"I tell you truthfully, no man can defend safely."
- Liechtenauer's Zettel MS3227a
HEMA - Historical European Martial Arts
The purpose of HEMA is to reconstruct and preserve fighting arts which were practiced in Europe from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Bastion focuses on the study of different weapon systems dating to the medieval period. It involves studying historical manuscripts, treatises, and other primary sources to understand the techniques and principles of these martial arts systems.
Bastion's Training Methodology At Bastion, we are recreating history for you. In order to do this effectively, we need to have a solid understanding of what the medieval fencing masters were trying to teach, and this approach has three main pillars - 1) proper study of sources, 2) authentic equipment, and 3) pressure-testing. Our training methodology incorporates these three pillars.
Firstly, we rely on historical sources, such as medieval manuscripts with texts and illustrations, to ensure that our techniques are faithful to historical practices. Our team of instructors pour over these manuscripts, and they take that knowledge, test it, and then train you to wield it.
Secondly, we provide use a variety of different weapons to practice these techniques, from the more safety-oriented foam swords to historically faithful steel swords. We also provide a full range of protective equipment for different levels of training.
Lastly, we put you through pressure-testing in several tiers – drills, scenario training, and sparring. This is used to replicate the stress and unpredictability of medieval encounters, and enables you to practice the techniques in a controlled yet challenging environment.
Our main focus is on medieval German texts, such as Liechtenauer through Ringeck, Danzig, Lew, Paulus Kal, Lignitzer. In addition to recreating these historical martial arts, it can also promote physical fitness, mental discipline, and personal growth through the development of martial arts skills and knowledge. It is a great way to connect scholarly pursuits of learning from history with the adrenaline-filled fun of learning how to handle various historical weapons.
Bastion uses various types of equipment to train different skills, with each type having its place. High-density foam is great for working on stamina and fighting for long periods of time with less gear. Wood and synthetics are great all-around for safe training while balancing realism. Steel helps us get closer to understanding how the medieval masters used their skills.
"It takes courage to face one's equal."
- Liechtenauer, c.15th Century
The Messer is a single handed weapon of humble origin, easily forged and adopted for self-defense by many during medieval times. It is a single-edged blade characterized by the nagel, and easily the most used bladed weapon in medieval Germany. We focus on Messer techniques from Leckuchner and the Augsburg tradition.
The Sword and Buckler is a combination of an arming sword or Messer with a buckler in the left hand. It was a popular weapon system during the 14th century, used by soldiers and civilians alike. We learn to coordinate the sword and buckler from basic plays in I.33 and Paulus Kal.
The Longsword, also known as a 'hand and a half', was extensively used by knights on the battlefield and in judicial duels. Its usefulness in combating both armoured and unarmoured foes cemented its legacy in history. Through Ringeck, Danzig, and Lew, we learn the fighting dynamic of the Liechtenauer tradition.
Polearms have a a long history. In fact, the spear was probably mankind's earliest weapon. Its effective design and long history attests to it's effectiveness on the battlefield. The spear eventually developed into other weapons like the pike, poleaxe, halberd, bardiche, and many more during the medieval and renaissance period. We explore basics movements, techniques and plays from Talhoffer and contemporary treatises.
Dagger & Ringen form the basics of many medieval fighting systems. Lichtenauer instructed young knights to learn how to wrestle well. Ringen is the German word for wrestling and was an essential part of any warrior worth their salt. Daggers are a common accompaniment for any medieval person and would have been their backup tool when their main weapon was unreachable. Our Ringen and Dagger training focuses on breakfalls, throws, weapon grappling as well as dagger techniques.