WORKSHOP (Longsword)

The exercise of the art, training and fitness with the European longsword

HEMA can be divided into a number of categories of interest. Scholarship and research,teaching, tournament fighting or relaxed sparring these are but some of the ways that students of the sword can “access” the activity and enjoy it.The area of HEMA practice that has influenced me the most has been the exercise of the art, or solo training with my longsword. I have approached my solo training with the sword specifically and intentionally with the purpose of staying fit, and learning how with this art, I can maintain a lifetime of harmony and mental peace through daily practice. Solo training is by its very definition a singular enterprise but how best should a Scholar work with the techniques and tactics taught in the traditional schools of European swordsmanship to maximize their individual practice? In this Class I will demonstrate the specific ways I have used solo training to maximize my fitness, remain mentally focused and stay passionate about HEMA through life’s ups and downs. I’ll give you practical advice on the use of the longsword as a daily tool for physical fitness and health. I will share with you strategies on using your solo training time to better form the other areas of HEMA study including sparring and tournament play. As an added bonus, I will cover two interesting Segway’s that do have relevance to solo training. The first will be exploring better gripping on the longsword to maximize hand andt humb protection as well as better form the use of the“long” edge in the Germanic and Italian Schools. The second bonus portion will be an interesting discovery about the use of theGermanic school’s teaching of “Scheitelhau” beating the Guard called “Alber”.

Scholars of the European Sword will learn how to practice movement patterns using the longsword.These movement patterns will have specific and defined uses such as general fitness, power development, preparation for testing or tournaments. A method for documenting, examining and rating these movements will be introduced and specific instruction will be given on how to track their progress over longer periods of time. Scholars will also learn how best to construct the training to keept hemselves physically viable over the years, with an emphasis on longevity of practice.

Equipment requirements: longsword (synthetic or steel), light gloves, towel, water, jump rope.

Level: All


Aaron Pynenberg is the lead trainer for the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association in Appleton Wisconsin. He has been training and teaching HEMA for 17 years. He is a Provost in the Historical Fencing Association and has been featured in a number of documentaries including, “Médiéval Fight Book”, “Makers and Masters”, and “Reclaiming the Blade”. He has taught workshops and competed in tournaments in USA and abroad.  He is an established Law Enforcement trainer, and is a military veteran.