articles with information about historic armor, links to useful websites, and a discussion board.
Art of Combat International

Bjorn's Sword Site (Sweden)
Click on the section labeled "Stuff in English" for a wealth of essays on sword-related topics...
Destreza Translation and Research Project
Dedicated to the Spanish system of period rapier combat.
The Duellist (UK)
Provides useful information of all types for those interested in European swordsmanship in the United Kingdom.
Elizabethan Fencing & the Arte of Defence
A good starting point to learn the basics about later period historic rapier combat. The site includes basic information about a number of period masters, different styles of fencing, a useful links page, a few period manuals which have been translated into English, and other articles & information of interest.
Journal of Western Martial Art (JWMA)
An online peer reviewed journal for the study of western martial arts. A great resource with information on all aspects of Medieval and Renaissance historic combat.
The Knighthood, Tournaments & Chivalry Resource Library
A fine resource for articles and links on precisely what it says.
Medieval Sword Resource Site
Extensive information on Medieval Swords including a virtual museum, bibliography, on-line library, collectors guide, and more.
MyArmoury.com
For those who collect modern reproductions of arms and armor. Features articles and other information on the history of weapons and armor.
The Secret History of the Sword
authored by J. Christoph Amberger.
A Study of the London Masters of Defense
Article providing an overview of the London Masters of Defense

Period Manuals:

Some of these pages link to the same source. Most are free, however resources from AEMMA, and some from ARMA require a small fee be paid to that organization.

AEMMA
This organization has a very extensive "knowledge base." to use. Access to AEMMA's resources requires the purchase of an online library e-card for a nominal fee.
ARMA
ARMA has resources from a wide variety of well known and more obscure manuals, however, many of the scanned copies of original manuals on this website are only available as excerpts. Some of these can be accessed in full if you become a member of ARMA and pay their membership fee.
Elizabethan Fencing & the Arte of Defence
Agrippa, Alfieri, Capo Ferro, Carranza, Fabris, Giganti, Lovino, Marozzo, Tamiriz
Giacomo di Grassi (interpretation)
DiGrassi (transcription)
The Exiles - Fiore Project
Fiore (translations and transcriptions based upon several original texts with scans of images)
Linacre School of Defense
Primarily focuses on out of period masters and manuals. The works of Silver are available as well as many out of period manuals, such as the manual written by Sir William Hope.
The Raymond J. Lord Collection
All original - Agrippa, Auerswald, dall'Agocchie, di Grassi (English), Dudley, Giganti, Gunterrodt, Liancour, Lovino Manciolino, Marcelli, Marozzo, St. Didier
Pallas Armata (English)
George Silver's "Brief Instructions upon My Paradoxes of Defense"
a facsimile of the original, transcriptions, and an interpretation of the text

Books:

Freelance Academy Press
books and supporting material in the field of Western martial arts. Includes new educational books and carefully selected reprints.

Discussion Forums:

Livre_de_combat (SCA forum)

Sword Forum International

ARMA Forum

Conferences:

CombatCon

Western Washington WMA Workshop (4W)

Western Martial Arts Workshop (WMAW)

Museums:

There are many museums that have excellent collections of period arms and armor. If you live too far away to visit, some of the museums allow you to search their online collection of images for arms and/or armor, or conduct a more specific search of your choosing.

Mediaeval Swords in Museums
An annotated list of major museums in Europe, Canada, and the United States featuring exhibits of arms and armor from the Middle Ages. (Click on "museums")

North American Museums:

Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto)
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Cleveland Museum of Art
Oakeshott Institute

Museums in England:

The British Museum
Royal Armouries
Wallace Collection

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