This weekend Arms and Armor VP Dr. Nathan Clough and James Rielly, noted HEMA instructor and manager of the A&A booth at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, are heading down to Kansas for some armored combat shenanigans. The event is called the Chivalric Fighting Arts Symposium, is run by the Companions of the Seven Swords (the folks who bring us the Western Martial Arts Workshop), and HEMA Kansas City. Instructors will include such luminaries of our art as Bob Charrette, Tim Delrie, Jess Finley, and Scott Wilson. Although we won't be selling anything at the event, we will be getting some feedback on new product ideas that we will keep you all posted about.
Nathan lookin' 14th century chic
For both Nathan and James this will be one of their first times doing a dedicated weekend of harnessfechten, and competing in the squires list! We've scrounged up some old armor from the shop and have been working for the past few weekends to get it in working condition. Of course, while Arms and Armor doesn't really produce armor commercially any more, we have our roots in armored combat. In fact, Arms and Armor founder Chris Poor and production manager Craig Johnson were both jousters and armored combatants back in the day.
Chris jousting in an armor he made and Craig inspecting a harness at the Art Institute of Chicago (both from the 1980s).
In fact, their experience trying to find good quality and historically accurate weapons and armor directly lead to the incorporation of Arms and Armor.(read about it here).
Although we no longer make armor commercially because it's a giant pain in the butt -- if it doesn't fit your individual body perfectly it can be worse than nothing -- we do make a lot of weapons designed to destroy armor. Items such as our Italian Pole Hammer and Italian Bill (see below) are just two examples of top quality reproductions of extant historical weapons we make.
Additionally, our Spada de Zhogo was designed as a training and competition longsword for armored combat. With its stiff cross section and historically accurate proportions it allows practitioners of harnessfechten to bind, half-sword, and engage in many plays that federschwerts are too flexible to manage.
Stay tuned for some fun pics of the event and updates on coming attractions! In the meantime, if you're curious about historical armored combat check out the incredible free access to translations of historical fighting manuals on the amazing Wiktenauer webpage, the cover photo of this post comes from their digitalization of the 1430's German armored combat treatise known as Gladiatoria.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985.