You’ll come without your horse ? Hurry up! There are only 10 horses for rent …
The Rossfechten Symposium is a four day event bringing together enthusiasts, researchers and instructors from around the world to reconstruct historical mounted martial arts traditions using original sources from Victorian cavalry saber to medieval mounted combat
In short if you don’t ride yet, and you want to do mounted combat, this is the place for you! One of our great goals with the symposium is to give beginner riders or people interested in learning to ride in order to start mounted combat an affordable means to learn the basics from experienced teachers, gain confidence, learn pitfalls and how to avoid them and make contacts that will help in continuing learning the discipline. There will be workshops for beginners in the mornings and afternoon running parallel to the other mounted workshops concentrating on riding and horsemanship fundamentals with a focus on preparation for mounted combat.
There are few better places to get a crash course in Historical Fencing than the Rossfechten Symposium, we have put great effort in bringing in some of the leading experts in Historical European Martial Arts to the Symposium, with years of experience in bringing techniques from the page of a manuscript into the heads of their pupils, we’ll be teaching you the basics quickly and efficiently with an eye towards preparing you for mounted combat. They will give you the tools to become a competent fencer in as little time as possible and share their experience with pedestrian elements of their system and give valuable insights into pedagogy, academics and technique to help reconstruct the as yet mostly unplumbed mounted side of Historical European Martial Arts.
There are experienced horses on site that can be rented on site, but don’t wait! There’s only a limited number available and places are going fast. Even if you can’t bring a horse or don’t want to rent there’s more than enough to do, with foot workshops, lectures, historic sights and lots of interesting like minded people to meet and talk to you’ll never find yourself without something to do.
In the late medieval era, countless manuals were written on the arts of combat.Due to the nature of the era, chief among these arts was what the German tradition called Rossfechten, mounted combat.
Our Symposium is dedicated to the revival and recreation of this art, not just from the Medieval period, but the countless traditions before and after. The manuals show us the high level of riding and fencing that were needed to ensure ones survival. A collected horse and refined bladework were more important for success than brute strength.
Join us and rediscover a discipline that combines high level equestrianism and martial arts to create the trade of princes and kings.
Subscription available (max:40)
HORSES FOR RENT
You’ll come without your horse ? Hurry up! There are only 10 horses for rent …
General information: Jack Gassmann
If you have questions about the event in general, workshops, instructors, the website or have any suggestions, please contact him at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Local information: Thomas Schmuziger
For information on the area, arrivals, food, lodgings or logistics please contact Thomas at : email@example.com
Stabling and Horse Rentals: Gaelle Bernard
For information on stabling horses or horse rentals please Gaelle Bernard : firstname.lastname@example.org
( It isn’t the final list )
You can click on the profil photos to read Bio.
Alwin Goethals is the founding member and head instructor of SwArta. He’s a multiple black belt holder, being involved in martial arts from when he was age 9. Out of his interest in ancient and medieval history, Alwin started studying and practicing HEMA in 1999 and founded SwArta in 2006. He is practicing and promoting HEMA since and has had the opportunity to teach at some of the major HEMA-events in Europe. Apart from working on Dutch translations of 15th & 16th century fighting manuals, his main research is directed at gaining insights into attitudes towards violence, philosophies, mnemonics and symbolism within martial traditions. Whilst training and teaching different HEMA’s, he’s dedicated to continuously broaden his expertise in longsword, dagger/knife and unarmed combat. In his daily life, Alwin works for the Antwerp Police Department, being part of its arrest unit. Time limits him to do horseback riding and rossfechten on a permanent basis, but he loves to learn
The ancient traditions related to medieval knighthood always fascinated Xavier, not only as an academic pursuit, but also as a practical endeavour. Such an endeavour culminates in the reconstruction of medieval equestrian martial practices, a central aspect of knightly culture. Xavier hopes to bring a combination of different fields of expertise – as a HEMA instructor, a student of horsemanship and a professional historian – to this new discipline of HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) and equitation. As a HEMA instructor in SwArta (Belgium), Xavier has been researching, practicing and teaching medieval wrestling, dagger and longsword combat for nearly a decade, mostly specializing in the Lichtenauer tradition. Furthermore, he has been studying and practicing several western horsemanship traditions (vaquero/buckaroo and traditional dressage) for several years as a stepping stone to the reconstruction of medieval horsemanship and Rossfechten (leading to the Scholae Artis Equestris project). His work on HEMA and horsemanship is further enhanced by Xavier’s professional expertise as a biologist and as a historian. Especially his current research as a medievalist at Ghent University, focusing on knighthood in the High Middle Ages, as well as his study of western horsemanship traditions which originated from medieval horsemanship, have influenced his insights on medieval horsemanship and Rossfechten practices. With his varied expertise, Xavier hopes to contribute to revitalizing a martial and equestrian tradition that has left a distinct mark on European history: the Rossfechten of the medieval knight.
I started HEMA in 2010 at De Taille et d’Estoc and quickly began my studies in combat fencing at first, then expanding to bayonet, lance and sabre on both foot and horse back. I joined HEMAC in 2012 and am seated on the board of FFAMHE. In 2016 I wrote the first volume of the collection of “Chronicles & Combat”, dedicated to HEMA. I am also the current instructor at DTE of sabre, bayonet and mounted sabre with Sebastian Causse
One of the first things i did when i had an internet access back in 1998 was to search for old fending manuals. A new world appeared to my surprised eyes. After studying medieval german swordmanship with the ARDAMHE-IDF, i am since a few years into renaissance italian fencing.
As i am also a horserider, i studied medieval fighting on horseback.
A teacher, Jeremy discovered the HEMA in 2012 as a founding member of Luctatio and is passionate about the practice of I. 33. In parallel he also researched the art of war and has done a number of experiments on tactics in the Tournoi a XIII. In 2013 Jeremy and his team set up the Tournoi a XII which aims to study the knightly tournament in the twelfth and the thirteenth century.
Thomas has been practicing martial arts since 1989, started fencing in 1995, and became an instructor of martial arts in 2003. That same year, he got involved in the practice of HEMA, bringing in his experience in ju-jutsu, fencing and MMA. He’s a member of HEMAC, teacher and researcher in the field of HEMA, and a founding member of the FFAMHE. He specialises in armoured combat, wrestling, longsword, and fighting on horse-back.
I am a HEMA practitioner since 2007, and a smallsword and longsword instructor at De Taille et d’Estoc in Dijon, France. Before entering the World of HEMA, I was into stage fighting, and modern épée, which I practiced at the Garde Republicaine and the Ecole Militaire in Paris. I am however very much attached to the fact that source material should guide HEMA, more than personal experience in martial arts or sports.
Bio: Pratiquant des AMHE depuis quelques années, passionné de tir à l’arc à pied et monté et co enseignant dans son centre équestre en Eure et Loir.
Jennifer has been riding since before she could walk, and her first complete sentence was “I want a horse.” In high school she and her best friend used to fence with riding crops, so in retrospect it is inevitable she would end up finding a way to combine swords and horses in her life. She holds an honours BA in Medieval English Literature, and a certificate of Childbirth Education. She has worked as a writer, editor, artist, doula and prenatal instructor, as well as guitarist and lead singer for Stiff Bunnies and an assortment of other rock bands (to which she may or may not confess). Jennifer manages Academie Duello’s sister location, Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, and runs the Cavaliere Program from there.
Bio: J’ai découvert les AMHE en 2008. Deux ans plus tard, je me consacrais entièrement à la hache noble, traduisant et interprétant les sections de manuscrits concernée (Talhoffer, Paulus Kal, Le jeu de la hache…). Bien que loin d’avoir fait le tour de cette arme exceptionnelle, je complète de temps autre ce travail par une étude des manuscrits de Fiore dei Liberi.
Gaëlle Bernard, a rider since 1973, taught classical riding between 1985 and 1997. She began fencing and research into medieval riding in 1991 before joining HEMA in 2004. Also a founder of the medieval combat riding society (Grecom) in 2010. Gaëlle participated in HEMAC Dijon 2011: “Combat riding and mounted combat” and also in 2013: “Fighting on horseback; principles of the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries in western Europe.” Now she is an instructor and organizer of the Rossfechten Symposium since the first symposium in 2014. Gaëlle has also organized the Tournoi XIII since 2012, an event focusing on knightly martial arts from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Modern possibilities of training the Repellon and related historical exercises
The Repellon was one of the most important exercises of 16th century riding literature. It was used to train key abilities of horse and rider needed for warfare. In it´s most basic form it consisted of riding on a straight path, turning with a tight volte and riding back the same path again. As horse and rider progressed, the straight line had to be ridden quicker and the turn had to become tighter. Final stages of the exercise involved riding the turn with a pirouette or preferably in terre-a-terre and ending the straight line in a Possade (the horse lowers his haunches and lifts his front legs). The purpose of this exercise was to improve collection of the horse and to enable horse and rider to quickly change from fast attacks to quick turns. The original exercises were ridden in a freshly plowed soil so that the horse initially had to lift his legs and after a few repetitions had a fixed path which it could follow. In this workshop we will have a look at different possibilities to train these exercises in a modern environment and with modern equipment.
Solo and partner exercises for sword/sabre use on horseback This workshop will focus on different exercises to improve sword handling on horseback. First we will have a look on how to strike on horseback without endangering the horse. For this we will use the Angelo/Stephens system of cuts. After trying basic defences we will practice attack and defence drills in different riding situations and gaits.
Historical dagger techniques can be quite complex. It’s often an entanglement of blades and wrestling with a dangerous point near your face. What looks easy in a book can be difficult to achieve under the pressure of a real attack. There’s a good reason to put your focus on principles, rather than technique. Application of principles and the knowledge of a couple of good, simple and workable techniques should suffice. Let’s see if we can achieve that.
Feudal horsemanship cover the riding practices in Western Europe from the XIIth century to the end of the XVth century. Peculiar to this period of time and geographic zone, it perfectly matches with the martial methods described in various records, et allows their studies on horseback.
The equestrian means emerged from the in-depth study of a very large panels of sources allow to perform a simple but efficient horsemanship. During the workshop, we will study the means of the feudal horsemanship, and practice them through various exercices, some of them described in the records, some of them inspired by the situations described in the texts. Even if we’ll focus on horsemanship, we could use some instruments.
Riding skill: Having ridden at least 10 hours long before whatever the horsemanship. No specific pre-request riding skill. No complete beginner.
Especially in mounted combat it is important that situations become routine for horse and rider so as to be able to remain calm, confident and controlled at all times. In fencing flow drills and footwork patterns are a long established method of becoming comfortable with strikes parries and controlling distance, essential to any martial art. We will be working drills that work the three common positions you will be attacking and defending from in mounted combat. It has the added benefit of teaching the horse the objective of fencing and promote a constructive partnership.
Precision and lightness are crucial to having a horse for mounted combat. However we often underestimate our horses and ourselves, instead of asking exactly when and where we want the foot. We often just give them a general direction using far more energy then we’d need just because we want to be sure that we get a response, but in martial arts uncontrolled movement is worse than no movement. We will be using groundwork in the Dorrance/Hunt ranch working tradition. Not having enough time to ride is a common and universal problem in rossfechten, groundwork allows you to work more horses faster, honing the boring stuff quickly and efficiently, to get to the fun stuff faster when you ride.
L’archerie montée existe depuis que nous savons monter à cheval, les peuples des steppes du sud ou du nord en sont les emblèmes les plus connus. En Europe cette activité est restée occasionnelle, utilisée essentiellement à la chasse. Retrouver les différentes gestuelles lorsque l’on monte dépend énormément du type d’arc, de cheval et de selle utilisée, Je vous propose de découvrir ou redécouvrir cette pratique en utilisant des arcs d’inspiration Mongol, une pratique ancestral adaptée aux cavaliers modernes. L’esthétisme du geste et la difficulté d’allier vitesse et précision en font tout le charme. Dans cette pratique, le sport rejoint le combat monté avec la pratique d’un tir instinctif efficace. Dans cet atelier nous débuterons par un séance d’apprentissage du tir instinctif à pied puis nous passerons à cheval avec pour objectif de tirer des flèches en mouvement au trois allures dans plusieurs cibles sur une piste encadrée.
During this intensive workshop you will: * Get an introduction to fundamental riding techniques * Learn how to safely handle, groom, saddle and bridle your horse * Practice horseback sword fighting techniques In the first hour you will learn the fundamentals of horse handling and will learn how to groom and tack-up (saddle and bridle) your horse. In the remainder of the workshop you will get an introduction to basic riding, and build the fundamentals of swordplay from the ground, including movement, core attacks, and defenses. Beginning riders are provided one-on-one attention during the riding portion. Those with previous experience will have the opportunity to ride independently and practice more advanced drills. This program is an ideal way to introduce yourself to both equestrian and swordplay skills and get started on a deep and exciting track of learning.
The reference position essential to contextualize and learn. Any training sequence whatever the subject area must establish a reference position for measuring the progress made by the learners. As part of the physical activities that are part HEMA, it provides a way for the instructor to evaluate, refine and, even more interestingly, see the learning paths that one would not have expected. We invite you to experience the average situation in the Tournoi a XIII. We wish it to be as close as possible to the context of the so-called “primitive” practice tournaments that were run in the XIIth and XIIIth centuries where infantry and cavalry formed teams whose goal was to capture as many opponents as possible. What is the role of each of these units? Is the rider the invincible warrior he is often described as in literature? Here are some questions we try to answer by comparing the sources and reality.
A presentation of techniques for infantry armed with bayoneted rifles or swords against riders and technical riding to counter infantry, according to Joseph Pinette, Alexandre Muller and other combat fencing riders of the early nineteenth century.
The napoleonic wars announced the comeback of the maneuver warfare and bring back the military cavalry as a key element, During the whole XIXth century. the technical evolution favorized more and more the use of the pistol, then the revolver until it became the main weapon on horse for the light cavalry. This tendency will end brutally with the First World War and the rise of the modern mechanical warfare.
In this worshop we will see through French, Franco-prussian, Belgian, English and North-americans military and civilians sources how the riders and their horses where prepared for the use of one-handed firearms.
Saint Martins’ treatrise on the saber, written in 1804 is one of the first of its kind. Saint Martin himself seems to be surprised of the lack of such treatrises, when there are many on the smallsword. His method is one that he developed in the field during his numerous campaigns. Saint Martin is an experienced military officer and fencing instructor at the Theresian military academy in Vienna, and is certainly competent in the use of the cavalry saber. He is not however very good at explaining things, as he admits it himself, and his treatrise reflects this. One particular aspect that is lacking is the relative speed and directions of the horses and their riders. We may extrapolate some of it from Saint Martin’s work on foot. The aim of the workshop will be to put into action preselected saber sequences with different angles of approach and speeds. As such, the workshop will have a dual purpose of testing certain hypothesis and for the attendees to manage a horseback engagement with XIXth century sabers from the initial approach to the final retreat.
Riders comfortable with it may also test special techniques against archers or bayonettists on Sunday.
Dans ces écrits en latin –approximatif-, Pietro Monte donne des principes généraux sur l’utilisation de la hache d’arme à pied. Parmi ceux-ci, il consacre un passage au cas particulier du combat contre un cavalier. L’atelier s’interrogera sur la perspicacité des conseils donnés ainsi que la possibilité de leur mise en pratique et des limites de notre disciplines.
La hache d’arme est divisée en trois parties, le gros bout (portant la partie offensive), la demi-hache (entre les deux mains) et la queue. Très mobile, cette dernière est richement utilisée dans le Jeu de la hache. L’atelier proposera de rencontrer les différentes possibilités qu’offre la queue : gardes, défenses, exploiter les défauts de l’adversaires ou certaines situations du combat.
During this workshop will be presented a method of one-handed sword fighting, simple and operative for the XIIIth century mounted combat, inspired by the observation and the analysis of many illuminations, and the comparison of those with the principles described after in more recent fighting treatises, as well as the finding of conjunctions with the methods proposed by other researchers in french HEMA.
The mounted fencing which is proposed result of a war fencing, practised in wearing a suit of armour et with a shield. It is carried out equally both on the straight or on the opposite side of the horse, mainly from the armed side of the fighter. It aims to deliver powerful blows with a one-handed sword and is interested in opportunities of estoc or wrestling (dagger or barehanded) as second-line purpose.
This workshop will exclusively focus on the mastering of the fencing system.
The first workshop will focus on establishing lateral movement with good quality on the ground. This ground work will also provide students with some essential insights in these qualities and movements. First, we will focus on qualities as impulsion and straightness. Afterwards, depending on the level of horse and man, we will carry these qualities into exercises as shoulder-in or travers.
Experience: from basic to advanced (but the horse should be mentally relaxed in ground work)
In continuity with the first workshop, the qualities established in the ground work will now be carried to the saddle. In the ridden work, however, particular attention needs to be paid on physical relaxation and suppleness next to impulsion and straightness. Afterwards, we will try to reproduce the shoulder-in or travers, which in turn will serve as a basis for lateral movements as leg yield and half passes.
Experience: from basic to advanced (horses should be mentally relaxed and decently physically trained, riding skills should be good).
The quality of straightness and the lateral movements established in the two previous workshops will now be used in application. Inspired by the turni exercises of Grisone and other sixteenth century masters, we will apply straightness work as an essential element of keeping a decent line of approach. From this straight line of approach, we will advance into lateral movements with the lance, leading to the durchwechsel technique.
Experience: from basic to advanced (horses should be mentally relaxed and decently physically trained, riding skills should be good). Some experience in one-handed riding will be important.
There are many camping and BnB options in the area. There is a camping option very close to the event starting at 10 Euro, with car and electricity come to about 17.5 per night, but in groups prices sink again. For those at the campsite without cars we will attempt to arrange lifts with those that do have cars.
BnBs in the area,
There are price points to every taste starting at 28 Euro in nearby and picturesque Soissons (30m drive), right up to picturesque chateaux and cute little village inns around the 60 Euro a night mark. Barisis itself has not hotels so it is best to look in either St. Gobain, or Coucy le Chateau for hotels and hostelries.
Le 8 bis : 8 Bis is an old manor house, built in 1780, at the heart of the village of Saint-Gobain (5km to the stables).
Languages spoken by the owner : English – German – Neerlandais
PERCHEUL Monique et Paul
Tel : (+33) 18.104.22.168.02
Tel (portable) : (+33)22.214.171.124.48
“Western-style Resort”, with unusual and unique accomodations: wagons, tipis, log cabins, gypsy caravans and campground.
All just a 2h30 drive from Calais and 15min from Laon in Picardie, France.
And 15 min from the Stables of Barisis.
Adress : 3 Rue du Stade, 02880 Crouy, France
Telephone : +33 3 64 18 44 10
The campsite CAMP MUNICIPAL LE MARAIS DE LA FONTAINE is located in FERE in Aisne, in Picardy, where nature and history lovers will find plenty to occupy them during their holidays. It is located by the River l’Oise, by the Lagoon et 5 km away near a Leisure centre.
Telephone : +33 3 23 56 82 94
Site Web : Click here
Food, Access to all workshops, lectures
Food, Access to all workshops, lectures and stalls for a horse for 4 days
Food, Access to all workshops , lectures and use of a horse from a professional company specializing in reenactment and hunting experiences for 4 days (Thursday to Saturday)
If you are budget conscience and coming as a group ,sharing a horse is always an option, just choose one of the full rental packages and add “PARTICIPANT”, the cost comes out to 395 per personn with two people, and gets lower the more people share.
The region of Picardy, only two hours north of Paris, is a breathtaking must see for any military history fan or outdoorsman. Forests and fields dotted with small stone villages chateaux and castles. Celebrated in the middle ages for being the most beautiful and blessed of frances domains for hunting, fishing and other forest activities it still hasn’t changed much.
Picardy saw some of the heaviest fighting of the hundred years war as well as the first and second world war.
In fact our event is only 20minutes drive away from the remains of the largest Donjon style castle ever built in Europe and the seat of one of France’s most renowned and infamous knightly families, the Coucys.
The battle of the Somme was also in the area and there is much much more still to see.
Barisis itself is very small and if you need shopping or supplies or are looking for a hotel the closest village is St. Gobain, but if you want a larger town we suggest St Quentin, Soissons or Reims, or if you want to be close to the famous Coucy castle, Coucy le Château.
There are VERY GOOD connections from PARIS to the region, you can get a fast train from Paris in about 2hrs. The closest train station is Tergnier.
If you need to be picked up we might be able to organise something for you so please talk to our organizational staff.
If you are travelling from England or Switzerland there is a very good fast train service to Paris.
Best airport to fly into is Paris Airport and then take a train north to Tergnier. You can usually find very affordable flights.
This years Gala Dinner will be in the MEDIEVAL TOWN OF COUCY LE CHATEAU at the restaurant “Bellevue” with a view on the historic Coucy Castle. Our theme through the night is “Equestrian elegance throughout history”