The HEMA Scholar Awards committee are pleased to present this year’s winners. These individuals represent the finest scholarship published in 2014. We received many nominations recognizing efforts in a wide variety of fields, and our deliberations required weeks of long discussion, but we are pleased to say that in the end our decision was unanimous. Happy 2016, HEMA world, and keep on writing!

Reinier van Noort
Jherek Swanger
Ariella Elema
Alex Bourdas
Tom Leoni

Note: The details for some sponsored prizes is still currently unclear and for that reason those will be presented as soon as we have final confirmation.

Without further ado, here are the awardees of the HEMA Scholar Awards 2015:

Lifetime Achievement

Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng
Worcester Art Museum, Higgins Armory Museum, USA

hema-scholar-awards-2015-dr-jeffrey-l-forgengFinally, the jury is very happy to award Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng with the Lifetime Achievement. As curator at the Higgins Armory Museum, and later the Worcester Art Museum, as well as Adjunct Professor of History at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Forgeng has worked to make European arms and armour accessible to the North American public. At the same time, for many years he has researched and taught Historical European Martial Arts, and brought HEMA to the attention of both the general public, and academic research.

In this time, he has become best-known for his seminal translation of Joachim Meyer’s Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens of 1570, which was first published in 2006, and was re-published in 2014 (with the first run selling out unexpectedly fast). Other important works include The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship, an English translation of manuscript I.33, published in 2003, and The Art of Swordmanship, a translation of Hans Lecküchner’s Kunst des Messerfechtens, published in 2015. He has also produced a very useful glossary of German fencing terminology, which is of great help to other researchers and translators.

For all his efforts, we award Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Dr. Forgeng will receive the following:

The Hema Scholar Awards Iron & Silver Laurel Prize, designed and created by Dr Fabrice Cognot
A sword from Miran Krstičić
A coupon of 100 EUR value from PBT Fencing
A copy of Manuscrito da Espada from AGEA Editoria
A copy of Acta Periodica Duellatorum

 

Best Instructor or Interpreter

Jessica Finley
Selohaar Fechtschule, USA

hema-scholar-awards-2015-jessica-finleyThis award is presented for Jessica Finley’s book Medieval Wrestling: Modern Practice of a Fifteenth Century Art (Freelance Academy Press, 2014). In our opinion, it exemplifies a quality instructional text. Based on the treatise attributed to the (probably) fifteenth-century Master Ott, it combines the teaching of solid foundational skills with historical context to create a volume that will be informative for both beginners and more experienced wrestlers.

The techniques are not presented in their original order, but rather have been re-ordered and placed into sensible chapters (e.g. stances, techniques at the arms, techniques from the chest grip), which should help students to progress through the material more easily. Each technique is broken into steps, which are illustrated with clear, uncluttered photographs on well laid out pages. Historical context has not been neglected. The opening chapter presents an overview of medieval wrestling, Master Ott and his milieu, while the appendix contains a translation of the complete treatise, allowing students to develop informed, independent opinions about the material.

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Mrs. Finley will receive the following

The Hema Scholar Awards Iron & Silver Laurel Prize, designed and created by Dr Fabrice Cognot
Trinity Integrated mask overlay with occipital protection from SPES Historical Fencing
A coupon of 100 EUR value from PBT Fencing
A copy of Manuscrito da Espada from AGEA Editoria
A copy of Acta Periodica Duellatorum
A copy of The Wiktenauer Liechtenauer book from The Wiktenauer
A t-shirt from SPES Historical Fencing

 

Best Published Researcher

hema-scholar-awards-2015-olivier-dupuisOlivier Dupuis
HEMAC, France

The first Best Researcher award is given to Olivier Dupuis. The jury was very impressed with the depth of scholarship shown by Mr. Dupuis in his article Organization and Regulation of Fencing in the Realm of France in the Renaissance, in which Mr. Dupuis provided a thorough analysis of the regulation of fencing instruction in 15th-16th century France, including the rules surrounding conduct in instruction and the process of examinations (i.e., the playing of prizes) whereby students were evaluated in various weapons.

This research was based on a variety of primary documents, including certificates of fencing masters, and especially a collection of ordinances of fencing in various cities. What further convinced the jury that Olivier would be a worthwhile recipient of this award, is that his help was acknowledged in contributions by many of the other nominees.

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Mr. Dupuis will receive the following:

The Hema Scholar Awards Iron & Silver Laurel Prize, designed and created by Dr Fabrice Cognot
Forearm and elbow protectors from SPES Historical Fencing
A coupon of 100 EUR value from PBT Fencing
A copy of Manuscrito da Espada from AGEA Editoria
Copies of The Wiktenauer Wiktenauer Fiore I & II books
A t-shirt from SPES Historical Fencing

 

Best Published Researcher

Jan Schäfer
Schwertspiel Dresden, 
Germany

On his blog, Fechtgeschichte.blogspot.de, as well as other channels, Jan Schäfer has shared a large amount of his research (albeit often in German), including transcriptions of various treatises, and biographies of fencing masters.

Furthermore, he has made several valuable contributions to HEMA research, by locating and sharing hitherto unknown treatises, such as the Fechtbuch eines Studenten (Fencing Book of a Student – Cod. Guelf. 264.23 extrav.) and the Verzeichnis etlicher Stücke des Fechtens im Rapier so ich zu Frankfurt an der Oder gelernt (Several Pieces of Fencing with the Rapier, as I have Learned in Frankfurt on the Oder – Ms.germ. fol. 1476), and by transcribing these and other works.

Moreover, in collaboration with Reinier van Noort and Claus Sørensen he has provided a translation with extensive historical background of the Fechtbuch eines Studenten in two parts on HROARR.

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Mr. Schäfer will receive the following:

The Hema Scholar Awards Iron & Silver Laurel Prize, designed and created by Dr Fabrice Cognot
A coupon of 100 EUR value from PBT Fencing
A copy of Manuscrito da Espada from AGEA Editoria
A Stryker singlestick hilt
A Purpleheart Armoury t-shirt
A t-shirt from SPES Historical Fencing

 

Best Rookie Researcher

Jack Gassman
Artes Certaminis, Switzerland

hema-scholar-awards-2015-jack-gassmanThe jury is happy to award Jack Gassmann as best Rookie Researcher, an award that acknowledges and encourages an upcoming researcher showing talent. Jack wrote and published his first paper in a peer-reviewed journal before he was even 20 years old. In addition, Jack organises the Rossfechten symposium, is an instructor in German longsword, and is a successful tournament fighter.

In his paper, titled Thoughts on the Role of Cavalry in Medieval Warfare, Jack gives a synthesis of the scattered existing research on the role played by cavalry troops in medieval warfare (the title is really quite aptly chosen), drawing his own conclusions based on the secondary and some primary sources he quotes. For a rookie researcher, even without taking into account his young age, Jack has achieved a good depth of scholarship, and produced quite a well-written work.

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Mr. Gassman will receive the following:

The Hema Scholar Awards Iron & Silver Laurel Prize, designed and created by Dr Fabrice Cognot
A 300USD gift certificate from Albion Swords
Heavy gloves from SPES Historical Fencing
A coupon of 100 EUR value from PBT Fencing
A copy of Manuscrito da Espada from AGEA Editoria
A signed copy of the Paulus Kal book from Christian Tobler

 

Prize founder’s note

First of all I would like to congratulate all the awardees of this year’s HEMA Scholar Awards! I am personally very happy to see all these great people awarded for their incredible work! They are all wonderful people that do amazing things, so hats off and glasses raised!

I also have a lot of thank yous to give this year. To begin with the jury; Reinier van Noort, Ariella Elema, Jherek Swanger, Alex Bourdas and Tom Leoni, I think this jury just raised the bar in how seriously they took their assignment and I know there was a lot of hard work behind these decisions! You will forever have my gratitude and sincere respect for that.

Second, I would also like to thank all the sponsors of the prizes! Without you this just wouldn’t be possible!

Third, I would like to thank all the great researchers that work hard in the dark, alone and silent. Although the passion and love for what we do helps, I also know how frustrating and demanding on patience, perseverance and private life it can be.

Fourth, I would also like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate people for the awards! You are a hugely important part of all this. Your support is vital to the whole proceedings.

Fifth, I want to thank the whole community, and especially all the great people I have met and learned from. You are all an inspiration in many different and sometimes surprising ways! The only regret I have is that I get to meet you far too seldom.

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to especially thank the amazing people who donated to this years HEMA Charity! We have together raised more than 1855€, which has supported 40 families of five members each with food for a month in the Syrian refugee camps! You all live up to the great ideals of the old fencing guilds and their oaths to care in particular for the poor, the orphans and the widows, and I thank you for the trust you have placed in this charity!

Now let’s together make 2016 an even more awesome year for HEMA, raising the bar a few more steps!

Roger Norling
Chief Editor of HROARR

 

The sponsors of the HEMA Scholar Awards 2015

We thank the sponsors of the HEMA Scholar Awards 2015 for your incredible support and generosity! Your kind contributions is what makes it all possible!

Krstičić Swordsmithy
Fabrice Cognot Bladesmith
Albion Swords
The Martial Art Museum – Museo dell’Arte Marziale
SPES Historical Fencing Gear
AGEA Editora
The Wiktenauer – A HEMA Alliance project
TheHEMAShop
TheKnightShop
Purpleheart Armoury
PBT Historical Fencing
Acta Periodica Duellatorum
Christian Tobler