If you love sword battles in your fantasy films, then this emerging sport may be perfect for you. Called longsword fighting, it's a revival of a once-forgotten ancient skill.
There's been a renewed interest in what enthusiasts call historical European martial arts, or HEMA. It includes such things as grappling and several types of swordfighting. But it's the longsword that's getting much of the attention.
An excerpt from the video's accompanying New York Times article:
"The longsword specifically is just very accessible," said Pettersson, a management consultant from Gothenburg, Sweden, "because that is what the old masters wrote about the most. It was called the 'queen of weapons' in the old days."
Unlike re-enactors or role players, who don theatrical costumes and medieval-style armor, Longpoint competitors treat swordfighting as an organized sport. Matches have complex rules and use a scoring system based on ancient dueling regulations. Fighters wear modern if sometimes improvised protective equipment, which looks like a hybrid of fencing gear and body armor. They use steel swords with unsharpened blades and blunt tips to prevent bouts from turning into death matches.
Skill and technique, rather than size and strength, decide the outcomes. Fights are fast and sometimes brutal: key to the art is landing a blow while preventing an opponent's counterstroke. Nevertheless, even the best swordfighters earn large bruises in the ring, which they display with flinty pride.
The Longpoint tournament, which is one of several, began in 2011 with 60 participants. But now it's now the largest HEMA event in North America; it drew about 200 this year. The open steel longsword division had 55 entrants, eight of them women.
Read the entire article at the NYT.